Patrick Reed's turbulent rise

Reed led the Jaguars to the 2010 title by beating Peter Uihlein and the powerhouse Oklahoma State Cowboys, and Reed dusted Uihlein again in the 2011 semis to reach the final against ... the Georgia Bulldogs. Gregory didn't have to worry about Reed's confidence entering this duel with the program that had cut him loose.

"My goal is to get my players to think they are twice as good as they really are," the coach said. "Patrick already thought he was twice as good as he really was."

Haack's worst nightmare would come to be. Reed would close out English, one of the nicest, most respectful players Haack had ever coached, after English hit into the water on the 17th hole, giving Augusta State a 3-2 victory and the first two-peat since the University of Houston in 1985.

One person close to the Georgia program called the Reed-over-English result "the death of karma." If some on the Augusta State side privately agreed, the Jaguars understood they never would've made history had Reed never walked into their lives.

"He was unstoppable when he was on," Norlander said, "and he did eventually realize that just because you shoot a great score doesn't mean you're a great guy ... He realized there was more to life than golf."

"Did his teammates ever love him? Probably not," Gregory said. "But slowly Patrick earned their respect back. And they knew there would've been no national championships without him."

Assuming he makes the Masters cut, Patrick Reed will give the viewing audience at least one red shirt to behold on Sunday.

"Yes, sir," he said. "Always. It's worked for Mr. Woods, and it's working for me."

Last August, at Wyndham, Reed claimed his first PGA Tour victory by beating Jordan Spieth in a playoff on a positively absurd baseball swing from under a tree and out of a tangle of grass, twigs and mulch. Reed shot three consecutive 63s on three different courses to win the Humana Challenge in January. He wore his red-and-black ensemble to beat the living legend in red and black, Woods, and the rest of a loaded lineup at Doral last month.

Of course, a sport overrun by say-nothing automatons went to Defcon 1 on Twitter and elsewhere after Reed said what he said about being among the world's five best players, naming names of his conquests along the way. It was Reed being Reed, and when asked in his pre-tournament news conferences about his chances to win the Masters, he wasn't backing down.

"I'm very confident," he said. "I try to treat it like it's just another event."

Just another event? The one he'd called "a dream come true" to play in?

Not quite. Reed just completed a 10-day minicamp with his coach, Kevin Kirk, at the Woodlands in Houston to prepare for the Masters, working on shaping the ball right-to-left off the tees, hitting off tight lies around the greens and controlling trajectory and spin on approach shots.

Before his practice rounds over the weekend, Reed had only played Augusta National three times, and in cold, wet conditions. Kirk likes his man's chances at Augusta anyway, and knows Reed won't cower under the magnitude of the stakes.

"He's not afraid to crash and burn," Kirk said.

Perhaps a few opponents wouldn't mind seeing a meltdown at Amen Corner, a humbling of Reed on the biggest stage in golf. If so, the brash newbie isn't about to sweat it.

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