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July 24, 2019

Angela Stanford

Evian-les-Bains, France

THE MODERATOR: Welcome to the 2019 Evian Championship. Here with Angela Stanford, the 2018 Evian Champion, the first American to win this event since it became a major in 2013.

Six-time winner on the LPGA, making her 15th start this season, 14th start at the Evian Championship. Welcome back to Evian where you captured your first major victory. What's it been like as you make your way around the course and the town? What feelings does that evoke for you?

ANGELA STANFORD: It's been a lot of fun. I've been pretty fortunate. Some years I come here and I played pretty good. You know, as I was walking around Tuesday I thought, Gosh. Am I going to remember certain things? But I remember a lot of things. Like you said, we've played here so much.

So I'm remembering a lot of good things and I remember a lot of bad things. I think I'm taking some comfort in that. Like other majors, like the Women's Open, the British, they move around. This is kind of like ANA which we always play on the same golf course, and there is some comfort in that. It's probably good for me.

THE MODERATOR: Take us back to last year. We saw such an emotional finish. As soon as you walked off the golf course and the build up to finding out you were the winner, what was that build up like?

ANGELA STANFORD: On 18 I thought I lost because I thought I had to get to 13. Obviously didn't expect Amy to do that, and at that point, I thought, Okay, I'm not at 13, I'll finish at 12 and there is going to be a playoff. But I did not know that the three girls on the green at the time all had putts to tie. I just thought it would be Amy and I.

My caddie was like, Well, could be three or four of you. I was like, Okay, well that's different. I think it was just a number of thoughts and emotions. You're trying your best to prepare mentally for a playoff, but all the emotion of I think I've just lost because I missed that putt but I might have another chance.

Just a lot going on.

THE MODERATOR: Almost one year later looking back, how did that victory change the perspective of your career and longevity of your career?

ANGELA STANFORD: You know, people say majors define careers. I was at a point where I was okay personally without it. That was hard. Took me years to get to that point.

But it just felt like -- I just felt like I needed one just to kind of -- kind of affirmation for myself. I always believed I could win one. When you don't year after year after year you do kind of start to wonder.

But I've loved every minute of it. Maybe it's been a blessing that it happened late because I've been able to enjoy it a lot. So I mean, I've just had a great time.

THE MODERATOR: Great. What has your preparation been like coming into a back-to-back major two weeks for you?

ANGELA STANFORD: I mean, honestly, it's been a very bad year. I'm at the lowest point I've ever been Money List-wise. Greens in regulation are awful. Putting is horrendous. Stat-wise, it's one of the worst years I've ever had.

So that kind of helps me this week because my expectations have gone way down. I feel like I'm starting to hit the ball a little bit better. My putting, you know, I feel comfortable on these greens, so that's helpful.

But I think it's been a good mix for me this week of, Okay, I'm finding some comfort here; expectations are low; mom is here; I have some friends coming. So I think that's going to be pretty helpful.

THE MODERATOR: How do you like the change in the schedule going from September to July?

ANGELA STANFORD: I actually really like it. I'm a little disappointed in the fairways right now. I think a lot of players expected firm and fast and it's not. I'm a little confused by it, and I don't know what the rules officials are going to -- how they're going to set this golf course up.

Greens are still kind of firm, but No. 13 they want to play it as a par-4. I had like 217 to the pin today because the drives are just hitting and stopping.

So my mentality is kind of changing a little bit where I'm going to have to be more -- going to have to play more defense. I mean, you can't go at a back right pin with a 7-wood in your hand. I can't. I'm sure there are some that can.

So I think that it's just a little disappointing. Like everything, it's the first time we've been back here in five or six years in July, so it's kind of getting back into that mindset of setting the course up firm and fast.

THE MODERATOR: Thoughts on the changes on No. 18?

ANGELA STANFORD: I love it. I love it. You know, going back to 2017 and watching that finish with Anna and Brittany Altomare, I hated it. I felt so bad for both of them. There was like -- it was a hail storm. There was hail on the green. They were hitting 3-woods into a par-4 and it was just -- it's not right. We're better than that. We're not the being set up for success.

I think now we are. Like that par-5 is going to be so much fun to watch. We're going to have girls that may be two or three back that may be standing on the fairway, Let's do it. Send a 3-wood up there and make eagle. I just think it's going be so much more exciting.

THE MODERATOR: Okay, we'll open up to questions.

Q. Just your thoughts coming into the town and seeing your face really big. I'm sure you've always wanted that.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, my mother has enjoyed. It's weird because you're not -- I'm not a face that they're going to throw up on signs and billboards and key cards. So it's a little different, but it's just been reminder after reminder.

For somebody that's having a tough year, kind of keeps hitting you. Okay, something good did happen. Something good can happen. So it's been fun.

Q. And just this tournament celebrating 25 years, it's gone through a lot of changes over the years. How has your view of this tournament evolved over the years as well?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, first off, I'm a huge fan of tradition. I've played sports my whole life. I'm a Dallas cowboy fan, Texas Rangers. Like I know the history of these teams. That's important. I've always said that.

Your tradition and majors are very important. This one had built-in tradition already, so for Mike Whan and his group to kind of figure that out and to be okay with this being a major, kind of hit a home run.

