July 30, 2020
Toledo, Ohio, USA
THE MODERATOR: All right, hello everyone. Welcome back to the virtual media center her at the Drive On Championship. Just a reminder to please remember to keep yourself muted until we open it up for questions. If you do have a question, you'll be able to write in the chat function to let us know.
And with that little bit of housekeeping out of the way, I'm happy to be joined by Rolex Rankings No. 85 and 2021 U.S. Solheim Cup assistant captain, Angela Stanford.
Angela, how are you doing today?
ANGELA STANFORD: Good. Doing good. Happy to have a negative test ane be here on Thursday.
THE MODERATOR: Aren't we all. So it's been quite a few months since you've been able to tee it up on the LPGA Tour. What have the last couple months been like for you during this quarantine?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I think it's just such a broad spectrum, from learning how to practice a little bit differently to learning a lot about myself to learning how to cook. I think the spectrum is just -- I just think everybody probably learned so much in five months of just being at home.
THE MODERATOR: One thing we did learn is the announcement of your assistant captaincy for next year's Solheim Cup. Since that announcement, what have you heard from former captains like Juli Inkster or current captains like Pat Hurst, and also about the announcement of Michelle Wie as your additional assistant captain?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think I heard from all of my former captains. They all sent a text or whatever. That was really cool.
You know, it's a real honor to be asked to be an assistant captain. It's going to be really fun to be Pat's assistant. I'm really looking forward to that, and I think Michelle is a great addition. She brings some fire and some spirit and she's young, but she's played a lot of golf in her young life and seen a lot of Solheims. I just think she brings a cool element.
THE MODERATOR: Have you reached out to her yet about maybe saying congratulations or has she reached out to you knowing you're here this week?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, so actually, I knew about Michelle a long, long time ago, and then once Pat talked to Michelle and she told me, then I sent Michelle a text. I couldn't tell anybody, so I was like finally I have somebody that I can celebrate with.
So that was really cool, to get to have that text exchange with Michelle. Once she was announced, I told her to enjoy the day, because it was a lot of fun. So I think we're going to have fun. Pat, Michelle, and I have already done one kind of FaceTime call together. I think our chemistry is going to be really good.
THE MODERATOR: Was it different preparing for this week knowing that everyone here that is an American is getting a sneak peak at the Solheim Cup 2021 course?
ANGELA STANFORD: I love it. I absolutely love it. I think it's a cool element that we're getting to do. It's one of those things that it's been a rough year, but this is one of the highlights for us.
I think it's going to be a great week. Looking forward to all feedback from all the Americans. I love seeing it, too. We played it yesterday for the first time and I was just blown away. It is so cool. There are so many things you can do it with. You can play it from long, short. I love that it's going to play firm and fast this week.
Just there is so much to it, and I knew right away why it's been a major golf course and held championships and why it's a Solheim course. You have to think on every situation off the tee, into the greens, and around the greens.
THE MODERATOR: And I know you're still as focused as ever on your own play. So when did it start to feel real to you that you were coming back to tee it up on the LPGA Tour?
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I guess about the time that I left my clubs at home. Because I had packed for a couple other trips throughout those five months, but really when I had to turn around to go back I was like, Oh, this is real. This is not like a fun golf trip. It's time to tee it up and go.
And I was nervous. Even in the practice round I put the tee in the ground, the first one, and I was like, Wow. It's back to work. I have to actually pay attention today.
THE MODERATOR: And you took that drive from Texas to here in Toledo.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yes.
THE MODERATOR: What was that drive like for you?
ANGELA STANFORD: It was easy. One of my best friends lives in Louisville right now, so went there for a couple days and got to play Valhalla. That place was fun.
So just kind of hung out and practiced and played and then drove up here Tuesday.
THE MODERATOR: All right. With that, we do have some people that would like to ask you some questions.
Q. Good to see you. I just learned this morning that not only are there no gallery ropes out there, you're not required to take caddies. Someone said she saw someone with a push cart out there. How different does that feel to you, and is that something that you even considered?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, first of all, it seems like there is just not many people on property to begin with. Feels like we are a little more spread out. I don't feel like I have seen as many people as I usually see during the week.
If I've seen a push cart, I didn't even -- yesterday I was so caught up in learning the golf course. I wasn't really paying attention to some other things.
