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New Masters champ Patrick Reed has his green jacket. Will it help change his image?

Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, left, of Spain, watches as Patrick Reed waves to spectators after winning the 2018 Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Will the major help improve Reed's image?
Former Masters champion Sergio Garcia, left, of Spain, watches as Patrick Reed waves to spectators after winning the 2018 Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Ga. Will the major help improve Reed's image? AP Photo

Patrick Reed has long thought of himself as one of the best golfers in the world.

Now, he's got the major championship to prove it.

Reed won an electrifying Masters Tournament Sunday, holding off huge charges from Rickie Fowler and past champion Jordan Spieth, who trailed by nine shots before the day began. Spieth was simply brilliant Sunday, becoming the seventh player in history to shoot an 8-under-par 64 in the final round in Augusta. Fowler shot 5-under 67 and birdied four of his last seven holes.

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But playing with Rory McIlroy — who was seeking a Masters win that would've given him a Grand Slam of all four major championship titles — Reed came up big when he needed to, posting a final round score of 1-under 71 to win by two shots over Spieth and one clear of Fowler.

Now, will this championship help soften Reed's rough image on tour?

Patrick Reed has picked up the nickname "Captain America" for his dedication and hard play for the United States at the Ryder Cup. But it's an odd nickname.

It's odd because Reed is probably one of the most disliked golfers on tour and apparently with fans, too. And when his lead began to shrink Sunday afternoon, Twitter pounced.

What's behind all that? Well, Britain's Telegraph once named Reed the most hated player in golf. Three years ago, ESPN conducted a players poll and asked which pro they would be least likely to help in a fistfight. Reed, then still a relative newcomer on tour, was second behind Bubba Watson.

Whether it's his profane on-course language, his brash proclamation four years ago that he was a top five player in the world — before he had played in a major — or his college history, Reed just isn't a popular golfer.

And about that college history.

Reed played one season at national power Georgia but was dismissed from the team. There have been reports that Reed tried to hit a ball that wasn't his in a qualifying tournament and reported better scores than he'd shot. There's also been reports that Reed may have stolen money and a fancy putter from his teammates. Reed has denied those claims.

What is certain is that Reed transferred to Augusta College and led the mid-major school to two national championships, a special accomplishment, even though his teammates — like those at Georgia — weren't exactly fond of him.

Not that he cares too much. Reed was asked why fans, especially those on social media, are not fond of him.

"I don't know. Why don't you ask them? I mean, I have no idea, and honestly I don't really care what people say on Twitter or what they say if they are cheering for me or not cheering for me," Reed said. "I'm out here to do my job, and that's to play golf. I feel like if I'm doing it the right way, then that's all that really matters."

On Sunday, he did his job well. Whether or not fans will warm to him because of it, well, that's is yet to be seen.

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