American Patrick Reed became the youngest winner ever of a World Golf Championship event with his win at the Cadillac Championship at Trump National Doral outside Miami Sunday. Reed, 26 days younger than Tiger Woods when he won the WGC-Bridgestone Invitational in 1999, went wire-to-wire to defeat Welshman Jamie Donaldson and Yank Bubba Watson by one shot. Reed posted a tournament-high four-under-par 284 in his first-ever WGC title and third overall on TOUR.
Patrick Reed was already a part of an inclusive club on TOUR before entering this week. He, along with Rory McIlroy, Harris English and Russell Henley are the only players on TOUR under the age of 25 with two or more wins. Reed laid out his intentions on Thursday as his 68 separated himself from the field. Not bad for a kid who’s never played in a major, let alone a WGC event! A brutal Friday saw scores rise like the heat on a South Beach club dance floor but his 75 put him in a four-way tie for first entering the weekend. Saturday wasn’t beach blanket bingo either but Reed kept his nerve and posted 69 for a two-shot lead entering Sunday. This was his third, 54-hole lead. He’s now three-for-three in WINS in that department. Not bad for 24! Now with three victories, Reed trails only McIlroy (six) in that department.
I think most gamers, golfers and media will agree that the weather and the course were the story this week but I don’t believe that to be fair to Patrick Reed. He just beat the top 50 players in the world on a course that hardly any of them had played before this week. That’s impressive, period. Gamers knew that Reed had plenty of game after he beat a smokin’ hot Jordan Spieth in a playoff last August. He backed that up with rounds of 63-63-63 before holding on to win at Humana. This week, on a brand-new track, with the best players in the world, he proved his worth again. The key for Reed, as it usually is, was his putter. He finished the week ninth in strokes gained-putting and only had one double bogey. The moment never got too big for him and his brother-in-law caddy as they avoided most danger and thought it around the back nine on Sunday. With danger lurking around every fairway and green, Reed kept his nerve and hung on for victory.
Reed is going to rub some gamers the wrong way after his comments during and after the tournament about him being one of the best five players in the world. He cited his amateur and college career plus his early successes on TOUR as his reasons. Well, it’s quite hard to dispute. Remember this: play with your wallet, not your heart. There are plenty of guys I don’t like because of various reasons but I hate losing to my buddies because of personal bias.
He can play.
He has three wins on TOUR in the last eight months. Who does he think he is? Jimmy Walker? Reed was once known as Mr. Monday Qualifier as he was grinding to achieve status. He ranked No. 584 in the world to begin 2013. He’s now in the top 25. Not a bad 15 months.
He’s 24 and will be in all four majors. If he has the talent to win this week…
Raise your hand if you had Patrick Reed and Jimmy Walker on the 2014 Ryder Cup team on New Year’s Day. Now, keep your hand up if you’re lying. Does your arm hurt yet?
With this victory, Reed collects $1,530,000, 550 FedExCup Points and the title of youngest WGC winner ever.
Déjà vu All Over Again?
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has now won the first 16 of 17 events of 2013-14. Harris English, Jimmy Walker (THREE), Webb Simpson, Ryan Moore, Dustin Johnson, Chris Kirk, Zach Johnson, Patrick Reed (TWO), Scott Stallings, Kevin Stadler, Bubba Watson, Russell Henley and Chesson Hadley have collected the hardware this year for the stars and stripes. Jason Day is representing the rest of the world as the Australian won the WGC-Match Play.
Jimmy Walker and Kevin Stadler remain the only first-time winners this season. There were 12, first-timers in 40 events last year.
Only 17 of the 38, 54-hole leaders went on to win last year in full-field, stroke play events. I’m always trying to figure out if this is a trend or not. In 2013-14 nine of 16 leaders have gone on to win with Hadley and Reed converting this week.
In 52 WGC events, only 12 have not been major champions, including the last two, Jason Day and Reed. #revolution. Those two are also in the top six for youngest winners. #youthmovement.
The new Trump National Doral taught us that any course history here should be thrown out the window in coming years. 2014 will be as far back as I go.
Young Guns versus Prime Time versus Old Guys
Jimmy Walker (34) started the season out on the right foot for the Prime Time guys and was joined by Ryan Moore (30) in Malaysia and Zach Johnson (37) at Kapalua now Kevin Stadler (33), at WMPO and Bubba Watson, 35, joined them at Riviera. Walker has now added TWO more victories to the guys currently in their prime!
Scott Stallings (28), Patrick Reed TWICE (23), Chris Kirk (28), Webb Simpson (28), Dustin Johnson (29), Harris English (24), Jason Day (26) and Russell Henley (24) are the twenty-somethings on the board. With Henley’s victory, the Young Guns now have nine wins to the Prime Timers seven.
The Old Guys are playing like old guys as they have zero wins this season. Thongchai Jaidee, 44, was flying the flag for the Old Folks this week. Wow. He was better than Phil Mickelson, Jim Furyk, Steve Stricker, Miguel Angel Jimenez, Ernie Els and Lee Westwood to name a few in their 40s. Wow.