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May 6, 2008

Paula Creamer


DANA GROSSRHODE: Thank you all for joining us.
Paula, welcome to the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill. You're coming off a two-hole playoff win last week at the SemGroup Championship. This has too feel good.
You've had a couple Top Ten finishes this year looking, at possibly breaking through to one million in season earnings this week with a strong finish.
PAULA CREAMER: It's been a good couple of weeks that I had. Prior to that my golf game wasn't exactly where I planned it to be but I've been working really hard on my golf became, working really hard on my short game and my putting and I've changed a lot of things in my golf swing I'm trying to learn how to do in competitive rounds but, you know overall, I'm pleased with what's going on.
Obviously after my win last week, couldn't feel better right now.
DANA GROSSRHODE: Okay. Questions?

Q. Little burned outright now?
PAULA CREAMER: Little tired. Been a lot of things happening but this is my last week and then I get a week off so I'm trying to give it all 110 percent that I have, go really hard, work hard at what I'm trying to do and I'll have a nice week off after that.

Q. Last week what, four, five?
PAULA CREAMER: This will be number four, uh-huh. A busy four.

Q. Can you kind of talk about what you mentioned your swing, can you kind of talk about what you did with that?
PAULA CREAMER: Just technique-wise. You know, I'm a pretty strong girl and I just really haven't learned how to use my strength in my golf swing.
We're really working on setting into my right side and keeping -- setting my wrists faster and that's just something that you have to trust. I can do it on the driving range all day long but taking it to the golf course under pressure, that's different.

Q. If you look down the list of the winners of this event, it's some of the best players in the game.
What does that say about this event?
PAULA CREAMER: It's one our Fifth Major so we consider it as is. It's a great golf course. The rough is incredibly thick. You have to hit good golf shots out here and it all comes down to putting.
The par 5s, some of them are reachable. Overall, it's good for people who hit it straight and hit really good irons.

Q. On the 18th green last week, you said you were going to have a chat with your putter. I was just curious what you two talked about.
You had multiple opportunities. Talk about what you talked about and how that affected you mentally.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, we didn't really have a chat. I was okay with it when it made the putt in the playoff.
But, no. I kind of just struggled with my speed and my tempo last Sunday. The other days I putted really well and I don't know what happened. I just kind of, I guess, nerves and just, you know, pressure out there.
But, you know, I've learned a lot. People always say you learn from your loses and I did learn a lot from my win as well.
I have been working on the tempo of my stroke, not something that I guess you could say we had a little chat about, just trying to make more putts.

Q. You've been in position to win the last two weeks. You want to keep playing as long as -- you want to get everything out of it you can, right? You're on a hot streak right now?
PAULA CREAMER: Of course. I always felt when I play five, six tournaments in a row I've always played my best. I'm more of a person who needs to play a lot rather than practice.
And, for me, that's just kind of a blessing in disguise going out and playing four in a row because I got to actually play.
In my off-season I think that was one of the mistakes I made, I hit so many golf balls, which is what you have to do to change your golf swing. You kind of forget how to score. It's taken me a little while to get back on that track.

Q. Paula, you attended a golf academy when your potential was sort of understood. I'm sure that's an individual decision that every family has to grapple with.
Are there some dos, some don'ts, pros and cons to that kind of experience?
PAULA CREAMER: Definitely. Oh, yes. I mean of course. It's a huge decision for my family, even I had to make. Pack up five suitcases from California and move to Florida when you're 14 years old.
But it definitely was one of the best things I've ever done to get my game to where it is today.
Obviously you can have all the resources but you are the one that does the work. They don't do it for you. They're not out there hitting the golf balls but they have the best nutrition, mental, psychology, all of that.
It's important to have that but people need to realize that the person is what gets it done, not the place.

Q. Do you sacrifice something? Is there something to some degree lost in the bargain?
PAULA CREAMER: To me I don't think -- it was a normal life for me. I don't know anything different than that. You know, a lot of my friends in California I've kept in touch with and, you know, hearing stories of what they did when they were a junior in high school and stories what I did when I was a junior in high school are a little different with driving and alcohol testing.
It wasn't the same with them. I wouldn't want it any different. It was a great place for me. I learned a lot. I met a lot of athletes. I think that was the biggest thing, being surrounded by people who wanted to be the best.

