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May 22, 2005

Paula Creamer


JOEL LAMP: We've got the champion in the interview room, Paula Creamer. Let's start off with your score card. Bogey at No. 2.

PAULA CREAMER: It was 126 yards, and I remember this because it's probably the one time Lance and I disagreed on a club. I hit 9 iron and it came up short and I missed a 15 footer for par and made bogey.

JOEL LAMP: Birdies at 4 and 5.

PAULA CREAMER: 4 was probably my favorite birdie throughout the whole week. I hit a 4 Rescue. It was playing about 195, and I hit it to about 12 feet left of the hole, perfect uphill putt and I made it.

JOEL LAMP: Birdie at 5.

PAULA CREAMER: I had 112 into the flag. I hit a wedge to maybe 10 feet past the hole.

JOEL LAMP: Bogey at 7.

PAULA CREAMER: I three putted 7. That's when it started raining. I had to hit 3 wood into that green, and I didn't hit it very good. It was kind of thin. It was on the fringe and then I didn't anticipate how slow it would be with the water and I ended up three putting.

JOEL LAMP: How far was that first putt?

PAULA CREAMER: 45 feet, 40 feet.

JOEL LAMP: Bogey at 9.

PAULA CREAMER: I thought I hit a great iron shot into the green. I guess it just didn't hold. It went past the hole maybe 15 it was about 20 feet above the hole in the first cut. And I hit it about 5 feet past the hole and missed it coming back.

JOEL LAMP: What did you hit into that green?

PAULA CREAMER: A little 8.

JOEL LAMP: Bogey at 11.

PAULA CREAMER: That hole, for some reason, has never set up well for my eye. I hit it in the bunker again and had a lay up, and I had 135 to the hole. I hit a little 7 because of the rain and I missed about a 19 footer. It was about 25 feet, actually, straight uphill and I barely missed it.

JOEL LAMP: But you answered back strong. Birdies at 14 and 15.

PAULA CREAMER: 14, I had 139, I believe, 140, actually, to the hole, and I hit a little 7. And I hit it to about two inches, so it was nice, a tap in birdie.

And then the next hole I had about a 35 foot pitch into the green, and I hit it to a couple of inches.

JOEL LAMP: And then to cap it all off, the birdie at 18.

PAULA CREAMER: I had a shot out of the rough, a pitch shot, and it just it kind of squirted out on me. I had 17 feet, because I remember I walked it off, and it was left to right, right in. I walked it off, I remember.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAULA CREAMER: Then two more.

Q. (No microphone.)

PAULA CREAMER: 12, I had in the middle of the round I had some pretty crazy drives. I didn't hit many fairways. And I hit 5 iron to that green, which amazingly made that hole harder. And I hit a little pitch to about 5 feet and got up and down.

The next hole I hit 7 iron. That's where I got momentum, because I made that putt, it was about a eight footer, nine footer, big right to left break and she makes birdie. I think that picked me up energy. If anything, it just got me motivated.

JOEL LAMP: A big first win for you. Talk a little bit right now about what you're thinking right now.

PAULA CREAMER: It's going to be fun going home, that's for sure, for graduation. It's so exciting. There's not enough words to explain. I was saying to Joel, I can't speak, let alone think. It's awesome. There's so much energy coming out of me right now.

JOEL LAMP: What were you thinking over the putt on 18?

PAULA CREAMER: Well, I was lucky that I had somewhat of the same putt at Shop Rite to win the event. I remember last time I didn't really trust my line as much, and this time I said, if it doesn't go in, it's all right. You make a good stroke at it.

I was thinking actually more about the second putt if I missed it coming back, because I knew Gloria blew it by about five feet past the hole. And I thought, there's no way I'm going to do it, it's just going to get to the hole. And it barely fell in. I didn't think it was going in at first. I think it willed its way into the hole.

JOEL LAMP: We'll take questions.

Q. Are you aware of the history involved with the 53 years since anyone as young as you has won an LPGA event?

PAULA CREAMER: Now I know. Now I am aware of that. That's fantastic. I was told that right when I signed my score card. I was told that. I think that's awesome. That's great.

