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July 17, 2013

Paula Creamer


MODERATOR:  We'd like to welcome Rolex Rankings No. 14, Paula Creamer, into the interview room.  This certainly has to feel like a great place to come back to.  2008 winner here in Toledo, and I know everybody talks a lot about how much they love coming back to this event.
How is it for you?
PAULA CREAMER:  No, it is.  There are so many great memories that I've had here.  I've had kind of a mixed bag of events or times here, but I do enjoy coming back.  So many wonderful fans.  Everybody here in Toledo just loves women's golf.
It's exciting when you can come to a place you've won.  I mean, I shot my low round here before.  Just being able to come back, we have missed it on the schedule, and hopefully be back many more years.
MODERATOR:  When you look at the list of winners ‑ Se Ri Pal won five times, Annika, Meg Mallon‑‑ it's a tremendous list.  Is there something about this golf course that helps identify great players?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think it's a golf course that once you feel comfortable you do play very well out here.  You see the greens, they're small greens; tucked pin placements; you have to be really good with your irons.  You have to also make a lot of birdies and no bogeys, and those are people that are so steady and don't make many mistakes.
When the putter gets hot, you can make a lot of putts out here once you see it.  I think that the more that you play this golf course the more comfortable you feel.  Having the fans behind you here is something that I think is a big bonus.  Just being able to have that little extra support always helps when you're out there.
MODERATOR:  I know we always get some different weather every week out here in tour.  The heat wave seems to be hitting Toledo this week.  What's going to be the key to not getting too, I guess, overheated out there on the golf course.
PAULA CREAMER:  It's always hot here.  It's either hot or raining or the bridges are getting overflowed.  I mean, it's always something out here.
You know, who knows what's going to happen come Saturday, Sunday.  But being able to travel all over the world, obviously you do have different temperatures, different climates.
Living in Florida I feel like I'm plenty used to humidity and the mugginess.  Last week in Toronto, record storm, and of course the LPGA was coming into town and it was warm on the weekend there.
Being hydrated is going to be very important.  Especially to all the fans that come out and watch.  Better bring a water and maybe a sun umbrella because it's going to be warm and toasty for sure.
MODERATOR:  Questions for Paula.

Q.  Talk about how you're feeling and playing and what you think your expectations are for this week.
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, I've been starting to play really well the last couple months.  Had a really good Open showing.  Kind of after Rochester looked at my game a little bit more and tried fine tune some things.
I'm hitting the ball great.  I didn't have a very good putting week last week.  I hit great putts but just couldn't read those greens.  That sometimes happens.  Sometimes golf courses just don't fit your eye.
Coming into this week the way that I am hitting the ball and the way I do see these greens, I'm feeling really good.  It's just a matter of time of being able to put four good rounds of golf together.
The fact that you've been going against some players that are just super hot right now is a little bit not in your favor in a sense because you just have so much confidence and you're the one tat is trying to get out there and make those putts.
26‑under par last week, that's a crazy low number.  I think it's going to take another low number this weekend.  Mentally you have to prepare and be able to go out and make a bunch of birdies.  I think I can do that out here.  I've done it before; no reason I can't do it now.

Q.  When you won here in '08, you were and maybe still are affiliated with Owens Corning, and it was the Owens Corning Classic.  Stacy will be in in a little while, and she's affiliated with Marathon.  In that situation, is there more pressure to perform well?
PAULA CREAMER:  Of course.  Having sponsors in general you want to represent yourself well.  You're representing their company.
But at the same time, when they have an event they've obviously put a little bit extra into the LPGA.  I feel that way when I go to the Ricoh Women's British Open.  I wear Ricoh on my left sleeve.
You know, Stacy, I know what it feels like to come to an event when, yes, you are looked a bit more upon by your sponsors and things because you're representing them.
But I think that's a great thing, that we can have ambassadors for these big companies that want to support an LPGA event.
And I don't think it's a nervous type of feeling.  It's more pressure of your expectations a little almost too high in a sense because you want to do well for them.

Q.  Are you still affiliated with Owens Corning?

Q.  You've been pretty healthy this year I take it.  That's got to be a welcome relief from the last few years, right?
PAULA CREAMER:  It has.  I had that car accident in Thailand, but other than that I've been pretty healthy.  Found out a couple things of maybe why I've been sick in the past.  But I feel really good, probably the best I've felt.  Been able to just kind of work on my game as much as I could with no setbacks.

