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June 25, 2013

Paula Creamer


CHRISTINA LANCE:  Welcome to the 68th playing of the U.S. Women's Open at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, New York.  We're pleased to have our 2010 champion Paula Creamer here with us.  Paula came directly over from the driving range where you did a Girl's Golf Junior Clinic with Matt Lauer.  Tell us how that went.
PAULA CREAMER:  It was great.  It was great to see the little girls out there and the little boys in their pink.  To do it with Matt Lauer was exciting.  He was trying to tell me how he was not a very good golfer, but he was awesome.  He was so good.  I'd love to go out and play 18 holes with him.
But just being able to give back to Girl's Golf is something I take a lot of pride in.  I had some great role models and people that took the time to talk to me and let me ask them questions, and if I can inspire a couple of those little girls out there, then I think I've done a pretty good job.
CHRISTINA LANCE:  Judging from the amount of pink we see on a weekly basis, I think you're doing a good job with that.

Q.  How do you feel coming into this week here at Sebonack?
PAULA CREAMER:  I feel great.  I feel like I'm in a really good place.  I had a good ball‑striking week last week.  My putting is coming along.  I have a lot of confidence in that.  I just feel very comfortable out here.  I think this golf course suits my game exceptionally well.  It takes a good team, I think, to go around this track.  And Collin and I have been together nine years, and we're pretty much as married as you can be, him and I.  I think that we have a really good plan.  My coach is out here, David Whelan.  And I really feel that going into Thursday, one more practice round tomorrow, good things can happen.

Q.  You haven't finished outside the top 20 in this event since '03.  How do you explain that consistency?  And is a lot of it just sheer willpower and that you love this tournament so much?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think so.  I have always loved USGA events.  I've played in so many as U.S. Junior, U.S. Am.  I think that the U.S. Open, Women's Open, is just, to me, it's so up here.  I try to bring my best game possible.  I grind it out so much more, not intentionally, but it's ‑‑ like I said, it means so much.  Not that I don't do that every week, but it's kind of like a Solheim in my eyes.  It's just there is something about when you walk out of the clubhouse that feeling, the fans, you know that the golf course is going to be a great test of golf.  You know it's going to challenge you in so many different ways whereas some golf courses, you hit a shot, you hit another one, and you go trying to make a birdie.  Where here there are just so many other parts of the game, mentally, physically, bringing your caddie into it.  There are just different aspects.  I love that challenge.  It always seems to kind of‑‑ my game seems to come around this week.

Q.  Paula, you were spending quite a bit of time with Tom Doak, who was on the golf course.  Can you convey what you learned by talking with one of the co‑designers while you were playing?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, I've been blessed.  Tom sent us a note saying that he wanted to come out and kind of walk with me and he asked if that was okay.  And I asked my dad is this him?  Is it a joke?  Is someone playing a trick on me?  He was able to come out yesterday for nine, and then he watched me play 16 holes today.  And I couldn't say thank you enough, having the architect come out there and walk with you and see you hit shots and just pick his brain.  He's one of the nicest gentlemen I think I've ever met, very humble in what he has done.
When I asked a question, he was right there.  But he was very ‑‑ just let me do my thing, and when I needed it, he was there.  I definitely have taken that in and appreciate him taking the time to come out there and walk with me.

Q.  Following up on that, did you learn anything kind of essential about the greens, which he was mostly responsible for here, that might help you this week?
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, I asked him about a couple of them, and he said, why would you do that to us?  Are you going to go play the U.S. Open out here?  That kind of thing.  But I did.
You know, this golf course is not necessarily about all the good spots.  You need to know where you shouldn't be and you need to know where the safe spots are.  You can be very aggressive, and you can be very conservative at times.  Picking his brain on where really to miss was stuff that my caddie Collin and I just asked him constantly.  Okay, with these pins, what do you think about using these slopes?  Because there are so many different ways to get the ball within the hole, you can go left, you can go right, and it's going to end up.  But which way is the most consistent way, things like that, that he was really able to help with.  Especially some of the shots coming in on the par‑4s, 11.
I mean, 11 and 14, those are two great par‑4s that I really just kind of dissected with him.  To hear the fact that it took 18, 17, and 11, six to seven minutes to actually design, I was thinking what?  Seven minutes to design three holes.  He said, yeah, it was perfect.  This layout, this layout, and this layout.  It was like, whoa.  It was pretty neat to pick the brain in that sense, but how he designed it is what I learned from.

