THE COLONY, TX - Reaching the proverbial mountaintop in a sport is bliss. But, as exhilarating as the climb up is, sometimes the downfall is equally as frustrating.
In 2016, Brittany Lang reached the absolute peak of women’s golf by capturing the U.S. Women’s Open trophy, her second career win.
Unfortunately, she hasn’t been the same since.
The Texan has just two top 10s in her 44 starts since and has dropped 84 spots in the Rolex Rankings. She rose to No. 20 in the world after the win, but has fallen to No. 104 in the last 18 months.
Wednesday in the media center at Old American Golf Club, Lang, who spent her formative years growing up in Texas and still resides in the state, gave a very honest assessment of life since winning the major.
“To be honest, it has been a struggle, I have played really poor this year,” said Lang, who has missed the cut in six of her eight starts this year. “Golf is a funny, hard game and you search for answers, but I don’t have one.”
Lang reached the low point this year at the ANA Inspiration when she missed the cut after rounds of 76-71. She decided she had to refocus.
“I’d missed so many cuts and I’ve played horrible, but I started focusing on being more positive and just working smarter.”
She also stopped analyzing every detail in her game.
The 13-year veteran feels like she may have turned the corner last week in San Francisco. While it didn’t show on her scorecard, she felt her focus was sharper. She was also motivated watching Lydia Ko win.
“Lydia hasn’t played up to her standards, so it does motivate you to see her win. Anybody could win any week out here. You could miss seven cuts and win the next week. That is just how it is.”
Prior to winning the U.S. Women's Open, Lang went two years without a coach. In a way it helped her play free, but she admits it may have hurt her, too. She’s had the same swing since she was eight-years-old and usually goes backwards when working with a coach because she's not a technical player.
However, towards the end of 2017, Lang needed help. She started working with Cameron McCormick, the 2015 PGA Teacher of the Year, to get her swing back on track. She’s had five lessons with him so far and likes the direction he’s taking her.
“He’s so great,” said Lang. “If you’re not technical like me, he can help you. I just think he’s so smart and just fantastic.”
This could be the week that Lang sees strides on the course.
Lang sat up on the stage in the media center with earrings the shape of the state of Texas and nails painted in the colors and pattern of the Texas flag. Even while detailing her frustrations, she still gave off a zest for the game and being in her beloved state.
In 2013, when the tournament was played at Las Colinas, she missed the 54-hole cut, but got engaged essentially live on Golf Channel. Her now-husband, Kevin Spann, waited for her to putt out on her last hole and then dropped to one knee.
“This is a special event for many reasons,” said Lang. “It’s so exciting to play at home. This is a unique course, it has a very Texas feel.”
Any maybe being back in the Lone Star State is the first step in her climb back up the mountain.