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Patrick Reed, Captain America
[Posted Wed. a.m.]
NBA Quiz: Name the five rookies who are averaging 15 points per game. Answer below.
As I do with all big sports stories, I need to get the following on Patrick Reed’s tremendous triumph in for the archives.
Eamon Lynch / Golfweek
“There are a handful of constant themes in the Masters script produced every year on the movie set that is Augusta National Golf Club. Drama, of course. Often some tragedy. Scenes of euphoric joy, moments of quiet despair. The occasional old love affair rekindled. A healthy dose of sentimentality. Heroes are abundant, villains invisible. Well, until this year.
“There is no more polarizing player in golf than Patrick Reed, whose approach to the game – and life – borders on pugilistic. It serves him well in the coliseum of a Ryder Cup, where his high school jock bravado fits in. He knows he wouldn’t win a popularity contest in the locker room – and wouldn’t dare even enter one among his own family or former college teammates – but none of that has ever dented his bulletproof self-belief. His is a level of swagger that demands backing up, a holding of nerve in a testing moment. That moment finally presented itself Sunday at Augusta National when he teed off in the final group with Rory McIlroy. Reed was not found wanting, even before a ball was struck.
“ ‘I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans, but then Rory walked up to the tee, you know, his cheer was a little louder,’ he said. ‘That’s another thing that just kind of played into my hand.’
“In the biggest moment of his life, Reed was comparing the decibel level of the cheers and using it as fuel to perform.
“The final round was hyped as a showdown between Reed and McIlroy, albeit free of the partisan hollering that fueled their memorably boisterous Ryder Cup singles match two years ago. (That just isn’t done at Augusta National, sir.) But the Masters has a way of gong off-script on Sundays. Favorites falter, leads evaporate, charges are mounted, nerves are jangled.
“By the time the sun sets, only one dream is realized. All others are crushed....
“Competitors respect their own kind. Love is optional. In the end, second place went to Rickie Fowler, a man once criticized for Sunday swoons but now showing as much fortitude as his cadre of major-wining pals. Nine top-10 finishes in majors speaks to his sublime talent. The three seconds point to the lurking danger of impatience and frustration, which can’t be far from the mind of a proto-millennial approaching his 30th birthday....
“Eighty-six men drove down Magnolia Lane, most of them just for the spectacle. Perhaps only a couple of dozen had realistic hopes of slipping into a green jacket. But as the 82nd Masters illustrated, the gap between hope and belief is a chasm some simply can’t bridge.
“Patrick Reed did it, and while taking incoming fire from the best in the game. His was a Masters earned through resilience, not given by the shortcomings of others. He wouldn’t much care that plenty of folks gathered around the clubhouse before the final round were hoping for a different outcome, for a hero to triumph rather than the villain.
“ ‘He’ll have a lot more friends if he wins a green jacket,’ sniffed one of the club’s actual green jackets.
“Perhaps not. But he’ll certainly have a lot more respect.”
Mike Lupica / New York Daily News
“This was one of the great back-nine Sundays in the history of the Masters. It was that way because of the tough out who won – a tough Texan by way of Augusta (Ga.) State named Patrick Reed – and because of the two guys who didn’t, Rickie Fowler and Jordan Spieth. Of course there have been other back-nine Sundays at Augusta. Never one from three golfers still in their 20s like these. This is why the thing still feels like the Super Sunday of golf. This is why we were all in front of our television sets all afternoon and into the early evening.
“And by the way? This was for everybody who acts as if there is still a sport if Tiger Woods doesn’t turn back the clock to when he was the hot kid in his 20s, even if you thought television was going to follow Tiger all the way to the airport when he had finished Sunday at 1-over par.
“Finally, after the way Spieth made his run from nine shots down at the start of the day, and after Fowler made a birdie on the 72nd hole to make Patrick Reed make a par on the same hole, it came down to Reed above the hole with a downhill putt that must have looked to him as if it might roll all the way to Atlanta if he hit it even slightly too hard....
“Then Patrick Reed, whom they called Captain America because he had a big Ryder Cup Sunday once against Rory McIlroy, made his slippery two-putt to win the Masters. He had stood in there against McIlroy, on the day when Rory was trying to become only the sixth golfer in history to win a career Grand Slam. He had stood in there against Spieth, who had a chance on this back-nine Sunday to shoot the lowest score – 63 – in Masters history and maybe even better than that if a couple of putts that burned the hole had dropped on the way to the clubhouse....
