LPGA Takeaway: Angela Stanford Says Playing for Your Country Is 2nd to None
LPGA Tour veteran Angela Stanford is a six-time champion with an impressive team play resume. The member of six U.S. Solheim Cup teams (four of them victorious) the 38-year-old beat Norway's Suzann Pettersen in the penultimate match to clear the way for teammate Paula Creamer's victory point, staging one of the greatest comebacks in history. Her last win was a four-way playoff at the 2012 HSBC Women's Champions.
You’ve been on the LPGA tour for 15 years. What has been one of your biggest challenges over the course of your career?
I would say not being in the hunt as much as I have in the past. Once you have it, you want it more and more. And I think that was tough. I knew I was redoing some things, but you still want to win. And you still want to be in that final group on Sunday. I think that was the hardest part. It made  seem a little bit longer, because it seemed like every week I was around 30th or 40th. Nobody wants to do that week in and week out.
What’s something really specific you worked on to improve upon those finishes?
A lot of it was my short game, trying to be more consistent with speed with my putter. And some of it was full swing. I’ve always had one move that’s kind of haunted me, so just really digging in and fixing that one thing that I do wrong.
You’re no stranger to winning the Solheim Cup, but tell me about the come-from-behind win in 2015.
I don’t know if there are any words to explain the way the Solheim Cup made me feel in 2015. I grew up playing on teams, and I loved being a part of the Solheim Cup. To be individuals, and a part of a team that wins, is a feeling like no other. When you win a golf tournament, you win as an individual. But when 12 people have to put it together to win something, that’s beyond what you do as an individual. To be a part of that and to be a part of the greatest comeback, I mean, it still gives me chills. It’s the most fun I’ve ever had on a golf course.
Was this year any different than the others?
I think the 2015 Solheim Cup was special to me because it was my sixth one, and you never know when your last one is going to be. And I kind of get the feeling it might have been my last one. I wanted to be the best teammate I could possibly be, just to be in the team room with those ladies that I’ve played with multiple times. But it did seem a little different. We obviously all wanted to win for Juli, but it seemed like we were all starting to fully grasp how important it is to play on these teams and enjoy it. I get the feeling in the end that they really enjoyed the entire week and enjoyed playing for each other. I think Sunday night was more of a “we did it,” and that was enough.
Speaking about representing your country, what do you think the impact of Olympic golf will be on women's golf?
I think we’re already on the world stage, but people will see how good we are. The fans that don’t watch us week in and week out, they get a chance to see it. For us it's week in and week out. It’s a world tour, but I think the Olympics put us on the big stage, and we’ll be in countries that don’t play as much golf yet. That’s exciting.
We have the Solheim Cup. The Europeans and Americans get to do this every two years, they get to play for their country. I think it’s pretty cool that the International Crown has brought that to other countries, and now with the Olympics, there are girls that have never had the chance to play for their country who can now do it…and I would wish that for everybody. I think girls who have never had that chance are gonna get that chance, and it means a lot to people. So, I think it’ll be really neat for women’s golf.
How can you as a player try to help shine more light on the LPGA tour?
I think especially the women who play the Olympics can push our tour forward by the way they play, they way they act, how competitive they are, the way they carry themselves. I think our fans enjoy us because of the way we interact with them. I hope they see that on the Olympic stage too.
After this many years on tour, what’s one thing you’ll take away with you?
Once I walk away, one thing I’ll take away would be an appreciation for the world. I grew up in small town Texas…I never thought I’d own a passport, never really wondered what was out there to be perfectly honest. The LPGA Tour has taken me to some very cool places, and just to see different parts of the world and to appreciate the life I have back in Texas…I think just that. An appreciation of the world.