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October 7, 2020

Mel Reid

Newtown Square, Pennsylvania, USA

Aronimink Golf Club

Press Conference

THE MODERATOR: We are happy to be here with Rolex Rankings No. 35 Mel Reid. Mel is competing in her sixth KPMG Women's PGA Championship, with a best finish of a tie for third last year. This is her 11th event of the 2020 season and the big topic, your big win last week, I guess technically this week, at the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Has it sunk in that you're an LPGA winner now?

MEL REID: Not really. We obviously partied quite hard on Sunday. Des more than me. I was trying to be a little bit of sensible me, which is quite unusual, just because we have this week this week, but yeah, just obviously a little bit more attention. Everyone is congratulating me, which is really, really nice. Yeah, today is kind of the first day that I felt really tired, so I'm going to try and get the afternoon off and get some rest in because it's a very challenging golf course, so you need to be on 100 percent this week. But yeah, looking forward to the challenge this week.

THE MODERATOR: I was sitting at home on Sunday watching all the tweets come through, particularly from England, saying, Everyone get to your TV, get to your computer and watch. What's the reception been like at home?

MEL REID: Honestly, just overwhelming. I had no idea. Honestly I've read every single message. I've probably tried to reply to as many people as possible. Just amazing. I'm just so thankful for all the support I've had over the years. It's been a very tough journey, and to get over the line -- I've wanted to do it obviously in Portland, but obviously wasn't quite ready, so to get it done the feeling week was honestly a dream come true, and it is life changing. My life has now changed and for the better, and yeah, I'm definitely going to want to get home to Florida and party up with some friends and really enjoy it.

THE MODERATOR: How has your life changed?

MEL REID: Just a little bit of attention. Obviously it gets me in the big events now, guarantees me CME, U.S. Open and Diamond Resorts in January. Just things like that, and I think just people look at you a little bit different. No matter what I do in my career now, I'm an LPGA winner, and it's something that we've put in so many hours and sacrificed so much to even have a moment like that. So to actually pull through and do it is to me just a dream.

Yeah, and I've obviously done my journey slightly differently than everybody else. I feel like I'm an overnight success for the last 15 years, so to finally get it done was a relief.

THE MODERATOR: And this certainly is a step forward for putting you a lock in to the European Solheim Cup team.

MEL REID: Maybe. I did say to Beanie last year, I said, I'm going to try and make your decision a little bit easier next year, and hopefully I've done that. Obviously we're not -- this is just the beginning, we're not going to stop, and yeah, I'm just now excited for the rest of this season and for next season, and we'll see where it takes us.

THE MODERATOR: Now you're here at Aronimink. It's a beast out there. Danielle Kang said it was a "monstrosity" was what she called it. What are your thoughts on this beast we have out here?

MEL REID: I think it's sick. I think it's in -- I was going to say an unbelievable track, but I'm guessing Nelly is getting a bit of stick for that.

But yeah, it is. It's one of the best courses I've ever seen. It is a beast. I'm not one of the short hitters, I'm one of the longer ones, and I was hitting -- I think I hit four fairway woods into par-4s today.

Yeah, I like it like this. I think it should be a challenge. It's a major championship. It shouldn't be 15-, 16-, 17-under winning it. I would love them to keep it the way it is. I think they're probably going to move it up a little bit because I think some girls are just going to struggle and it's going to be ridiculously slow out there. But all credit to the greens staff and all the staff here at Aronimink. Like it's honestly a pleasure to play.

THE MODERATOR: What are some your favorite holes that you've seen out there? We've heard 1 with this amazing view, we've heard some great things about various holes. What are some spots that stand out to you?

MEL REID: Certainly 1. I think that's a pretty spectacular tee shot. It's a shame that we don't have crowds. It would look even better. It's just a very demanding golf course. You really can't miss a shot. You do get punished very, very easily. Yeah, I mean, the best way to describe it is a complete beast. I'm excited for the challenge. We'll see. We'll see what happens. But yeah, I would just love them to keep it this tough, to be honest with you.

THE MODERATOR: As we look kind of outside the ropes, I know it's different this year, but KPMG has put so much into this event and certainly with the support of the PGA of America and the LPGA, this event was supposed to be in June, now we're in the beautiful fall weather, but what does it mean to you and the rest of the Tour to have someone like KPMG and the PGA of America behind us to make sure this event happened and to bring it to places like here and Atlanta Athletic next year and Baltusrol?

MEL REID: You know, one of my favorite tournaments of the year is KPMG, and that's credit to the PGA of America and KPMG because we get to play fantastic golf courses. You know, I do believe that that's what really drove the USGA to kind of get us on good golf courses, as well, and obviously with the AIG British Open we've got some unbelievable venues coming up, but I feel like the start of that was KPMG and PGA of America. The players are just always excited to come to this event, and the reason being the golf courses are so pure, and it's golf courses that the guys have played, and we want to play these golf courses. We want to test ourselves on these big golf courses and the big-name golf courses.

So all credit to them. We're forever grateful because women's golf does kind of get a little bit left behind at times, so I can't tell you the gratitude that the players and the staff have for both the sponsors being able to put this on.

THE MODERATOR: What does it mean to you to be one of the women that's blazing this trail? You walk in here, and no knock on the men, but there's incredible artifacts and everything inside here about all the men's events that have gone on. You're part of this group that is charging on for the next generation of female golfers.

