Patrick Reed shot a final round 71 to backup rounds of rounds of 69, 66, and 67 and finished -15 to outlast Rickie Fowler by a shot and Jordan Spieth by 2 shots. Spieth shot a final round 64 and looked to have a serious chance until a bogey on 18 and stellar play by Reed on the final 5 holes kept him from capturing his 2nd green jacket and 4th major championship. Fowler birdied 18 from 6 feet to put added pressure on Reed, but the 27 year old from San Antonio, by way of the University of Georgia and previously Augusta State, now Augusta, captured the coveted Masters.
Reed is not the most popular choice to capture the Green Jacket. He was kicked off the Georgia team for insubordination and suspended from the Augusta State team though he was let back on and helped lead them to the Division One national championship 2 straight years in 2010 and 2011. He struggled with his putting during his high school career. According to ESPN, his former coach at Georgia, Chris Haack, recalled that one of his assistants who was scouting Reed, said, "This guy hits it close all day long, but never makes anything. If he ever figures out the putter, he's going to be dangerous."
He certainly figured his putting out. He was masterful with his putter. Reed is not America's champion. Most of the Masters patrons were pulling for the great Spieth, a highly popular figure on tour. Fowler, considered one of the nicest guys on tour along with Spieth, was the other player fans were pulling for. Fowler, a crowd favorite and hilarious commercial figure like his Quicken Loans, "Dude that got weird," performance, played some stellar golf. But Reed was not going to be denied.
He has issues with his parents, whom his wife Justine has told everyone on Instagram, that they verbally and physically abused him. His parents have denied those accusations. Reed is estranged from both his parents and his younger sister and other family members. He's not your classic Masters champion. When Bubba won it twice (2012 and '14), when Jordan won it (2015), when Adam Scott was victorious (2013) and when Sergio donned the Green Jacket last year, there was a sense of magic in Butler's Cabin. Those players revered the championship and were honored and humbled to put on the Green Jacket. To Reed, it was just about winning another golf tournament in his own words. That's not how you assess winning the Masters, the most coveted major championship in golf. Bubba, Jordan, Adam and Sergio were honored, humbled and felt privileged to win the Masters. It didn't have the same feeling with Reed.
Reed earned the moniker "Captain America" for his amazingly clutch playing at the Ryder's Cup in 2016 at Hazeltine, with his memorable 1 up victory over Rory in the singles competition which set the tone for the American victory. He's got uncanny mental toughness and an amazing will to win. After Rory McIlory shot 65 in Saturday to put him just 2 back of Reed and in the final pairing on Sunday, McIlory said all the pressure was on Reed and challenged him on national television. Mcilroy ended up shooting 74 on Sunday, finishing -9, tied for 5th, and 6 shots behind Reed. Reed once again prevailed over McIlroy.
Reed is not a popular guy on tour, and his Masters acceptance interview with CBS's Jim Nantz, Augusta National Chairman Fred Ridley, and Sergio, was less than impressive. His play speaks for itself. It's stellar. But he's not your classic Masters champion. He's got the game to do terrific things in golf, and if he keeps maturing people will warm up to him, and maybe he can reconcile with his parents and his younger sister. That would be a major step in the right direction for this super talented young guy whom the sky is the limit for in professional golf if he can keep growing up.
