Angela Stanford joins ‘Big Pickle’ to talk final major start at Evian

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Angela Stanford remembers the phone call like it was yesterday. She was in bed asleep when the LPGA rang to say that she was in the field for what was then known as the Evian Masters.

Did she want to play?

That was 2001. Stanford said yes and then cried down the runway in Dallas because the small-town girl in her didn’t want to travel the globe for a living.

Fast forward to 2024. Stanford, 46, hasn’t missed an Evian since that phone call. It’s the event that made her a major champion in 2018, and it’s where she’ll say goodbye to major championship golf at some point later this week, depending on how it goes.

From her room in the Hotel Royal, where past champions stay at the Amundi Evian Championship, Stanford caught up with our Beth Ann Nichols and NBC Sports’ Grant Boone to talk about the evolution of the Evian and what it feels like to wind down a career that spans decades and includes seven LPGA victories as well as a record 98 consecutive major championship starts. It’s safe to assume that no one will ever get close to Stanford’s mark of 98 straight, a streak that ended with this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.

She’ll begin her final major championship start on Thursday off the 10th tee at picturesque Evian alongside Atthaya Thitikul and Linn Grant, two world-beaters still very much on the front nine of their careers.

For Stanford, this season will be her last on tour.

“You go through these stages of grief,” said Stanford of coming to terms with walking away.

“I haven’t been shy about telling people that I’ve been in counseling for a long time, and a lot of it was for (the death of) my mother. But I did not know that the end of my career would kind of parallel that. And they’re two really difficult things to go through at the same time. The thing that he kind of made clear to me was, look, you’re going to grieve over this too. I think it has taken me a while to get through some of those stages to where I’m so grateful now that I’m in this position, I’ve said this is it, and I can be grateful for it.”

Listen to the entire episode here:

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