AUGUSTA — CBS didn’t know what to do with Patrick Reed on Sunday, dodging around his unpopularity as the brash 27-year-old made his way around Augusta National. But Reed knows what to do to extend the discomfort level from here on: win more majors to go with his new green jacket.
Reed, as simple as transferring from Georgia and leading Augusta State to two national titles, can add to the list this year.
Which is part of seven takeaways from the 82nd Masters:
1. Shinnecock will be a blast
Not just because Reed will be pursuing elite status on the remote sandhills of Long Island where the second U.S. Open was played in 1896. This U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club — like the Masters — will feature a hungry cast.
Rickie Fowler, boosted by swing coach Butch Harmon, almost pulled off his first major Sunday. Spain’s Jon Rahm got overlooked as Jordan Spieth charged up the leaderboard.
Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas …
Remember that Rory guy? It’s his kind of course, similar in many ways to Kiawah’s Ocean Course, where McIlroy won the 2012 PGA Championship.
Co-starring Tiger and Phil as still formidable versions of themselves.
2. Dustin Johnson will win a Masters
Check out Johnson’s last three Augusta finishes: tied for sixth in 2015, tied for fourth in 2016, tied for 10th in 2018 (injured in 2017). Only Tommy Fleetwood (310.0) had better driving distance for the week than the No. 1-ranked Johnson (304.3) and the Columbia native who played at Coastal Carolina finished with a strong 69.
3. Some Augusta holes will change soon
Bubba Watson isn’t the only one who makes the 13th hole look like an easy red number. Most of the participants are glad to play this par 5: a course-high nine eagles this year, a course-high 128 birdies.
The folks at Augusta National don’t like that. They did some previous lengthening here while “Tiger proofing” before the 2002 Masters.
But the par-4 fifth hole (sixth easiest this year) likely will change sooner, thanks to some creative real estate deals, including one with the adjacent Augusta Country Club.
4. A Tiger Woods silver lining
Yeah, he finished 32nd. But consider a few things about the four-time Masters winner:
• It was only his sixth start of the year.
• Lots of back surgeries.
• 42 years old.
• And most impressively, Woods didn’t fade; he got better on the weekend: 73-75-72-69 despite not driving the ball well at all (third from last in driving accuracy among players who made the cut).
5. Russell Henley will win a major
Unlike Reed, here is a former Georgia Bulldog well-liked by his former college teammates. Henley, a Charleston resident, turns 29 Thursday. He has three PGA Tour victories and back-to-back solid Masters outings (tied for 11th in 2017, tied for 15th in 2018 capped by a final-round 67).
6. Kiawah momentum is building
The 20-somethings that make up the best, youngest field in golf history will be maturing just as the PGA Championship arrives back at the Ocean Course in 2021.
That includes Reed, McIlroy, Spieth, Fowler, Thomas, Rahm, Henley, Bryson DeChambeau, Tommy Fleetwood, Brooks Koepka and Tony Finau. Wesley Bryan, Austin Cook, Cameron Smith and Patrick Cantlay are among the down-the-list young players who have won a tournament in the past year.
7. The Masters remains supreme
Of course, there are the iconic holes and structures, the tradition and inevitable Sunday drama. But also things like hyper-attentive bathroom attendants who serve as genteel traffic cops, $1.50 pimento cheese sandwiches, free parking and thought that goes into every pine straw needle.
No place in sports is such a special place.
Follow Gene Sapakoff on Twitter @sapakoff