Featured Golf News
Two Texas Ladies Return Home for New LPGA Tournament
The LPGA Tour has moved on from Hawaii and the Lotte Championship to the Lone Star State for the inaugural North Texas LPGA Shootout. The $1.3 million, 72-hole event - one of three new tournaments added to the 2013 schedule - starts Thursday at Las Colinas Country Club in Irving, Texas.
Among the two most interested participants are Angela Stanford and Brittany Lang. Stanford, a 35-year-old native of Fort Worth, graduate of TCU and now a resident of Saginaw, Texas, is a five-time career winner, and the 27-year-old Lang, who grew up in McKinney, Texas, got her maiden title last June in the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic.
The two are definitely happy to return to Texas, a place with a considerable golf pedigree. Stanford, for one, hopes this is the first of many events played annually in her home state. "This area traditionally, historically has had so much golf tied into it, and when I was growing up I wondered why the LPGA wasn't here," said Stanford, whose last win came in February 2012 at the HSBC Women's Champions.
"I hope the fans embrace it like they have other tournaments here. It looks like it's going pretty well. It looks like the tournament could be here a long time."
On Tuesday, Stanford and Lang met with reporters and talked about what it means to play in a tournament in their own back yard. Here's what they had to say during their joint Q&A.
MODERATOR: Okay, good afternoon, everyone. We are joined here today at the North Texas LPGA Shootout by two very special people who are familiar to most of you, I'm sure, as they are locals. They know you're very excited to be back here in Texas. We have Angela Stanford, a five time LPGA tour winner and a Saginaw, Texas native who resides in Forth Worth.
Then we have, to her right, Brittany Lang, a McKinney, Texas, native who became a Rolex first time winner last year at the Manulife Financial LPGA Classic. Ladies, welcome. Thank you so much for joining us this afternoon. Just talk first of being here in Texas in the Dallas area for the first time in about two years. LPGA I know is happy to be back. I'm sure both of you get to stay at home and get to enjoy being at home, it must be even sweeter to be back in this area.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I think so. It's great to be home. I'm glad the LPGA is here. You know, I spend most of my time all year telling people how great it is here, so it's nice to have the whole gang here. It was a little odd getting off the airplane from Hawaii, because usually I will see B. Lang or Gerina at the airport, but like the whole tour was following me. I was like, Where you guys going? So it's been different, but it's been fun so far.
BRITTANY LANG: Yes, I'm extremely happy to be here. I know the weather is gonna be good, but it's so nice to sleep in your own bed for the whole tournament week and be home. I am going to have a lot of the family and friends out, and that's super exciting. They don't have to travel. They get to come out and see what the LPGA has to offer, so I'm excited for them.
MODERATOR: We know this is such a great golf area. Getting back, what do you want these golf fans to know about the LPGA this week?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I think they're going to walk away being very impressed. The thing people have to remember is, you know, I know they see the best men players in the world twice a year here in the Metroplex, and now you're going to get to see the best female players in the world. I think they're going to walk away being very impressed. I hope that they come out and support the event. I think they'll really like it. I've always said this area was missing the boat not having an LPGA Tour here, so it's about time.
And I think people will really embrace us. I think they'll have a great time. I think people will walk away saying, Man, I hope they come back.
MODERATOR: Angela, I know you're a big sports fan and you're a big Texas Rangers fan. I know you were hoping to get home from Hawaii and see a little sports before you got into the busy week as well. Did you get to the game the other night?
ANGELA STANFORD: I did. The flight was delayed, but got here, ran home, got the tickets, went back to the ballpark. It was great. They won 11 to 3, so a lot of home runs. Won again last night. It's great. Too bad they're not here. Yes, I do love going to the baseball game. B. Lang is a Ranger fan, so...
BRITTANY LANG: Need to be a better. That's my 2013 goal.
MODERATOR: Brittany, last year you became a first time winner, first player from Duke University to win out here on the LPGA Tour. Tell me about the experience of getting that win and how has that kind of helped you going forward since then out here on tour.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it was such a great experience. I say it all the time, that I had a putt to win. I was so nervous. The fact that I had the chance to learn and go play in a playoff and have that experience just to contend for the tournament again after missing that putt, I was so thankful. I played great. I was extremely nervous with the putt to win, but I composed myself very well during the playoff and learned a lot. It's definitely given me a lot of confidence going forward. I just finally proved I could do it. Just made me a lot more comfortable.
