(Reuters) - Davis Love was not immediately impressed by Patrick Reed’s game when he first saw the American play, but learned over time that the newly crowned Masters champion had the necessary ingredients for success, the 2016 U.S. Ryder Cup captain said on Tuesday.
Two days after Reed’s gritty victory at Augusta National, a result that not too many casual fans saw coming, Love offered his perspective of the most recent member of the exclusive Green Jacket club.
He said that Reed’s game “kind of sneaks up on you a little bit”, meaning it did not necessarily make an instant impact.
“He’s not the longest. He doesn’t have the prettiest swing,” Love said at Hilton Head Island ahead of this week’s PGA Tour event, the RBC Heritage at Harbour Town.
“But he’s a competitor for sure. He doesn’t leave anything to chance and he works hard on and off the golf course to be prepared.”
Reed was a key member of the Love-captained two years ago that finally seized the Ryder Cup back from Europe after enduring three consecutive defeats.
But it was in the New York area at last year’s Presidents Cup — in which the U.S. plays an International team — that Love really noticed Reed’s attention to detail.
“I remember riding that ferry back and forth (from Manhattan to Liberty National) and it’s literally at four or five in the morning and everybody else is trying to get some coffee and wake up,” Love, who was an assistant captain of that team, recalled.
“And Patrick has got two yardage books out. He’s not going to waste any time riding that ferry, he’s going to study his yardage book.”
Love compared Reed’s competitive instinct with Ian Poulter, the outspoken spiritual leader of the European team for much of the past decade.
Poulter is playing at Harbour Town this week, while Reed and most of the other contenders from the Masters enjoy a little rest and recuperation.
South Carolina-born Dustin Johnson, the world number one, is the only top-10 player in the field while others of note in action include Paul Casey and Marc Leishman.
Englishman Casey threatened the course record at Augusta on Sunday before a bogey-bogey finish left him to sign for a seven-under-par 65.
Australian Leishman was in second place behind Reed after two rounds, before finishing ninth.
Reporting by Andrew Both in Cary, North Carolina; Editing by John O'Brien