We get to be a team, and it's fun

Angela Stanford grew up playing team sports and looks forward to the Solheim Cup more than any event. AP Photo/Mike Groll

Texas native Angela Stanford, 35, has won five LPGA titles and nearly $8 million in her career. She has five top-10 finishes in 2013 and tied for 17th at last week’s Women’s British Open. Stanford will represent the United States in her favorite event, the Solheim Cup, Aug. 16-18 at Colorado Golf Club outside Denver. It will be her fifth Solheim appearance.

The Solheim Cup is shaping up to be a very competitive event. Now that Morgan Pressel and Brittany Lang are in for the U.S. team, their additions give us more experience. I was a little worried earlier this year that we were going to have five or six Solheim rookies; instead we will have four.

It’s nice to see those who have been on the team before playing well. But I’ve always said you need some rookies. So I’m excited about playing with first-timers Lexi Thompson, Jessica Korda, Lizette Salas and Gerina Piller.

I’ll have some words for them before we start, mostly about attitude. If you’re hanging your head, your partner feels that. But looking at these younger players, they are so confident -- more than I was, when I was young. They are just a different breed that way.

When it comes to captain’s picks, you can’t just go by golf stats; there have to be intangibles. I think Gerina is a great personality for the team, besides the fact that she bombs it on the golf course. And “Weasel” -- Michelle Wie -- I’ve always said I would take her as a partner any day of the week.

In this sense, match play is very different. If you look at Michelle’s scorecard, I’m going to guess she often has between three and five birdies every round. And if she has a partner out there who’s making pars on the holes she doesn’t, it makes a lot of sense. And she has experience at Solheim; she’s still pretty intimidating, especially in a format like this.

Speaking of partners, I can play with anybody at the Solheim Cup, but I really enjoy playing with fellow Texan Brittany Lang. Her personality helps me. My all-time favorite partner was Pat Hurst.

Over time, I’ve learned what personalities I fit best with. I think I am probably a little more serious and more emotional out there. Brittany, every time I see her, always has a big smile on her face; she has this confidence and ease about her. Pat was kind of the same way.

With partners like that, I feel like I can go at pins, maybe take some risks, because they always say, “That’s fine, we’ll get this. Don’t worry, hit it where it goes, and we’ll go find it and hit again.” That’s not usually the way I go about it; I’m more cautious and analytical.

I used to carry bad days with me all night. It gets really hard if you are like that. I’ve kind of learned how to accept what happened, figure out how to fix it and leave it at the golf course. And how to come back and do it again the next day. I seem to be a little happier. I’ve had a hard time doing it, but Juli Inkster tells me all the time to let bad shots go. You’ve got to go hit the next one.

Ultimately, I absolutely love the Solheim Cup. I grew up playing team sports, and it is the one tournament I look forward to more than any other. We get to be a team, and that’s fun.