MODERATOR: And questions for either Angela or Brittany. Please wait for the microphone. Thank you.
Q. You guys mentioned finally having a home game out here. What are some of the differences between this week and, say, another tour event? How many tickets do you have to give out, that kind of stuff?
ANGELA STANFORD: I put my mom in charge of that, yeah. Well, I don't know. You know, there have been a number of little things. Even just last night thinking, Wow, this is what normal people do. They go to work and come home and get to be in their own home. Just driving your own car over. Yesterday I laid by my pool. Just stuff like that. I would have been in a hotel doing that at a hotel. Just things like that. And the tickets, the tournament has been very gracious. You know, like I say, I put my mom in charge. I told everybody, You have until Monday this week to tell us if you're coming. You don't want to be in the middle of the week running looking for tickets. So my family has always been a big help. So my mom is in charge, yeah.
BRITTANY LANG: Just the simple fact I was thinking about it Monday just getting to do my laundry at my house. Normally you're doing it somewhere or getting it done. It's just something as simple is that, doing your laundry at your own house. I've given a lot friends tickets, and I'm going to make a run back to McKinney this afternoon and dump off a bunch of tickets. Hopefully a lot of people come out and watch. Yeah, it's going to great to have family and friends here. They don't have to travel to see the LPGA play, and I think they're going to have a really, really fun week and learn how approachable the girls are. We have a great group of girls, so I think they'll be able to see that.
Q. If you could say just one thing to these young girls, what would you say to them to help them in their future lives, golf and otherwise?
ANGELA STANFORD: Golf related I would say you just - I would say, Watch from like 100 yards and in. If they're younger golfers out here, I think the short games out are phenomenal. The ladies can chip and putt with the best men in the world. Also, I mean off the course just surround yourself with solid, positive people. I think kids kind of get in the wrong crowd sometimes, so just surround yourself with some positive people.
BRITTANY LANG: I was sitting at dinner when you said that. Angela spoke to us when I was at the junior tournament, and she said that. She said, Surround yourself with positive people. I've always done that. I remember that was probably...
ANGELA STANFORD: I'm not that much older than you, so...
BRITTANY LANG: I was probably 15 or 16. But when she said that, you know it's a great piece of advice. I would agree with that, especially if you have goals to be somewhere. You can't do it unless you surround yourself with positive people. I would also tell the girls to always make sure you're having fun in golf. You'll always be more successful that way.
Q. Do you anticipate a little bit more pressure on your own game, the fact that you're playing in your own back yard and you want to do well in front of the family and friends?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, for sure. I can already feel it. I'm trying to do a few little things to calm down and remember it's still a tournament. Of course we want to play good for our family and friends. You want to do your best so they can watch you and say, That's our hometown girl. At the same time, you get to get back to your process and get back to what you're doing.
ANGELA STANFORD: I totally agree with that. As Brittany said, it's still a tournament for us. It's the second week out of three. All your family and friends want the best out of you because this is the one time they get to see you. So there is extra pressure in that, because you want to play your best for them. But once you get out here and you in your routine, you block all that out.
Q. So you've had a chance to play the course in practice rounds. How does it set up for your game?
BRITTANY LANG: I like this golf course a lot. I think it sets up good for me. It's in great shape. It requires a lot different shot making. Ever since the first time I saw it I came out with Angela in the wintertime I knew I liked it. It fit my eye. I wouldn't say it was made for me, but I think it's a good course for me. Definitely living here, being able to play it a few times, the greens are a little tricky, so I've learned a lot playing those few extra rounds. That gave me a little bit of an edge.
ANGELA STANFORD: That does help if you can see it. The more you can see this course the more comfortable you'll be. Off the tee it looks like you can hit it anywhere but you really want can't. If you want to score, there are certain places you probably need to be in the fairways. One kind of slopes a little bit. So the more you see that the better off you are. You have to hit some different shots. The greens are - I love the greens. They're very similar to the course I play in Fort Worth, I think it's a great golf course for our Tour, yes.
Q. Angela, talk about Mike Wright. I guess Gerina is now working with him, too. What has he been able to bring to your game?
