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June 1, 2005

Paula Creamer


PAUL ROVNAK: Paula, thanks for joining us. Last year you were here as an amateur, you finished second. A lot's happened since then: You won a tournament, turned professional, you graduated high school, but I imagine it's always nice to come back to where you had success.

PAULA CREAMER: I couldn't ask for a better tournament to come back after a win, and especially after a week off and all of the chaos that went on that week with graduation. But it's nice to be back here and I feel very comfortable and the golf course is in excellent shape. I'm looking forward to it.

Q. How has the travel been for you? Who do you travel with and how has that adjustment gone for you?

PAULA CREAMER: My mom and dad go to every event with me. My mom is coming in tonight, so after a week off, she might stay a couple of days later but she's going to come. My coach is here this week inaudible nine years old, so it's nice to have a fun guy running around which is nice and doesn't know anything about golf; that works well for me and takes the pressure off. So my coach sometimes, sometimes my sports psychologist, but they don't come all at once.

Q. Do you stay in hotel hotels, houses, when you go week to week?

PAULA CREAMER: Normally I stay at the hotels. Like this week, I'm staying here at the resort. No houses.

Q. Can you just talk about the crush of attention since you won?

PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, it's been hectic. It's different. I used to kind of get looked at, but now it's more of like a stare kind of thing. It's nice, but I really enjoy it. I know you work hard and you want to win, so this is what it's going to be like. So, fine with me, I'll take it.

Q. Could you talk about the difference between a win and a win when Annika is in the field, what that would mean?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, when the No. 1 player in the world is in the field, obviously, everything, it's higher; it will be more known. But a win is a win at the end of the day, no matter who is there.

Q. How strange was the last two weeks? Not many people win a tournament and get all that have attention and then go to their high school graduation. When you think about it, does it all sort of seem surreal a little bit?

PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, a little bit. I couldn't ask for better timing to have a week off and to have graduation and then win the week prior to all of that. I think it was perfect timing for myself. It doesn't matter when you win, but this was a good time to win. It was nice to go home and share it with my friends.

Q. Do they treat you any differently or are you just still Paula to them, or because you've had success, does it make it a little bit different?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, where I am, I'm at the David Leadbetter Golf Academy so I'm surrounded by athletes, and they all know what it takes to win and how hard you have to work to try to even win. So they know what I'm going through and they are all very. Excited, but it was nice to be add graduation, because I had not seen a lot of them for a while, and then I come back and I win. It was nice, they supported me through it.

Q. When you first turned pro, did you have a timetable, if you had sat down and said did it come quicker than you thought, was it or do you not think about those things?

PAULA CREAMER: No, I've always had my expectations and my goals have always been very high. My main goal obviously, this year's Solheim Cup, I definitely want to play; and so I always thought you need a win, you have to win to get on this team or else you're not going to have a chance.

I mean, it came fast in a way, but also I expected myself to win sooner. I've had many more chances, I feel, that I just didn't take advantage of.

Q. How do you pass the time at tournaments away from the golf course, what do you do at night, do you stay in or go out, or what's your typical routine?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, after my round, I will practice or I will eat lunch and come back and practice, then I'll work out and then I'll go eat dinner and whatnot.

At home, it depends, hike tomorrow I'm not playing in the Pro Am. So I might practice and then go to Atlantic City just to get away from golf, but I found out my tee time is pretty late. So it will be a long day and long morning, I'll get my nails done, go shopping, non golf stuff.

Q. How do you deep up with your friends?

PAULA CREAMER: Internet. I go on the Internet a lot. It's like an AOL kind of thing, instant message and I talk on my phone an awful lot. We have, whew, big phone bills.

Q. You know you can't gamble in Atlantic City; you're only 18.


Q. Can you tell me what it felt like last year, you came so close and yet you were not able to win, did that sting bad or how do you look back on it?

PAULA CREAMER: I was 17 at the time and I wanted to see what it was like out here. Of course I was trying to win, but also it's a great learning experience for myself to know that I can compete out here with the best players. And it helped me with my confidence and it helped me just with the experience. I took that into the Sybase week because it was pretty much kind of similar type of deal on last hole, and I had to make birdie, and I did. I remembered it from ShopRite, so I think it was definitely a learning experience, and you learn from that.

