In the past Patrick Reed wore black and red to mirror his idol Tiger Woods and took lessons at Hank Haney’s ranch in Texas — the former world No. 1’s ex-coach — hoping one day to emulate his hero.
Reed still has a way to go in matching Woods’ golf feats but in opening his tally at majors by winning the Masters — the sport’s biggest prize — imagine his delight at being congratulated by his legendary fellow American.
“I got a call from Tiger,” Reed told CNN’s Alex Thomas, understandably still basking in the glory of his Augusta success.
Woods wasn’t the only one to reach out to the 27-year-old, with major winners Tom Watson, Davis Love, Jim Furyk, Lee Trevino and Bubba Watson also getting in touch.
“A lot of the guys have been sending a lot of text messages, just lots of support and it just shows how close a group we are on the PGA Tour and we’re just one big family out there,” Reed said.
“Of (course you) want to win, but if someone else does we’re there to support him and cheer him along.”
‘I’m being treated a little differently’
Receiving congratulatory messages might be commonplace for new champions but it’s especially noteworthy in Reed’s case.
He has a reputation for sticking to himself on the tour — much like Woods did in the early stages of his career.
So much so that during the US’s disastrous Ryder Cup showing in 2014 one of golf’s behemoths, Phil Mickelson, according to Golf World, told Reed as he addressed each of his teammates: “Patrick, we need to know you better.”
Doing a host of interviews in the wake of his victory Sunday, people are indeed starting to get to know Reed better. In speaking to CNN, he didn’t shy away from questions about his rocky relationship with his own family. They are estranged.
“I am who I am,” Reed told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell in an interview on Sunday after winning the Masters.
“You know that once you’re successful, there’s going to be good things and bad things that people say and, honestly, to me it doesn’t really matter.”
On a lighter note, his new found fame has already led to some perks, such as taking in an NBA basketball game with wife Justine in the front row at New York’s Madison Square Gardens between the New York Knicks and LeBron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.
“I do feel like I’m being treated a little differently,” Reed said. “I’ve never sat courtside before. I look to my left, (actor and comedian) Chris Rock’s there.
“I was like: ‘What is going on?’ Looking to my left, looking to my right, and I’m like … ‘I’m just a golfer.’
“The ovations that the fans gave to all of us and gave myself and everything now that I was in the place, it was awesome. And to see other athletes go out and play, play basketball that close, it was awesome.”
Ryder Cup on his mind
Two years ago Reed also sparkled when the US reclaimed the Ryder Cup from Europe at Hazeltine in Minnesota two years ago, earning an event best 3.5 points and getting the better of Rory McIlroy — who battled the American hard Sunday, only to slip into a tie for fifth.
That duel with the Northern Irishman went down in Ryder Cup folklore, the pair going head-to-head and leading to Reed’s memorable finger wagging in McIlroy’s direction.
Reed is already looking forward to this year’s Ryder Cup near Paris in September, a time when he will potentially encounter McIlroy once again.
“I can’t wait to come back,” he said. “I have some other tricks up my sleeves to get the fans, just to go back and forth with them, because it’s such an awesome experience and such a great time to go back overseas.”
Of the last six Masters winners, only one — Jordan Spieth — has won a major away from Augusta, while Bubba Watson did add to his haul of majors by claiming a second Masters crown in 2014.
Reed — whose best finish at a major prior to last weekend was a second-place showing at the PGA Championship last August — is convinced that he won’t be a one-hit wonder.
“I’ve won the first one, so I know it can be done,” said Reed. “It’s one thing to believe, it’s (another) to go ahead and do it. Once you get in that winning circle, now it’s become a reality. You know it can be done.
“I’d be disappointed if this was the only (major).
“Time will only tell. I feel like the sky is the limit, you just go out there and continue to build it, you know just golf, have a lot of fun and keep giving yourself opportunities on Sunday and if I’m in the mix, I feel like we can do a lot of damage.”