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March 26, 2014

Paula Creamer


THE MODERATOR:  All right.  I'd like to welcome in Rolex Rankings No. 8 Paula Creamer into the interview room here at the Kia Classic.  Paula, thanks for coming in.
PAULA CREAMER:  Thank you.
THE MODERATOR:  Tell me about taking some early looks at the course, everyone's kind of been commenting on how improved the conditions here are at Aviara.  Talk about the course setup this week and your thoughts on the overall setup.
PAULA CREAMER:  Yeah, the fairways and the rough are definitely in much better shape than they were last year.  It's a great golf course, you just have to put the ball in the right spot.
The greens are going to be the tough part about it.¬† I know the afternoon‑‑ they're pretty soft right now, and the afternoons they're going to get pretty beat up, but you just have to take it for what it is and hopefully hit it as close as you can.¬† But they're really receptive right now, so you don't have to worry too much about bouncing and landing it short and things like that.¬† You can pretty much fly at most pins.
THE MODERATOR:  You're a few weeks removed from the putt, the big win.  How important was it to play well last week?  You had a top 20 in Phoenix.  How important was that for you to stay with that momentum and not get caught up in the win?  I know you celebrated and got to enjoy it, but how important was that?
PAULA CREAMER:  You always want to come back and play well.  I had two weeks off, and you just want to go and you want to keep continuing what you're doing, but at the same time, yeah, it is a little bit added kind of pressure towards it, because you want to go back to back.  That's what everyone wants to do, win one and the next one and the next one.  But you can't get too far ahead of yourself.
I didn't play that well on Thursday and Friday.  Had a great Saturday, didn't play quite as well on Sunday.  But pleased with my performance in a sense, but getting ready for this week and Kraft next week.
THE MODERATOR:  Talk about everyone kind of uses this swing as the prep for Kraft, the first major.  Do you prepare any differently?  Just obviously no one wants to look past this week.  They want to win the week they're in, but obviously Kraft, everybody wants to perform well.  Talk about your preparation for that and going into next week.
PAULA CREAMER:  I think it's important, you have to be very precise with your irons next week.  So this is a good tuneup for that this week, just because of the size of the greens here.  And you know, every week is different.  You know, it is a major next week, but this is just as big of a tournament.  And so you know, you want to focus as much as you can on this week and play well.
But yeah, there is things that you kind of have to work on a little bit.  You know, it's a little bit more dry down in the desert there, but for the most part it comes down to putting the ball in the right spots, and you have to do that here, which you have to do next week.  So it's a good tuneup for that.
THE MODERATOR:  Now, Derek came out last week.  Is he here this week?  Talk about wedding plans.  I know that's a big project for you off the course.  That's a big thing that's going on.  Where are you at in wedding plans?
PAULA CREAMER:  I can't tell you where I'm at in my wedding plans.
THE MODERATOR:  Just give us a little detail.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† No, I am.¬† I'm definitely planning, and you know, it's fun.¬† It takes a big distraction.¬† It helps me to kind of break away from golf, and being able to do something like that, it's a once‑in‑a‑lifetime opportunity, and I'm taking it for what it's worth and milking every second of my bride year.¬† So it's fun.¬† I've been getting a lot of bride gifts and things, and I just go with it.¬† I mean I'm full speed ahead.¬† That's for sure.
THE MODERATOR:  Perfect.  Questions for Paula.

Q.  Paula, the thing that I heard after the putt was not so much even how difficult the putt was, but your reaction, and how much people loved your reaction to it.  Obviously it's completely spur of the moment.
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, yeah.  You can't plan that.

