Featured Golf News
Creamer Seeks another Major
Paula Creamer is in Wisconsin for the U.S. Women's Open, which started Thursday at Blackwolf Run in Kohler. The 2010 Open champion at Oakmont Country Club had a slow start to her 2012 season, but has warmed up recently, recording three top-10 finishes in five starts leading up to this week.
Creamer, currently ranked No. 9 in the world, has nine career victories and will be looking for a 10th - and her first since two years ago when she finished at 3-under 281, four shots ahead of Na Yeon Choi and Suzann Pettersen at Oakmont in Pennsylvania.
On July Fourth, the 25-year-old Creamer met with reporters and discussed her chances this week. Here's what she had to say.
MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, Paula Creamer is our 2010 United States Women's Open champion, and we're pleased to have her with us today. She won on a heroic golf course, Oakmont Country Club. I'm sure she's replayed that many times in her mind. We have another big golf course this week, Paula. Very big. Blackwolf Run. What do you think it's going to take to win here?
PAULA CREAMER: I think the best putter will win this week. Off the tee, it's not very difficult. It's not really - you don't have to think very much with certain shots. I think it's more of the approach shot into greens. These are probably the biggest greens I think I've ever played. And there are so many undulations. Being able to control your distance with your irons and your long clubs is really going to be where it's at. I'm sure the USGA is going to make pin placements difficult. There's so many tee boxes out here that they can do what they want with the golf course. But I'm really looking forward to it. It's in good shape. The greens are rolling so pure, and I'm excited for tomorrow's start.
MODERATOR: You were the 36 hole leader, I believe, in the LPGA Championship. You finished ninth. Excuse me. You're poised right on the edge of playing some really good golf. What is it going to take for you to cross that line?
PAULA CREAMER: You know, I am starting to play a lot better. I'm getting more and more comfortable out on the golf course with the changes I've been making. It's really just a confidence thing in that I love being in contention. There's nothing better than having putts to move up the leaderboard and whatnot. It's just putting four good days together. This is a major championship. You have to take it hole by hole, shot by shot, the old cliché of that. But in reality, that's what you have to do out here. And I think whoever is going to be the mentally toughest as well is going to come out on top. I've been there before. I know what it takes. I want it so bad. I want it more now than anything I've ever wanted it. As I said, I feel very mentally strong right now. And I think that's going to be the biggest difference.
MODERATOR: We'll take questions.
Q. So which course is more difficult? This one or Oakmont, and why?
PAULA CREAMER: To me they remind me a lot of each other. You can see all the holes, that kind of thing, undulations. I think Oakmont, they're different but they're similar, the rolling hills, that kind of look. The greens, I think, at Oakmont were trickier because the breaks were so much bigger. I mean, when you looked at a putt, it was six feet left to right. When you're here there's left to right, right to left and left to right in all these putts. It's different in imagination type wise. Oakmont just in itself is a very difficult golf course. I think the USGA will make this one a difficult golf course with how they set it up.
Q. I just want to get some of your thoughts and feelings about the U.S. Open. What makes it different from anything else you play and how does it fit into your year? What do you feel about it?
PAULA CREAMER: Goodness. This is by far one of my favorite tournaments, besides Solheim Cup and representing my country, playing my national championship. This is it. This is the week where it doesn't matter where you're from, you want to play in this. You want to get into it. You want to qualify. No matter what age you are, you want to be here. It's the best players in the world. The fact that it is your national championship, you always want to play well. And just the excitement, the nerves that you go through. There's nothing more than this week. To have your name on that trophy with all those players, it's such an honor in a sense, to know that you've beat the best players in the world and you had four good days of golf. There's really nothing that can compare to that.
Q. Paula, being that this is the national championship, is there any national pride amongst American golfers to win this thing again, given what the foreign players have done, not only in this tournament recently, but in most of the majors?
PAULA CREAMER: Of course. I mean, you want an American to win the national championship. Of course. The competition is what it is right now. There's a lot of great players from all over. They're pushing women's golf for everybody. Of course there's a little added pressure on the Americans to do well. Every week there is. Being such a big and important event to all of us, it's the person who I guess in a sense doesn't put as much pressure on themselves to do well that will be there.