One of the great talents to come into baseball in quite a few years, along with the major young talent that has flooded this great game and making it spectacular right now, is playing superb baseball right now, but made 3 mistakes last night that could cost his team a chance of winning it all if this keeps up. In the first inning, the 25 year old Harper crushed a 2 run shot into the right field seats to give the Washington Nationals a 2-0 lead over the Mets. He also posted 2 singles. But on a fly ball that was in foul territory in right field, Harper ran to it and stopped thinking he was going to run into the stands. He was about 5 feet away and let the ball drop. I can see why he didn't want to hit the railing, but he had room to spare and he was playing at home, so he should have known he had room. I'll give him a pass for that. It was 35 degrees and a hard night to play baseball. In a later inning with Harper on 2nd and a runner on first and no outs, the Nationals hit a grounder to third. Harper was running to third and the Mets' third baseman missed the tag on him as Harper got around him, so Harper advanced towards third. The Mets 3rd baseman chased him and tagged him out. If Harper had just slid into third he would have been safe, but he stayed on his feet and was tagged out. Really a major mental error. It was close to the bag and the slide could have jammed his ankle, but he could have gone in head first. A play he could have made. But the most egregious mistake occurred in the bottom of the 9th inning, when, with the score tied 5-5 and after a Harper walk with nobody out, the Mets pitcher made a snap throw to first to try and pickoff Harper. The ball got by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez and went into the corner of the first base, right field side of the field. Harper took off for second and could have easily gotten to third with his 3rd base coach waving him on, but he stopped at second. It was kind of unbelievable. The Nats hitter, Matt Adams, hit a deep fly ball to center that was caught near the warning track which would have easily scored Harper from 3rd and won the game for the Nats which sorely needed it after losing 4 in a row, but Harper could only advance to 3rd, and the Mets reliever got out of the inning without giving up a run. The Mets won 6-5 in 12 innings.
Harper is an awesome player and I really like him a lot. He has 6 homers and 12 RBIs already this season. He is a spectacular talent and a hard nosed tough competitor. I think he's a good guy too. But there is the massive contract looming after this season, some say possibly a $400 million contract, so he's got to have that in his mind and is hesitant to get injured. He's such a hard-working, hard-nosed competitor that I hope he gives the Nationals everything he's got this year because they have a team that can win it all. Second baseman Daniel Murphy has been out so far this season from a knee surgery last fall, and is expected to return later this month or by the first of May and he's a real leader and will help Bryce stay focused.
But the Mets are really strong this year and moved to 7-1 after sweeping the Nationals over the weekend at Nationals Park. The Braves look for real at 6-3 and play at Washington today through Wednesday with Julio Teheran facing Max Scherzer tonight and the great young Mike Foltynewicz facing Stephen Strasburg tomorrow night, so the Nationals really have their work cut out for them in the NL East. I see Bryce getting it together. He's been spectacular for the most part this season, and he's a superb baseball player. The Nationals have a chance to be a super team, but they need to get Murphy back and Harper needs his presence on the field to get him playing all out and leading this team to great things.
Stanley Cup Playoffs
Can the Pittsburgh Penguins capture their third consecutive Stanley Cup Trophy, or can another team derail the 2 time defending champions. There's a lot to like about this Stanley Cup which starts Wednesday Night and will be televised throughout the next month and a half on USA, CNBC, NBC Sports Network and NBC with the Stanley Cup Finals on NBC Sports Network and NBC. Here are my predictions for what will be a thrilling Stanley Cup playoff.
Eastern Conference Semifinals
Tampa Bay over Toronto in 7
Washington over Pittsburgh in 7
going with the upset here. Pretty bullish on the Caps. They've beaten the Penguins in the regular season and are playing very good hockey.
Western Conference Semis
Nashville over Winnipeg in 5
Vegas over San Jose in 6
Eastern Conference Final
Washington over Tampa Bay in 7
Western Conference Final
Nashville over Vegas in 6
Stanley Cup Final
I'm taking the Nashville Predators to bring home the Stanley Cup to a long suffering franchise that has found a resurgence the last 3 years. I like the Preds over the Washington Capitals in 6 games. The Radiators had an album a while back called The Law of the Fish. It was an awesome album, and the Nashville fans will be touting the Law of the Catfish throwing their catfish on the ice after a Preds championship. Smashville, after years of suffering through losing hockey seasons, capture their first Stanley Cup title. I like the awesome 23 year old left wing Filip Forsberg to win the Conn Smythe Trophy as the Most Valuable player in the Stanley Cup playoffs.
Here's a hype video for the playoffs.