Q.  Did he apologize for making the greens so hard?
PAULA CREAMER:  No.  I didn't give him too much grief about it.  But he laughed.  He definitely kind of chuckled about it.

Q.  I just want to follow up on the whole idea of having that clinic today, and just want to get your thoughts on when you were so young, what made you want to do this?  What made you say this is what I want to give my life to?
PAULA CREAMER:  Passion is‑‑ everybody has a passion for something.  For me, it's golf.  I love pushing myself to the next level.  There is always someone out there that's practicing.  You pushing yourself to see how far you can go.
Someone asked me that question afterwards in an interview, and I've been given so many opportunities to be out here, and I've had great role models talk to me or let me talk to them about certain things.  And taking an hour of my time to go talk to those little girls and boys is nothing.  I mean, that's a no‑brainer when I was asked to do that clinic.
Just golf in general, you can ‑‑ it isn't just a game, and I've learned that over the past‑‑ Geez, how long have I been out here?  Nine years.  There is so much more to it.  If I can help those little kids and I can give back, then I've done enough for myself.  But the clinic, that is nothing.  That is the easy part about what I do.  That is the fun stuff.

Q.  My question is what made you want to do this for a living?
PAULA CREAMER:  I just love it.  I love the game, I love the pressure.  I love pushing myself.  I love being outside doing this forever, traveling.  It's a perfect match for myself.

Q.  Are there one or two holes or a stretch that are kind of like the hardest holes that you feel like you're going to need to get through and then you can breathe easy?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think the par‑3s are phenomenal out here.  I think they're great.  They can do so much with tee boxes and pin placements.
I would say 12 is one of my favorite par‑3s that I've ever played.  I think it is just so beautiful.  It's hard.  I know in the practice rounds I've hit‑‑ when I came about a month ago, one day I hit a 5‑iron, and the next day I hit an 8‑iron.  There is just so much they can change.
17 is a great hole, but then you have a finishing par‑5.  I think the back nine is a little bit more demanding with your shots into the green, whereas the front nine you can still make some birdies.
1 is an awesome opening hole, and then you've got 2 where it's this huge green, but there are so many slopes and so many different ways to play it.  I'd say the back nine is a little bit more demanding.  You can kind of get away with it a little bit more on the front.  But that stretch, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, that's a good stretch.

Q.  You said this course suits your game exceptionally well.  When was the last time you came to an Open venue and felt the same way?
PAULA CREAMER:  Probably Oakmont.  The moment I stepped foot out at Oakmont, I loved it.  I thought it is by far one of my favorite golf courses that I've ever played, and this kind of just matches that.  The whole rolling effect, the natural.  There are not a lot of trees, but you've still got to hit it in the right parts of the fairway.  You've got to be a grinder out here.  You're going to get good breaks and you're going to get bad breaks.  That's a lot like Oakmont.  It's really taking what the golf course gives you.  It's kind of linksy and I like that.  But I would say that Oakmont was probably the last time I felt this good.  We'll see.

Q.  I know there are times at Oakmont, your last victory, seems like that was a long time ago?

Q.  Forever.  When you come to the U.S. Women's Open, does it seem like it wasn't that long ago when you're at this specific event?
PAULA CREAMER:  It feels like it was yesterday, and it wasn't.  But it does.  It's pretty amazing when you do come to these Opens because they are all demanding.  They are all in the same situation of making pars, grinding it out, things like that.  But it does feel like it was yesterday, and hopefully we can have the same results at Oakmont as we do here.

Q.  Just give me your overall thoughts on this course, not necessarily the way it plays, but just the environment here, the atmosphere, and tell me how you've been enjoying your time here so far?
PAULA CREAMER:  This is my first time here.  Just being around all the golf courses, National, Shinnecock, all of that, it's pretty cool.  I mean, the venue is amazing.  The views here are just so pretty.
Juli Inkster told me ‑‑ I remember when we were out at practice, she said it's a big playground for golfers.  And it's true.  It really is.  The fans are so great.
It's been hot the last couple of days and there have been a lot of people out there.  Lots of little girls coming out to watch.  I can't wait for the weekend, because I'm pretty sure it's going to be pretty rowdy, and that's what you want.  That's exciting to be able to play in front of a crowd that just loves golf.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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