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May 12, 2010

Angela Stanford


THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon everyone at the Bell Micro LPGA Classic. We're here with the defending champion Angela Stanford. Does that sound good?
ANGELA STANFORD: Sounds really good.
THE MODERATOR: It's been a year and a half actually since you won this event. Tell us a little bit about your memory of that victory. It clearly spurred you on to some great golf for the next six months or more.
And also, reflect a little bit about your first couple days here and the changes in the course and how you think that will affect play over the next few days.
ANGELA STANFORD: Obviously happy to be back in Mobile. When we were here in '08, I had a great feeling coming in. Felt like things were coming together. Had a great week and conquered some mental demons.
Just the feeling of winning again kind of gave me that confidence to -- kind of pushes you over the edge and makes you believe. I told a reporter earlier that, you know, if you don't believe you can win, you shouldn't be out here.
So everybody out here believes they can win. It's just seeing it and doing it that makes the big difference in your confidence.
So just thrilled to be here again. You know, good vibes. The course has changed, but still a bunch of good vibes. You're hitting some similar shots. Happy to be here.
The greens are firm, and it seems like in certain spots it's a little bit longer. So I think it's gonna be interesting. For me, personally, it almost seems a little more difficult because you're gonna have to be more strategic about how you hit your irons into these greens.
THE MODERATOR: Is that overall the changes, or is there anything specifically that you can talk about that they've made different to this course than it was 18 months ago?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I wish somebody would confirm to me that they moved 11 tee box over. Because I walked up to that tee box and I'm like, This is different. Everybody is like, No, it's not. I'm like, It's different.
This tee shot never made me uncomfortable, and now all of a sudden I'm uncomfortable. So I think they shifted a few tee boxes. 18 is a lot longer. I hit gap wedge in the Sunday of '08, and I've hit 6-iron and 5-iron in both times.
So length in certain spots. 9 is shorter. Obviously there are specific greens, like 17 and 8 that you have a little more room for error.
But for the most part, I mean, it's funny how you can change a course, you know, not by much, and it becomes a whole different golf course. I think the firmness of the greens is gonna make it hard this week. As it matures and grows it's gonna be awesome. I think the challenge this year is gonna be the firmness.
THE MODERATOR: What about the shift in the season?
ANGELA STANFORD: You got to be specific when you ask questions. To tell you the truth, I just remember it being hot. It still seems kind of hot out there. I think we had more rain at that time in September in '08. Could use some rain out there.
For the most part, it feels a little bit cooler but basically the same to me.
THE MODERATOR: Obviously this year all the players are here so the field will be tough. With Lorena gone, there's a half dozen players up there who are thinking No. 1. How do you think that'll affect the overall feel in competition out there over the next four days?
ANGELA STANFORD: I think just having everybody here obviously always makes a tournament a lot tougher, I guess. But, you know, I think the golf course in itself is enough for me to think about.
But it's gonna be like this all year long. It's really neat to see all the players come here and support the Bell Micro Classic, because I think it's an awesome event. I think the people are great. The golf course is tremendous.
So it's nice to see everybody here, because they should have been in the first place.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your form right now. I know Mexico wasn't the greatest week. Just kind of what you've been working on.
ANGELA STANFORD: Well, I think for me personally it's been about rhythm. You know, not to beat a dead horse, but I believe we've only had five or six starts, and it's May.
So for me, rhythm has always been a big key for me. Just to get going, get playing, and play a lot - a lot in a row.
But when you can't do that -- I honestly believe there's a big difference in hitting balls and practicing and being at home and -- and I'm very blessed to have a game at home that I play with my guys at my club. But it's just a big difference in playing tournament golf and competing against the best players in the world. I think it's a different feel.
So I kind of miss that, and I want to get it going. A lot of it's rhythm. I just haven't hit it very good out of the gate. I feel like I got a good couple thoughts this week, so excited to get out there and find out.

