Long drives, short sight: How contact lenses helped Patrick Reed win Masters

He was one of the best golfers in the world, yet his eyesight was terrible.Patrick Reed, nicknamed Captain Ame...

Posted: May 3, 2018 2:10 PM
Updated: May 3, 2018 2:10 PM

He was one of the best golfers in the world, yet his eyesight was terrible.

Patrick Reed, nicknamed Captain America for his Ryder Cup heroics, struggled to see his ball past 30 yards and had trouble reading greens.

Reed fitted for contacts 10 days before Masters

Won first major at Augusta by one shot

Couldn't see beyond 30 yards before

But a conversation while watching TV 10 days before the Masters sparked Reed's spectacular journey to the green jacket.

Switching through the channels with his wife Justine and his in-laws, the 27-year-old discovered he couldn't read the words on the screen.

"I'm sitting at the kitchen table in our kitchen, and we have a pretty big TV in the den, and kind of flipped through channels and I cannot read the guide," Reed said.

"I'm just moving slowly. Justine goes, 'You can't read that?' I'm like, 'No, can you?'"

She could, as could everyone else in the house -- even his father-in-law who wears thick glasses.

Justine dragged him to the optician and he was fitted for his first pair of lenses on the Monday of the Houston Open, the week before the Masters.

READ: Masters champion adjusts to newfound fame

'Wow, I can see everything'

At Augusta, Reed won his first major by one stroke from fellow American Rickie Fowler.

Previously, he was always asking caddie Kessler Karain where his ball landed, he says. And even his father-in-law knew his putting had been a struggle of late.

"I got a prescription for contacts, put them in, and all of a sudden I'm just looking out like, 'Wow, I can see everything,'" Reed told reporters ahead of the Wells Fargo Championship at Quail Hollow, North Carolina.

"Now all of a sudden I'm not having to ask Kessler where that ball goes ... Now all of a sudden I can read greens pretty well, and it worked at Augusta."

The Masters was Reed's sixth PGA Tour title. He's also played on two US Ryder Cup teams and was instrumental in the famous victory at Hazeltine in 2016.

Imagine what the world No. 10 could accomplish now he can see?

At Quail Hollow, which starts May 3, Reed will be paired with US Open champion Brooks Koepka and Tiger Woods, who plays for the first time since a tied 32nd at Augusta as he resumes his comeback from multiple back surgeries.

The 14-time major champion spent his time resting, working out in the gym, coaching kids, working with his course design team and giving a lesson to young Nepalese golfer Pratima Sherpa.

READ: 'Time to get back to work' -- Tiger Woods

"I threw my clubs in the closet for about 10 days," the 42-year-old former world No. 1 told reporters in North Carolina.

"I got away from the game, didn't touch a club, didn't make a golf swing."

Woods won at Quail Hollow in 2007 but hasn't played there since 2012. He has confirmed he will also compete in next week's Players Championship and the US Open at Shinnecock Hills in June.

READ: Meet Pratima Sherpa, the teenager making history for Nepal

'Everything is at Augusta'

Also in the field is Rory McIlroy, who clinched the first of 14 PGA Tour titles with a course-record 62 at Quail Hollow in 2010.

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The Northern Irishman, who also won at the venue in 2015, played with Reed in the final group at Augusta but slipped back to tie for fifth.

McIlory only needs the Masters to complete the career grand slam and says the year's first major is now the world's biggest tournament.

"I don't care about the US Open or the Open Championship," said McIlroy.

"The most amount of eyeballs, the most amount of hype, everything is at Augusta."

He added: "For me it's the most special tournament that we play and it's the one everyone desperately wants to win, but even if I was going for my first major, it's still tough to win."

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