Q.  What was the extent of the thing in Thailand physically for you?
PAULA CREAMER:  My vertebras were a little bit out of place and had to kind of work through that.  Obviously getting in a car was one of scariest things I ever had to do after that.
But that happens.  We all learned a lesson in a sense.  We're lucky to just honestly be alive and walking around.  A little bit more carefree on a golf course after something like that happens.
You know, people go through stuff like that.  Mine was just a bit more publicized.  Like I said, it took me a good couple months to be in a car and drive.  When you're going 90 miles per hour and you smash between two cars, a lot of things can happen.
To be able to play that week after, I don't know how I did it, but we did it.

Q.  You've gone through an experience, a transformation on the tour.  Do you feel like players and fans and everybody are embracing the kind of global personality of the tour?  Where would you like to see the tour go from here?
PAULA CREAMER:  I mean, being a global player I do like it.  I do appreciate being able to travel all over the world.  I have many different sponsors throughout the world.
However, this is our home here in the States.  We want to have as many events as we can here.  We want to grow the game in America.  It's hard for people to watch us when we are overseas.  You can't take away the fans and the golf over there and what Asia has done for the women's game.
But at the same time, this is where we are based out of.  I would love to see more events here in the States.  Television is obviously a huge thing just to be able to be in the mass market of media.  Having those opportunities is huge, especially for the future of the game and future of women's golf.
But like I said, you can't away what the other parts of the world are doing for women's golf.

Q.  You've got things to do before that, but are you already a little excited for Solheim cup?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, of course.  Walking in and seeing this picture to my left, you know, it's still by far the best week that we have‑ that I have ‑ on tour.
It's just so exciting to be able to be on a team.  Everybody knows how patriotic I am wearing red, white, and blue.
The golf you see during that week is incredible.  The way people hit shots at the big moments, putts at the time right times, things like that, there is nothing better than that.  Being able to have Meg as our captain, I got to play any first Solheim Cup with Meg.  It's going to so much fun in Colorado.
We have we have a great group of girls, and it's going to be a tight race coming down the stretch the next couple events.  We'll see who is pulling through at the British Open.

Q.  To follow up on Toms' question, there as of time not too long ago there were five LPGA tournaments within three hours of here.  I know you remember some of them; maybe not all.  Now this is the only tournament really in the Midwest.  Is that a concern, or do you see that low point already being hit and the rebuilding of it coming in the future?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think the rebuilding part is coming through.  I think our commissioner is doing a really good job getting events back and getting new ones.  Obviously several years ago things changes with him coming into it.  He had a lot to take care of out here for us.
I think he's doing a great job with just bringing it back to the market.  It's just finding the right sponsors, the right times, the right weeks.  You know, I hope in five years we do have that back.
I do feel like it's headed in the right direction.

PAULA CREAMER:  I hope in five years we do have that back.  I do feel like it's headed in the right direction.  We have a great group of girls.  Everybody says that every week, how much they enjoy the pro‑ams, how fan‑friendly we are, all of that.
But it's time to get more events here in the States, and I know the commissioner knows that and he's doing his best to do it.  We have to sell that as well as players.

Q.  Paula, back to the Solheim Cup, what kind of craziness can the fans expect in Colorado?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, goodness.  Well, from us?  From us as players?  Just what the fans experience?  Oh, goodness, of a lot of intense players, that's for sure.
There is a difference obviously here in the States and we go across the pond over there.  Everybody is very appreciative of good shots, which is nice, in both places.
We've never lost on home soil.  I'm very aware of that.  I think every other player is.  I think it's going to be a tough match this year.  Europe has an amazing team.  All the girls are playing really strong.
But we thrive off of the fans.  I don't think people necessarily understand that.  When we are super excited, we are.  We were the ones thriving off of them and giving us that energy.  We play two matches a day.  It's going to be a grueling test.
But at the same time, we're so motivated and we're so pumped up.  And having the fans there to support that, there is nothing better than that.  Seeing everybody in their red, white, and blue cheering for your country, there is nothing better.

Q.  The problem is that one time where you might here cheers if you miss a putt from the European fans.  Is that hard to accept?
PAULA CREAMER:  It's worse over there than it is over here.

Q.  Yeah.
PAULA CREAMER:  It is, but it's part of it.  You know, it's just the way it is.  That's the way the Solheim Cup, the same with the Ryder Cup.  It's that duel, that fight, that rivalry that you have.  It's amazing.  It's three days.  You wait two years for three days to go out there and just grind it out.  You take it for what it's worth.
If people cheer when you miss a putt, it just almost motivates you more to get back out there and go make the next one.

