There will still be no player from the island of Ireland wearing the Green Jacket any time soon. Rory McIlroy faded on Sunday, allowing Patrick Reed to win his first major championship.
Heralded as a battle for the ages between Reed and Rory, fireworks failed to transpire after a promising start that saw McIlroy hit his approach within four feet for eagle on the 2nd hole. It was a stunning shot, and this was the length of putt he had to tie Patrick Reed:
"He likes it. He likes it. He loves itttttttt! What a beauty."
What a shot at No. 2.
— BBC Sport (@BBCSport) April 8, 2018
The putt slid sadly by and it set a pattern for the day. When he followed it up with two more short misses on the front 9, McIlroy began to crumble on the greens.
In total, McIlroy missed seven putts inside 10 feet in the first 14 holes. Heading into the round, McIlroy’s putting had improved so much, while Jordan Spieth’s putting had failed him throughout the year. Once the pressure of the major hit, both reverted to type, with Spieth making several putts, and Rory listless on the greens.
This will be a tough one to take for the Northern Irishman, whose collapse in the final round on Sunday was mainly attributed to the inexperience of youth.
This time, McIlroy was poised to make a charge but never looked comfortable, even slicing his first drive 50 yards right of the fairway. McIlroy suffered some putting woes, but he also only hit 8 greens. The 2019 Masters is a long way away, and Rory has plenty to ponder after an extremely disappointing 74, the worst score of any player in the top 15.
Having said that, Patrick Reed was the deserving winner of The Masters, and would have been tough to catch regardless. He finished on 273 for a 15-under-par total. The course was there for the taking though, as shown by Paul Casey flirting with the course record early on.
The mantle of the chaser was then taken up by Jordan Spieth, who put together an extraordinary 64 on Sunday, which included a bogey on the last hole. There was also a valiant effort from Rickie Fowler in solo second, who birdied six of his last 11 holes.
— Masters Tournament (@TheMasters) April 9, 2018
Spaniard Jon Rahm was another player whose stock rose at this year’s Masters. He recovered from a 75 in Round 1 to finish solo fourth, only four off the lead.
But it was to be Patrick’s week at Augusta, the US Ryder Cup hero who finally brought his great play from that competition to the biggest stage of all.
Reed, with his chequered past and cocky demeanour, may not be the most popular Masters winner of all-time. Read this great article about Reed for more about his past.
Yet credit where it is due. Happy to act the villain, Reed is the ‘heel’ that serves as an antidote to Rickie Fowler’s ‘friends with everybody’ approach. Something which golf needs. He is one of the toughest competitors in all of golf, and now a Masters Champion.