It was villain versus hero in the final pairing for the final round of the 2018 Masters Golf Tournament in Augusta, Georgia.
It was affable Irishman Rory McIllroy, whose only shortcoming is being born in the part of Ireland that requires the adjective northern to specify the location, against Patrick Reed, one of the more polarizing figures on the PGA Tour, who is laden with baggage over some things he has done and said in the past.
McIllroy, winner of four Majors and needing only the Masters to complete a career Grand Slam, has been chasing the elusive goal that has only six men able to make the claim, since 2014, when he won The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club.
He was a crowd and fan favourite going into the final round of the 2018 Masters, particularly after he gained some underdog status following his final round Masters collapse in 2015.
Reed, on the other hand, is something akin to a modern day John Daly, without the loveable bad boy teddy bear aspect Daly exuded.
Reed was accused of cheating and stealing when he was playing college golf, with such incidents as hitting a ball other than his own, shaving strokes and even stealing money from a college teammate.
The thing that perhaps contributed most to his lack of popularity with players and fans, however, were his brash comments following three wins in 2013 and 2014.
Following that third win, Reed said to a live TV commentator, “I just don’t see a lot of guys that have done that, besides Tiger Woods, of course, and, you know, the other legends of the game,” Reed said after the WGC event.“It’s just one of those things, I believe in myself and — especially with how hard I’ve worked — I’m one of the top-five players in the world. To come out in a field like this and to hold on wire to wire like that, I feel like I’ve proven myself.”
That is about as politically incorrect as can be in a sport where the “Aw, shucks, golly gee” mentality of modesty rules.