Q. Hey, Paula, you talked about mental toughness a moment ago. How much does that factor in with the weather you guys are going to experience over the next few days?
PAULA CREAMER: It is hot. It is very hot out there. It's muggy. Being hydrated and taking care of yourself is going to be a huge factor. It's just such a mental grind in itself being out there, and the fact when you add all these other elements to it and delays and whatnot. Hopefully we don't get any. This would be nice. We already had one. That's a typical U.S. Open. It is. It's going to be draining. People who are fit, it's going to help out a little bit better. Being able to prepare your body. I've been drinking so much water. But living in Florida helps too. I'm used to practicing in this heat. Last week was hot, so it was kind of a good warmup going into this week.
Q. Paula, Dottie was just named assistant captain. Can I get your comments on that?
PAULA CREAMER: I'm really looking forward to it. I never got to play with her. She was I think retired the year before I came out here. I don't know her as a player. I know her as an announcer. I have complete 100 percent faith in our captain's choice. To have Dottie be there, she's red, white and blue. It's going to be a pretty motivating team room. I'm looking forward to picking her brain on how it is to be so competitive and feisty and learn also things from her as well - not only that, but become a friend too.
MODERATOR: About two and a half years ago you had a real problem with your thumb. You had to have surgery. It was a long recuperation. It was before you won the Women's Open. How much of an issue is your thumb today?
PAULA CREAMER: My thumb, it feels good. I've been able to do everything that I've wanted to do. It's hard when the grass is really tight, but here I'm okay. Divots aren't huge, things like that. It will always be a part of my life. It's not going to go away by any means. I don't have much pain and I'm good.
MODERATOR: Do you have to ice it down or anything before you play?
PAULA CREAMER: No, not anymore. I did a couple of months ago when I was hitting a ton of golf balls. But I'm okay now.
Q. First women's major in Wisconsin a number of years. How has the women's game changed over the last 10 or 12 years? Is it diversity? What have you seen?
PAULA CREAMER: Ten years - I was 15. It's pretty much the same girls I've been growing up with now. I didn't play get to play in the Open when it was here. But I've just seen so many just the resources that we had when I was 15 until now, equipment, golf balls, everything. Anything going from how we look at our golf swings on V 1, things like that. It has been - you've been able to do so much more. Nutrition, fitness, all of that is really change. We're more athletes now. I think that's a big difference. Not that they weren't then. We've taken another step to our health and our bodies and being able to prevent injuries, things like that. I would say that would be the biggest difference in what I've seen.
Q. There are 13 year olds in this field. There's a 14 year old in the men's Open field. What do you make of that? What do you think that portends for golf?
PAULA CREAMER: They're the future, really. I do a lot with The First Tee. I see a lot of 10, 11, 12, 13-year-olds that are so good, so talented. They're the future of either the women's or the men's golf. I try to support that as much as I possibly can. At the same time you also have to remember it's a game. It's a marathon. It's not a sprint. It's something that you can have for the rest of your life. It's very important to I think have a balance. There's a lot of stories in women's golf and men's golf and the people who just really know how to be a person off the golf course and on the golf course are the ones that are going to last for a long time.
MODERATOR: What do you like to do off the golf course?
PAULA CREAMER: Goodness. I don't really have much time off the golf course. I have a puppy now. I have a little dog that I get to take care of and I guess be a mom to my little dog. But I just like being able to spend time with my family. I had a big loss this year with my grandpa passing away. For me it's been really kind of a wake up call to just being a person and being golf is my life, it's my passion, but there's a lot of other things I want to do as well. I need to remember that. I think one of the greatest stories of the year is Mel Reid and what she has gone through. I think that is so impressive what she did. You put everything into perspective and we're so lucky we're able to go out and play this great game, but at the end of the day you're still a person.
MODERATOR: The key question of the day, what kind of dog is it and what's his name?
PAULA CREAMER: His name is Studley.
MODERATOR: And what kind of a dog?
PAULA CREAMER: A Coton. A cotton dog. Everybody wants to know about my dog? It's like a Maltese or a Bichon.
MODERATOR: Questions? Paula, good luck this weekend. Thanks so much for being with us today.
PAULA CREAMER: Thanks.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.