But it's a little different, but it's something that he have to do right now. You know, I think Mike Whan did a great job and his team did a great job of giving us a chance to play. I think that's first and foremost.
You know, if girls feel like they can't take a caddie right now, if their caddie couldn't be tested or their caddie tested positive, so many situations where a girl still wants to play even if she doesn't have that caddie option, I guess.
It doesn't bother me in the situation that we're living in today in 2020.
THE MODERATOR: Randall?
Q. Just a question on -- well, when you get your test results, how do you get them? Is there an email? A phone call? Do you hold your breath a little bit when you look and see? You know what I mean? What's it like?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I've held my breath both times, even though I don't have any reason to believe I have it. Obviously you don't know. So I actually got my first result as I was driving to Louisville on Thursday. We get it by email.
I have to say the LPGA has done a great job in streamlining this. They send us our test. I had to be on Zoom and I had to be in front of somebody doing my saliva test, and then I sent it away. Got the result through email.
Same thing as soon as I got on site in Toledo. Went straight to the testing site. Same test. Mailed it away. I got a little anxious last night because I took the test around 4:30 on Tuesday, and by 11:00 last night I still didn't have my result.
So waking up this morning and opening that email I was like, I just want to see the negative. Please let me see negative.
So, yeah, it's through email.
Q. And then just a follow up to that: I'm sure you guys, because of what's happening in the U.S., are very aware of being careful. The minute that Gabby tested positive, does it heighten the sense of caution?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think so. But, you know, I don't know if we've -- in our second day if we had any positive tests, and I haven't heard if we have. So if we have one positive in the two days of testing, you know, obviously you don't want anybody to test positive -- but one out of we're guessing 400 tests, you know, that's good for us as an organization.
I understand it's the first week and I know we're going to start moving around a little bit more. Good news is they have us in Toledo for two weeks, so hopefully -- people understand now it's up to us. Again, the LPGA has made it very easy for us to find out if we're positive or negative. And once you're negative, it's up to you to stay that way.
It's a big deal for me. I'm being extra careful because I don't want to be the one that messes it up. I have to say that the wrist band they give us that says, results pending, I don't understand why everybody doesn't do that. Like if you took a test at home, because then everybody -- like I had to stop and get gas or whatever, and I'm sure they can see this on my wrist.
That makes people aware, too, that I've taken a test. Let's keep distance. Man, that was a really good move by the LPGA. I really like it, because it just let's people around me know that I've been tested and just be aware.
Q. Yeah, great. So sort of along those lines, I know you drove obviously to cut down on the amount of people that you would be in contact with in part, I would assume. What's your routine like this week in terms of what you're eating, where you're staying, and how is it different than it's been the last 20 years?
ANGELA STANFORD: Fortunately, I have housing here in Toledo. Very nice family that's allowing me to stay. You know, that's a big deal, because now I can get up and actually cook breakfast there. I have to say I did have a cooler in the back of my car just in case I have to get to a Diet Coke or Diet Dr. Pepper, or, you know, other things.
So the cooler in the back of the car has been kind of nice. Not having a locker room is harder for I think -- I would say me just being older just because I'm used to having a locker room and that's part of my routine. It's a place that I can go to be quiet before I got back outside in the mix with everybody. So that's a little different.
But, again, I think that was part of the reason I decided to drive. I wanted to have my car so I could have basically a locker room in my car. So I've been very fortunate this week with great housing, able to have my car, and now for two weeks. So it's different, but...
Q. How does the debit card work? Do you get so much money for the week?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yes. Again, great thing that I think our tour has done to keep people out of the clubhouse as much as possible, keep people outside. I think it's a great idea and it's helping people during the week. They understand that usually they provide breakfast and lunch and now they're not doing that, so they supplemented that.
It was a great idea. So, yeah, I guess it works like a visa gift card maybe and I have an amount that I can take care of food for the week.
Q. So now that we know that you're semi living in your car, for the detail freaks, what kind of car do you drive?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I was scared to kind of put those on social media because -- since I already forgot my clubs. So yesterday morning -- I have an older GMC Yukon. I walked out yesterday morning and had a flat left tire. I thought, Well, this is interesting. I don't really know what to do about this. So I just drove to the gas station, put air in the tire.
Come out after I play yesterday, and almost flat again. So I'm like, All right, well. Drove it over to the GMC dealership and we thought we fixed it, and I woke up this morning and it says low again.
