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The history of Patrick Reed

The nasty family history that made Patrick Reed a Masters oddity

AUGUSTA, Ga. — It seemed like all of Augusta National was rooting for Jordan Spieth on Sunday afternoon. The roars, the cheers, the pleas for brilliance were all aimed at the hard-charging Texan who was trying to make Masters history coming from nine strokes back to win what would have been his second green jacket.

Patrick Reed? Well, he had his brother-in-law Kessler Karain, who serves as his caddie; his wife, Justine, who was cheering outside the ropes; and his estranged mother, Jeannette Reed, who issued an early tweet that included, “Go Patrick Reed.”

There were a few other members wearing Team Reed hats, but not many. He might have been “Captain America” during the Ryder Cup, but Reed wasn’t the king of Augusta until he made a 4-foot putt for par on the 18th hole to win the 82nd Masters.

With his helicopter tee shots and baggy pink shirt, Reed fired a 1-under 71 to finish 15-under, one shot clear of Rickie Fowler. Reed survived threats from several contenders and his own nerves to claim his first major championship in a city where he hasn’t always been embraced.

It’s all either documented or whispered: the reported tension between the Reeds and Patrick’s parents, Bill and Jeannette; and the nasty back-and-forth on social media where Justine claimed Patrick was abused physically and verbally by his parents — accusations his parents have denied.

We also know about the time his parents, who weren’t invited to Patrick’s wedding, were escorted out of the 2014 US Open supposedly at the request of Justine, and how his parents, who live in Augusta, have had little contact with Patrick, Justine and their two children.

Normally, parents are among the first thanked when someone wins a major, but when asked if it was bittersweet not to share winning the Masters with his parents, Reed’s answer revealed all you need to know: “I’m just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments,” he said.

That’s not all. Reed won back-to-back national championships at nearby Augusta State, now Augusta University, in 2010-2011, but he’s not necessarily a hometown hero as there were allegations he wasn’t always honest with his scoring during practice sessions.

When he made his winning putt for par on the 18th hole, Justine was there to greet him with a hug and a kiss. There was applause and congratulations for the 27-year-old winner, but not the all-out adoration that normally accompanies a new Masters champion, certainly not the kind of adoration Spieth would have received had he won.

Reed, also from Texas, noticed the cheers were louder for Rory McIlroy when the day began and said it added “fuel to my fire.” Maybe Augusta will warm to him now that he has a green jacket and a lifetime invitation to the Masters.

Like every Masters champion, Reed needed a bit of luck to win. There was a putt for birdie on the third hole that might still be rolling if it hadn’t found the cup. Then the golf gods showed him favor at the par-5 13th, where his approach shot hit the front bank of the green and stayed dry. An overnight rain had softened conditions, helping the ball to keep from rolling into Rae’s Creek.

The rest was hard work. He made a 22-footer from the back of the green at the par-3 12th that got him to 14-under and an 8-footer at the 14th that gave him his final score. He also made a clutch putt for par at the 17th.

Soon Spieth was starting to make a mess of the 18th and all Reed needed at the end was par to claim his major. “No one expects me to go out and win,” Reed said. “I expect myself to go out and win.”

Patrick Reed will never be warm and fuzzy and his family situation might be more complicated than the norm. But the Masters isn’t a popularity contest. From villain to victor, Captain America has exchanged a black hat for a green coat.

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