A year ago, 27-year-old Patrick Reed was relatively unknown outside the world of professional golf. But after a drama-filled Sunday—and hearty challenges from some of the biggest names in golf—Reed rolled in a 3-foot putt for par on the 18th hole at Augusta National to win The Masters by one stroke. He picked up his first major championship that Sunday in April a year ago, and all of the notoriety that comes with winning the most prestigious event in golf (if not all of individual sports).

"I knew it was going to be a dogfight," Reed said following the momentous 1-shot victory in which he took a one-stroke lead into the final round and then held off challenges from the likes of Rory McIlroy, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler. Reed will defend his title when the 2019 Masters tournament begins Thursday, April 11.

Fortunately for Reed, however, he had the support of new contact lenses during last year’s tournament, which he credited for helping him improve his putting on the always tough Augusta greens. Reed acknowledged that just two weeks before The Masters he was fitted for his first pair of contact lenses at a Vision Source practice in Texas (he lives in San Antonio).

“You know, it was just something (where) I was able to make a lot of putts,” Reed told PGATour.com after last year’s Masters. “Honestly, that has to be [credited] to not only the work that we put in the week before, but also the work my wife (Justine) had to do to drag me to Vision Source to get my eyes checked.”

He added, “First week ever wearing contacts, and I go ahead and make every putt I look at and win a golf tournament.”

Reed’s victory, and the credit he gave to his eye exam and new contact lenses, may have been the first domino to fall in what has turned out to be positive accolades from sports stars for eye exams, ECPs and contact lens companies over the past year.

A few weeks ago, Johnson & Johnson Vision took the spotlight with its announcement that baseball star Bryce Harper was named an “ambassador” for the new Acuvue Oasys with Transitions Light Intelligent Technology during the 2019 season, as VMAIL reported. Harper will wear Acuvue Oasys with Transitions on the field during the season and share his experience with the new lenses through a video content series, according J&J Vision’s announcement this week. (Watch the first video of Harper’s decision to make the switch to Acuvue Oasys with Transitions and his first time wearing the lenses in the video below.)

Stephen Curry now wears contact lenses
And, just this past week, Golden State Warriors basketball star Steph Curry told the sports website The Athletic that he recently began wearing contact lenses, which he credited for ending a recent sub-par shooting performance. “It’s like the whole world has opened up,” he told The Athletic. (Curry suffers from the degenerative eye disease, Keratoconus.)

For Reed, the realization that he should schedule an eye exam came in his kitchen while watching television. As he related to PGATour.com, the story goes:

“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. I'm just moving slowly. Justine goes, ‘You can't read that?’ I'm like, ‘No, can you?’”

As it turned out, according to the story, everyone could read the words on the TV screen except Reed. Even his father-in-law, who wears thick glasses and still had no trouble deciphering the words was taken by surprise at Reed’s subpar vision.

“He's like, ‘Maybe that's the reason why we haven't been making putts for a year,’” Reed recalled his father-in-law saying at the time.

Even with the new contacts, Reed has not won another tournament since The Masters last year and he goes into this week’s event as a 40-1 longshot (McIlroy is the favorite at 8-1, and Tiger Woods is 12-1). But at least he now sees clearly the challenges in front of him.