I'm like, Okay. Is this like supposed to be an analogy for -- I mean, like what's going on here? Why can't I get enough air in this tire?
You know, I feel like a rookie. This is my 20th year and it was supposed to be like smooth sailing. When I showed at Diamond Resort in January I thought, This is going to be the best year ever. Coming off a tough year. So excited. Been working so hard.
You know, forget my clubs and a flat tire later, man. (Laughter.)
Q. And then just another one about the golf course. How would you best describe it? Is it also more of a second-shot course? Is there a lot of movement to the greens? What's the challenge here?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, after only seeing it for the first time, I think there is -- it's more of a tee shot golf course, especially if the greens are going to stay firm. You know, I'm not sure I want clubs coming out of the rough into these greens, because it is very important to stay below the hole on most of them.
So for me I think it's about the tee shot. I think if you can put yourself in the fairway you're going to have a better shot going into these greens.
And then if you miss a green, you know, again, there is so much going on around these greens with the rough, the bunkers, the greens have just enough slope in them to really make you pay attention.
So that's why I love it so much. You can't let your guard down at any point.
Q. And last one. It's an awful tough test, right, with a little rust to come in? How are players reacting to, as Bronte law said, being thrown into the deep end right way?
ANGELA STANFORD: I looked at up with the rules officials yesterday and I said why didn't -- no offense; of course I don't want to say anything I'm not supposed to -- but why didn't we start at Highland Meadows, a place I've played a million times, to kind of ease in this?
Bronte is right. I had a moment yesterday where I'm like, Man, I'm so glad I worked a little bit at my game, because, I mean, it's tough. But it's fun. It's going to keep us all interested, that's for sure.
But, yeah, it's going to -- it's a hard week to start with, but I don't think -- if you polled all the players, they wouldn't care.
Q. How would you describe just the general vibe this week among your peers?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think it's been pretty good. I think people are just happy to be here. They're happy to kind of be back to normal, per se. Everybody from a distance is Hi, good to see you. How you been?
And a perfect example for me. I don't usually play with things on my wrist, and between the Whoop band we're very lucky to have and the wrist bands they give us, I hate things on my wrist, but I keep reminding myself that's the reason I get to play.
So it feels like people are kind of -- we understand that there are the things that we have to do to get to play. So I feel like that's kind of the vibe, that people understand that it is what it is, but at least we're getting to tee it up.
Q. Would you normally go out to dinner with players throughout the week, or do you more stay at your host family's house? What does this do to your social game?
ANGELA STANFORD: I'm sure it comes as no surprise that I don't have much of a social game, so...
I remember one of the video calls, one of our player meetings, Mike Whan made the comment, If you're not -- I forget how he phrased it, but basically, if you're not social, you might really like this. If you are social, you may not like this.
So for me, I think it's going to be pretty easy. I stay to myself. I like to do my own thing. You know, I have some really good friends out here, but I'm okay doing my own thing. I've never really had anybody travel with me. I've never had an entourage per se, so this isn't something that's going to be new to me.
Q. One last thing: How long have you been with the same host family in Toledo?
ANGELA STANFORD: Oh, gosh. I can't even remember. I want to say -- well, they moved and we were -- I was with them at the old house. It's actually Dori Carter's housing that I just kind of like invited myself basically. Dori has been staying there for as long as she's played in Toledo and my housing situation changed. I was staying up north close to Ann Arbor for a long time.
So they moved and so I needed somewhere in Toledo and they had an extra bedroom. I said, Great, I would love to.
THE MODERATOR: One more last chance if anyone else would like to ask a question. As we wrap up here, too, I just want to know, how excited are you to kind of prepare for a slew of events now on the LPGA Tour?
ANGELA STANFORD: I'm so excited. You know, I don't usually play five in a row, but I just -- it's five months worth of built-up energy. I'm ready to go.
Really looking forward to Scotland. Extremely thankful that all of the parties involved were able to get that done and get us over there.
I think Troon is going to be something very special. The fact that everyone gets to watch the first major of the year at Troon with females playing is going to be pretty cool in a year that has been pretty tough, so I'm fired up about this stretch and excited.
THE MODERATOR: All right. Well, thank you everyone. Thank you Angela for joining us here today.
ANGELA STANFORD: Thanks.
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