Mel Reid makes her debut in the Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions this week in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Golfweek caught up with the 33-year-old English player to chat about her recent engagement to Carly Grenfell, her first time snowboarding in the U.S., 2020 Olympic dreams and the challenge of replacing practice buddy Brooks Koepka after relocating to Jacksonville, Florida.
Here are excerpts from that conversation:
You had some exciting personal news to end 2020. Congratulations! Can you tell us about the proposal?
It’s actually really funny. I was speaking to Howard (Falco), my mental preparation coach, and he was like, is something bothering you? This was at CME, he said, you haven’t been yourself the past couple of weeks. Obviously, I knew I was going to do it that Sunday of CME in West Palm with friends. I think that probably wasn’t the smartest move on my part, kind of those three weeks. One our friends was an absolute baller getting all of our friends together without letting Carly know. We stayed at The Ben, one of our favorite places in West Palm. I don’t know why I expected it to be just us lot. I thought I’d be fine. But it was absolutely packed, and I had to do it in front of everybody. I literally hugged my mate, I was like I can’t do this, I can’t do this. I said to Carly do you know why everyone is here? She was like no. It’s your engagement party and then I just stood there for an awkward 10 seconds and she was like are you going to ank then? Oh sh$t, yeah. It was the most awkward I’ve ever been in my life. But yeah, luckily she said yes. She didn’t really have a choice, bless her.
I know Carly got a job at the PGA Tour (in social media). Have you relocated?
We moved (to Jacksonville) the first week in November, so we’re pretty much settled in here now. She absolutely loves her job. … Got a nice golf club up here and the guys have been really nice, cool vibes. We’re happy here.
Where do you practice out of now and have you found someone to replace Brooks (Koepka)?
I haven’t been able to replace Brooks. I play a little bit with a guy called Vinny (Covello) who plays the Korn Ferry and PGA and Chris Baker. I’m at Atlantic Beach Country Club … there’s like eight of us that are up there and I’m the only girl.
What are you working on with swing coach Jorge Parada looking ahead to the season?
It was my shortest offseason by far but I’m not complaining. It was quite nice for him because normally it takes me a week or so just to get back in the groove, where this time it only took a couple of hours. We’re trying to just get a better impact position, a more consistent golf swing.
Backing up for a second, I saw that you went snowboarding. Where did you go?
We went to Park City. I didn’t go home at Christmas. We booked like three different flights. But I spoke to my dad and my family and they were just like, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come over (to England). I think they’re going to lock us down again. We’re probably going to have to alternate Christmases anyway, so I said to Carly why don’t we just go to your family in Nebraska, have a few chill days, but then if we’re staying there, I definitely want to go snowboarding. I was my first time snowboarding over here in America and I absolutely loved it. I thought Park City was a sick little town.
A bit of time has passed now since your break-through win. How do you think it changed you?
I think it obviously changed me a little bit. Not that I didn’t think I belonged. I hadn’t kind of put in the results that I wanted. I just felt like, yeah, look it’s hard to win on the LPGA. Really, really great golfers go through their careers not being able to cross that line. It was nice to get the monkey off my back. It just allows a little bit of freedom, a little bit of security. Gets you in the big tournaments, gets you up in the world rankings and secures your card. That’s a huge relief out here because it is a grind sometimes and I did that more than I wanted to.
Now my head is thinking I want to win more and more because I just obviously Ioved that feeling. I love being in contention. I just want the feeling as much as possible. We’re looking at majors and obviously winning multiple times. We’ve got some big goals this year. I’m going to try and work my ass off to try and achieve them.
What’s the biggest goal?
I’d like to get to the Olympics, if I’m honest. I’ve not kind of shied away from that. I think of myself, playing multiple sports growing up I’ve always been a fan of the Summer Olympics and Winter Olympics. To me, that would be the ultimate goal.
I forgot to ask, how did you meet Carly?
We met randomly in Paris at the Ryder Cup. I was commentating and my best mate Molly Gallatin brought Carly out to do some social media for the PGA of America and obviously we went out a few times and Carly kind of joined us and that was it really. We stayed a couple extra days in Paris and I moved to America that Wednesday.
Wait, but weren’t you already planning to move to America that Wednesday?
Yeah, I’d already booked my flight the week before and put my house on the market. I was like, oh by the way, I’m moving to America on Wednesday. She’s been stuck with me ever since, the poor thing.
What is your favorite outside-the-ropes Solheim Cup memory?
Parties. The Sunday parties are by far one of the best nights of the year. It is the best night every two years for sure for me. I think especially in the European team room. We get the Americans coming in, and we’re renowned for having a little bit of a better party than the Americans whether we win or lose. The Sunday is just something special. I don’t know if you know this Beth Ann, but I do quite like to party.
I’ve heard this (laughs).
I’ve slowed down a little bit in my old age, but I can still get after it sometimes.
Are you a good dancer?
No. I think I am, that’s the issue. I get very confident. I just squat and move my hips.
Huge lineup of marquee courses for the big events this season: Carnoustie, Olympic Club, Inverness, Atlanta Athletic. What’s the one course that you’d love to see a major go to that you’ve never played?
Obviously Pebble Beach, even though I know that’s (coming up). Looking at the men’s U.S. Open probably Winged Foot as well. And I think it would be really cool to have a tournament at Augusta, eventually. … It’s kind of at the top of my bucket list.
I’m curious what your reaction was to how Justin Thomas handled what happened at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in terms of how he addressed the media afterwards.
Loads of people have asked me about this, and I’ve kind of not commented on it, purely because I don’t think he’s homophobic. I think it was a mistake. I don’t think he’s that kind of guy.
What are you and Howard Falco talking about and focusing on in getting to the next step between the ears?
Obviously, I can’t tell you all my secrets. One thing I do love about Howard is that he’s always on my ass, which is really good for me. Sometimes I’m like, oh I’ve got it, when I really don’t. … We speak a couple times a week even on weeks off just to kind of keep the intention there. I guess he’s just trying to make my brain strong just as my trainer Ken (Macdonald) is trying to make my squats stronger.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/01/17/mel-reid-recent-engagement-solheim-cup-parties-biggest-goal/