(CNN)He hadn’t won a PGA Tour title for 16 months and with his usual fiery displays lacking gusto, Patrick Reed decided to put down his golf clubs for a bit.
The American’s self-imposed three-week break from golf in May and June proved just the tonic — on Sunday, Reed won The Northern Trust by a shot in New Jersey.
His final-round 69 was enough for Reed to maintain the one-stroke advantage he’d started the final day with, handing him his first win since his triumph at last year’s Masters.
Instead of toiling over the minutia of his game on the practice course, Reed opted to vacation with his family at the Hamptons — the summertime playground for some of New York’s most affluent residents –resisting the urge to pick up his clubs even though he was surrounded by some of the world’s best courses.
Reed went 10 days without picking up a golf club.
“I come back and I’m hitting the ball farther,” the 29-year-old Reed told the PGA Tour website as he reflected on the benefits of his break.
“I have a clear picture on what I’m trying to do and all of a sudden, I come out and I start hitting the ball where it’s supposed to go.
“I’m starting to think clearly while I’m out there (on the course) and … the game starts turning around.”
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First Major pressure
When Reed pulled on the famed green jacket after his Masters victory in 2018, the golfing world seemed to be at his feet.
But a run of nearly eight months without a top-10 finish and missing the cut at the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black this year caused him to hit the pause button.
“I almost felt like I pressed harder and worked harder and tried harder and therefore, it made me physically and mentally drained,” said Reed.
“I kind of went the wrong direction and that’s why I felt like I needed the break.”
Back in the hunt
Reed’s discovery of good form couldn’t have come at a better time for the 29-year-old golfer.
The Northern Trust was the first of the three FedExCup playoff events, and Reed’s victory in New Jersey propelled him from 50th to second in the FedExCup rankings — with just Brooks Koepka ahead of him now.
The 70 remaining players will head to Medinah, Illionois for the second stop of the playoffs — the BMW Championship — before the Tour Championship in Atlanta, Georgia.
The players are battling for the eye-watering $15 million prize money, with the total prize money for the playoffs totalling $60 million.