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June 3, 2021

Mel Reid

San Francisco, California, USA

The Olympic Club

Quick Quotes

THE MODERATOR: Mel Reid, 4-under. A lot of people didn't think that score was out here this week. Talk us through your round and what was working.

MEL REID: I didn't think that score was out there honestly. Yeah, I had a pretty good game plan. It's probably the best I've had for a tournament. We had a game plan and stuck to it.

If you're in trouble, just get it out, make bogey. I think the key here is to not take many risks the first two, three days, and I didn't do that.

We hit it pretty good. If you're hitting fairways and stuff -- I'll probably get criticized, but I'm one of the stronger players. Even if I'm in the rough and I have a decent-ish lie, I can kind of hack it out. Very, very happy with the way we started. Felt like I played very, very solid.

Yeah, it's obviously day one. There's a long, long way to go, and if you don't pay attention, this golf course can really eat you up. Just need to stay focused. Whoever wins at the end of this is going to be really tired come Sunday.

Q. There's so much talk going in about how hard the course is, the history. Any example of a hole, an element, the rough, the trees, whatever, that you found so much different than a regular Tour event?

MEL REID: The rough is definitely up. I think they cut it a little bit from Monday. Monday I could barely get a 9-iron 60 yards. We don't have the same strength as men. I love the rough personally. That's how a U.S. Open should be.

Level par should be winning this thing, in my opinion, or close to level par. I love how tough it is. I think it makes you think, makes you create a strategy. You can't bomb it everywhere. You've really got to think where your misses are.

This is exactly how a U.S. Open should be. This is an unbelievable golf course. As soon as I rocked up here I thought, this is the kind of golf courses we want to play.

I think the start was good. Yeah, I just think if you play well you can get rewarded. If you don't, you can get punished very, very quickly.

Q. Do you think level par is about what will win it?

MEL REID: I mean, I don't know, but I think if you shoot level par I really don't think you'll be far off, if I'm honest. I think the conditions are going to get tougher. The rough is going to grow up a bit. The greens are going to get firmer.

If it gets windy, it's a tough golf course. You cannot switch off on any single hole. There's no hole that you're like, Right, we can ease off. There's no hole like that out here.

Q. You said this is the best you've been prepared coming into this tournament. What element of your preparation was the most crucial, do you think? I know why you're laughing.

MEL REID: Do you know?

Q. Maybe I do.

MEL REID: Yeah, I text Brooks. I texted Brooks on Tuesday. We had a long conversation and then we FaceTimed for an hour on Tuesday night. He gave me a few things that he follows by in a major, so obviously appreciate his help.

I wasn't going to tell you, but Beth Ann, you always get whatever you want out of me. There you go. My secret's been told.

Yeah, he's been -- what he told me was, I thought, invaluable honestly, and it made me have a little bit different approach. That's why I feel like I prepared the best, and with Desi my caddie, he was great today and we both agreed with the same game plan.

Yeah, I'm just trying to be a bit more like Brooks, honestly.

Q. So what did he tell you?

MEL REID: I can't tell you. No, I'm not telling you that. Good try.

Q. This shouldn't catch anybody off guard. You've been playing well now for a little over a year. What is it about your game that's got you trending in this direction?

MEL REID: I think the work with Jorge, my coach. I think that took a while to kind of set in. We made a big change. I understand him a bit better. He understands what I need a little bit better. The communication is a lot better, I think.

Obviously, having Howard Falco on board, my mental preparation coach, he's really valuable. I've got a bad ass agent. I feel like my whole team, I'm extremely happy with it. Obviously having Desi on the bag as well.

I'm just happy off the golf course as well. I think that also helps. I feel like my life is in a good place. I'm just working hard and being a good person, and hopefully good things will happen to me.

That's just my mentality.

Q. With your physique, you wouldn't necessarily think you'd be this super strong player out of the rough.

MEL REID: I appreciate that. Are you trying to say I'm skinny? Chicken legs, yeah.

Q. You're light.

MEL REID: Thanks.

Q. We wouldn't necessarily think that. Why are you so strong out of the rough?

MEL REID: I work my ass off in the gym is why I'm strong. Yeah, I'm built like a grasshopper. Actually, these are about as big as my legs can get without going into cross fit or something. Appreciate the love, though.