Q.  Not even the putt or the reaction.

Q.  But what has been the reaction to the reaction, I guess?  I think people are almost seeing you a little bit differently.
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Well, yes and no.¬† I mean first I said the putt, the putt, you know, that kind of thing.¬† But the reaction afterwards was just‑‑ that was me.¬† It was just pure genuine.¬† I couldn't believe‑‑ I was just as shocked as everybody else was.
Of course, I'm trying to make it and get it as close as I can, but for it to go in at that time, at that moment, you know, I think my overall reaction was did I just win?  Did that just go in?  Like what's going on?  And it was just pure just excitement.
And you know, it was just something that I will‑‑ I'll never forget.¬† Like it was probably one of the highlights of my career, just because of everything that's led up to it.¬† It's three‑and‑a‑half years since I've won, and it felt like it was my first win, and I acted like it was my first win.
But it sure did feel good, and that was basically what you saw.  And I've had a lot of people come up to me and just talk about the reaction.  And I just did it.  I don't know how.  That's what I felt at that moment.
THE MODERATOR:  Last week we played back the clippings of it in five different languages, all the clips after it and you just were standing there shaking your head.
PAULA CREAMER:  It's crazy.  Like I said, you can't plan anything like that.  And for it to have been so much exposure and everywhere, I mean nightly news, things like that, I just never realized how big of a putt it really was.  I was just excited I won.  I didn't even think about all the other things that went along with it.

Q.  It's funny that you mentioned, too, that so much of the emotion was about the previous years; right?

Q.  And you're not thinking about that necessarily at the time, but it started building up in your life?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† Well, and that's what it was, it was like, gosh, here I am, and I was thinking I would make maybe like a five‑footer or something to win.¬† I didn't think I'd make a 75‑footer.¬† For it to, like I said, to go and to happen that way, and my friends were there.¬† And you couldn't have planned it any better, and being able to call home, call my dad and my mom and then Derek, you know.¬† It just made it so special.
And being in Singapore, it isn't quite close to the United States, and to have all of the media afterwards was pretty neat.  Felt like my own major.

Q.  You announced your engagement on Twitter, but more importantly, you were blocked by Juli Inkster on Twitter.
PAULA CREAMER:  I know.  I've been blocked for a long time by Juli.

Q.  Have you been able to, now that she's a Solheim Cup captain, get this clarified or is she just inept?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, honestly, that's been like a year and a half going on.  And I kept telling her, you know you're blocking me from Twitter; and she was like, I have to get Haley or Boo to help with it, and she just hasn't done it.  So then she gets Solheim captain.  I said I'm throwing you under the bus now because I can and I will, and still unblocked.  So I said, okay, we'll see.  We'll see what kind of participant I will be, I need my peanut butter sandwich on this hole at this moment (laughs).

Q.¬† Your thoughts on the Aviara layout, specifically the 18th hole, and are you also trying to leave yourself 75‑footers now?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† No.¬† I'm definitely‑‑ every time ‑‑ it's funny, every time I walk down the putting green, they go, oh, the green's not big enough for you.¬† And I'm like, oh, I have to hear that for the next two years, I think.
But no, I think the 18th hole is great.¬† 17 is a good par‑5; and then 16 is fun, that par‑4 where they move up the tee box sometimes, and even the back box it's a good hole.
You know, it's a fun golf course.  I think it's one of the prettiest golf courses that we play, just with the flowers.  It's so green.  You know, everywhere around the green, they always look so nice.
You know, I'm glad I'm playing it and not walking it outside the ropes.  It's probably a pretty difficult spectator course to walk, but we get so many good fans out here, too, and that's really nice to have that, that local support, to be able to come out and play.  And they get to see an awesome golf course.
THE MODERATOR:  Final week for International Crown push until the members are set.  I asked Stacy; I asked Inbee who came through here earlier on that final push.  You're pretty much a lock with you and Stacy.  Angela, Lizette and Gerina have mathematical chances to get in.  Have you talked to them about making the team or have you guys talked amongst yourselves about this event which could probably bring a lot of exposure to the tour?
PAULA CREAMER:  No.  We haven't really talked about it.  It's kind of like you know what you need to do to get on the team, and they're all three such great players, and it's going to be a fun format.  You know, I'm interested to see how it all plays out with the matches against each other and things, but whenever you get to represent your country, there's nothing better than that.
And the team that we will have, no matter what, we've all played together, which is pretty cool, and not a lot of the teams have that type of experience.
But it is going to be, you know, an interesting kind of finish these next couple‑‑ after Kraft to see the lockdown, but I'm sure that they know what they need to do to get on the team.
THE MODERATOR:¬† And all seven of you, like you said, have Solheim Cup experience.¬† How much do you think that will come into play in terms of playing four‑ball matchups?
PAULA CREAMER:  You know, it's obviously a big thing when you have team chemistry with each other and you know what you need to do, but it all comes down to making birdies and being there for your partner at the same time, and you have to have a good pairing with each other, and like I said, I think it's a big thing that we do know each other already from Solheim.  We have the upper hand in that, but at the same time it's still a golf tournament and anything can happen.  Just because you have good chemistry, you still have to go out and get the job done.
THE MODERATOR:  Now, it would be you, Stacy, Lexi and Cristie Kerr if it were played today, you guys would be in.  Inbee said the Korean culture is the oldest person takes the lead.  Are you just going to say, hey, Kerr, tell us what to do.  There's no captains or anything.  Who would take the lead out of that?
PAULA CREAMER:  I don't know if Kerr wants to take the lead on that one.  But I don't know.  I think when the team's discussed or made, we'll talk about that one then.