Q. Are you a different golfer now than you were here last year because of the Sybase victory?

PAULA CREAMER: Oh, not because of Sybase, just my golf game has changed. I'm longer, I'm stronger and mentally I'm much, I think more prepared going into events. You know, the most important part is that I have more creativity and am able to work the golf ball and that's not because of Sybase. I'm still a golfer; a win just boosts your confidence.

Q. And the absence of Annika Sorenstam last year didn't taint your great finish in your eyes?

PAULA CREAMER: When, here?

Q. Yeah.

PAULA CREAMER: No. Annika, there's also 144 other players in the field, not just Annika. I mean, every week she's there, or when she plays, she's going to be in contention. But, I mean, it's not one person that you're playing; you're playing the golf course.

Q. Your win kind of put more attention again on the young American players who are coming in and winning and being successful. How important is that that the young American women create a presence on the Tour?

PAULA CREAMER: Oh, I think it's very important to myself. You know, I would like to be known and think like that, as the next great American. It's so exciting and it's nice to know that there are younger players coming up through the ranks and the Juniors right now. But I just hope that I can help represent my country.

Q. I also wanted to know, when did you decide that this was going to be the move from high school to the Tour, as opposed from high school to a couple years of college, and is that a trend now, because it seems like a lot of players are doing it.

PAULA CREAMER: Well, there wasn't a specific time where I felt that I would have gone from, you know, high school to LPGA. There's probably more at the end of the season when I was doing well; and this helped a lot, the Open helped a lot, and going to Q School winning that closed the deal right there. I mean, that was probably the closest point of knowing that this was going to happen, because I went into it as an amateur.

Q. There's obviously going to be comparisons, you and Michelle Wie and you've heard them, does it bother you? What do you think about them? You've gone about it doing it your way and she's sort of going about it doing it her way; is one way better than the other?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, I mean, for me, this is the way that works. I can't tell you which way is better for what. I mean, Bruce Lietzke doesn't practice and he's awesome.

For me, I feel comfortable knowing that I've been able to win and that's very important to know in the back of my mind; that coming down the stretch, I know what it takes. But maybe for someone else, I don't know. I mean, I don't know really what her whole game plan is, but I know that I'm trying to be the best players in the world.

Q. Do you like the comparisons or do you mind them? Is it a good thing that people are comparing the two of you?

PAULA CREAMER: I mean, I can't control it. I have no control over who compares me to who. I can only take care of myself and what I do on the golf course. But sure, if it's going to help women's golf, then definitely.

Q. Which men's event are you going to play in?

PAULA CREAMER: I have no desire right now to do that. Maybe later in the future, but I have so many goals that I want to achieve on the LPGA Tour that I'm not even considering it right now.

Q. How do you be a teenager and not lose that, and yet have a career and do what you're doing out here? Is it hard, is it fun, would you recommend it for others, or do you lose a little something?

PAULA CREAMER: I know I've not lived the normal teenage life. I know that. I've realized that when we moved to Florida and I'm trying to pursue my dreams and being here right now.

But for me, for me I think that on the golf course, I'm a totally different person. When I'm here, it's all business. I mean, this is my job now. This is what I have to do and I love doing it and that makes it even better.

But when I'm off the golf course and I'm away from, you know, golfer, I'm just a normal 18 year old. I like to do everything. I like to go shopping, hang out, all of the things that other people do. It's just I have a job right now and a lot of the other teenagers that I know and my friends, they don't, and that's the difference. But off the course, normal girl.

Q. Do you feel like you missed out on anything, or is the tradeoff obviously worth it because of what you're trying to accomplish as a professional?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, I know I've missed out on things. There's a lot of things, but I would never change a thing. I think this is what I want to do. I'm glad that my family was able to give me the opportunity to do this and go to the David Leadbetter Golf Academy and train down there and pursue my dreams, but I would not change a thing.

Q. Is it for everybody? Because you see athletes that come out and are successful as teenagers and then some, probably more than some, that fail, or is it just up to the individual, if it's going to be successful thing or not?

PAULA CREAMER: I think it's definitely up to the individual. I mean, you have to have talent, obviously, but at the Academy, everything is there for you. But they don't do it for you; it's yourself. You get yourself to where you want to be.