“It is absolutely great having Tiger back. It is great that Phil Mickelson can still win tournaments, the way he did earlier this year in Mexico. They both might win again. It’s just not their sport any longer. You saw it on Sunday, at one of the best Masters of them all. Young guys rule. Like the man said one time when an old guy did rule at Augusta: Yes sir.”
After sinking the putt on 18, Patrick Reed was greeted by his wife Justine and her family, but not his own family, with a falling out culminating in his wife reportedly having Reed’s parents escorted off the grounds at the 2014 U.S. Open.
It has been reported, and it’s in my archives somewhere, that Reed’s relationship with his family goes back to his marriage to Justine when he was just 22.
After Justine made a series of allegations about Reed’s parents’ treatment of her husband, Reed’s sister responded with a Facebook post in late 2016.
“I have sat back and watched the numerous and disgusting accusation his wife, mother-in-law and everyone now associated as his family have made. Patrick is not the same person he used to be. This is not a brother anymore, but a selfish, horrible stranger and it’s heartbreaking... It is devastating seeing my parents hurt and suffer from what is being posted about them,” she said.
Golf.com’s Alan Shipnuck, who detailed the breakdown of Reed’s relationship with his family, used the post-Masters press conference as an opportunity to ask Reed about the falling out, asking if it was bittersweet not to have his parents and sister at Augusta with him for his big moment.
“I’m just out here to play golf and try to win golf tournaments,” he replied.
Reed reportedly hasn’t communicated with his parents since 2012. His parents watched the final round from their home just blocks from Augusta...and cried.
George Willis / New York Post
“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 U.S. 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....
“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.”
Bill Plaschke / Los Angeles Times
“It was a victory march to a drumbeat of disdain.
“When Patrick Reed strode down the 18th fairway at Augusta National Golf Club late Sunday afternoon, leading the Masters by one stroke and moments from victory, the strangest thing happened.
“Nothing happened. There was no roar. There was no rooting. There were mostly blank stares from a thickly packed gallery that was so quiet, you could hear Reed’s black shoes squishing on the soft grass.
“Well, that, and some whispered muttering.
“ ‘He needs to bogey.’
“ ‘Everybody here is hoping he’s in the bunker.’ ....
“This same crowd had spent all day screaming through the shadows for three of golf’s most popular players as they each made their charge on the big guy in the black cap.
“They roared for Rory McIlroy, then they roared for Jordan Spieth, and finally they roared for Rickie Fowler, the largest cheer of the day, when he sank a birdie putt on the 18th hole to apply one final hammerlock of pressure.
“Then Reed showed up, and, crickets....When he sank a three-foot par putt to claim his first major victory at age 27, the applause was as restrained as his brief fist-pumping celebration....
“It was a day that Reed, nicknamed ‘Captain America’ for his toughness in the Ryder Cup, outfought golf’s cool kids with that same sort of dueling spirit. Yet, he was no match for the pervasive dislike that stared him down on every hole.
“Meet the first Masters champion who needed that green jacket to just ward off the chill....
“There are several theories that fans don’t like him because other golfers don’t like him. A 2015 ESPN poll of golfers ranked him as golf’s second-most disliked pro behind Bubba Watson. This dislike stems from a history of brash statements, like when he declared himself one of the top five players in the world after only his third PGA Tour victory.
“There are also issues in the Texas-born Reed’s past, as he left a trail of golfing bad will at his college stops in Georgia and Augusta State. He has been accused by college teammates of stealing and cheating, and his behavior led him to be dismissed from Georgia and suspended for two tournaments at Augusta State. Then there is the estrangement from his parents....
“It sounds complicated. It also sounds very sad....
“It was that kind of day, a hardscrabble victory by a disliked competitor who doesn’t care what anyone thinks. At least it’s clear what Reed will serve at next year’s champions’ dinner, to golfing’s establishment that doesn’t like him, in an arena that didn’t cheer for him.
Steve Politi / Star-Ledger
“Forget a roar. The news that Patrick Reed was one par away from his defining victory at Augusta National received an audible groan. The fans crowded around the 18th green as a red ‘15’ slid into the leaderboard slot next to his name, meaning that Reed still had his one-shot lead, and all the high fives and cheers that had taken place here had vanished as he marched up the steep fairway toward his major-championship destiny.
