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May 20, 2009

Paula Creamer


MIKE SCANLAN: Paula, thanks so much for coming in. Welcome to Corning. Great finish last week. Tied for third at the Sybase Classic, and obviously you've had some success here in the past. And obviously some local ties as well. So, if you would, just talk about being here at the final LPGA Corning Classic.
PAULA CREAMER: I know, it's kind of sad. But I do have a lot of family that live you up here in Ithaca, so it's really nice to come and play an event in front of them. But most importantly, this is the last year.
I hope I can play four good days of golf, and kind of be in contention. It's pretty special to have your name on that trophy on the end of this week. Almost more than some tournaments just because of the legacy that it's had.

Q. I noticed you've missed a couple of events this year. Could you just explain what was the case? And I see that you didn't start at the J Golf Phoenix, what caused that?
PAULA CREAMER: I've been really sick the last couple of months. So I had to withdraw just because of illness. But it's getting better, slowly but surely. I'm starting to get my strength back. But I had to withdraw because of that.

Q. So you're saying you haven't been 100% all year at this point you're still not at a point -- are you at a point now where you feel you're getting your strength back?
PAULA CREAMER: I'm getting stronger. Every day is a little better. But I just got off my medication. I've been on medication for a really long time. It just kind of has been hard, but I'm headed in the right direction. Hopefully, I won't be sick much longer.

Q. How many of your family members are going to be here this week?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, my grandpa, my cousins, my aunt and my uncle. I'd say about 12 to 15, maybe.

Q. Are they all from Ithaca?
PAULA CREAMER: Ithaca, uh-huh. Well, they all have kids, too, and their kids will come out and stuff.

Q. With fewer tournaments on the LPGA Tour schedule, are you finding that tournaments like this one in particular are becoming more competitive? I think you you have 28 of the top 30 players on tour. And I imagine that probably has been a trend for every tournament that's almost comparable to what you would find in a major? Has it been noticeable for players?
PAULA CREAMER: Definitely. Definitely. We don't have that many events. It's kind of we used to have six or seven tournaments in a row and you'd have to take one of them off. You couldn't play everything. And now it seems that we have breaks in our schedule where you can have a week off and you can play everything.
This is the strongest field, just as strong as it was last week. Not that that shows that people are trying to play as many events as they can, and this is a good event.
But I think a lot of people are playing this one as well because of the tournament and it being the last year.

Q. You have found just from talking to players that they really want to make an effort to get out here this year because of that?
PAULA CREAMER: I do. I feel like it. This is a great golf course. Lots can happen. It's one of those kind of changing golf courses. Somebody gets hot out here, and any score can be pretty low.
But at the same time, you have to focus and I just feel like there's a lot of people that are here because it is the last time. But also just the field is so strong.

Q. Do you feel like you thrive under stronger fields? That you kind of embrace that sort of competition?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I do. I mean, I like playing with the best players that are there. And I feel that the harder golf courses are the golf courses that I play the best.
When you have golf courses where you can just kind of hit it all over, and you don't really have to hit golf shots, that's not my type of course. That's not what I grew up on. When you get in the Northeast with these type of tree-lined, narrow, small greens, that's what I like.

Q. You've been recovering from being a little ill. Are you going to watch as you get later into Saturday and Sunday hopefully. Is somebody going to be watching to make sure you aren't overextending yourself?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I've kind of been taking care of it these last couple of months. I know what my body can take. I couldn't work out for about five and a half weeks total. I mean, no workout at all. Not lifting one weight.
I've been able to workout these last two and a half weeks, so my body is getting better, so.

Q. You've become one of the new faces in the LPGA over the last several years. How have you been able to keep yourself focused between playing golf, and obviously now the sponsorships, and the advertising. The other pressures on your life going out on photo shoots and those types of things?
PAULA CREAMER: For me, the photo shoots and things like that, those are the fun part. That's when I get to be a 22-year-old girl. I get to get my hair and make-up done and have fun with that.
But it's all a balance. You have to learn your schedule. The people around you have a great team. They know how much I can handle.
At the same time, I am 22 so I can do a lot of things. I don't get tired easily and I have a lot of energy. But for sponsors, that's easy. They're there. They're supporting me. I have most of my sponsors have been here since day one, since I was 18 years old. I would do anything for them just as much as they've supported me so much.

Q. How about in the locker room now, seeing the Rosie Jones' and Queen of Corning, and some of the Laura Diaz's and some of the other players that have won here? What's it like to be in that locker room and see those players?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, it's great. Rosie came out and played a hole with us today. She's always so feisty. I love that. That's one of the reasons why Juli Inkster and Nancy Lopez has always been a huge role model of mine. They just have so much character. You can see how much they enjoy the game of golf. You know, to see Rosie, I haven't seen her for a little while now, it was great.

Q. How about coming into this year? What were your expectations? Or did you have expectations for yourself coming into 2009?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, definitely. I'm always a very goal oriented person. There are a lot of personal goals that I have. But most importantly, it's just to really work on what I've taken in the off-season out to the course. You put so much effort into it.
Sometimes when you get under the gun, you kind of go back to your old habits. I've been really trying to stick with what I've been learning with my Coach, David.

Q. What is your grandfather's name?

Q. How old is he?

Q. Is he on your mother or father's side?
PAULA CREAMER: He's my dad's dad.

Q. Can you tell us something about him?
PAULA CREAMER: All right. There's lots. I mean, he's 91, he's got lots of things. Well, he was the swim Coach at Ithaca College.
My dad's side of the family were big swimmers. He came out and they moved out to California when I was younger, so he was there throughout my whole junior career.
But most importantly, he's probably my number one fan. He follows me. If I'm over in Japan, if I'm in California, it doesn't matter. He's right up next to that computer looking at that screen.
It's great. My main goal or one of my main goals was always to win in front of him. That's just something that I've always wanted to do. It's hard because he doesn't come to every event, but it's just something that I know he would love to see.

Q. So it hasn't happened yet?
PAULA CREAMER: It hasn't, no. It almost did here two years ago. But it was close. I mean, any time it comes out it doesn't matter if I shoot 90 or 50, still, you know, he loves to watch me play golf.

Q. Talk more about the family tie. You say you want to win in front of him. Every tournament here you obviously want to do well. But considering this is the last one to be in such close proximity to him and to the family, describe the magnitude of this tournament now because of that fact?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, it's huge. I mean, like I said, I've always wanted to win this event anyways. But now that it's the last time, it kind of adds a little extra pressure to it. I like that I like playing under pressure. I like feeling like I need to go out and I want to perform and perform in front of everybody. Kind of give them a good last show.
But to have my pops here and my family to watch me, it means a lot. It's really special. I can't say thank you enough to the volunteers that have taken care of my grandpa up there. It's been pretty cool these last couple of years with them.

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