Q. What kind of phone calls were they giving you and text messaging to you?
PAULA CREAMER: I don't know. I get random calls at 3:00 in the morning. It wasn't something I was used to. I've actually kept in touch with a lot of my friends back home. It's amazing the different roads people take.

Q. Paula, with Michelle playing here this week, is that something that would be good for the Tour if she became a more regular physical member of it?
PAULA CREAMER: You know, I think the Tour is in a great place right now. There's a lot of good players that are playing well. Juli Inkster, last week being right in contention and going to a playoff.
I think the Tour is in a wonderful place and you know, I think her playing it helps it but, at the same time, I think we're doing pretty good.

Q. Is she at this point, do you view her as a threat or -- if you see her entered, do you even notice it, Michelle?
PAULA CREAMER: You know, I'm out here playing the golf course. On the last 9 holes whoever is in contention I'm trying to beat but, at the same time, you have to go out and take care of my own game.

Q. Does it surprise you, as good of a place as the Tour is with all the storylines you were talking about, during the Kraft Nabisco I turn on Sports Center in the morning and I couldn't find anything about the season's first Major and as good a story lines were out there?
Are you surprised that the Tour hasn't cracked mainstream media perhaps a little more than it has?
PAULA CREAMER: At times, yes, because there's so much talent that's out there right now with what Lorena has done, winning as many in a row as she did, and I am a little surprised with that but, at the same time, you know, we have to be televised more and we have to get ourselves out there.
You know, as an individual athlete, I do as much as I can but, at the same time, you know, as long as I get to play golf and go out and do my job, I'm pretty pleased with that.

Q. A year ago here one of the topics going on it was nine, ten tournaments and there had been no repeat winners.. This year there's already been three. I don't know, do you draw anything from that? Do you find that interesting at all?
PAULA CREAMER: I didn't realize that but that is, it's very interesting. It just shows -- you know, I think -- the me one of the biggest stories is how the Americans have started to play so well. I think it's ever since the last couple of Solheim Cups everybody really focused.
Having multiple winners and having people who won consecutive events, that just shows women's golf is getting better and people are getting better and, you know, there is -- at the time there was only Annika that was dominating women's golf. Before that it was Karrie. I think it's great we can kind of raise the bar.

Q. The Solheim, is something that's taken very seriously, not kind of a go have fun exhibition?
PAULA CREAMER: For me, that's the highlight of my golf career. I've always said it's better than winning. Anytime you get to wear red, white and blue and go out and play for your country, there's nothing better than that.

Q. When you started you were young and now you're legal. Has golf changed for you or the way you've approached stuff? A difference between 18 and 21. Has that changed things?
PAULA CREAMER: I still drink my Shirley Temples. No, things haven't changed. I've had to, obviously, mature a lot faster than any other 21 year old out here. But it's a different life. It's something that I enjoy.
I love it but it is a lot of hard work. It's amazing how tired you can actually be over a long stretch and how many things that you have to do but when you're holding that trophy up on Sunday there's nothing better than that.

Q. You don't feel like you missed being 18 or 19 because you were so talented you were out here or --
PAULA CREAMER: Winning when I was 18 years old, that was phenomenal for me, right before I graduated. I couldn't ask for anything more than that.
But I don't. I don't feel that I've sacrificed. There's certainly things that obviously yes, I wish I could go back and do but I wouldn't give up anything to be where I'm at right now.

Q. When did you start this love affair with pink?
PAULA CREAMER: Ever since I was a little girl. I've always loved pink. I love how feminine it is and at the same time it's kind of a power color as well.

Q. How hard is it to adjust your eyes on Sunday when you switch to the pink ball? Is there some adjustment in?
PAULA CREAMER: No. People always ask how do you go from white balls to a pink ball. If I really thought it was going to mess me up on Sunday of all days, I probably wouldn't be playing the pink ball.