Q.  As a big statistics guy, first of all, you have more top 20s than anybody on tour.  You've finished in the top 20 eleven times this year.  I always break down your rounds.  You're first rounds, though they're not terrible, always seem to be like a stroke and a half worse than your other three rounds.  You start with a 72 or 73, and then Inbee or somebody else is eight strokes ahead of you, and then you have a hard time getting back and you finish fourth.  Are you aware of that?
PAULA CREAMER:  Very much, yeah.

Q.  Is there something you have to do in your preparation to make Thursday a better round?
PAULA CREAMER:  I think sometimes a lot of it is sometimes also conditions of when you do go out.
U.S. Open is a prime example.  What was I, I was late/early.  British ‑‑ or U.S. Open you kind of want to go out early/late just so you can kind of set standards, set the score for the day.
When you tee off when you're already back and haven't even played your first hole‑‑ what did she shoot the first day?  I mean, you haven't even hit your first tee shot in the U.S. Open and you're thinking supposed to be even par.  That's what you want, is even par.  1‑under, 1‑over is never going to kill you in the first round of a U.S. Open.  8‑under par, yeah, that's a hard thinking to kind of go up against.
But that's just one week.  I don't know.  I've always been kind of a slow starter in a sense throughout my whole career.  I don't know if it's nerves or trying to be a little bit too perfect.  I obviously have that tendency of trying to be too perfect out on the golf course.
I'm very aware of it.  It's just letting it happen and get getting in my own way.  This year I've done a better job of that, but I've learning and maturing just as much as I have every other year.
It is kind of my first and second rounds that kind of put me out of the tournament.  Then I go out and win a weekend and that kind of thing.

Q.  Your 60 here was a first‑round one.

Q.  The Thailand situation, you mentioned to come back and play the next week, how did you manage to do that?  And secondly, did you subsequently miss any time at all?
PAULA CREAMER:  I don't know how I did it, honestly.  It took me maybe an hour every morning to actually get into the car to even go to the golf course.  My caddie had to drive 30 minutes from his hotel to meet me at my hotel to help me get into the car.
We were going to Singapore, so that event after Thailand‑‑ well, the accident happened Sunday and then Singapore was the next event.
I couldn't have done it without Colin.  I played I think five holes in the Pro‑Am and I my neck, I couldn't do it, so I didn't play a practice round.  I just went out and trusted Colin.
Sometimes they say when you're sick or you're injured you kind of forget about everything else and your mind is on something completely different.  I've learned a lot from that.  Back to that last question was is you get in your own way and you think too much.
Unfortunately it was an accident that took my mind of the game of golf, but it shows you that can do it.  It's in there.  I think I finished like fourth that week or something, too.  It was crazy.
But you learn a lot from that.  It was unfortunate that I was in a car accident.  So was Ai Miyazato and so was my caddie, Colin and a couple of the Bridgestone guys.  We all walked away.  That's the most important thing.

Q.  Why do you think this tournament has such staying power both on the tour and here in Toledo?
PAULA CREAMER:  The fans, for sure.  Everybody that comes out and supports us.  The sponsors have been around for so long.  Can't take away what Judd has done here.  He's an amazing tournament director.
All the volunteers, everybody.  Judd is a good friend of mine now.  It's nice when you can come to a place and someone is so involved in women's golf.  If it wasn't for him and Jamie Farr, too.  I know his name is not on the tournament anymore, but it wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him as well.
MODERATOR:  Last question because I know Paula has to go practice before she plays in the pro‑am.

Q.  Sure.  You won U.S. Open in 2010.  I'm sure you have expectations of winning more majors.  Can players sometimes put too much pressure on themselves to win that?  I mean, what will it be like five years from now?  Will Paula Creamer win another major?
PAULA CREAMER:  I better win another major.  No, you know, golf, it's like sports.  You have your highs and you have your lows.  I just continue working on my game.  I know I started off really strong at the beginning of my career.
You know, like I said, this is really only my ninth year, and it's incredible what I have accomplished; however, it's not enough.  I'm not satisfied at all with that.  Those were my expectations.
It's just now kind of I've gone through the last in the last three years as an individual and obviously going through surgery and things like that.  Of course we look the majors and wins.  I do.  I'm very aware U.S. Open was my last win.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about it.
But it motivates me, and like I said, if I can just become the best golfer that I can be, hopefully in five years, yes, I'll have more than one major.

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