Q. Do you think this weekend validates your decision to turn pro as early as you did?

PAULA CREAMER: I would hope so. If it's not, I don't know what else to do. I won. Next time I need to win by 5? I don't know. I would think so. For me, it's just making my goals and setting them. Setting them high to where I think I can achieve them and meeting my expectations.

Q. Did you surprise yourself with how well you held up under not only the pressure of late Sunday, but also just the conditions, being as rainy as it was?

PAULA CREAMER: There were times out there where it was just miserable. It was raining. It was cold. It's the same for everybody out there. There are some shots that definitely gave me momentum that I hit. I know for sure

No. 3, when I had it was just terrible the first two holes. I thought it was going to be a long, miserable day.

I hit a good 8 iron out of the rough to 15 feet and I made two birdies after that. It was a shot that I had to make at that time. It's hard, because I am so hard on myself, to say that I meet my expectations and I surprise myself, but I expect it almost.

Q. Do you take pride in playing well in adverse conditions and that sort of environment?

PAULA CREAMER: I do. Of course. It was tough out there. The score board shows it. At one point minus three was leading. It was a tough day out there. I knew that. I knew if we stayed patient, and Lance kept telling me to stay patient, there is lots of golf left.

We both got anxious at some points out on the golf course, but it's learning. And now I know I can come back and win, it was fun. That's all I can really say.

Q. Your dad talked about when you were I can't say when you were a kid, but when you were younger, going out into rain and bad weather to practice. Talk about what you remember from those times and if that helped you at all today.

PAULA CREAMER: I remember this one time I was in the US Open qualifier and my ball went into the hazard. It was partly in the water. I had never hit that shot before and I had to go in and hit it. I've never practiced that shot. After that, I remember my dad and I went out on rainy days to hit out of puddles. What a great place to have that shot, in the middle of the US Open qualifier, and not know how to hit it.

Since then I've always played in the rain. I like playing in the rain. I've never not liked it. I think it brings everybody it shows you what kind of person you are. You have to fight through it. You have to be a tough person and go through adversity.

My dad and I, we used to go out all the time and hit out of puddles. We did 15, 20 minutes, just to be out there for a little bit and experience different shots.

Q. Did the weather remind you of the Bay area at all this morning?

PAULA CREAMER: It did. I used to practice in this kind of stuff. We would have months like this, so I was used to that. That's why I think I feel comfortable in rain.

Q. I don't know how much you follow other sports, but there is a debate going on in pro basketball as far as putting an age restriction on players. What do you think of the general concept of putting restrictions on young teenage athletes?

PAULA CREAMER: I've been asked this question a couple of times. I think if the person feels prepared for it I'm 18, a lot of people feel that's way too young. But I feel I'm ready for this and this is what I want to do. But I don't necessarily know in other sports. All I know is this one right now, golf, and I can only comment on that.

I think if the person is prepared and this is what they want to do, so be it. I don't think 14 is such a good age, but how a person is, that's their life.

Q. Sort of along the same lines. When you turned pro, and even prior to turning pro, you were someone billed as the next great player. Did you feel pressure or have you felt pressure given that sort of billing that you had been receiving and how does this sort of speak to that?

PAULA CREAMER: Kind of. To be called the next great American, that does put a lot of pressure on me. But I thrive off of pressure. It makes me practice harder. It makes me try to represent my country more, everything. I think that it was, but now I hope that some day I can help other junior girls to get involved with golf.

Q. You mentioned the momentum you gained with the big par saving putt on 13. Was there a point in your round you were discouraged and you thought maybe this wasn't going to be your week?

PAULA CREAMER: There were some times. I mean, I made some pretty bad golf swings coming down in the middle of the round, just places where I shouldn't be at. I got above the hole too many times.

I got a gift from Gloria on No. 7, I feel. She hit a great pitch shot from over there, and then I three putted and gave her a gift. And we both did. And then the next hole No. 12 was a big one for me. That hole never set up well for me or 11, that hole never set up well for me. I hit it in the bunker and I was thinking, man, you're blowing it, you're just giving it away, you're just giving shots away.

So there were times after the second hole I was like, This isn't going to happen the whole day.