Q. But you do hit a bucket of pink balls that morning?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, I always do. It's important to go with the ball that I'm playing. Anytime I putt or I chip, I hit -- I have a Precept, like a purse bag with about 70 balls in it I hit on the driving range. I go out and play the pink ball.

Q. I was following you the end of your practice round today on 18. You took a lot of time on the green. Is that something do you on every green or because it was 18?
PAULA CREAMER: I do on pretty much every green, I try to go out and chart the putts but finishing a hole is important. You never know what's going to happen. You might have a putt to win or playoff putt. It's important to feel comfortable out there.

Q. You mentioned that on Sunday you thought maybe you had a case of nerves and missed a few putts that you felt like you should have made. But yet you still won.
What does that say about the state of your game that you were able to overcome that and what does it say about your ball striking?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, I'm hitting the ball really well, I am. I'm playing very good golf right now.
You know, I've gone through a couple rough periods before these last couple of weeks and, you know, I've taken a lot from that, just emotionally, getting in the way of myself before mentally and Nancy Lopez has really helped me through it. I give her a lot of credit for that.
But, at the same time, I was going to win that tournament last week. After the week before, I had one goal in mind and that was that. When I arrived at Tulsa on Tuesday what happened the week before was over and I was ready to win. So I knew that if I just kept putting pressure on everybody else, things were going to go my way.

Q. Paula, have you had much contact and formed a relationship with Judy Rankin during your career?
PAULA CREAMER: No, not really.

Q. When you won your first tournament this year, was Ochoa in the field?
PAULA CREAMER: No, she wasn't in Hawaii.

Q. Every week, do you have like -- do you have Precept sending you six dozen golf balls, pink everywhere you go?
PAULA CREAMER: Pink and white ones sent to me every week.

Q. You have to hit them on the range you get a couple more pink ones than white ones?
PAULA CREAMER: I get a bag, a pink Precept bag with golf balls. It's two dozen pink balls in a box and then I have five dozen white balls.

Q. Paula, was there a time that you resented the attention that Michelle we was getting when you were coming up? If so, do you feel you've gotten sort of the last laugh?
PAULA CREAMER: No, not at all. I mean it's just the way it is. I just went out and took care of my own business and I've always said that my goal was to be the number one player in the world. That's what I focused on. And I guess people talk about everything out here so I'm kind of used to it.
DANA GROSSRHODE: Any other questions for Paula?

Q. You said that you guys call this the Fifth Major. You got six wins now. Would you give a couple of those back to get Four Majors or is that something --
PAULA CREAMER: No. People have asked me that a lot actually, would you trade any of these tournaments for a Major? No. Winning tournaments is something important. Majors will come. You have to learn how to win.
Obviously like Morgan won her first tournament was a Major. It's nice to get it out of the way. I'm trying as hard as I can to win those events but I need to learn how to control my emotions and win as well.

Q. Playing two Hall of Famers back to back playoffs, what was that like? You knew who was on the other side of tee box.
PAULA CREAMER: It was -- at first to go against Annika, one of the best players that's ever played women's golf, you know that was a learning experience just know how she got to that point on Sunday, just patience, and I learned a lot that week.
Going against Juli was a little different because we're such close friends. She's my role model, someone I've looked up to. At the same time I know she wants to beat me just as bad as I wanted to beat her.

Q. Was Sunday almost like match play because it didn't seem like anyone really threatened y'all? I don't know if you watched the leaderboards or not.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, Sunday, there wasn't as much wind out there but it was -- it was still -- there wasn't that many birdies that were made. It was playing hard.
My caddy and I were talking about it today, it was -- even though it wasn't called the U.S. Open it sure played like one and if I can go win the SemGroup Championship, there's no reason I couldn't win the U.S. Open.
It was similar to match play down the stretch. I had a two shot lead going into the last hole. She made a putt that I knew she was going to make and I made bogey, but that's the way it goes.
DANA GROSSRHODE: Thank you all very much for joining us. Thank you, Paula.

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