Mel Reid considered Catriona Matthew’s offer and did her best to keep her cool.

Yes, Reid knows she should have been flattered when Matthew called two years ago to ask if Reid would be one of Matthews’ vice-captains for the European squad at the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.

It’s just that Reid, a three-time veteran of the biennial showdown between the best players in the United States and Europe, didn’t feel flattered. At least not for the moment.

A vice-captain is a sort of honor usually given to experienced players much closer to the end of their career than to the beginning. Reid did not consider himself in this category at the time. At least not yet.

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So she tried to pull herself together, said “no” to Matthew and hung up.

“I was pissed off,” Reid said.

The rage lasted 30 seconds. Next, the player who grew up playing team sports and didn’t officially “pull out” from football until her mid-twenties called Matthew back, apologized, agreed, and then went on. is found storming the 18th green at Gleneagles with everyone after Suzann Pettersen’s 7th. -foot putt won the Cup for the Europeans.

It was frantic. It was joyful. Reid also promised it would be a once-in-a-lifetime event.

She texted Matthew shortly after the victory ceremony saying she wanted to play for Matthew one day in a Solheim Cup.

Ended. And There you go.

Reid will be heading to the first T-shirt in Inverness on Saturday with a driver in hand instead of a walkie-talkie. Her fourth Solheim Cup appearance came thanks to a hard reset that propelled her to her first win in the United States (the ShopRite LPGA Classic 2020) and a wildcard spot on the 12-woman squad.

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The charismatic 33-year-old is only the fourth player to return to the Solheim Cup as a competitor after serving as an assistant, keeping the promise she made to herself shortly after that bright, cold Sunday in Scotland.

“It’s nicer (to play) than to give away bottled water if I’m being honest,” said Reid.

It still is. That’s why she admits so freely that she was upset when Matthews passed her in 2019. Reid knows she wasn’t playing at her best at the time – she only made the cut twice then. of her last seven events before the 2019 squad selection – but she also felt that her resume and role as one of the de facto emotional leaders should have earned her more consideration.

Again, Reid is a realist. She had a chance to win one of six automatic qualifying spots like everyone else. She did not do it. Matthew knew it was hard for Reid to say yes to an assistant role.

Reid’s decision, however, comes as proof of the selflessness Reid brings to the course when the 20-pound Crystal Solheim Cup is on the line.

“I think it really shows the passion and desire that she has for the team,” said Matthew. “She realizes it’s not an individual issue. It’s a team issue.”

Reid’s experience working behind the scenes at Gleneagles has given her a better understanding of what awaits her at 6,903-yard muscle town Inverness, an opportunity that presented itself after she recovered her game.

She changed caddies before 2020 and fine-tuned her mental approach with the help of a sports psychologist. Results followed almost immediately. Her ShopRite victory last October came in the middle of a streak in which she has finished in the top 12 five times in six events.

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Today, she is back at the Solheim Cup, a player but also in some ways still vice-captain. A player. Her stint as an assistant taught her something about the importance of communication and making sure recruits are heard.

This is one of the reasons she gave 26-year-old Leona Maguire a nickname (“Mags”) in an attempt to relax her. And if that helped Maguire understand that she could ask Reid for advice, so much the better. This is what leaders do, whatever their name.

“It’s pretty overwhelming at first (if you’re a rookie), but I feel like people say I’m intimidating,” she said. “I’m the complete opposite. I think I’m buttery soft.”