Yeah, I work my ass off in the gym. Like it's something that I do consistently. I do a lot of work with my physio, a lot of work with my trainer, Ken McDonald. We're very switched on it about it. We know what parts of my body is weak, we work on it, we try to get a little more speed in the golf swing. We've been working on that the last seven, eight weeks, and it's been paying off.

Yeah, I'm not scared of working hard and working out hard, so that's probably where I get my strength from is working hard.

Q. Sorry about another physical appearance thing.

MEL REID: No, off you go.

Q. The flat-billed cap, the shoes, the pants -- I think, if people didn't hear you speak, they might think you were from California, that you're a surfer or a skateboarder or whatever. Do you kind of get some of that reaction sometimes about what you look like?

MEL REID: I wanted to be a pro boarder, so I always say I'm a snowboarder that plays golf. That's my mentality. That's just the way that I kind of see myself. Yeah, it's just -- I guess it's just my luck, I've always kind of looked like this. Yeah, why not? Why not just be you?

I don't think there's many girls that wear a flat peak like me, so I thought why not be the odd one out? I started wearing it and thought it looked good. Other people may have a different opinion, but I think it looks quite good. It's just the way I am. Just chill, and yeah.

Q. Have you ever surfed or skate boarded?

MEL REID: Yeah, I do surf. We just moved up to Jacksonville. The surf is better than Jupiter so we bought a couple surfboards and, yeah, been out there a few times. Yeah, getting a bit more into that. But snowboarding is definitely my thing. I do try to go once or twice a year, against my team's advice, but there we go.

Q. Two questions. One, does a Solheim Cup year give you any extra motivation? Two, I hear you have a connection to Wilford Reed, the course architect. How did you find out about that?

MEL REID: Through Beth Ann, obviously. Beth Ann knows everything. But apparently he's my great uncle. I was thinking about it, and his middle name is Arthur. My dad's name is Arthur after his grand dad of the he's from Nottingham, which is just down the road. It actually makes a lot of sense.

I was trying to look into it. I don't know. A couple of people have told me that now, so maybe, I don't know. I can't remember your first question.

Oh, Solheim, yeah. Obviously, I love Solheim. I'm a big believer, if you just take control of what you can control, it takes care of itself. Yeah, obviously, I want to play. I love representing my country, and I love trying to beat the Americans, no offense. So it's just one of them weeks where we enjoy -- what's that? There's one right there.

Q. Back to representing your country, this weekend will go a long way toward Olympic qualifying. I'm wondering, just your thoughts. Are you excited about the Olympics? There's so much controversy about Tokyo right now. Just curious about your thinking. I know you're staying in the moment, but looking a couple weeks ahead.

MEL REID: I think Olympics is a really cool event. Growing up as a multi-sport athlete I never dreamed as a golfer I could play in the Olympics, that was never on my radar. Obviously, it has been the last six, seven years. I think it would be an absolute honor, honestly, if I played in the Olympics and represented my country.

I also think it's a great opportunity for -- like I would never normally watch gymnastics, but during the Olympics I would watch gymnastics. We talk about growing the game all the time in the LPGA, I think representing your country in the Olympics is growing your game because you're going to have so many new eyes watching golf and potentially taking it up, I just think it's a huge opportunity to just introduce new people to the game.

It's definitely on my radar. I would love to play in the Olympics. I've never been shy about that, I think. I just think it would be a pretty awesome achievement.

Q. And you don't have a lot of -- obviously, it's extremely controversial right now.

MEL REID: I understand that. If they tell us it's safe to go, it's safe to go, in my opinion. I think it will be a lot different experience than other Olympics, but if I get in, I'm definitely going to go, like if it's safe.

Q. Last summer in June, you shared a powerful testimony that was published on the LPGA and then on Golf Channel. Would you say that -- and then you went on to win the ShopRite a couple months later. Would you say that a weight was lifted off your shoulders to be able to share thoughts so thoroughly with the public?

MEL REID: Yes and no. I think that I was just comfortable in my life, and I think that the reason I did it, honestly, was more about inclusion. It's just that I believe that golf could be a little bit better in inclusion. I've seen it firsthand the discrimination from all backgrounds, and I've also seen the positive side of including everyone.

So that's really why I just wanted to be a voice for a lot of people that have struggled with stuff. I basically wanted to say, I have your back, and I believe that anyone from any background, any sexuality, any race should always be welcome to play golf. That's just kind of what I'm fighting for.

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