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July 8, 2010

Paula Creamer


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, we're pleased to have Paula Creamer with us. She shot a round of 1-over par, 72. She began on the back nine.
Paula, you really had it going, 1-under par through most of your round, and then with two holes left you bogeyed 8 and 9, your 17th and 18th holes. I see you have ice on your thumb. Are those related at all?
PAULA CREAMER: No, no. I ice my hand four or five times a day, so this is just part of the routine. When I'm done, I put ice on my hand.
But, yeah, it was unfortunate, um, 8 and 9. I missed about a five-footer on 8, and then I three-putted 9 when I was just short or in between the bunkers. It's not what you want, but you have to look at the overall picture.
I played 16 holes great; played, you know, to my game, my game plan that I had. I just tried to get as many pars as I could. When I had birdie opportunities, I tried to take advantage of those.
THE MODERATOR: To me personally, these rounds are all quite good. Top-10 players are shooting maybe a little better than anyone expected. Everyone thought the course would be a real beast for the players. Overall, how did you think it played today?
PAULA CREAMER: No, it's hard. Like I said, I played well. I would take 1-over -- if somebody said right now, Would you take 1-over after today before going out there? Of course. It's a tough golf course.
You know, it can come up and sneak up on you, like on 8 and 9. Those aren't the hardest holes on the golf courses, and I still made two bogeys. It's firm. The greens, by the end of this afternoon, they're going to be quick. They're getting crusty out there, some of them.
You've got to take what it gives you, that's for sure. The heat, I think, just kind of makes -- changes some of your decisions just because of focus and it is hot out there. You have to eat and drink a lot.
I think decisions are made, you know, because of that.
THE MODERATOR: What kind of things did you eat and drink during today's round?
PAULA CREAMER: Nice question. A sandwich, I ate, and I drink lots of water. I drink a lot of Crystal Light. You know, some power bars.

Q. Just a minute ago, Suzann was saying that when you hit a ball into the green, if you're even a foot to the right or left it can cost. You No. 8 on your pitch shot, you hit it above the hole, right?

Q. Not a good place, huh?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I mean, it has that little false front where I was on the right side. You know, you can't mess around -- you can't try and get too cute. There's times where you just have to take your medicine.
But, you know, I hit a decent chip. Obviously I was too far above the hole, but I left myself with the five-and-a-half footer, which is not what you want. That was costly. That was a mental error.
Like I said, sometimes you do have to take your medicine.

Q. They moved some tees around, moved them up. Did it cause you to change much? Did it cause you a lot of decision-making?
PAULA CREAMER: Definitely. There were tees up on half the holes, spots I didn't even think they would put it up. But that's, you know, how they're going to play it. Most USGA events, it's a surprise when we get out there, that's for sure.
But, you know, it definitely -- you have to -- it takes longer. You have to go through -- your game plan kind of changes, and, you know, the caddies have to walk the yardages off and that kind of thing, so it slows everything down.
Some of the holes out there, they change. You know, 18 they moved up; 16 they moved up; you know, the par-5, 4 they moved up. Some holes that you wouldn't necessarily think they would.

Q. (No microphone.)
PAULA CREAMER: I laid up. I hit 4-rescue off the tee.
THE MODERATOR: What hole were you referring to?
THE MODERATOR: Were those mainly the surprises you encountered today?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, pin placements, there were some tricky ones out there. But overall, I thought I played pretty fair.

Q. You really haven't got to play a whole lot this year. Can you talk about how the injury, how the illness last year, how all of those things have maybe affected your attitude, your approach coming here?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I mean, this is my fourth week in a row since I've been out here. It's crazy to me. I don't know where time has gone, really. I've been sitting at home for so long.
The U.S. Open, I would have liked to have played a couple more events before coming into this, but these are the cards that I've been dealt with. I have to just take what I've learned from, you know, sitting at home and wanting to be out here and wanting to play in the U.S. Open.
I'm taking it as, you know, lots of positive energy. I've always loved playing in the Women's Open. I've always wanted to do well, be in contention here. That just motivates me, you know, for itself.
But, you know, this golf course, it takes -- you have to be precise; you have to strike the ball well. Those are the things I'm very good at; those are my strengths. But not having played as much, those are some things that I've had to work on these last couple of days.
THE MODERATOR: At Interlachen a couple years ago, you certainly had huge fan support. Looked like you had an opportunity to win. You didn't finish quite as you wanted to. What did you learn from that experience that you can take into this?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I've learned a lot from every Open I've played in. That Open I got to play in the last group. You know, that's something that you can -- you get to feel those nerves and see what it's like, teeing off on the first hole, what it's like finishing the 18th hole in the lead group.
That's something that you have to just remember and put in your memory bank. It's a long tournament. This is the first day with three more days left. That's a lot of golf; that's a lot of everything going on out there. You know, patience is the key. That's something that I've learned and I can take from. This is my 8th U.S. Open, so I can take that away from.

Q. How did your thumb feel today? With so much going on with shots out there you have to think about and focus on, does it kind of distract you from thinking about your thumb?
PAULA CREAMER: It definitely does. It distracts, you know, a lot of things. You're thinking of so many things that are going on out there. It can get pretty complicated. It's tough with my thumb, because it's already so swollen and it's so hot out here. Everything swells up already, so it's double what it normally is.
But pain-wise, you know, I'm still about a 6. You know, I feel that it's getting better. You know, morning tee times are tough just because it doesn't have enough time to get really loosened up. But I'll have a really good rest period from now until I tee off tomorrow, which is a good thing for me.

