(Reuters) – U.S. Masters champion Patrick Reed does not feel any different with a Green Jacket in his possession and has vowed to stay focused on golf rather than letting too many off-course commitments get in the way.
Reed has had two weeks off since his victory at Augusta National, a relatively long break for one of the most frequent competitors among the game’s very elite, and he has not forgotten what got him to the pinnacle.
“You have to get back grinding, playing some golf,” the 27-year-old Texan told reporters at TPC Louisiana on Wednesday ahead of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans, the only official team event on the PGA Tour.
“First things first, you’ve got to focus on golf, because the time you (don’t) focus on golf is the time you go backwards.
“There’s nothing like being back out here, getting inside the ropes, playing with the guys and competing,” added Reed, who played 33 tournaments worldwide last year.
“To get back to playing golf, into normal routine, has been nice … I don’t feel any different. It’s just another day at the golf course.”
Reed will partner Patrick Cantlay this week in an event that comprises two rounds of four ball (best ball) and two rounds of (alternate shot) foursomes.
The format has helped attract an outstanding field with many of the game’s elite.
Among the big names is Jordan Spieth, who also makes his first start since his brilliant final-round Augusta charge propelled him into contention.
“I truly could have shot 59 without doing much more than making a few more putts,” said Spieth, who finished third behind Reed and Rickie Fowler and missed out on matching the course record when he bogeyed the final hole for 64.
“It was a day that almost was, but from nine (strokes) back and in ninth place, there were just too many variables.
“I would have had to get really lucky with Patrick (and other players) backing up. It was just a little too much and that’s what I thought going into the day, but to have a chance in general was a new experience for me.
“I proved that in any situation, if you can do it there, you’re never really out of it if you’re within 10 shots.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by Greg Stutchbury)