ANGELA STANFORD: Oh, Mr. Wright. He's one of the best. And I think people, it's like he's a hidden gem over there. You know, when I went to him, I told him that I understand that there are many different ways people can tell me how to fix my golf swing, but I wanted to know from him. We've been working together since the end of '05. Now we're at a point where he can help me with my golf swing, but he helps my with perspective, too. He's really helped me so far this wee. He met me out here yesterday morning. I didn't have a very good week last week.
I don't know, he just always seems to know what to say. He can be very mechanical or he can be completely on the other end of the spectrum. That's what I told Gerina he's not going to say, You need to do this, you need to change this. He's going to get a feel and work with you. I think he sees the whole picture. I think a lot times teachers just say, You need to do this. He tries to see all the circumstances that you're dealing with. That's where he's helped me the older I've gotten. Just helps me keep things in perspective.
MODERATOR: I wanted to ask the two of you, this week is providing a unique experience for college and high school players. We had a college and high school shootout yesterday. Being from the area and knowing the amount of young talent that comes out of this area, what do you think that experience is going to be like for some of those young girls to get the opportunity to play with the pros that they look up and to compete out here and get a taste of what it's like on the LPGA Tour?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's amazing how much better talent has gotten in this area. I got to make sure I say this the right way. When I went to TCU I don't know how to word this. It wasn't like I was having to beat out multiple girls. Now you have to be one of the best to go there. So in the 15, 20 years, it's changed so much. I'm so proud of this area, how it's gotten better and better and better and they are producing Texas in general just produces amazing talent. So it's cool that they get that opportunity. We talked about this earlier when we were here this year. That's an opportunity that most don't get. I didn't get. My first LPGA event was my first event on tour at 22. So for them to get this experience and walk inside the ropes is pretty cool.
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, I agree with her. I got to play a few events, I think maybe three or four, I think, before I teed it up with my tour card. It is so beneficial for these girls to be able to do it at a high school or college level. That's really cool. It's a huge benefit.
Q. Along the same lines, talk about just how good this tour is now, especially with players all around the world. It's just gotten so tough to win these days, it seems like.
BRITTANY LANG: We were actually talking about that earlier. Same think Angela said. Just as the years go on, there is so much depth and it gets so competitive. I don't know what it is. It's true, there are so many good players. Anybody can win at any time. It's become being like the men's tour which is awesome. I think there used to be a few dominant players 10, 15, 20, 30 years ago that seemed to win a lot; nowadays there is so much depth. I don't know why, but it's great for our tour.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I've said that in the last five, ten years, I mean, the number has changed. It used to be a handful of players could win. Now it could go down to you never know he's going to win out here. The talent has gotten deeper. You know, I hate to talk about this, but the cut lines are different. My first few years on tour you would shoot 2 , 3 , 4 over and make a cut; not anymore. You better be trying to win the golf tournament and be under par or you're not going to be hanging around.
BRITTANY LANG: True.
Q. There are four Americans in the top 20 of the Rolex Rankings; there are 10 on the men's side. What's the difference between the men and the women from the American's side of golf?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think it's just - I don't know if exposure is the right word to just world golf. We've had the Koreans, Japanese, I mean, just all over the world we're having more people play on our tour. I don't know if that's it. I don't know. In my opinion, I think the best players in the world want to play on the LPGA Tour. I think the men, there are so many men playing all over the world and so many different tours. For the women, the best want to be on our tour. So in my mind, I think that's why that is. Does that answer your question?
MODERATOR: Speaking of American talent, we've seen in the last you few weeks, last week with Lizette Salas playing so well; we're preparing for a Solheim Cup year; couple months away until you're going to be in Denver playing for the United States and trying to get that Cup back. What have you seen from the young American talented players, and how excited are you to see this team come together?
BRITTANY LANG: Yeah, it's been great to see the young girls. I mean, Lizette has been playing great for so long. Jessica Korda, Lexi Thompson, they're so young and they're so good. We need it. It's fantastic. I haven't been playing great lately and I know being on that team is definitely one of my goals. I am working hard for that, because I know those girls, they have been playing so consistently and so good. But that's awesome for the U.S. team to have that, especially for the future.
MODERATOR: Any more questions? All right. Well thank you ladies so much. Best of luck this week, and enjoy the pleasure of being at home.
BRITTANY LANG: Thank you.
ANGELA STANFORD: Thank you.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.