With one major title under his belt, Patrick Reed has realized a lifelong goal. But it is not his only goal in professional golf. The next one comes this week when he attempts to win the 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club.
“My dream has never been to win one particular major championship but to win them all,” said Reed, who broke through for his first two months ago by winning the Masters Tournament. “That is how I’ve prepared myself is to be ready to win any of them.”
It’s doubtful that many will be more prepared for Shinnecock Hills than the Texas native.
Reed, 27, has a short and fairly nondescript record in the U.S. Open, with four starts, one missed cut and two top-15 finishes, including last year at Erin Hills in Wisconsin, where he ended up tied for 13th place, highlighted by a career-low 65 in the third round. He seems determined to improve on that, however, having been working at Shinnecock since a week ago Monday, the day after his T-29 effort in the Memorial Tournament in suburban Columbus, Ohio.
“I’ve basically prepared the same exact way I would at home, but instead here. And it's always nice to get a couple more rounds on a golf course you haven't seen before,” he said.
In other words, the six-time PGA Tour winner isn’t resting on his laurels.
“It's been awesome to be able to reflect on, you know, succeeding at something that we've worked so hard and dreamed of, winning a major,” said Reed, who defeated Rickie Fowler by a stroke at Augusta National Golf Club. “To be able to win the first one of the year and to become Masters champion, it feels great. But you know, we can't wait to get back out to work and hopefully have a good week here and have a chance come late Sunday.”
And, of course, he also hopes to experience a feeling similar to the one at Augusta, where he needed a par on the last to preserve his one-stroke lead. Reed looked like a seasoned veteran as he calmly two-putted for the green jacket.
“You know, the feeling you get walking up 18 and making the putt on the last hole to win a major is unbelievable,” he said, “and it's a feeling you always want to get back to. You know, I feel like it's just made me more hungry to go out, work harder, and try to succeed even more.
“To be able to come to the U.S. Open, especially after winning the last major, definitely gives me a little more confidence and gives me that self-belief as well as comfort level that whatever comes down Sunday, if we have a chance to win the golf tournament, I've done it before,” Reed added. “So I'm able to build on those experiences from the last major and hopefully be able to apply them this week.”
“You win one major and you definitely feel like you’re going to be able to win another one,” said Fox Sports broadcaster Curtis Strange, the last man to win consecutive U.S. Opens, in 1988-89. “You think you belong, you’ve done it, and so now you think, ‘Why not do it again?’ You know, I don’t see his name mentioned much this week, but he’s a pretty good player with the type of intestinal fortitude and makeup that wins U.S. Opens.”
While Shinnecock Hills has little in common with Augusta National, Reed does not feel like a stranger in a strange land. Part of the reason is because of his extensive pre-championship practice. Another is his growing affection for the layout and setup.
The U.S. Open has its own identity. Reed is confident he can identify with the examination, noting that it’s “a complete golf course.”
Ranked 13th in the world, Reed is ready to take the next step to being a complete player.
“I think the biggest thing is I finally feel like I'm playing a U.S. Open that I'm used to seeing growing up, where a couple under par is a good score,” he said. “This golf course is unbelievable. Ever since I showed up and I got on property, I've loved it. The area and the weather has just been phenomenal, and any time you [have] that, it allows the USGA and everybody to get the golf course exactly how they want it. I'm just looking forward to the week and can't wait to get started.”
Dave Shedloski is an Ohio-based freelance writer and a frequent contributor to USGA websites.