I mean, I said it before, you're going to do whatever it takes to get to where you want to be, and you're going to work your hardest for that. It's not going to be served to you on a plate.

Q. Is there any advice you would give to other women or men who were sort of trying to follow in your footsteps?

PAULA CREAMER: Oh, of course. I think just to have fun with it and realize that I've always said to little girls, there are other girls out there that want to be dream about what you're dreaming about and you're not alone. It's a sport that is getting bigger and bigger over the years.

I remember when I was 12 years old, getting involved with golf, I played with the boys. There weren't any girls, but there are; you just have to kind of look around and find them.

Q. Is it difficult at all to have, like you said, the discipline to treat this like a job and sort of discipline yourself to put the time in and stuff like that when maybe a lot of your friends are taking the summer off before they go to college and stuff like that?

PAULA CREAMER: No, because this is what I want to do. I'm happy doing this. I have so much fun out on the golf course. Golf is so enjoyable because every day is different. It's not going to be the same thing twice. That's what I really enjoy. I mean, there's times, of course, where I just want to go home and sleep or go home and just do nothing, but in the back of my mind, I mean, I have my goals and my dreams that I want to achieve.

Q. I hate to be the designated Annika Sorenstam questioner, but on the men's tour there's been so much talk of what Tiger did, raising the bar, not only in terms of scoring and winning majors and things, but fitness and weight training and all these things. Has there been that type of effect with the things that Annika has done? I know you're new to the tour, but can you see that; that the bar has been raised and there's more of a challenge to do these things?

PAULA CREAMER: Of course, she, just like Tiger, brought fitness to women's golf. I know that I work out every day, and I know that to get to where she's at, I have to work out twice as hard as she does because there's a big gap right now. That's something that is good, I think, and definitely is going to make me work harder to get to where she's at and make the whole Tour work harder.

Q. I know you're a competitor, but is there any sense of awe when you see her and the way that she performs and the results?

PAULA CREAMER: I don't necessarily think it's awe, but, I mean, she's accomplished so many things. I think that that's fantastic. That's what I want to do.

So when I look at Annika, I think that to get to there, there's a lot of work that needs to be done. I also have a lot of time, too. I always remember that. I mean, I'm not I think she's 33, so I'm not that age right now. So I have time. I've only played nine tournaments as an LPGA professional, and I need to realize that I'm not going to achieve that in those couple of tournaments.

You know, she's definitely raised the bar, and Annika is Annika. She's the No. 1 player in the world right now.

Q. You've generated a lot of attention for the LPGA Tour with your victory. How do you see where your role in selling the Tour and bringing visibility to the Tour now and in the future?

PAULA CREAMER: You know, I hope that I bring in I hope I bring it in a positive way, definitely. I'm out here just trying to achieve my dreams and play golf and for the good of the game. And also, I think that I hope that there's more younger girls that get involved with it as well. I'm 18, so I think with that, that helps out with teenagers that are trying to get here and know that they can do it.

Q. Also, I want to know, now that you've won a tournament, is the marketing of Paula Creamer accelerated or has it been

PAULA CREAMER: You'll have to talk to my agent. (Laughter).

Q. Has it been strong since you came out or has it gotten stronger since the win?

PAULA CREAMER: I have great sponsors in ADT and Royal Bank of Scotland and Adidas. I have wonderful support in women's golf and I think that is the most important thing is that they are very heavily involved with that. It's booming. It's booming more and more as the last couple of weeks have gone by. We'll see later on in the year, we'll see what happens. I mean, I don't know anything right now, it's confidential. (Laughing.)

Q. Is there anything about this course in particular that you like or how you see the next few days once you start play on Friday, or is Annika the one to beat, or is Cristie the one to beat or is everybody just the one to beat?

PAULA CREAMER: This golf course, I think today is probably played the fastest. I had to hit rescue clubs into greens where I was hitting 7 irons into yesterday. So depending on the wind and the weather, it's definitely a big factor.

I think that the golf course fits my game well. You have to hit it in the fairway. If you miss it, the rough is pretty thick, but you also have to be very accurate. It's a demanding kind of golf course with the greens.

You know, I think it brings in this golf course brings in the whole field. I don't think that just one person can run away with it here. It's going to be I think a battle. I don't think there's one person.

PAUL ROVNAK: Thank you, Paula.

End of FastScripts.

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