Who is Melissa Reid?
If you are a golfer or a golf fan, more specifically, a follower of women’s golf and you are acquainted with the Indian Open held last week at the DLF Golf and Country Club in Gurgaon, you would know that she’s the fourth ranked player on the Ladies European Tour (LET).
Reid has been a professional golfer for the past seven years.
She was rookie of the year in 2008.
She won her first title in 2010—the Turkish Airlines Ladies Open.
She has four more titles to her name:
Deloitte Ladies Open 2011
Open De España Femenino 2011
Raiffeisenbank Prague Golf Masters 2012
Turkish Airlines Ladies Open 2015.
It was in May 2012 that Melissa lost her mother Joy in a car accident. Joy was travelling to Munich to see her daughter take part in a LET event. Her husband, Brian, survived. Joy succumbed to internal injuries in the head-on collision.
Reid did not stop golfing but her performance deteriorated.
In 2012, Reid was well on her way to being Britain’s No. 1 woman golfer.
Reid says that the attempts at continuing “papered over the cracks”.
Her personal life suffered and her ranking plummeted to 333.
Speaking to ESPNW, she said:
“I was a mess.I wasn’t coping, I was rebelling. I was spending time with people who partied. I was hitting the self-destruct button. I was with a lot of people, but I was lonely.”
Things took a turn for the better last November when she met Kevin Craggs.
Craggs is now her mentor and coach.
“I always say to my players when they first come: I can teach you and to do that I don’t need to know you. But to coach you, that’s very different. Teaching improves the swing, coaching improves your psychological outlook, your lifestyle, your tactical game, everything.”
“I was having doubts for two years. I didn’t really have anything else to do, though.
I was lucky, Kev saved my career. I sat with him at breakfast after we started and I just told him everything, stuff I’d never said out loud. It wasn’t easy, but doing it lifted such a weight off my shoulders.”
Matt Cooper writes:
“Reid grew in confidence over the winter: ‘I began to notice that for the first time in ages I wanted golf again. I worked harder, I had more focus and I began to get rewards.’ In May she returned to Turkey, scene of her first professional win in 2010, and claimed her fifth LET title, the first since Prague.”
What’s the difference between the Melissa of then and now?
Craggs puts it succinctly:
“We recently discussed that very subject and you know what I told her? I said: You possess the B word and the B word is balance. Career, technique, thinking and lifestyle, they’re all in balance. When a sportsperson — or a businessman, or anyone for that matter — is at their happiest, they’re in balance.”
“Having what has happened to me as a professional golfer, in sport, is difficult. I was having to put on a face and it was hard work. I was sad, I was feeling really sad. Now I feel very different.
I don’t want to not talk about it because I don’t want people to forget what sort of woman my mum was. You never ever forget what happened, you never ever forget the pain, but you must use it almost like energy. Giving up is the easy thing to do.”
Melissa is one of the most glamorous faces on the Ladies European Tour.
She claims that prior to her mother’s death she was more of a golfing robot.
“I think I was very much protected. I had a lot of people do a lot of things for me and when something like that happens to you in your life, you have to step up.
It makes you realise a lot about yourself and there were a lot of things I didn’t particularly like about myself. I thought I was pretty much invincible and all I thought about was golf.
So if there is any positive that’s come out of it, and it may sound clichéd, I’ve certainly discovered myself.
I’m certainly not a robot, I’m a human being and I want to be the best person I can be as well as the best golfer I can be.
Before all I thought about was golf.”
This year, Melissa was back to representing Europe at the biennial Solheim Cup.
The Cup is played against the US. Melissa last played in 2011, with Europe claiming the title.
The tournament is played over three days.
Melissa was in India recently for the Indian Open along with Solheim teammate and last year’s winner Gwladys Nocera of France, Thidapa Suwannapura of Thailand, fellow Brit Trish Johnson and Cheyenne Woods, niece to Tiger Woods.
India’s top golfers Vani Kapoor, Sharmila Nicollet and Vaishavi Sinha also participated.
Denmark’s Emily Kristine Pedersen clinched the title pushing her closest contenders Cheyenne Woods, Becky Morgan and Malene Jorgensen to joint second place.
Melissa made the cut but finished 30th.
She continues to be No.4 on the LET.
Melissa is active on Twitter and tweets at @melreidgolf.
Her Facebook page (Community) has not been updated since 23rd September, 2012.
Her Instagram account buzzes.