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November 18, 2011

Paula Creamer


THE MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room. Congratulations on a great round today in some tough conditions out there. Can you just kind of take me through the day and kind of what was the most challenging part about playing in that.
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah, if somebody would have said I'll give you 1-under par today before you tee off, I would have taken it in a heartbeat. It was playing tough out there, made a bogey on the last hole, hit a really good putt but just didn't go in. Kind of made a little damper. But overall I think I played really well.
Colin, my caddie, did a great job with the numbers out there. It's tricky. It's definitely -- this golf course is not the easiest one when it blows because of all of the undulations on the green. But overall I think that we did a really good job and maintained a good position going into the weekend.
THE MODERATOR: Just talk about coming off back-to-back top 10 finishes in the last two events. How are you feeling about your game coming into this week, and is this a good way to finish a year?
PAULA CREAMER: For sure. I definitely want to win, that's for sure. I've never -- that's pretty obvious. But at the same time my game is getting better. I've gone through a lot this year, whether physically, emotionally, just overall in general, and I think Colin and I have overcome a lot of things, and I feel like I am headed in the right direction. This is my seventh year out here, so I do know what it takes to win, but at the same time you tend to kind of get in your own way, and my coach David and I have been working really hard on my golf swing, and it seems to be starting to get to where I want it to be. I'm putting so much better than I have been.

Q. Given the volatility of the golf course, looking at scores, people are jumping up 20 places and back 20 places. Does that make the weekend even more -- as someone that's where you are right now, three back, is that no big deal with the volatility that's out there?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I think today obviously it played a lot harder than yesterday for sure. It was just so windy, so the scores are going to fluctuate tremendously. You have one bad ball-striking day when it's this windy, and your scorecard is going to show it. I hit the ball well today so I scored well. Going into the weekend I'm not sure how windy it's supposed to be, but this golf course plays very hard when it is this way, whether it's putting, chipping. Mentally it's very hard to stay in the present all the time. But you know, right now it's pretty close, and there's still a lot of golf left, so hopefully tomorrow I can keep it going.

Q. For as often as we ask you about why you haven't won since the Open, I'm sure you ask yourself that 100 more times. How difficult or easy is it for you to stay, remain in the process and let the results happen? Do you find yourself pressing as each month or year goes on?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I do ask myself that question all the time, why haven't I won. I feel that I'm a good enough player to win multiple times out here. That was one of my goals at the beginning of the year was to do that.
At the same time, sometimes when you do have to do swing changes, it's very difficult to do it on the driving range and then take it to the golf course under pressure, and that's something that I have had a very hard time with, and I think I'm getting to the point where I can trust what we're doing.
I think the biggest thing this year was just the schedule. I like playing a lot of golf tournaments. I like playing. I like being in competition and feeling the playing mode, and this has been tough for me because with so many weeks off -- it's a good time to work on a golf swing like I'm doing, but as a player and how I go about playing in tournaments, it's been very hard. It's not an excuse by any means, but it's something that I've just kind of had to overcome.

Q. You mentioned the problems this year. You said physical and mental. Is there something there -- or emotional, I'm sorry.
PAULA CREAMER: No, it's just, I'm 25. I'm growing up. I'm learning a lot, not necessarily just on the golf course but about myself, and things happen. This isn't a "normal" life for anybody, and you have to grow up very fast out here, and I've learned that, and there's just things that happen to everyday people that I have to go through, too. As a part of that, balancing everything is such an important factor out here to be the best player in the world, and that's something that I've really had to learn this last year.
My expectations are incredibly high for myself. I set the bar very high. And when I don't reach that, I question a lot of things. For me it's all about my goals, and there's stuff that can get in the way of that, and it's been something that I've had to work on.

Q. Are you physically 100 percent --
PAULA CREAMER: Yes. Most of the things with the physical is I had shingles earlier this year, I had things that kind of just come out, that type of stuff. But for my thumb and everything, it's a lot better, and that's why I'm able to do all these swing changes, because I do feel like my old self again.

Q. With all the challenges, physical and other, has your game regressed? Are you as good a player as you've ever been or better and just not getting the results?
PAULA CREAMER: It's funny, we were talking about this at dinner last night. My rookie year I won four times, and I feel this year I'm a better player than I was then. You win the most when you make the most putts, and if you are -- I kind of had a putting drought in the middle of the year and I've definitely overcome that, and it shows in where I finished, and that's an important factor.
But I do feel that I'm a much better player. Mentally I'm stronger than ever, but it's all about confidence and believing in yourself, and I have that now.

Q. The swing changes that you were talking about, is this something that's new to your swing? Are you just trying to get your swing back to where it was when you were winning four times in a year?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I'm definitely trying to change my golf swing overall, in the overall picture. I'm a very good iron player, but for a driver, my golf swing doesn't really match hitting a far, long drive just because I am steep on the ball, but that's one of the strengths with my irons is because of that. I'm trying to work on almost two different golf swings if you can think of that, trying to hit the ball on the way up with my driver, and that's something that I don't do, and I lose a lot of distance because of that with my golf swing. Because I am so much stronger now in my left arm after surgery with my left thumb, I'm able to do more things, being able to hit a ton of golf balls and not feel a thing, whereas before I wasn't able to do that.

Q. Also, at the media day you mentioned you could use a few more extra trips through this course to get used to it. Did you make those trips?
PAULA CREAMER: I did. It has helped a lot actually. I feel a lot more confident out on the golf course. I mean, it's completely different than when I came. The ball was not bouncing, the greens were not this fast. But still, it's just being comfortable and playing the golf course. And I think that's really helped a lot, just visually and knowing that you've been in certain spots.

Q. The matter of trying to hit the ball farther with the driver, is that just something you wanted to do, or do you feel like the next wave of players coming out here are stronger, longer, that kind of thing, that you have to keep up?
PAULA CREAMER: A little bit of both. I mean, I'm 5'9", I should hit it a lot farther than what I do. I'm pretty athletic. I'm not a skinny bean out there. I should be able to move the ball. But it is the way that golf is going. But also I feel if I can hit it 20 yards further and the way that I hit my irons, it should be a lot easier from up there. It's not something that I'm over-stressing about where I'm going to change a lot of things and I definitely need to -- I want to keep hitting fairways. You can hit it a lot further with a different shaft or that kind of thing but be missing fairways, and that's not my game. So we're trying to do it a little bit more golf swing mechanic wise and just physically getting more fit and stronger.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, Paula. Best of luck this weekend.

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