Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. In this edition of After Further Review, our writers weigh in on the WGC-Caillac Championship at Trump National Doral, specifically winner Patrick Reed's claim that he is one of the top five players in the world, and the uncertain state of Tiger Woods' game and health..
Did you hear that?
No, I'm not talking about Patrick Reed’s bravado with his comments in the wake of his winning the WGC-Cadillac Championship on Sunday at Trump National Doral. I’m talking about the thumping on golf’s door.
Reed said he believes he’s one of the top five players in the world. He pretty much said that what he has accomplished at 23 sets him apart from everyone but Tiger Woods and the legends of the game.
As bravado goes, the nature of that symbolic chest-thumping barely registers in any sport but golf and, maybe, badminton. Still, Reed ruffled golf’s genteel sensibilities with his unrestrained confidence. It’s one thing to believe you’re good, but in this game it’s quite another to say it. Failing to be humble is deemed bad form in golf, more reprehensible than failing to repair a divot.
So, about that sound, that thumping at golf’s door. That’s the real world of sport at large trying to barge its way into golf. Reed is 23. Yes, he has grown up in golf with its honorable traditions, but he has also grown up in a sports culture where chest-thumping is ritual in the NBA, the NFL and Major League Baseball. So, isn't it just a matter of time until it makes its way into golf? Reed said exactly what he believes, what he ought to believe after winning for the third time in a little more than six months. He probably didn't mean for it to spill out quite like that in his excitement, but it was refreshing to hear what a player really thinks. At the same time, it also makes you wonder if we’ll actually see some young player literally thumping his chest and howling after a win in golf’s not too distant future. Now, that wouldn't be so refreshing. - Randall Mell
The fine line between confident and cocky can so easily become blurred when recorders and cameras go to work. It is easy to consider some of Patrick Reed’s comments both before and after his victory on Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship a tad over the top, but in professional golf a lack of confidence is career kryptonite. Perhaps Reed’s assessment that he considers himself among the top five players in the game is a little too boastful for some, but in this statistics don’t lie. His World Golf Championship victory was his third PGA Tour triumph in his last 14 starts and moved him into the top 20 the Official World Golf Ranking. Maybe the 23-year-old’s take was too honest for some, but to think otherwise would be much worse. – Rex Hoggard
I know we’re supposed to write something here about what we’ve learned this week, but after watching Tiger Woods for four days at Trump National Doral, I think I know less about him than ever before. He’s somewhere in between the best player in the world and a guy who can’t find a fairway or make a 5-foot putt. He’s somewhere in between the road to injury recovery and needing a gurney to follow him on the course. He’s somewhere in between next month’s Masters favorite and a likely trunk-slammer. What I do know is that he remains the game’s most fascinating player. While that was once true because of his dominance, it’s now the case because we have no idea what each new day will bring. He might resemble vintage Tiger, as he did on Saturday when he shot 66; he might look older than his 38 years, as he did on Sunday when he shot 78. I learned long ago to never write the guy off and we’ve all long known that the year’s first three months are simply the appetizer before he reaches the main course. This could become a season for the ages if he puts it all together in the major championships. It could just as easily be another lost year in his pursuit of Jack Nicklaus’ record. I didn’t learn the answer to that this week – and anyone who claims they did is only guessing. – Jason Sobel
Yes, only Tiger Woods knows how he truly feels. But it seems unlikely that in two weeks the world No. 1 will be much improved from the guy we saw Sunday at Doral – grimacing, aching, barely able to pluck the ball out of the cup. A ninth victory at Arnie’s Place won’t mean that he’s Masters-ready. Most critical to his major chances is getting close to 100-percent health. Tiger needs to shut it down, rest his back and prepare for Augusta on his own terms. Grinding out another 72 holes, right now, will only do more harm than good. – Ryan Lavner
Patrick Reed, meet Joe Flacco. On Sunday after winning at Doral, Reed said he believes he’s one of the top five players in the world. In 2012, Flacco’s agent said the Baltimore Ravens quarterback was one of the five best in the NFL. Then Flacco went his agent one better, opining that he was the best NFL QB.
There’s plenty of evidence to dispute both athletes’ claims, but that’s not the point. Good for them for believing in themselves. You can argue whether it was smart for Reed to paint a target on himself for fans and fellow competitors to shoot at, but he’s the one who’ll have to take the heat. Maybe it’s how he motivates himself. Either it will work, and he’ll further back up his claim, or it won’t. He has nothing to lose. Look at it this way – he managed to steal some of the spotlight from Tiger Woods. Not many players can say they’ve done that. As Flacco put it, “What do you expect me to say?” – Al Tays