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July 8, 2009
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to have with us Paula Creamer who was in it right up until the end last year at the U.S. Women's Open in 2008. Paula, as you know, has been struggling a little bit with a thumb injury. So we want to get an update on that. Tell us how you're doing and what the prospects are for that.
PAULA CREAMER: My thumb feels much better. Definitely I've played a lot of golf the last couple days, and it's a lot of ice and Advil are my two favorite things right now. But other than that, it's been much better. I didn't think it was going to be as good as it is right now. So I'm very pleased about that and I'll be teeing it up tomorrow unless something happens.
RHONDA GLENN: What exactly is your ailment? I understand you had a Cortisone shot for it.
PAULA CREAMER: I had two Cortisone shots. I've had one in my tendon and one in the joint of my thumb, and seems to be working. I don't know where else they could put another one, so that's a good thing, but I have what's called synovitis. It's basically inflammation between the two bones in your joint capsule, and it's just wear and tear.
The best thing that the doctors say that I could do was the shot and rest. There's nothing you can do to prevent it. It's just the way the hand is.
RHONDA GLENN: And when you took the week off, were you able to rest it?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes. The first time I hit balls was on Monday, and that's the first time I -- during the week of Corning, I played in the Pro-Am, and then I hit balls Thursday morning getting ready to go out, and I haven't hit balls since then, so it hasn't been much.
RHONDA GLENN: So it was 10 or 11 days or so?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you. All right. Questions?
Q. I just wondered, you had a chance last year till the last day. What's it going to take to get you over the hump to win a Major or let's say this week to win this Open?
PAULA CREAMER: Four good days of golf. That's pretty much to me all I can really control. I have to be able to be patient, be in my own world. If somebody plays better than me, so be it, but if I give it 110 percent like I do every tournament, it's bound to happen soon, hopefully.
Q. Can you talk about your first-round pairing with Lorena Ochoa and whether you enjoy a pairing like that early in the tournament or if it's tougher for you?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah. I'm playing with Lorena Ochoa and I.K. Kim. Both of them have won this year. They're both playing really well, and it's nice to get out with some good players. Hopefully we can feed off of each other and make a lot of pars and birdies.
Q. Paula, last week in Washington, Anthony Kim, who has also got a bad left thumb said that the big effect on him was that he was having a hard time gripping the golf club and also changing the ball flight, that he was normally a left-to-right as he was drawing the ball. Are you finding the same kind of thing, No. 1? And secondly, not having hit balls for 10 or 11 days, how ready are you to play this event?
PAULA CREAMER: Obviously I wish I was a little bit more prepared to come into the U.S. Open, but it's what I've been given. I feel Monday, Tuesday I was a little rusty, I hit some shots that I haven't really hit before.
But, you know, I feel good now. I've hit some balls, and I've kind of got that out of my system. But as to the left thumb, it's incredibly painful because of your grip. If you think of your left thumb and you have your right hand on top of it, your impact and your follow-through -- the follow-through for me was the hardest part, just because I just didn't want to go that way, and that's why I couldn't hold on to the club, because of your grip and the pressure on it.
Q. He also said the doctors told him four to six weeks, rest it. Is that what they told you too?
PAULA CREAMER: They just said rest, and rest is (laughs), I guess, a relative word. I don't know if he got a shot or not. Maybe he should get a Cortisone shot, because it's worked so far for me. But like I said, the only pain I ever feel is maybe at night because it's a little sore, but I just have to move it around a little bit. But I can hold onto a club now.
Q. How many golf balls have you hit since you returned?
PAULA CREAMER: I've only hit balls before I've played just to warm up. I haven't gone to the range to hit shots or practiced. I've hit some pitches, things like that, but I didn't go after my round.
I just go in the morning. I try to limit it as much as I can.
Q. Paula, I'm sure you're well aware of all the news swirling around the Tour and the concerns about Commissioner Bivens. And while this is the Open and I know people want to focus on the Open, I think it's kind of the story that we can't get away from. And I know because of your involvement reported last week in Toledo, could you talk about your concerns, where the Tour is, and why you have gotten involved as you have? Thanks.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, as a player, I have been concerned more about our events that we've had, and you know, we'll see what happens, but I can't really comment on, you know, what's happening because it's out of my control.
Q. Would you hazard a guess as to why two players like yourself and Lorena Ochoa have not won a Women's Open to this date? Wouldn't one of you might have won one by this time?
PAULA CREAMER: I don't know. (Laughs). That's a good question.
It just obviously hasn't been either of our weeks. Haven't been able to play better than the person that's won. U.S. Open and all Majors, there's so much that goes into it, just the amount of pressure you put on yourself, the amount of, I guess, anxiety in a sense that you have before it. You want to try so hard.
I know I try too hard, and I'm learning how to do that. I'm learning how to control my emotions. I'm learning how to control my Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday prior, my preround routines and things like that.
It's finding out what works best for you. And I'm sure she looks at the British Open and Kraft when she's won and said, What have I done differently? And probably there's not much that's different.
Q. You were in the lead last year and had a good opportunity to win. Did you get really nervous before the last round? I remember the spectators screaming your name up and down the fairway, that sort of thing. Was that what it was, do you think?
PAULA CREAMER: No. If you're not nervous, that means you don't care, but to me, I got a little bit too far ahead of myself. You're going to have some interesting shots and emotions going down the first couple of holes, and if I could change anything, I would love to have changed the second hole for me on that Sunday.
