December 9, 2020
Houston, Texas, USA
Champions Golf Club
THE MODERATOR: Welcome back. We're pleased to welcome Angela Stanford to the interview area. Angela just earned her seventh LPGA victory last week in Dallas and is a Texas native.
Talk about what it feels like to be here this week.
ANGELA STANFORD: I really feel like I'm dreaming, you know, because usually -- and it's been hard to kind of get used to this week because usually at U.S. Opens, first off, it's in a different time of the year.
We were sitting having lunch and listening to Christmas music. That was the first thing. I'm like, okay, that's weird. And then being in Texas is weird but good.
So I think just trying to get used to the surroundings this week.
THE MODERATOR: We've talked for over a year now about how excited you were for this week. Now you're coming in off a win. Put those two things together.
ANGELA STANFORD: I didn't see that one coming, to be perfectly honest.
Everybody wants to play well leading up to an Open, no matter if it's May, June, or December. To start to really get my short game going last week and then kind of hit it better on Sunday, but I need to kind of work on that right now.
I don't know. I just -- like I said, it's a dream to even play in Texas for an Open. I think that's helped my expectations this week.
I think being older and understanding what a big deal that is, I think I've kind of -- I've let go of some of the expectation and just enjoy it.
I'll never get this chance again, and I'm going to enjoy it as much as I can.
Q. Kind of run us through the reaction of finding out you were going to hit the first tee shot.
ANGELA STANFORD: Actually I found out from Robin Burke. She was out walking around watching a few holes, and she's like, Oh, tee times are out. I'm like, When am I? She's like, 9:20. I was like, That's nice. I get to sleep a little bit. She's like, No, you're first. I'm like, What?
And then I didn't really think about it until I was talking to somebody else and I'm like, Oh, that's because I'm old. Like because I'm like -- I guess Stacy could have done it or B-Lang, and I'm like, Oh, I'm the oldest Texan here.
So then it kind of really set in because I'm like, this is a really big deal, and it's really cool. Like it's just kind of -- the whole week has been cake, and that's the icing.
Q. Is this one time where being old wasn't a bad thing?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's not a bad thing. I immediately went to -- from old to veteran. Veteran is my word.
Q. Being a veteran player, what's the best piece of advice you've ever gotten in your career?
ANGELA STANFORD: Oh, wow. You know, I think there were two. The first one golf-wise was Juli Inkster. I asked her early on, I'm like, Juli, how do you stay out here so long? How do you do it? This is hard.
She said, It's all about your short game. I wish I would have listened to her way back then, but she was like, You're not going to hit it perfect all the time. Like you have to figure out how to get it in the hole on those days that you don't hit it good.
And then the other piece of advice was from Nancy Lopez. Just watching Nancy, she's always happy and always so nice to people, and I'm like, Nancy, how do you do that when you've had a bad day? And this was like the best thing anybody has ever said to me. She said, It's not their fault you had a bad day. And I was like, Wow. Like that was really cool.
And so now -- and I've had a couple of times in my 20 years that I wish I could take back coming right off the golf course, but for the most part, that has kind of stuck with me, that it's not the fans' fault, it's not the media's fault, it's nobody's fault that I just played really bad. That really helped hearing early in my career.
Q. As a fellow Texan, I'm curious what your favorite barbecue in the state is.
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I think because I don't eat a lot of barbecue because I'm more of a Tex-Mex kind of girl. I think at home probably Railhead in Dallas Fort Worth. Heim Barbecue is brand new and I think Railhead has been around for a while, but y'all got to look out for Heim Barbecue. They're pretty good. You're probably going to see them down here pretty soon.
Q. When you were here for media day, you went home with a lot of homework, you said. What's improved the most since then?
ANGELA STANFORD: Definitely my lag putting, and I think I kind of saw it last week just putting overall. But when I left here media day I figured I'd better figure out how to chip the ball and I'd better figure out how to putt the ball, and I really went to work on that.
I found -- and we talked about how you have to have a place to practice those things, the long pitches across greens, and Shady Oaks has been great for that. I found a couple of places out on the little nine that I can just hit those long chip shots.
And I think that's part of it. Sometimes you're just not used to seeing like a 50-yard chip shot. I think just getting used to seeing it, first off, and then hitting it is -- you just have to learn how to do that.
But I definitely went home and spent some time on my short game.
Q. There are 41 first-timers in the field, that it's their first Open. What would you tell them sets this week apart?
ANGELA STANFORD: It's just so big. You know, everything is just bigger. Everything means a little bit more. And I think you can kind of get caught up in that.
I would tell them do not leave discouraged because there's a good chance you're not going to play the way you want to play, because I remember my first one, I was so disappointed. But looking back now, I wish I would have enjoyed it more on the tail end.
The beginning of the week I loved it. I was in heaven. But then you don't play good and you're like, Dang. So I hope they leave knowing that it's just a big experience, and they need to remember that and just try to enjoy it on the tail end of it.
Q. Have you let yourself think about what another victorious Sunday might feel like?
ANGELA STANFORD: No, I haven't gone there because the one thing that I promised myself about this week -- and I told my caddie last week, and I think it was Saturday we had kind of a tough day -- yeah. And I was a handful last week on the golf course.
I get a little frustrated and I get a little fiery, and I said, If you think this is bad, next week is really going to be bad, so I need you to be prepared, because I've never wanted something so much in my life.
I've had to kind of -- it's really helped me just say, Okay, I thought it was when I make a birdie let's try to make another one, but this week it could be when you make a par, let's try to make another par.
I think it's my mindset that I haven't even gone there, whereas most weeks when I come to Opens I am thinking about Sunday. I'm not allowing myself to go there because it's something I've always wanted, and now it's in my backyard, and that's not -- it can't get better than that.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports