The late Calvin Peete once said something latest LPGA Tour winner Mel Reid can probably relate to. Peete, who died aged 71 in 2015, overcame more than most to become a 12-time PGA Tour winner. He did it through steadfast belief in his ability, and a desire to prove himself in a sport that didn’t make black men welcome.
Peete once said:
“Reach for the furthest thing you can reach, then reach again. Sooner or later the goals that seemed way beyond you are the next natural ones to reach. You’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.”
Reid is an LPGA winner because she kept on reaching. The Derbyshire player could have been forgiven for packing this game in on any number of occasions. That thought no doubt crossed her mind in 2012 when her mother, Joy, died in a car crash at a tournament in Germany.
The 33 year old felt like jacking this game in about five years ago when she found herself struggling to earn a living on the Ladies European Tour. Reid was running low on funds. She found herself out of pocket travelling to Australia and not making enough in prize money to cover the cost of the trip. Talk about soul destroying.
Another low point came last year when she was on the outside looking in on the Solheim Cup. The three-time European Solheim Cup player was widely tipped to get one of Catriona Matthew's wild card picks. Instead she swapped places with Suzann Pettersen, becoming a vice-captain to Matthew as Pettersen stole the show by holing the winning putt at Gleneagles.
Six-time LET winner Reid might have thought her chances of winning on the LPGA were never going to materialise when she took the 54-hole lead into the final round of the Portland LPGA Classic two weeks ago, only to stumbled to a closing 74. There was no stumbling in the final round of the ShopRite LPGA Classic. Reid won her first LPGA title by two shots with a final round 67. The celebrations from friends on the 18th green was proof the Englishwoman is one of the most popular players in women’s golf.
“People have been talking about my talent for a long time,” Reid said, “but I’ve just never really got anywhere close to where I thought I would be.”
“After Portland, I wanted to redeem myself.”
She didn’t sulk or feel sorry for herself following that letdown, she just reached further.
“You put in so many hours, so much sacrifice hard work into this game to have one moment like this. Just so, so happy that I managed to get it done.”
“No matter what, people can’t take away the fact that I’m an LPGA winner against a world-class field. It just goes to show you just got to keep going. Things will get tough. I will have tough years as well ahead of me. As long as you just keep your head down and doing the right things, good things will happen to good people.”
Reid is one of the good people in golf. She never refuses an interview, never ducks a question and always fronts up, no matter how she's played. (She's also great company on the golf course, as I've discovered on two occasions, once at Woburn and once at Turnberry.)
As I wrote yesterday, nothing comes easy in this game. Those that refuse to be defeated, who face up to adversity and keep on reaching are the ones who succeed. That’s why Peete made it on the PGA Tour, and why Mel Reid is now an LPGA winner.
#JustSaying: “Nobody gives you anything, but nobody takes anything away from you.” Jim Thorpe on life as a tour professional