At least when it comes to match play.
The format is one he relishes, and he is taking advantage so far at Austin Country Club, where Reed breezed to a 3-0 record in pool play and never trailed in any match at the WGC-Dell Match Play Championship. He will face Dustin Johnson on Saturday.
"It's just one of those things that every time I play in these kind of matches, I just relish and love it," he said. "It just brings out the best in me. I love it. I love match play every time I get to go in this format and go up against one guy. It's something I love and something I'm pretty good at. Just going out and getting in a dog fight."
It wasn't much of a fight against Mickelson, who had won his first two matches, setting up a winner-take-all encounter for a spot in the 16-player knockout stage that begins Saturday morning.
Mickelson handed the first hole to Reed by making a double bogey, then hit a shot in the hazard at the second.
But when he tried to rally, Reed managed to get up and down at the third, then seemingly kept rebuffing every challenge.
Even after taking a 6-up lead at the turn, Mickelson appeared on the verge of putting a dent in his lead at the 10th -- only to have Reed hole his shot from the fairway for an eagle.
"He looked back, smiled, chuckled, kind of game me a fist pump," Reed said. "It almost seemed where he was in a situation where there was nothing he could do at that point. Everything was sort of falling in place and going my way. I was hitting some quality golf shots."
Reed, who has four PGA Tour victories, has never made it this far in the Match Play Championship, tying for 17th in both of his previous appearances. But he nonetheless has a strong match record, including in college, where he twice helped Augusta State win NCAA titles.
And he was one of America's best players at the 2014 Ryder Cup, going 3-0-1 for the best record in a losing effort where he played three team matches with Jordan Spieth. At the Presidents Cup last fall, he went 1-2-1.
"I go to play anybody, no matter who it is," Reed said. "Especially when you are playing a guy like Phil, you know you have to play your best golf. Any one of these guys if they are on their game, they are going to be tough to beat."