These are loud, opinionated times.

Everywhere you turn there are mouths swinging open and shut like cat flaps in a stiff breeze, trotting out views, theories and thoughts at a furious rate and reeling off declarations about this, that and the other with the chattering ferocity of a pair of those novelty wind-up falsers.

Nobody likes a windbag, of course, but if there are trumpets to be blown then you may as well blow your own. Patrick Reed, the latest young American to make a significant statement of intent on the scene, got the tongues wagging in the aftermath of his triumphant WGC-Cadillac Cham­pion­ship at Doral by announcing to all and sundry that: "I'm one of the top five players in the world".

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Coming from a 23-year-old who has yet to play in a major championship, it was fairly bold stuff and his confident proclamations certainly generated a buzz. 'Cocky little so and so' seemed to be a widespread reaction.

Having won three PGA Tour titles in his last 14 starts since August - he also captured the Wyndham Cham­pion­ship and the Humana Challenge in January - Reed is on the kind of thundering upward trajectory usually reserved for vessels of space exploration and he has every reason to be chipper. In the two-year rolling period over which golf's world rankings operate, the young Texan has rocketed more places - 586th at the end of 2012 to 20th after his WGC win - than any player other than the upwardly mobile Jordan Spieth.

Turn the clock back some 40 years and there was another confident young American whippersnapper who was beginning to feel that he could take on the world.

In June, 1974, Tom Watson landed his first tour title, the Western Open, to get the ball rolling on a career that would eventually be burnished by eight major crowns.

"It [the first win] certainly put me in a good frame of mind," recalled Watson, who now looks likely to have Reed on his United States team for the Ryder Cup match against Europe at Gleneagles in September. "I remember coming back and ­talking to some people in Kansas City. My father was there and a good friend of his, and he talked about my victory. I said 'I'd like to be the best golfer in the world'.

"I didn't say I was but that was my goal: to just try to become the best golfer in the world. If you don't reach for it, you're not going to get there and that was the whole point. I remember my dad's friend taking me aside and saying, 'hey, you shouldn't say things like that'. But that was my goal."

While there were a few tut-tutting, finger waggers queuing up to criticise Reed for what they saw as brash bletherings, Watson, always a calm voice of reason amid the wails of knee-jerk reaction, was not going to jump on that particular bandwagon.

"When you win, you have that aura that you're at the top of your game and it's hard for anybody to beat you," he added. "That's a good place to be. What Patrick said, I can understand him saying that. I guess maybe he has a little bit of street cred. After my first event winning, I said my goal was to be the best golfer in the world. But after winning three out of the first 14? You've got to give the guy a little bit of credit."

As long as Reed's clubs continue to do the talking, you can't argue with that.