Q. You talked about the firmness of the greens. With the change in grooves, does that factor into that? Does it make it doubly challenging this year?
ANGELA STANFORD: Personally, I haven't been able to tell. My caddie has made a comment or two that, Oh, that released more or whatever.
Personally, I can't tell because my ball has always released a lot. I've always kind of hit it lower and maybe out of the rough. But I haven't been able to tell a big difference. I mean, this week just visually watching the ball bounce on the greens is...

Q. Is that generally the way it's been? Have you heard other players that think it is a factor?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, I haven't heard anybody say it's a factor. And I believe -- and this may be completely wrong; I don't know enough about this -- but it seems like women, even though we can create some club head speed, it's not the speed of the men. So I think the effect would be smaller.
I would think a player like Suzann, a Michelle Wie or a Brittany Lincicome, somebody that creates some club head speed and bombs it, I mean, they would probably be the one to ask.
For me, I haven't been able to really tell.

Q. Asians have won every event this year; a lot last year. Is it getting to be old for Americans to be asked about that? Are you guys past that? Or does it matter to have red, white, and blue winning events?
ANGELA STANFORD: Morgan Pressel won Japan last week, so it's kind of like flipped the coin. (Laughing.) You know, I think it's sad. I think it's sad that we have to keep answering questions as players. Because as players, we don't see them as Koreans or Asians? We see as competitors and players on our tour.
So it's frustrating that we can't just accept that. Because the players have. The players know that they're great people and great players. They're making all of us better. It's a global tour because of the Asians and the Europeans.
We're stronger in that respect than, you know, say the PGA Tour. But if you look at the PGA Tour, the same thing is kind of starting to happen but nobody is talking about it. That's because an American is still No. 1.
So I get frustrated because I don't see them as anything but a player out here. I think they're great people to have on our tour. They're wonderful in the Pro-Ams. When I say they, I mean, you know, Koreans and Asians because that's who you asked me about.
But I think it's always been a positive, so it's tough. I mean, don't get me wrong. I want to be No. 1. I understand that being an American and having an American be No. 1 is a big deal. I know that. It's not like I'm trying any less when I'm out there. They're just better right now.
You know what? It's up to the Americans to say, You know what? We've had enough. We want to be No. 1. Until we do that, we're gonna keep answering the questions.
But in my opinion, I think it's just helps all of us.
THE MODERATOR: Actually looking at the rankings and the top 5 players, are just that: You have Jiyai Shin from Korea; Ai Miyazato from Japan; Suzann Pettersen from Norway. Who else do we have up there? Yani Tseng from Taiwan, and No. 5 is Cristie Kerr. So there's is your global fivesome right there, or pretty close.
Of those 5, do I see anybody taking off? Is it anybody's game right now? Ai has obviously won three of five events this year, so you got to feel like she's got the hot hand.
ANGELA STANFORD: Yeah, and I think answering the questions of Lorena not being here, it's sad to lose her, to lose the No. 1 player, but we have so many other stories that are gonna come out of this.
I mean, I'm not sure if we're gonna have a dominate No. 1, but it's gonna be interesting. You're gonna have those stories all year long. Oh, so-and-so is No. 1, but No. 2 is so-and-so and she's .9 behind her. I mean, so you're gonna have those weeks.
I mean, personally, I enjoyed -- I mean, I was at home, you know, in Mexico, but I was watching the Tweets. Okay, Lorena has to finish here, and G.A., if she wins...
I mean, I think it's interesting, so I think it's gonna be -- I think it could be positive for the tour, if you want it spin if that way. There's always that side story of somebody new could be No. 1 this week.
THE MODERATOR: Well, we had a special announcement yesterday when Rosie named the two assistant captains, Juli Inkster and Sherri Steinhauer, to the Solheim Cup team.
Just wanted to get your reaction on the two assistants named and your thoughts on that.
ANGELA STANFORD: It's gonna be a fun Solheim Cup. (Laughter.) You know, Rosie is great obviously. She's gonna bring a certain fire and spirit to the Solheim Cup. Then you have Juli and, you know, I'm sad in one respect that she's gonna be an assistant and not playing. I thought I gave her a pretty good speech to try to keep her, but apparently not.
And Sherri is great. I think it's a solid team and they're gonna be great. I'm excited.
THE MODERATOR: I know it's a little early, but you're currently 2 in the points standings. When Rosie was selected, she went on the Golf Channel and was asked what player kind of reflects her personality and the type of player she was, and she chose Angela Stanford.
Curious on you thoughts on what that means to you. How would you describe yourself and why you would kind of fit in the Rosie Jones mode.
ANGELA STANFORD: Kind of ironic you're asking me this after Mexico. I always saw Rosie as a fighter and she was never going away. Just when you think you got her beat, you don't. Just seemed like she was always right there. Just a competitor.
I took it as, you know, an ultimate compliment. If I could be in that category as a fighter, I would love that. So I was very honored when I heard that. I would like to make her proud.

