There’s a saying in the Lone Star State, “I wasn’t born in Texas, but I got here as fast as I could.”
Such is the case of thirteen-year LPGA veteran and Texas transplant Brittany Lang, who is competing on her home turf at the Volunteers of America® LPGA Texas Classic at Old American Golf Club this week.
Lang bounced into her press conference decked out with state of Texas earrings, Texas flag fingernails, and a refreshing authenticity that’s rare at these events. In an environment where athletes often regurgitate carefully crafted soundbites, she was all about keeping it real.
After extolling the virtues of barbecue, Tex-Mex and the new tournament venue, Lang spoke candidly about her recent lackluster performance. A marked change, particularly after an impressive 2016 U.S. Open win.
The Ups, The Downs, The Balance
“Golf is a funny, hard game. It’s been very, very frustrating, especially after you reach the mountaintop (the U.S. Open). You know, as golfers, we analyze everything, especially when you’re so high and you play so poorly. And I don’t have an answer,” Lang said. “The only thing I can say is after I won The Open, I didn’t take very much time off in the off-season, because I was excited about my success and wanted to keep going. And I got really burnt out early.”
After a string of missed cuts, instead of beating herself up, Lang decided to change her mindset and her approach.
“I started focusing on being more positive and just working smarter. I stopped analyzing and adding things,” Lang said. “That’s the thing out here. You could miss seven cuts and win the next week. It’s just how it is. But, you have to stay positive and keep working to get better.”
She also did something she hadn’t done for two years—work with a golf coach.
“For me, every time I work with a coach, I get worse. I definitely don’t have a perfect, fundamentally sound golf swing, like most of these girls do. I grew up swinging at eight and I have the same swing,” Lang said. “I think when I get with coaches, I get too technical. I think being athletic and honoring that helped me win the U.S. Open. But, at the same time, it’s hurt me these last couple of years with my fundamentals. You need a nice balance.”
Lang started working with well-known, Dallas-based golf performance coach Cameron McCormick last September.
“I have probably taken five lessons with him and he’s unbelievable,” she said. “If you’re technical, he can work that way. If you’re not, he can help you. I think he’s just so smart and fantastic.”
But, as much as Lang is a fan of McCormick, she’s approaching the lessons on her terms—as periodic, incremental tune-ups.
“I have five different things he wants me doing and, until those are digested, I don’t feel like I need to go back. So, probably a few months until I go and see him again,” she said.
As always, Lang is honoring who she is—an athlete with a natural gift who has the wins to prove it.
Staying Focused On What’s Important In Life
At the ripe old age of 32, Lang has a maturity and self-awareness well beyond her years. She said that her marriage to Kevin Spann, who proposed to her at this LPGA event back in 2013, has fundamentally changed her perspective.
“When you see the rookies, golf is everything. That’s all they know,” she said. “As you get older, your will and your fire isn’t as strong. If I don’t make this birdie or miss this cut, my life’s pretty good. It definitely gives you perspective, knowing you have somebody there for you in your corner.”
But, don’t think for a minute that Lang doesn’t want to win this week, in front of her family, friends and ever-growing fan base. Or that she doesn’t think she can “conquer the mountain” again.
“My ideal golf day? I would probably say Sunday, U.S. Open, final group, and I have a 10-shot lead,” Lang said.
Her walk-off song?
“God Bless Texas.”