But I've learned a lot from that round. I've learned a lot about -- what I've said to myself so many times is having patience and just staying focused. It's a lot of golf on Sunday. It's going to be difficult, and you know, I've learned from that and hopefully I can take what happened at the Open last year into this one.
Q. I'm just wondering if you can give your thoughts on the course and how it suits your game, and is it playing long for you as well?
PAULA CREAMER: You know, when -- I think I said earlier, when I think of U.S. Open, definitely this golf course defines that.
It's tight. There's not many birdie opportunities that you can make out there. The greens here I think were everything about this golf course.
And the more pars that you can throw out there, the better you're going to do. I think it's a great golf course. It is in perfect shape.
You know, I wouldn't change anything. Hopefully, you know, it treats me well these next four days, but it's a golf course where you gotta hit great tee shots. You gotta hit it in the right parts of the greens. And those, for me, are I feel my strengths and you have to be a good speed putter because there are a lot of breaks. There's a lot of putts out here that -- two-putt is a good score. You walk away with your 4 and so be it. You're definitely not losing shots to anybody out there with that.
Q. I've heard from almost every player that approach putting was kind of the key to the golf course as well as distance off the tee. Would you go along with that?
PAULA CREAMER: Definitely. Giving yourself opportunities is always a big part of, I think, a U.S. Open and eliminating your bogeys is something that you definitely have to be aware of.
And your speed putting is I think one of the biggest things out on this golf course, because there is certain shots you'll hit perfect but you'll hit a mound, undulation and there's nothing you can do about it. You'll just have two-putt. And I think Sunday afternoon after everything is done, there's going to be a lot of mentally tired people.
Q. Can you just talk a little bit more about the undulating greens and all the humps and bumps and what kind of challenges that presents, like approaching the green?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, it puts, you know -- I don't think that you can really overthink out here too much. You definitely have to look at every possible angle of your putts.
There's so many different ways to play things. However, I don't think people hitting it firm in the center, you're not really going to see that much out here. There's a lot of breaking putts, and whoever can put the ball in the right spot in the greens is going to win, I think.
Q. First time I ever saw you play was in a Women's Open at South Hadley. You played really well. As I recall, you were in contention for a while. Does the U.S. Open get more difficult as you get older? Do you understand the significance of it or what happens?
PAULA CREAMER: I hope not, because I'm only going to get older, right, so I don't -- no, I don't think so. I think that as you mature as a golfer, obviously you see a lot more things that go on out there. However, I would feel that the older I get, the more mature I would be and I would play better in Majors.
Q. I think you talked a little bit earlier about if you had that second hole over again, can you talk about that, how that went? I didn't see that last year when you shot 78.
PAULA CREAMER: I didn't hit a bad tee shot, and kind of from there I tried to do too much. I was in a fairway bunker, and I tried to do too much out of a fairway bunker and didn't take my medicine at the time, and it was an unfortunate hole.
But in a sense, it kind of loosened me up, too. I could go out and play a little more freely, but I put myself in a hole after two.
RHONDA GLENN: Paula, I was just thinking, you have a lot of endorsements. You've got some wonderful contracts. You make a lot of money. You make a lot of advertising layouts, and how much of winning the Women's Open is the glamour of it, the financial part of it, and how much of it is winning the national championship?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, it has nothing to do with the glamour part of it at all. It's having my name on that trophy. It's a dream of mine. It's something that I want to achieve, not only once but many times, and it's just something that I want to win.
Like I said, it has nothing to do with the outside-of-golf part. However, it's a nice part to have, but no, just to see my name on that trophy would be definitely more than enough.
Q. Can you compare Saucon Valley to any course at which maybe you've had a good amount of success?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I would compare it to one of my favorite golf courses, Cherry Hills, when we played the Open there, just in terms of being ready for a U.S. Open event.
Cherry Hills was in phenomenal shape and so is this. These two golf courses, they're similar in a sense of you get punished in the right ways. You miss a fairway, you're in the rough. It's thick stuff.
The greens, they both were really undulated. These are a little bit bigger than they were at Cherry Hills, but to me I can compare it to that golf course the most in my mind.
Q. What are your thoughts on the juniors and amateurs in the field? Are there any that stick out to you that have an impressive game?
PAULA CREAMER: Today I played with Cindy Feng, the 13-year-old, and I played nine holes with her, and I was trying to think what was I doing when I was 13 years old. I definitely wasn't playing in a U.S. Open; that's for sure.
But I think it shows that junior golf is becoming stronger and stronger, and women's golf is going to be -- it's headed in the right direction. I think it shows a lot to organizations, junior tournaments, the AGGA, things like that that are giving girls the opportunities. And to play in a
U.S. Open at that age is pretty remarkable.
Q. Speaking of the younger players, why is women's golf at the top level in a younger game than the men's game at the top level?
PAULA CREAMER: I think because there are a lot more guys that play golf than there are women. I would definitely say that that is a huge part of it. Just the competition is a lot deeper for the guys than it is for the girls, and I think that's changing over time for women.
And I think you're starting to see it more and more now. I remember when I was 16, 17 years old, there weren't that many junior girls out there, or when I started, when I was 10 to 14, I was playing with the boys. I just think that there's much more opportunities now for girls, and you know, there's just so many more guys, I think that you could say, that play golf.
Q. Paula, earlier you had said that it would take something pretty significant to keep you out this week. Did you have anything in mind when you said that? What specifically would have to happen?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, my thumb?
PAULA CREAMER: If it like started to hurt again. That would be, yeah.
RHONDA GLENN: All right, Paula. Thanks so much. Good luck to you this week.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
End of FastScripts