Q. You mentioned also your personal goals. Was one of those to win before Michelle Wie?

PAULA CREAMER: No, I never really thought of that. She's not out on Tour right now. She has her exemptions, but that wasn't a goal of mine.

Q. You said yesterday you were anxious. Did you just handle that much better today?

PAULA CREAMER: Yes, I think so. I called Colin, my caddie. We talk a lot, every day, and we talked to Lance about it, and just things to help me be not anxious and be calm and patient out there. And it worked well for a while. It's funny, because on 17 I hit a pretty decent good shot and then Gloria hit it within two feet. And Lance was like, Come on, you have to make this putt. And I'm like, Listen, you need to settle down, not me. We have a hole and a half to play. Come on. It worked well.

There were times I tend to walk very fast when things are like on the last hole, 18, I was 50 yards in front of Lance. And Lance was screaming, "Paula, Paula, stop!" And I waited. And then we walked up. I just have to learn how to control it. The last putt, I was shaking because of nerves and just wanting to see what's going to happen.

Q. Are you prouder of the two par saves than the birdie, birdie after that or what?

PAULA CREAMER: Yes, because that was a big swing moment there. We were going to 3 under and that kept bringing more people into the competition coming down the stretch. So those were big. I think the biggest one was well, it's hard to tell, because 12, I needed to make that.

And then 13 was just it was just a good putt. And we were on the clock at that time. I didn't think the ball was lined up properly, but I couldn't go back and realign it up on 13 because of the time, and so I just said, okay, putt it. And it went in, thank goodness. And I just got momentum from that.

Q. What did your mom and dad say to you afterwards?

PAULA CREAMER: "Congratulations! You did it." And I was like, "No, we did it." We've worked hard. We've given a lot of things up for this, they have. I wouldn't change a thing, moving to Florida and all that. It was a big hug. It was nice.

Q. What's Lance's last name?


Q. And your parents?

PAULA CREAMER: Paul and Karen.

Q. Colin's last name?


Q. (No microphone.)

PAULA CREAMER: 12 was about 5 feet. And 13 was about 9 feet.

Q. Talking about the momentum you had with those par savers. On 7 you knocked it within two inches. What was that like as far as your emotional or mental to get you pumped up or

PAULA CREAMER: Lance said, right when we did that, one shot lead with four holes to go. This is your time. On the next tee, I hit 3 wood off that tee. Every day I've hit driver. And he was like, you have to get it in the fairway. I tend to go very far left on that hole and never give myself a shot to the green. He was saying, You have got four holes left and this is nice, that you have a tap in. That takes a lot of pressure off of reading the putt. But that momentum from the hole before that was the big swing.

Q. When is the next tournament you'll play?

PAULA CREAMER: Shop Rite, not Corning, but Shop Rite.

Q. So this coming week is graduation?


Q. What else do you have going on besides graduation?

PAULA CREAMER: That's about it, graduation and I have some First Tee I have First Tee, I believe, Saturday, and I have a dinner with First Tee on Friday night, I believe.

Q. Does life seem bigger than graduation now?

PAULA CREAMER: It does. Graduation is well, that's hard to say, because graduation was just a completion of part of my life. And this, I hope, keeps going on and on kind of thing. I'm very proud that I am graduating and I'm very proud that I'm going home for that, but I'm also very proud of winning. It's hard to say, but this has been fun.

Q. Do you think you'll be voted by your classmates most likely to succeed?

PAULA CREAMER: I hope so. There are some great athletes down there, so I don't know.

Q. It's hard to look far ahead into your future, but the fact that you won your first tournament here, do you think you'll have a loyalty and enjoy coming back here in the future?

PAULA CREAMER: Of course. When we played the practice round, and I've said it every day in here, I like this golf course. It's a fantastic golf course. They've done a terrific job keeping it in great shape, good condition. It's a good test of golf, and the scores show it. You're not running away with it and you're coming down the stretch. Minus six, it shows that's tough.

Q. How did the champagne taste?

PAULA CREAMER: Terrible. It got in my eye. It was awful. I smell like it and it's not so good right now. Hey, at least it's on me.

JOEL LAMP: Thanks a lot Paula. Congratulations.

End of FastScripts.

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