“ ‘Ohhhhh,’ the crowd sighed.
“Forget that Reed was brilliant this week, or that he took the best shot from three of his most talented rivals and was still standing. Forget that he was American, and a Ryder Cup hero, and led the local underdog college to a pair of national championships.
“The fans had made it perfectly clear that they wanted the other guy to win. And here’s the crazy thing: It didn’t even matter which other guy, either.
“First, they cheered louder for Rory McIlroy when the two arrived at the tee box early in the afternoon, only to see the four-time major winner collapse with a flurry of missed putts on the front nine.
“Then, they cheered louder for Jordan Spieth, only to see the former champ miss a pair of back-nine putts to end what almost was the greatest charge in the tournament’s long history.
“Finally, they cheered the loudest for Rickie Fowler, whose dramatic birdie on the 18th hole – briefly giving hope that he might have a chance to force a playoff – received the wildest ovation of the day....
“A few minutes later, as Reed lined up a tricky three footer on the final hole, his wife, Justine, actually had to shush a couple of fans who were chatting away along the ropes. As she knelt behind the green in her bright pink vest, it felt like she was one of the few people out there who actually wanted him to make it.
“But he did make it. And, really, that said all you needed to know about the 2018 Masters champion.
“He faced charges from three of his more popular contemporaries, but he was still the man slipping on the green jacket. He listened to those roars for the other guys, and instead of letting it rattle him, he used it as motivation to win his first major title....
“Reed is rough around the edges. He doesn’t apologize for comments that come across as cocky or combative. He doesn’t play nice in a sport that rewards golfers who are deferential with endorsements and attention. His parents, who live in Augusta, were not part of the celebration last night after a messy feud divided the family.
“ ‘I’m just out here to play and win golf tournaments,’ he said when asked about their absence.
“He does that part well. He deserved to win this Masters, and given the way he handled all the challenges thrown his way, it won’t be the last time he’s celebrating after a major championship.
“Maybe the fans will start to embrace him now. If not? They better get used to seeing him with that green jacket.”
Ian O’Connor / ESPN
“ ‘Great f---ing job,’ caddie Kessler Karain said in Reed’s ear after he made the 4-footer to finish at 15 under, one stroke ahead of Rickie Fowler. ‘It may not have been pretty, but you got the job done.’
“It was never going to be pretty with Patrick Reed, the golfer who collected more enemies than most on his stormy rise from boyhood prodigy to college bad boy to self-promoting PGA Tour winner to master of the Masters. Reed was kicked off his University of Georgia team, and nearly voted off his Augusta State team by his schoolmates, for offense that ranged from alcohol-fueled misbehavior to an arrest for underage drinking to constantly talking down to lesser teammates to alleged cheating infractions. His coach at Augusta State, Josh Gregory, suspended him and warned him that his entire career was about to go up in smoke.
“ ‘After sitting down with Josh,’ Reed told ESPN.com in 2014, ‘it helped me realize it’s not all me, me, me.’
“But it was all Reed, Reed, Reed this week at Augusta National, where fans who didn’t give a dam about the back-to-back national titles he won at Augusta State greeted the quasi-local (Reed grew up in Texas) at the first tee with obligatory applause before welcoming McIlroy as if he were Elvis with a brogue.”
Vincent Hogan / Irish Independent
“There is no gentle way to unravel on a Masters Sunday and Rory McIlroy knows better than most the loneliness when tension cauterizes the brain and Augusta turns its back on you.
“It happened again yesterday, maybe not as monumentally as the nightmare that befell him in 2011, but this was still uncomfortable to behold. On a day that had smoke rising off the giant scoreboards, McIlroy never got to the pitch of business. Par took a pounding yet, after a birdie that should have been eagle on hole two, Rory really couldn’t lay a glove on fate.
He was reduced, thus, almost to a weary curiosity, roars rising up out of every canyon of this holy place, just never where he needed them....
“Maybe some courses are there to be bullied, to submit to brazen coercion. But Augusta? On Masters Sunday? That birdie on two made it seem possible, but ragged short putts have been the bane of his efforts to claim the career Grand Slam here.
“At high velocity, McIlroy looks capable of outrageous achievement. But the tranquility of a putting green can turn his hands to wood. His problems always seem to be within the humdrum.”
