Patrick Reed says he’s mentally stronger with better shotmaking entering the Masters than he was last year when he won the green jacket, even if his results don’t show it.
The 28-year-old American will defend his first major title at next month’s 83rd Masters tournament, but so far he hasn’t managed a top-10 showing since sharing second in November at Dubai.
“It definitely would help,” Reed said of a strong result during a Monday teleconference. “But honestly I feel like the state of mind I’m in right now is better than it was last year at this point.
“I’m doing things on the golf course I feel more comfortable doing than last year. I just need to go out there and put four rounds together.”
Reed, now 16th in the world rankings, reached Augusta National last year after sharing second at the Valspar Championship and seventh at the Arnold Palmer Invitational plus a share of ninth at the WGC Match Play.
This month, Reed shared 50th at the Palmer and 47th last week at The Players Championship after a final-round 78.
“The preparations are going really well. I feel like I’m in a better place than I was last year at this time,” Reed said. “The thing is to keep building on what we’ve been working on.
“Just being able to work the ball both ways, consistently hit golf shots and put myself in a mind frame – that’s what you need to compete at majors.”
Players winner Rory McIlroy, top-ranked Dustin Johnson, world No 2 Justin Rose and 14-time major winner Tiger Woods are betting favourites ahead of the April 11-14 showdown at Augusta National.
But Reed was unfancied last year as well when he outdueled McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler to capture the title.
“One of the greatest tests in the game is playing in the Masters because you have to do everything almost perfectly,” Reed said.
“Augusta doesn’t only challenge your golf game, it challenges your body physically and tests you mentally.”