Mel Reid on recent engagement, Solheim Cup nights, biggest goal

Mel Reid is making his Diamond Resorts Tournament of Champions debut this week in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

Golf week met the 33-year-old England player to discuss her recent engagement to Carly Grenfell, her first time snowboarding in the United States, Olympic dreams of 2020 and the challenge of replacing her training buddy Brooks Koepka after moving to Jacksonville, Florida.

Here are excerpts from that conversation:

You have had some exciting personal news to end 2020. Congratulations! Can you tell us about the proposal?

It is really very funny. I was talking to Howard (Falco), my mental preparation trainer, and he said to me: is something bothering you? It was at CME, he said, you haven’t been yourself the last few weeks. Obviously, I knew I was going to do it this Sunday from CME to West Palm with some friends. I think it probably wasn’t the smartest decision on my part, sort of these three weeks. One of our friends was an absolute gamer who brought all of our friends together without telling Carly. 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. I thought I would be fine. But it was absolutely crowded, and I had to do it in front of everyone. I literally kissed 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 stood there for 10 awkward seconds and she was like you were going to be worried then? Oh shit, yeah. It was the most embarrassing I have ever been in my life. But yes, luckily she said yes. She didn’t really have a choice, bless her.

I know Carly got a job on the PGA Tour (on social media). Have you moved?

We moved (to Jacksonville) the first week of November so we’re pretty much settled here now. She absolutely loves her job. … I have a good golf club here and the guys have been really nice, cool vibes. We are happy here.

Where do you practice now and have you found someone to replace Brooks (Koepka)?

I couldn’t replace Brooks. I play a bit with a guy called Vinny (Covello) who plays Korn Ferry and PGA and Chris Baker. I’m at the Atlantic Beach Country Club… there are about eight of us and I’m the only girl.

What are you working on with swing coach Jorge Parada for the season?

It was by far my shortest offseason but I’m not complaining. It was pretty cool for him because normally it takes me about a week just to get back on track, where this time it only took a few hours. We’re just trying to get a better impact position, a more consistent golf swing.

Looking back for a second, I saw that you had snowboarded. Where did you go?

We went to Park City. I didn’t come home for Christmas. We booked as three different flights. But I talked to my dad and my family and they were like, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to come (to England). I think they’re going to lock us up again. We’re probably going to have to alternate Christmas anyway, so I told Carly why don’t we just go to your family in Nebraska, have a few relaxing days, but then if we stay there I really want to. go snowboarding. It was my first time snowboarding here in America and I absolutely loved it. I thought Park City was a sick little town.

A little time has passed since your decisive victory. How do you think this changed you?

I think that obviously changed me a bit. Not that I didn’t think I belonged. I hadn’t somehow put in the results that I wanted. I just felt like, yeah, look, it’s hard to win on the LPGA. Really, great golfers go through their careers without being able to cross that line. It was nice to get the monkey off my back. It just allows a little freedom, a little security. Allows you to participate in major tournaments, to climb in the world rankings and to secure your card. It’s a huge relief here because it is sometimes difficult and I did it more than I wanted to.

Now my head thinks I want to win more and more because I obviously loved that feeling. I like to be in contention. I just want the feeling as much as possible. We watch the majors and obviously we win multiple times. We have big goals this year. I will try to work my ass to try to reach them.

What’s the biggest goal?

I would love to go to the Olympics, if I’m honest. I didn’t hesitate a bit about that. I think of myself, playing several sports growing up, I have always been a fan of the Summer Olympics and the Winter Olympics. For me, that would be the ultimate goal.

I forgot to ask, how did you meet Carly?

We met randomly in Paris during the Ryder Cup. I was commenting and my best friend Molly Gallatin got Carly to do social media for the PGA of America and obviously we dated a few times and Carly kind of joined us and that was really it. We stayed a few more days in Paris and I moved to America this Wednesday.

Wait, but didn’t you already have plans to move to America this Wednesday?

Yes, I had 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, poor thing.

What is your favorite memory from the Solheim Cup off the beaten track?

Parties. Sunday parties are by far one of the best nights of the year. It’s the best night every two years for me. I am thinking in particular of the European team room. We bring in the Americans, and we’re known to have a better party than the Americans, whether we win or lose. Sunday is just something special. I don’t know if you know this Beth Ann, but I like to party.

I heard that (laughs).

I slowed down a bit in my old age, but I can still get over it sometimes.

Are you a good dancer?

No, I think so, that’s the problem. I become very confident. I crouch down and move my hips.

Wide range of renowned courses for major events this season: Carnoustie, Olympic Club, Inverness, Atlanta Athletic. What’s the one course you’d like to see go to a major that you’ve never played?

Obviously Pebble Beach, although I know it is (coming soon). Watching the men’s US Open, probably Winged Foot as well. And I think it would be really cool to have a tournament in Augusta, eventually. … It’s kind of at the top of my bucket list.

I’m curious what your reaction was to the way Justin Thomas handled what happened at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in terms of how he addressed the media afterwards.

Lots of people have asked me about it, and I kind of didn’t comment, just because I don’t think he’s homophobic. I think this was a mistake. I don’t think he’s that kind of guy.

What are you talking about with Howard Falco and what are you focusing on to take the next step between the ears?

Obviously, I can’t tell you all of my secrets. One thing I love about Howard is that he’s always on my ass which is really good for me. Sometimes I think to myself, oh I have it, when I really don’t have it. … We talk a few times a week, even during the weeks off, just to keep the intention there. I guess he’s just trying to strengthen my brain, just like my trainer Ken (Macdonald) tries to strengthen my squats.

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