Thomas Boswell / Washington Post
“As much as weight has been lifted from Reed, more baggage has been added to the personable McIlroy. This event has him trapped in a small, dark, scary place, and he needs help to get out. Long ago, at age 21, the place humiliated him with a back-nine 43 as he blew a four-shot lead. Each year, the torment just gets worse. All week, he said he couldn’t play better. He made clear how much this was the year to get his Masters revenge. Then he collapsed on a day when many shot lights out, including a 67 by Phil Mickelson.
“ ‘Just wasn’t meant to be...frustrating...hard to take positives from it right now....I just didn’t quite have it today,’ McIlroy said.
“Don’t worry, Rory. Let’s have another therapy session next week.”
--ESPN’s first-round coverage of the Masters was up 40% from the year before. Friday, with Tiger’s afternoon tee time within the broadcast window, the spike was 55%. Remarkable.
Saturday, even with Woods falling from contention, CBS reported its ratings were 24% higher for the third round than 2017, and the final-round viewership was 14% better than the year before.
Sunday’s boost was definitely helped by the presence of Jordan Spieth (and to a lesser extent Rickie Fowler) on the leaderboard. I underestimate how popular Spieth is with young people.
The ratings are all the more remarkable because traditional television viewership across the board continues to trend downward.
--Prior to last night, the dissection of Giancarlo Stanton’s start as a Yankee hit a fever pitch. 20 strikeouts in his first 42 ABs, 4-for-37 his last nine games with 19 Ks since the opener when he hit two home runs.
John Harper / New York Daily News
“This is the nightmare scenario for any newcomer, but especially the one with the biggest contract in baseball, with the world watching to see if he can handle the bright lights in New York.
“So now we’re going to find out in a hurry about whether Giancarlo Stanton, the most feared slugger in the game, has the necessary mental toughness to go with all of that power.
“Is he going to be another Bobby Bonilla, who was so freaked out over getting booed as a highly paid Mets free agent that he resorted to using earplugs and never came close to living up to expectations?
“Or will the reigning National League MVP prove to be more like Tino Martinez, or even Didi Gregorius, overcoming early struggles as well as the burden of replacing Yankee legends Don Mattingly and Derek Jeter to succeed and become fan favorites?
“Even as helpless as Stanton looked during this first homestand as a Yankee, and particularly in Sunday’s 8-7 fiasco of a loss to the Orioles in 12 innings, I’d bet on the latter.
“Most significantly, he’s just too talented and as a typically streaky slugger, Stanton has been through many a slump in his career. In fact, he’s already impressed Yankee people with his work ethic and considers himself a student of hitting who will pore over video in search of a cure.
“Still, considering that the fans don’t really care much about baseball in Miami, it’s fair to say he’s never been through anything quite like this, the pressure to produce mounting with every strikeout, every round of resounding boos.”
So Tuesday, in the opener of a series against the Red Sox, Stanton was 2-for-4, but two more strikeouts, as Boston clobbered New York at Fenway, 14-1, with Yankee ace Luis Severino allowing 5 earned in 5 innings, the Red Sox now 9-1 for the first time in franchise history. Mookie Betts was 4-for-4 with a grand slam. The Yankees fell to 5-6.
--The Mets are also 9-1 for the first time in their history, 8-6 winners over the Marlins Tuesday in Miami. New York, after going out front 3-0, saw ace Jacob deGrom suddenly give it all up, Miami taking a 4-3 lead, but the Mets kept coming back before winning it on a two-run double by Yoenis Cespedes in the ninth.
On 23 occasions when the opponent has scored this season, 12 times the Mets have come right back and scored in their next-at-bat.
The crowd Tuesday was the smallest in the seven-year history of Marlins Park, just 6,516. Embarrassing, but totally understandable when you jettison all your stars in the offseason.
--The Washington Nationals showed baseball the power of the best one-two duo in the sport. Max Scherzer fired a two-hit shutout on Monday, as the Nats beat the Braves 2-0, Scherzer fanning 10 and walking none.
Then last night, Stephen Strasburg threw eight scoreless in a 4-1 victory as Washington moves back above .500 at 6-5.
--The Pirates ruined the Cubs’ home opener, 8-5, as Pittsburgh, 8-2, is off to its best start since 1992. Loyola’s Sister Jean threw out the first ball.