Q.  Paula, how much do you enjoy playing here in San Diego and what would it mean to win the Kia Classic?
PAULA CREAMER:  Oh, being a California girl, I love coming here, and I love being able to have a lot of my family come out and watch.
You know, I had a lot of the Marines from Camp Pendleton come out yesterday and they got to watch and walk with me nine holes, and it's so fun.  It's nice to be on the West Coast, and I miss it.  We don't get to come out here enough, that's for sure.
But to win here would be great.  I mean any win is a good one, but here just because of all my family that gets to come out and watch, there's nothing better than winning in front of your loved ones and your family.  So I'm going to be pushing it and grinding out there as much as I possibly can to hopefully be in contention on Sunday.

Q.  Paula, you were having a really good week here last year until the last round.

Q.  Can you kind of reflect on both the week, how it went and then that last round, what got away from you in the last round?
PAULA CREAMER:¬† You know, sometimes it happens, you just don't play well on your Sundays, but last year Sunday I couldn't get anything going at all, and I played with I. K., and she played really well.¬† But I just‑‑ I don't know.¬† I think I‑‑ maybe I got a little bit too far ahead of myself before I teed off and maybe a little bit too nervous, things like that, you know, learning‑‑ you have to learn a lot about yourself in those kind of situations and try to be able to control it.
But I do like this golf course.¬† You know, it is tricky with the putts.¬† You know, there's a lot of breaking putts and there's a lot of putts that go certain directions that they just shouldn't go and that kind of thing.¬† You have to be very mentally strong, I think, out here.¬† There's going to be a lot of birdies made, but you gotta‑‑ you know, you can't push it.¬† You can't be too super aggressive as well because if you get above the hole on some of these, it's in death zone.
And I think, you know, knowing the golf course, I came out and played it a couple of times this off season.  My fiancé lives in Newport Beach, so we drove out here and came out and played.  And you do that not that often, go play tournament courses, but for me this is a big week, and I want to play well, and last year was a good start for me to feel good out here.

Q.  In the buildup to Singapore, how did you feel about your game to that point, and what do you feel like you've improved upon most recently in the last year?
PAULA CREAMER:  I had a great off season.  I worked really, really hard.  I didn't take a ton of time off, but you know, I maybe took a week and a half, two weeks off.  But I allowed myself to have breaks even in January and things like that when I needed it, just because I wasn't forced to go out and, oh, I only have three weeks left, two weeks left, that kind of thing.  I just kind of paced through it.
You know, my coach, David Whelan and I, we've been together since I was 16, and you know, we just broke down my golf swing at the end of last year, pretty much in September basically, and I just kept going with it, and I knew it was going to be a tough time.  And now I've kind of grooved that.  I was able to play with it in tournament, wasn't great in the tournament.  But just being able to take it from the range and the driving range to the course is one of the hardest things to do, especially when you have expectations and things to come out here and play strong.
But I'm making more putts.  Just more consistent.  I'm longer.  I definitely have gained about 15, 20 yards off the tee easily.  You know, that makes life a lot easier coming into some of the holes with a club less.
But just more consistent, and you know, like I said, not changing too many things.¬† You know, something‑‑ sticking to the original plan is I think the key to what I've been doing so far.
And I knew it was coming, the win, sooner rather than later.  I've been just hitting the ball so well, Bahamas, Australia.  Didn't play that great in Thailand, but was ready for Singapore.
THE MODERATOR:  All right.  Any other questions?  All right.  Well, thank you for coming in.
PAULA CREAMER:  Thank you.

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