There is so much tradition built in and they love women's golf and want to elevate us. It's been very cool, because the first time I came here was in 2006. I just remember it was a ton of fun. I think it was a limited field. If you could find somebody to share a room with the room was free, so I was searching.

I think I said Aree or Naree Song, yeah.

Q. Wow, way back.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, so I found a roommate. Then the course was fun. It was different. Then as the years have gone on they've added players, added a cut. It's evolving, but it's evolving to make us better.

I like it.

Q. You said that it had been a bad year stats-wise and you've come in with low expectations. Can you define what that is or really at the back of your head you're thinking, I could just do it again?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, my practice round, my practice round and Pro-Am today were much better than I thought they were going to be, so I've had moments where I'm like, Okay, well, you know, I mean, something good might happen.

Historically, I haven't defended very well, so I want to be competitive this week. I want to kind of be hanging around on Sunday again. That would be best-case scenario. But I've never defended a major, so I don't know.

Q. Any thoughts on the schedule with back-to-back majors? If you leave it all out there on Sunday like last year, how could you turn it around and go to another major? Is that going to be in the back of your mind or two quite different tournaments?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's actually a really good question. We used to play these back to back but they weren't majors. I said that to my caddie today. It's been weird because I got here Monday night, woke up ready to go at 6:00 a.m., did everything I did yesterday. Worked out, went to the store. I mean, slept all night, popped up this morning at 5:30. The pro-am took forever, but I had all kinds of energy.

Okay, I'm running on serious adrenaline. I don't know when this is going to end. My caddie said, Probably next week. You know, I didn't think about that. Like so, yeah, you have people that are playing really hard and there is so much emotion going into this.

The only thing I can say is the people that have played -- Woburn -- did I say that right? People that have played it from a couple years ago -- I've told myself Monday is travel, period. Travel, go to the hotel, and do nothing. Fortunately I've seen the golf course.

I think it would be a completely different deal if you were someone that hadn't seen this course yet and haven't seen Woburn. I think that's a completely different deal for those players.

Q. Before and after you won a major, were you more serious about your golf before and have you lightened up since do you think?
ANGELA STANFORD: I tell you, I've learned a lot about myself. A lot in the recent months. I thought I would be a little more mellow. (Feed interruption) I was just mad. Just mad that I didn't have one. Mad that I was trying and mad that I couldn't figure it out.

At least now when I show up at majors I'm kind of like, Okay, happy to be here. But it's been challenging golf-wise because you just wonder what -- is this what drove me for so long and now what's next? Like, Okay it's easy to say I want to win another one, but do you understand what goes with that? Are you willing to do that at 41?

So I didn't realize how much I always played with my back to the wall until this year. I've never had the luxury of -- I mean, I guess my win in '12 gave me a two-year exemption. Job security in the game of golf, that doesn't go together. Now I've been given the gift of five years. That's basically until I'm 45. Not many people get to say that.

It's been interesting because now I'm kind of like, Well, back is not against the wall anymore. So I don't know that answer. I'm still learning.

Q. So you still don't know the answer?

Q. (No microphone.)
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, and I did have a bit of a setback this off-season. First major injury. I had a rib injury the beginning of November in Japan. Never dealt with an injury, so the beginning of this year was kind of delayed. I got some really good advice from Beth Daniel and Meg Mallon. Beth said, Do not hit a golf ball until you're ready to.

Of course I went a little before I should have, which think all players do. She was right. Your swing is going to be out of whack. You're not going to be 100%.

But I'm learning all that and very, very thankful I've never had an injury until now.

Q. When you left Pumpkin Ridge in 2003, did you think it would take 15 years, or did you think, I'm going to be in this position a lot?
ANGELA STANFORD: If you would have said not a chance for 15 more years I would've said, You're crazy. So, yeah, I thought for sure I would have more opportunities.

THE MODERATOR: All right. In the middle.

Q. The last American sportswomen who came to France to defend their title went home three weeks ago with a World Cup trophy. Ruffled a lot feathers but a lot of respect for women's sport along the way. Were you able to follow any of that? Thoughts on how they about their business?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I don't watch a lot of soccer. I watched as much as I could. Actually was in Chicago for the final game and kind of went to -- I saw it on Twitter. They were having this American team, I don't even know, like Team USA viewing. So I went to the park and there were all kinds of -- it was so cool. I loved it.

You know, sometimes you have to be bold and they were bold. I don't have a problem with that. I think people get offended, but what were they supposed to do? They're trying to win.

I hate to get into male/female, but guys are trying to win all the time. They're just trying to win and they were being bold about it. I loved it. (Smiling.)

THE MODERATOR: Any last questions for Angela? What are you looking forward to the most this week?

ANGELA STANFORD: I think finding out about me. I'm interested to see -- like I said, these last couple days have been pretty good. I'm kind of interested to see what happens on the first tee tomorrow. (Smiling.)

I have to say, the first time they announced me as a major champion I literally was like looking around. So it's going to be -- I'm just interested to see how I handle all this.

THE MODERATOR: Awesome. Great luck this week. Thank you Angela.


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