Q. Considering your thumb and the fact that you hadn't played all that much, what were your realistic expectations coming in this week?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, obviously to win. That's always been my goals.

Q. You always say that.
PAULA CREAMER: That's the No. 1 thing in my mind. But I just -- I've always wanted to put four good rounds of golf. If I can do that, it seems like, you know, when I play in the U.S. Open I have, you know, a couple good rounds and then I have one round where I struggle a little bit.
If I can put four good rounds of golf together, that's something that I would like to do. That's my goal for this week.

Q. If there was like, say, a fairness continuum, so to speak, how far removed from difficult towards unfair are the greens becoming?
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, no, they're not unfair. I wouldn't say that. They're hard. I mean, that's for sure. They're difficult, but not unfair.
You can manage your way around this golf course fairly well. I mean, I was 1-under with two holes to go. I played really well. There were some putts that I had opportunities to make. But, for the most part I don't think it's unfair at all.

Q. I was just wondering if you can comment on the fan support, especially from the females, both young and old, and kind of what that means to the sport, how it's changing it, and also what it's like to be a role model for the younger kids out here today?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, the fans were great. How hot is it out there for everybody? I know it's hot for me. But standing out there and watching us play golf, they're troopers, for sure. That's great. I've always said I love playing in front of people.
When you see a lot of girls in their pink and when you see the little boys in their pink, it makes you put a smile on your face; puts everything in perspective. It reminds you that you are a role model. You're very aware of your surroundings.
If you want to get younger girls and boys into golf, then you need to act a proper way. That just, you know, reminds me when I see them out there in their pink shirts. It's pretty cute.

Q. On the men's tour years ago, there was a huge difference between a week-to-week course and say the Masters or U.S. Open. Could you talk a little bit about just how great of golf it is between a week-to-week LPGA course and what you're facing this week? Have the courses gotten tougher, or is it a little bit less of a gap than it was?
PAULA CREAMER: For the week-to-week ones?

Q. Yeah, versus here.
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, this is not like week-to-week for us. (Laughing.)
This is not a week-to-week golf course, nor is it set up like a week-to-week golf course. But I've always said Cherry Hills is one of my favorite golf courses. This is right up next to it. It's in great shape, it's fun, hard, and makes you go crazy at times.
But, you know, week-to-week I think our golf courses, they're getting tougher. You know, for me, I like narrow golf courses. I don't like wide open. I like when you have to use your imagination and you have to, you know, work the ball.
Sometimes we play golf courses where, you know, they're wide open, big greens, and that's not what I grew up on. That's not what I prefer. We're starting to get some better golf courses, and having this one on the list is pretty nice. It's a good change.
THE MODERATOR: And your courses are longer than they were.
PAULA CREAMER: They're getting longer. Golf in general is getting longer. You know, to me, I don't necessarily think that's necessary. You can make fairways 10 yards wide. That makes it just as hard as long.

Q. Going back to the greens and how fast they are, and tricky, do you think it takes some of the daring out of you? Are you thinking more about, Let me just get out of here with a par rather than, you know, take a chance and try for birdie?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, this is -- for me, I'm playing pretty conservative. I'm an aggressive player, and I have definitely changed the way that I play a golf course this week.
You know, I had a couple 10-footers that obviously you just have to lag. You can't be aggressive. You don't want to live on four-and-a-half, five-footers every hole for par. There's times when you have those uphill putts that, yes, you can be a little bit aggressive.
But definitely I get my par and I give it a run, but, you know, I want to tap in and move on to the next hole.

Q. Can you go over the highs and lows of the first 16 holes you talked about?
PAULA CREAMER: My bogey and my par?

Q. And birdies.
THE MODERATOR: Which hole?

Q. The birdies and bogeys.
PAULA CREAMER: Bogey on 12, they moved that tee box up too on 12, par-5. I hit it in that left bunker and I chipped out, you know, sideways, and I had about 65 yards for my -- well, I had, jeez, I went driver, chip out, and then I hit 5-wood down the left side. I had about 65 yards for my fourth, and didn't hit a very good pitch shot to about 35 feet and two-putt.
Then I birdied 15. I went driver down the left side. I had about 185; I hit 6-iron to about five feet.
And then birdie on 1: driver, and then wedge to 25, 30 feet. Kind of the pin is in the middle back, and I was about ten on. I made about a 30-footer.
And then the bogey on 8. I hit 3-wood just a little bit right and had about, like I said, about a five-and-a-half-footer above the hole.
And then 9, driver, 3-wood a little bit right in between the bunkers. I don't know how it got there, but in between the bunkers. I hit a terrible pitch shot. It was about 35, 40 yards, and then I three-putted from about 35 foot. I missed about three-and-a-half footer.

Q. Can you talk about playing No. 2? You mentioned about the imagination when you play a hole with so much treachery around it, I guess. Can you just talk about how you played it and the difficulty? I know you parred that one, but a lot of people were three- and four-putting up there.
PAULA CREAMER: Oh, I don't want to know that. No. 2, I hit a 7-wood in the middle of the fairway, and then I had about 135 yards back pin. I just hit a 9-iron a little bit short of the pin. I didn't even try to go for it back on that shelf.
I mean, the first three holes you just want pars. I just kind of lagged it on up there from about 35 feet.

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