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SAFEWAY CLASSIC PRESENTED BY COCA-COLA


August 16, 2012


Paula Creamer


NORTH PLAINS, OREGON

KELLY THESIER:¬† We'd like to welcome Paula Creamer into the interview room.¬† Thank you so much for joining us today.¬† First off, I know you just got finished playing in the Pro‑Am and got a chance to look at the golf course.¬† Just some initial thoughts on how it looked out there?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's by far the best I've seen this golf course in the shapewise and conditions.  The greens are perfect.  They're fast.  They're just rolling really true.  There is a lot of rough out there, there are no first cuts, so it's either fairway or rough.  There are some dry spots out there, but overall, I think it's the best it's been.
It will be fun.¬† It's been an interesting three days.¬† I know it will be a hot one, so they'll have to put more water on the greens than I'm sure they would hope to to make it a little firmer.¬† But I think it's going to come down to taking advantage of those par‑5s on 8, 9, and 10.¬† Just trying to eliminate the bogeys, for sure.
KELLY THESIER:  You had a really good finish here last year, finished fourth.  Is this golf course one that suits your game?  When you see it from the tee, is it one you know everybody talks about it suiting your eye?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's funny.  I missed the cut here, and I've finished fourth also.  So it's kind of a little bit up in the air in that sense, but I do like this golf course.  Also, it's giving yourself good looks at birdies with your irons and things like that.  You know, there are holes where the longer players can hit driver, so it puts everybody into the same equal level playing field.
But I do, I do like it.  I think that when you get on a roll out here you can start to make a lot of birdies, but it's only three days.  So you really have to put yourself in contention after the first day.

Q.  Talking about your game in general.  You've had some really strong finishes lately.  The U.S. Women's Open you played well.  You played well at Evian.  How are you feeling about the state of your game coming into this week?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's getting better.  I'm still working on a lot of things.  Kind of seems like when I'm working on my irons, I kind of lose it with my driver.  When I'm working on my driver, I lose it with my irons.
Last week I didn't hit my irons well at all, and that's one of my strengths.¬† I had a good up‑and‑down.¬† And you play golf courses where you're going to make a lot of birdies and that's not a good thing.¬† But overall, I feel really good.¬† I'm healthy.
I have a really good outlook on when I go out on to the golf course.  My attitude has been really good.  I'm trying to get better every day, and hopefully something will click.

Q.  12 of the top 30 money winners are from South Korea, 17 are from Asia.  Why do you think that is?  Is it a bad thing for the Tour from the United States standpoint spectatorwise?
PAULA CREAMER:  Well, I mean, those are the numbers.  They show it.  There are just so many more people from south Korea that are out here.  Definitely, we're a little bit outnumbered in a sense with the Americans or Europeans or what not.
But it's hard because when you're out on the golf course and you're talking to them, they're great people.  It's just a cultural thing as well.  I don't speak other languages, but I'm sure if you put a camera in my face and I was trying to speak Spanish or I'm learning Japanese, I'd be a little standoffish and scared also.  But I think it's helping elevate our games.  That's for sure.
They have the best demeanors on the golf course.  It might not be fun for people to watch because they are so even keel out on the course.  But just in general, I think it helps golf around the world, for sure.  Obviously, we want to have Americans at the top of the board, and I'm very aware of that.  Trust me.  My number 1 goal is to be the number 1 American.  That is something that I've always looked at.  At the end of the year if I'm close to it, then I've done what I wanted to do.
At the same time, you can't control other people.  I think it shows a lot about junior golf.  Just America, in general, we need to get better with junior golf, and we need to be able to give these younger kids the opportunity to play this game.
Things like the First Tee and organizations and things at country clubs or even private or public courses have to be more involved in it, because that is the future of golf.

Q.  Do you consider yourself in a victory drought?  It's been a few years, a couple of years.
PAULA CREAMER:  I think about it every day, yes.  It's been two years.  Yeah, I do.  It's hard.  This has been by far the biggest struggle I've ever had to go against, and this is my 8th year out here.  It's definitely been the hardest one for me, a lot of things going off and on the golf course.
I'm 26.¬† Just dealing with life in itself, and trying to be the number 1 player in the world is hard.¬† I kind of got away from it a little bit, and I've been just‑‑ all I can do is work as hard as I can.¬† I feel like once I get there, it's going to open up so many more doors.¬† But getting there has been a little bit of the issue.

Q.  Yani was talking yesterday about the slump that she's been in and the struggles that she's had over the past few months.  She said that the next victory, when it comes, might be the sweetest of her career because of what she's gone through and realizing what it takes to get back in. Is that something you feel too whenever that next one comes?
PAULA CREAMER:  I do feel that.  It's hard because she's won how many times this year?  So for her, her slump is only a couple of months.  Mine's two years, that kind of thing.
But I do think it will be a sweet victory.  I think it's everything from my thumb surgery to winning my first major, it was a lot.  A lot of things people don't realize is it's not like you come right back.  Your body goes through a lot after surgery, and it takes a while.  Breaking down my golf swing and things like that, it's tough.  It's hard to do something that your body won't let you do at the same time.
I feel great, and I feel like once it comes, it's going to be a matter of time.  It's kind of what ends up happening is you do things that you're not necessarily planning on doing.  You're changing your game plan and strategies and things like that to try to win, and that's not how I won before.  I have to go back and look at how I've done that.

Q.  We were talking about some of the good finishes this season.  It's like you get those glimpses of what it can be, and does that at least give you that motivation of all these changes that you're making are going to eventually be that payoff at the end?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, motivation I have so much of that.  That's never been the issue.  I've always wanted it more than the next person.  You know, the drive and the form of perfection.  But the run that I made at Evian on my back nine was fun.  It was exciting.  Just feeling that in the moment and being there.  And the U.S. Open after a National Championship, being in contention there. There is nothing better than that.
You know, Na Yeon Choi played fantastic on Saturday.  You can't take that away from her.  But being able to be put in that position was nice.  It was a good taste again.

Q.  You talked about some of the things that you're going through right now.  How much are you enjoying the game, and you've been coming to Oregon for a long time, how much do you enjoy it here?
PAULA CREAMER:  The first one, losing my grandpa earlier this year was by far the hardest thing that I've ever had to go through.  He was my number 1 fan and inspiration.  He was the greatest person I've ever met in my life, and losing him has been very hard for me to deal with.  Definitely going through all of that has made me realize what I have and enjoying what I do.
It's a game, and golf is a marathon, not a sprint.  I have to remember that.  But coming here, I had this little boy that's come out and watched me the last six, seven years.  He was out there today and yesterday.  He had his pink Panther shirt on.  It's so nice to come to a place where they really love the LPGA and embrace the tournament, so I do look forward to coming to this spot every year.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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