Patrick Reed is slowly proving himself right.
Last year’s World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship winner and the description “top-five player in the world” got linked a year ago during the PGA Tour’s Doral week.
Reed did the linking himself during and after his wire-to-wire triumph on the renovated Blue Monster.
During a mid-tournament Golf Channel interview, Reed said he believed he was “a top-five player in the world.”
And following his win over an elite field of 49 of the world’s top 50 golfers, he said, “I’m working my way up to becoming a top-five player in the world.”
The difference between PGA Tour winners and guys scrambling to get or keep PGA Tour cards often is less physical talent than mental resilience and confidence.
Stating the latter, however, doesn’t fit everyone’s idea of proper comportment in the gentlemen’s game.
Guff came from media and fellow players. Nine-time PGA Tour winner Stuart Appleby posted on Twitter that he hoped Reed put up 20 years of three PGA Tour wins every seven months, a reminder of golf’s capricious nature.
World No. 1 Rory McIlroy took a jab at the comment when grouped with Reed for the first two rounds of the Masters.
That tournament counted as Reed’s majors debut, a fact pointed out in a tweeted piece of scolding scorn from longtime sportswriter Dave Kindred.
Then again, a list of those who declared themselves members of the upper crust before they acquired the titles that proved they were would include Muhammad Ali, the 1980s Wayne Gretzky-led Edmonton Oilers, 1987 University of Miami football team and the Big 3-era Miami Heat.
Reed, who moves about the course as if there’s no question the next two shots will go exactly where he wants them, said he wasn’t surprised by the reaction.
“I don’t regret saying anything,” Reed said last week before the Honda Classic. “It’s just one of those things that it’s a coal mine. If I continue to play well and give myself chances on Sunday, hopefully, I’ll get there.”
That’s the part that’s overlooked — in both instances, Reed admitted as a relative PGA Tour newcomer, it would take time before he had the results to match his belief. After winning Doral, he didn’t even list himself among his top five, going with Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Graeme McDowell.
Reed’s now No. 15 in the Official World Golf Rankings. He won the Hyundai Tournament of Champions earlier this year, his first win since Doral last year but fourth PGA Tour win before 25, just the fourth player to do that.
A streak of 22 rounds at par or better, the longest on tour by far, ended in the Sunday-Monday fourth round at the Honda. A final-round of par 70 would have put him in the playoff with winner Padraig Harrington and Daniel Berger instead of discussing how The Bear Trap (hole Nos. 15-17) mauled him into a double bogey-bogey-bogey finish for a 73.
“I had three holes that kind of bit me, but it’s my best finish here so far,” Reed said after finishing tied for seventh.
Reed’s not in the top five yet. But he is gaining on it in the past year.
Highlights of events at Trump National Doral
Tuesday, 11 a.m., Red Course: Adidas BOOST mini challenge pitting PGA pros vs. pro soccer, basketball, football and track and field athletes, including Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill
Tuesday, 6 p.m., Royal Palm Pool: Cadillac Nights Opening Drive red carpet with PGA players, the Trump family and DJ Irie for invited guests only.
Thursday, 4-6 p.m., Doral resort: Trump Model Search.
Thursday, 8-10 p.m., Doral resort: Fashion Experience show hosted by Ivanka Trump with designs by Dolce and Gabbana
Saturday, 6 p.m., White Course 18th hole: Carlos Santana concert with guests Los Amigos Invisibles and La Gente Zona
On the course, throughout the tournament (ticketing required for some venues):
Cadillac Experience Double Decker, between 1st and 18th greens, featuring interactive stations with a hole-in-one competition, swing and putting analysis and ball fitting; Escalade Lounge, 16th hole; Grey Goose Lounge, 19th hole; Premium cabanas, 16th hole; LAN and TAM International Club with views of 18th and 9th greens; Moet and Chandon Champagne Lounge in the fan village.