Here are a few things we learned this week at the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship:
Attitude is everything in golf and Sunday gave us two perfect examples.
When he’s not giving bold post-round interviews, Patrick Reed is a private guy. He’s not a social media person. He’s a hard worker and he’s happiest when he can hit balls, go about his business and compete. He’s confident about his game and confident in telling the world about it. He’s found what works and after the way he’s played the last eight months – three wins, including his biggest yet Sunday at the WGC-Cadillac Championship – you shouldn’t expect to see any changes.
Chesson Hadley, Sunday’s winner at the Puerto Rico Open, is much more outgoing. He jokes around and is always smiling. He posts Twitter gems like this one. He used to wait tables to pay minitour expenses and customers would love talking to him (and vice versa). He’s ultra-positive. That’s what works for him.
While their demeanors couldn’t be more different, both Reed and Hadley went to sleep Sunday night as the proud, deserving owners of shiny new PGA TOUR trophies.
Reed’s success is driven by a confidence so strong that he (consciously) chose to wear a red shirt and black pants on a Sunday when he was playing in the group behind Tiger Woods. Here’s a slice of what Reed had to say after his win:
“My swing coach, my agents, my wife, and my whole team behind me; they know how good I am and they believe I'm a top‑five player in the world,” Reed said. “And I believe it, as well.”
Contrast that with what seems to drive Hadley: Perspective. Here are a few tweets the PGA TOUR rookie fired off after missing five consecutive cuts earlier this year.
New attitude coming out on the golf course today. I have been arrogant and lost that sense of thankfulness just to be out here...— Chesson Hadley (@chadleyprogolf) February 6, 2014
From now on I am just thankful to be on the PGA Tour. I don't deserve to be here but God has blessed me with this amazing opportunity...— Chesson Hadley (@chadleyprogolf) February 6, 2014
The week of that realization, Hadley finished T10 at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.
Is there anything wrong with either approach? Of course not. There are plenty of players that haven’t won three times in their careers, let alone three in 14 starts. Why shouldn’t Patrick Reed be confident?
And on the other side, playing on the PGA TOUR is kind of like winning the hard-work lottery. If you can’t enjoy it like Hadley, each missed putt will hurt that much more.
There’s no quiz or survey to find out what type of player you should be mentally. It takes time and success and missteps to figure it out for yourself. This week’s winners have just figured it out a little sooner than most.
I love Patrick Reeds interview. Dude speaks how he feels. People today could not have handled Muhammad Ali.— John Peterson (@JohnPetersonLSU) March 10, 2014
We learned that Donald Trump and Gil Hanse succeeded in their quest to put more bite back in the Blue Monster.
After undergoing a full renovation in just a year, Doral’s prized course played more like a U.S. Open venue this week. Reed’s winning score of 4 under was the highest of the past five years by 12 shots.
“It's a big, bold course, but it was fair,” Trump said. “But we couldn't ask for anything more. It was great.”
Rory McIlroy summed up the new course like this:
"It's a frustrating golf course because you feel like you should be doing so much better, and it just doesn't allow you to. You have to be so precise and just to get the ball close on some of these greens and these pin positions. I don't know if it's because you've got memories of the course before, like going low, and the way it is now it just doesn't allow you to do that."
We learned that we have many more questions than answers right now about World No. 1 Tiger Woods.
The TOUR’s stops at victory farms like Torrey Pines and Trump National Doral have come and gone and on Sunday he wasn’t even within shouting distance of a win at either. In fact, at Torrey Pines, he wasn’t even at the golf course on Sunday, missing the secondary cut.
What makes Woods’ back injury doubly bad is its unpredictability. Saturday it was manageable enough to shoot 66. Sunday, an awkward swing at the sixth reignited the pain and led to the highest final round of his career (78).
His thoughts on the week?
“It's over,” he said. “It's finally done, which is good.”
For better or worse, Woods will tee it up in the first round of the Masters in 31 days. Next week’s start at the Arnold Palmer Invitational should tell us more about what to expect at Augusta. He’ll take this week off and undergo treatment, a luxury he didn’t have playing The Honda Classic and Cadillac back-to-back.
One positive: Woods lives another day as World No. 1. Adam Scott had a chance to overtake the ranking with a win at Doral, but finished T25 (tying Woods).
NOTABLE NUMBER: Here are two of them for you:
First, it was only the second time in 14 starts at the event that Woods has finished outside the top 10 at the WGC-Cadillac Championship. Think about that one for a while.
Second, 23-year-old Reed is now the youngest winner of a World Golf Championship, supplanting Woods. There is only one player under 25 that has more wins than Reed’s three and that’s 24-year-old McIlroy with six.
UP NEXT: The PGA TOUR heads to Innisbrook’s Copperhead Course in Tampa Bay for the Valspar Championship, where Kevin Streelman will look to defend his title. Read more about this week’s event in First Look.