Patrick Reed has always divided opinion. Rory McIlroy, for instance, has stated that the Texan is a “really good guy and sometimes misunderstood.” Kevin Kisner, on the other hand, once suggested that some of Reed’s peers wouldn’t “p*** on him if he was on fire.”

Some will say Reed exudes confidence. Others will sneer that he is as cocky as the king of spades. His boisterous histrionics and hush-hushing of the crowds at the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles had many tut-tutting that he was haughty little so-and-so. And his self-assured assessment that “I’m one of the top-five players in the world” when he was still ranked outside the top 20 rubbed so many folk up the wrong way, Reed may as well have massaged them with a rusty cheese grater.

Controversial tales of cheating and theft from his college days, as well as a complex personal life, were thrust into the spotlight in the wake of his Masters victory a year ago while his sharp tongue got him into bother last September when he publicly criticised Jordan Spieth and team captain Jim Furyk in the grisly aftermath of the USA’s Ryder Cup defeat to Europe in Paris.

In many ways, the reaction to Reed’s maiden major win at Augusta National in 2018 summed it up. Well, in the kind of hysterical, attention-seeking way that the modern world does so well. “The most hated Masters champion in history,” shrieked one knee-jerk headline after Reed had slipped on the green jacket. He had led by three shots from the lurking Rory McIlroy heading into the final round but the raucous reception McIlroy was afforded on the first tee illustrated where the majority of the support was.

Given the hooting, hollering patriotism of our friends on the other side of the Atlantic, the idea of those all-American fans – sorry, patrons - spurning their own flag bearer in favour of a Northern Irishman would’ve had Trump demanding an air strike on Augusta. “I walked up to the first tee and had a really welcoming cheer from the fans but then when Rory walked up to the tee, his cheer was a little louder,” reflected Reed. “But that was another thing that just kind of played into my hands. Not only did it fuel my fire a little bit, but also, it just took the pressure off of me and added it back to him (McIlroy).”

We all know what happened, of course. The eagerly-anticipated McIlroy thrust did not materialise as he slithered to a pedestrian 74. Meanwhile, the late charges of Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, which commandeered the support of the patrons in the absence of a McIlroy challenge, did not derail Reed as he demonstrated a great strength of both character and mind to stand firm amid the onslaught and claim a slender one shot triumph.

Since that breakthrough victory last April, however, Reed has registered just two top-10 finishes on US soil. His form, or lack of it, has caused so much concern, even his wife intervened during the Players Championship last month and asked the well-kent English coach, David Leadbetter, to have a peek at his swing as the clock continued to tick down towards the first major of the men’s season. If Reed wants to avoid becoming the third defending Masters champion in a row to miss the cut, he knows he has to find something. But finding your form amid the abundant perils and pitfalls of Augusta National ain’t easy.

“It’s almost like every tournament you play, but more penalising times a hundred,” said Reed of this manicured menace. “You can get away with missing golf shots at other events, but when you go to Augusta, any little weakness in your game or any missed shot then you're going to get penalised for it. You have to be really sharp on every aspect of your game.

“But that's the great thing about Augusta. You have such a wide variety of players who have won there. You have guys who don't hit it that far but are very accurate. You have guys who curve the ball a long way, you have left handers, you have right handers, but one thing that they all have in common is they're in complete control of their game that week. It tests not only physically but mentally. That's why I feel like it's one of the greatest tests of the game because you have to do everything almost perfectly.”

Reed may not have been everybody’s idea of the perfect champion but his Masters win a year ago provided the perfect moment for him personally. “Right after we finished, I went back to the Butler Cabin and my daughter was there. She just came over, gave me a big hug and told me I did it and told me she loved me. That is by far the best experience I've ever had with the green jacket. That's a memory and a moment that I'll never forget. Even if I was to win multiple other green jackets, it’s going to be hard to be able to top a moment like that.”

“My least favourite moment is going to be when I have to return the jacket and I'm not allowed to have it in my closet and wear it around the house and out at places. It's definitely going to give me motivation to go out and try to repeat as well as try to win multiple times. The times I'm not actually wearing the green jacket, or not seeing it in your closet just gives you motivation. It kind of picks me up and tells me that I want to keep it around. And I want to keep it around as long as I can. The only way you're going to do that is to continue winning at Augusta."

Given only Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods have earned back-to-back green jackets in the tournament's 85-year history, that will be easier said than done.