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June 2, 2011

Paula Creamer


THE MODERATOR: All right, we'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Thank you for joining us.

Q. How different is it to be back at this golf course this year compared to last year when you were coming off injury?
PAULA CREAMER: It definitely feels a little bit different. My hand feels a lot different as well. But it is -- it's great to come back. I've always liked coming to ShopRite here in Atlantic City. It's a great golf course. It's a fun golf course, and I feel a little bit better this year than I did last year.
But it is what it is. I'm ready to get it started tomorrow.

Q. Can you just talk about your season a little bit? I know you played well at Sybase as well. You seem to be getting better as the season progresses?
PAULA CREAMER: I am. I've been really working hard on my game. I've definitely been doing a lot of swing changes, and I'm just trying to get it back. Trying to get in contention on Sundays. I miss it. I miss being in the winner's circle. I want to have some wins under my belt. I know it's tough with our season this year, I've been struggling with the weeks off and weeks on and all that kind of stuff, and I haven't found my momentum.
But it's starting to get now where we can play a couple tournaments in a row, and I have a week off a couple tournaments in a row. And that's what I like. I like to play and be competitive a lot.

Q. Paula, have you been able to detect any of the changes in the course in terms of a little more length, little more Fescue, things like that out there?
PAULA CREAMER: Uh-huh, definitely. No. 2 is about 10 yards or 15 yards further back. It already was a great hole and now it's playing a little longer. The Fescue, I think it looks great. I think it makes the fairways look much more narrow. Before you could kind of hit it everywhere and you can still find it. Now you've got to make carries otherwise you're not going to find your ball, especially around the bunkers.
The wind is obviously a huge factor these last two days. I only played it yesterday and today, so that is going to be the biggest thing if that keeps up going into tomorrow. The number that's won in the past is not going to get that high. The golf course is playing much harder.

Q. In the past because the scores have been so low, it's been kind of a birdie fest, and you've had to be aggressive and make stuff happen. With the changes in the course, do you have to change your approach, maybe stay a little more patient?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, you do. You have to hit the fairways here because the greens are so firm. The fairway is the only way you can get your spin on the ball out of the rough, you're going to have no chance. There are so many undulations that if you hit the wrong one, you're going to have an impossible up-and-down.
But if the wind keeps up, without a doubt, patience is going to be huge. You're not going to be making as many birdies as you have in the past.

Q. That is my question. Do you like it like this or like in the past?
PAULA CREAMER: I like it. There were holes today I hit 8-iron into before, and I'm hitting 5-wood into because of the wind. It's just a totally different direction. It might not be that drastic tomorrow, but it's going to play harder. That's a good thing. This golf course needs to play harder.
But it shows that not necessarily adding tons of length everywhere makes the golf course harder. Bringing the fairways in and changing the style of it is actually going to be a good thing. Length isn't everything.

Q. Last year, my memory's kind of like Joe's, you were right in contention coming off the injury. Was that tournament something where you kind of said, well, I know I can play again, or I just ran out of gas. How did you leave that?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I was excited just to be out here playing golf and not having to click a pen in my rehab. I thought that was fun. It was great.
My expectations were really high, but also I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know if I was going to make it all three days playing 18 holes. So for me it was a good thing. I took a lot from it. I played well. I made a lot of birdies. I was right in contention where I wanted, and I think that was a good thing to get back after surgery. Sitting at home I could feel what it was like with that pressure, got to make five footers. Got to get up-and-down, doing that stuff for previous tournaments down the road.

Q. There is a big battle for number one, lot of talent out here. And no one's really made a push to be the clear number one. How do you view that whole situation? Is not only the top player in the world, but the top player in the U.S., how do you look at all that?
PAULA CREAMER: I want to be a part of it. It's tough right now, and I'm not quite in that mix yet. I don't know what I am in the rankings, but I want to be higher without a doubt. I want to be No. 1 American, and I want to be the No. 1 player in the world, but that's not going to change overnight. I know that it's going to take some time.
Unfortunately, like I said, I am working really hard on my golf swing so I can get better so I can be more consistent and be in the race on Sunday every week, and that's hard to do. I realize that.
But I want to do it, I want to get there. I'm pushing myself as hard as I can, and in the fact that I'm not quite in that point of my name being in the mix, it's tough. I want to prove to myself and I want to get there.

Q. We understand that after your round today you did some stuff with the USGA, some interviews and stuff. What's that like being the defending U.S. Open champion? Do you feel like you're considered in a different light having won that major?
PAULA CREAMER: We were just talking about that walking up here. It's great to relive that moment. It's been a lot of fun. It's one of the greatest things that I think has happened to me in the sense of my confidence in majors and not when are you going to win your first major ever again that kind of thing.
But I feel like I matured so much as a golfer and a person that week. It was the hardest golf course I ever played and the fact that I won by four there shows that I can play, I can be out there, I can be the best player, and it motivates me more and more.
But at the same time, a couple months from now I've got to play the U.S. Open again, and Oakmont will be in the past, and it's great to think about all the memories that I had, but to move it into this year, because I don't want that trophy leaving. I want it sitting on that kitchen table where it belongs.

Q. Is that where it is?
PAULA CREAMER: It's on my kitchen table, right in the middle. It's a beautiful centerpiece. Let me tell you. It's even on its little mound and everything. It sits there very nice. I should take a picture of it. I should.

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