Q. Have you ever thought about playing in Japan? A lot of players doing that, especially this year. Do you have a plan?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I actually would. My agent sent me a list of tournaments, and now just trying to figure out where it would fit and make sense travel-wise.
So I looked at it. I had one pinpointed, and I can't remember -- I want to say it's in September. I need to go back and look. I have thought about it. It's encouraging. And, I mean, again, seeing the flip, to see Morgan go over there and win, that's kind of neat. I want to go over and play.
And G.A. winning in Japan and moving to No. 1, obviously there is some solid competition over there. I'm definitely checking into it. I think it would be neat.

Q. Could you talk about Ai. She's not a power player, and yet she's got this dominating... What makes her special?
ANGELA STANFORD: You know, I think at this level there's something mentally that she has latched onto that she's running with. I can't remember the last time I played with her, but I don't remember her hitting it extremely far.
I've had people tell me -- because in Thailand you had to hit it high and far; Mexico you needed to hit it high, and far helps -- so I'm baffled how she keeps winning on those golf courses. So it must be something mentally.
When you get into that frame of mind and you feel like you can't be beat, chances are you're not gonna be beat. At this level we all hit it very solidly. Our short games, putting, everything is really good. The edge is usually mentally.
And confidence. She must be busting with confidence. I want to walk behind her and see if I can pick up some of that. (Laughing.)

Q. Talk about Morgan, just what you've seen. She's not a power player. Maybe getting a little bit longer. Have you observed anything in her game?
ANGELA STANFORD: Just a little bit talking to her. Seems like, you know, when I first played with her when she first came out on tour she hit it right to left, and pretty hard right to left.
I remember thinking that was a lot like me. I had to figure out how to stop doing that, because I could only get to certain pin placements and only it was effective on certain types of golf courses.
Just the little bit that I've talked to Morgan, it seems like she's trying to straighten it out a little bit and learn how to hit different shots.
So I think you find out when you get out here you have to hit it both directions, and you have to be able to control that to win. So I think she's learning how to probably hit different shots. She has a great short game, so...

Q. Talking about confidence, just driving onto the property here, does that give you automatically extra confidence than you have had earlier in the year?
ANGELA STANFORD: Yes, because it's familiar. I have great housing here; I'm staying with two other friends. Everything is very simple. I'm a small town girl from Texas, so everything is very low-key and very laid back. People are awesome. Good food. Good Southern food. So it's just great feelings, great vibes.
And I understand my challenges on this golf course now. But you know what? When I played The Tournament of Champions here, I don't think I cracked an egg. So my luck, I finally figured it out and they bulldoze the golf course. So it's just another challenge.
But the feeling of now -- because I had the same feeling in '08 -- I know how to hit the shots to be effective on this golf course. Shot making hasn't changed on this golf course. You still have to hit certain shots. So that confidence of I know I can move it left to right to get to this pin, I know I can hit certain shots to score, that confidence is still there.
THE MODERATOR: Okay. Thank you. Thanks, Angela.

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