MEL REID: Yeah, I mean, it's huge. We're immensely proud, and hopefully we can put on a nice showcase of women's golf for you guys this week, and especially if it does stay as beastly as this course is going to be, you're really going to see the cream of the crop rise to the top, I guess.

Yeah, it's just an unbelievable clubhouse, as well. Like it reminds me a lot of -- I just love old golf courses, and that's exactly what it is. It reminds me a lot of home. We don't obviously get as many golf courses like this, but in the fall, as well, like I don't know, it just reminds me a little bit of home.

Q. Mel, what will you have to do best this week to raise another trophy?

MEL REID: Everything. You've got to drive the ball really good. You've got to have a very good imagination with your putting. There's a lot of slopes on these greens. You've got to have a good short game. Honestly I'm not -- not beating around the bush here, you've really got to have everything. That's what I mean, I think the best player will turn up on top this week. It's not going to be a fluke at all. They would have earned their trophy. They would have earned their victory. Yeah, it's just you cannot miss a shot because you do get penalized really badly.

Q. What's the role on a week like this when scoring might be tough, the golf course is playing long? What's the role of mental toughness?

MEL REID: Huge, because you've got to stay patient. You're going to make bogeys. You're going to make three-putts. You're going to miss shots. It's basically whoever handles it the best is going to come out on top. It's not necessarily -- it's somebody who makes the least amount of bogeys. I know that sounds silly, but it's making a double bogey into a bogey, it's making kind of that situation, limiting damage. It's just one of the hardest golf courses I've ever played.

So yeah, I mean, I'm looking forward to the challenge, and you know, hopefully I can stay fresh enough to be mentally in the right place come Sunday, but yeah, you've just got to stay very, very fresh this week.

THE MODERATOR: Mel, you mentioned this kind of feels like home, and we were supposed to be here in June, now it's October. We've got all this wind swirling around, much cooler. How do you prep for a major played in these conditions that we're not used to playing majors in these kind of conditions?

MEL REID: I don't know. Just put on more clothing. I don't know. Look, the ball is not going as far. You can pretty much work that out straight away. It's just about being disciplined with that, having a good caddie. I've got that in Des. If he's sobered up yet, I'm not sure. He was still a bit ropey this morning.

Yeah, I mean, it's adapting, isn't it. It's what it's all about. And yeah, just be disciplined with your club selection. Your 7-iron is going to go 10 to 12 yards less, and it's just about being disciplined and choosing that club.

Q. What have the last few days been like for you? Have you let it soak in? Have you celebrated?

MEL REID: Yeah, I did celebrate on Sunday. Got in a bit of trouble. It wouldn't have been me if I didn't get in trouble. Yeah, I mean, I obviously took it a little bit easier than I probably would have done normally. Des did not. Des was not in good shape for a couple days.

But yeah, I think today is the first day that I've actually felt a little bit tired, like I struggled a little bit this morning, but I decided to take the afternoon off, get some good rest and try and kind of get my energy levels up again because this golf course is demanding and you're going to have to stay fresh. But yeah, I mean, I think it'll properly sink in maybe next week when I'm with all my friends and I can actually talk to my dad properly.

But yeah, just enjoying -- all the girls have been awesome and they've all congratulated me and been really happy for me, and that means the world to me. So yeah, just right now, I'm just trying to focus on playing well this week.

Q. Were you surprised you got fined?

MEL REID: No, I knew I was going to get fined.

Q. It was for the drink -- it was for drinking?

MEL REID: Yeah, I was just a bit naughty, yeah. I won't tell you, though, or I'll get myself in more trouble.

Q. Different course, obviously, but you finished third in this tournament last year. You won Sunday. Over the last year or so, are you playing some of your best golf?

MEL REID: Yeah, I mean, I've done a few things differently. I had a mental strength preparation coach about six weeks ago in Howard Falco, and he's made a big difference. He's kind of just been the missing piece to the puzzle. Don't really feel like I've practiced or played that much different, which sounds silly, but it's just a few kind of mental errors that I knew I was making that he's kind of rectified and he's made me aware of I should say. So yeah, I mean, I certainly feel like I'm on a bit of a run right now. So yeah, I mean, I'll definitely excited to be teeing it up tomorrow.

Q. There have been a lot of first-time winners in the Grand Slam events of late. Why do you think that is?

MEL REID: I think honestly -- I mean, maybe COVID. For me I needed that time off. I've wanted three or four months off for about five or six years. I've been traveling a lot ever since I was probably 12 or 13 years old, and so it was nice to actually spend some time in my own bed and in my own house and just around my own cooking and just the normal stuff, like we miss that. We obviously love the life that we lead, but it does get tiring after a while. So I think that it was some of the best kind of situation for a lot of girls. I think they had some time to actually spend with friends and family and just be a normal person for a little bit, and I think that it recharged a lot of people.

You know, even players that probably were thinking about giving up the game, like Sophia mentioned about it, and then you get a new lease on life again when you have a bit of time off. Maybe that's why. I think for me COVID was -- obviously with circumstances in the world it's not a good thing, but for me to have that time off was certainly a good thing.

Q. Did you stay in the area after Sunday?

MEL REID: Yeah. Yeah.

Q. Didn't have anywhere else to go, huh?

MEL REID: No, we just -- yeah, we celebrated pretty hard. We found somewhere to celebrate, so it was good.

THE MODERATOR: Thanks so much, Mel.

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