--Sunday, the Angels sold more tickets...44,742...than they did for opening day, an example of the power of Shohei Ohtani, who then threw seven innings of one-hit ball in his first start at Angel Stadium.
Tuesday, the Angels beat the Rangers 11-1, improving to 9-3 for the first time since 1982. L.A. leads the majors with 79 runs, including 20 homers. Ohtani only appeared as a pinch-hitter in the ninth, grounding out, after not playing in the series opener Monday, a day after his gem on the mound.
--An autographed Ohtani Topps rookie card sold for $6,725, as reported by ESPN’s Darren Rovell. Apparently, as one card dealer said, “It’s a truly foreign market that is buying his memorabilia.”
Topps signed Ohtani to an exclusive autograph and memorabilia deal in January and the company said Tuesday it had sold 102,501 on-demand cards of Ohtani on its website in the past 32 hours. Topps priced one autographed card at $4,000 and it sold immediately.
As reported by Rovell: “Phillies reliever Pat Neshek, a noted card collector, pulled a Topps Heritage signed Ohtani card, one out of 69, out of pack last week. He sold the card on eBay for $6,101 on Sunday.”
Hey, Brad K. Do you have one of the 69 yet?
--JJ Redick scored 28 points and the surging Philadelphia 76ers set a franchise record with their 15th consecutive victory in beating Atlanta 121-113 on Tuesday.
Philly needs to win its final game tonight against Milwaukee to secure the No. 3 seed in the East.
--But the big story in the NBA is a regular-season finale with a ton of playoff implications. Denver at Minnesota. The T’Wolves haven’t made the playoffs since 2004 and this game is for the last spot in the Western Conference playoffs, so a real tension convention.
But five teams in the West could end the season with 48 wins and they are fighting for anywhere from the No. 4 to No. 8 seed.
San Antonio, by the way, clinched its 21st straight postseason appearance on Monday night in beating Sacramento 98-85.
--Great story Tuesday night as Lakers guard Andre Ingram, who had spent 10 years in the G League, was given an opportunity to make his debut for the big club at the age of 32, and Ingram went out and scored 19 points, including 4 of 5 from three.
Following is the latest top six for ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay.
1. Cleveland: Kiper...QB Josh Allen. McShay...QB Sam Darnold
2. New York Giants: Kiper...Sam Darnold. McShay...Buffalo (from Giants via Bengals)...Josh Allen.
3. New York Jets: Kiper...QB Josh Rosen. McShay...Rosen.....Nooooo! C’mon, my Jets...don’t take Rosen! He’s a walking concussion.
4. Cleveland: Kiper...RB Saquon Barkley. McShay...Barkley.
5. Denver: Kiper...QB Baker Mayfield. McShay...DE Bradley Chubb.
6. Indianapolis: Kiper...Bradley Chubb. McShay...Miami (from Indy)...Baker Mayfield.
[Actually, the above was from Monday...it’s changing again already. But I had to show Jets fans where we seem to be headed.]
--Jonathan Quinlan, an assistant director on HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” let it leak on Instagram, a post since deleted, that the cast and crew had just wrapped a massive, 55-day shoot across three separate locations, including Northern Ireland, which is where Westeros is located for film shots, so we can guess this is the scene of the climactic battle. The final season isn’t being aired until next year. Each of the last episodes is rumored to cost around $20 million.
Top 3 songs for the week 4/11/64: #1 “Can’t Buy Me Love: (The Beatles) #2 “Twist And Shout” (The Beatles) #3 “Suspicion” (Terry Stafford)...and...#4 “She Loves You” (The Beatles) #5 “Hell, Dolly!” (Louis Armstrong) #6 “The Shoop Shoop Song (It’s In His Kiss)” (Betty Everett) #7 “I Want To Hold Your Hand” (The Beatles) #8 “Glad All Over” (The Dave Clark Five) #9 “Please Please Me” (The Beatles) #10 “Don’t Let The Rain Come Down” (The Serendipity Singers...gee, you think The Beatles were having an impact?)
NBA Quiz Answer: Five rookies averaging 15 points per game....Donovan Mitchell, 20.5 (Utah), Kyle Kuzma, 16.1 (LAL), Ben Simmons, 15.9 (Philadelphia...missed a year due to injury after being drafted in 2016), Dennis Smith, 15.2 (Dallas), Lauri Markkanen, 15.1 (Chicago).
Next Bar Chat, Monday.