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April 26, 2008

Paula Creamer


ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Paula, thanks for coming in and joining us today. Great round out there. One of just two bogey-free rounds all day. Flawless golf. Talk about your round.
PAULA CREAMER: I played really well. I know I hit a lot of good shots, and I made a lot of par saves if I didn't. Most importantly, I stayed patient. Made a lot of pars. Pars won't hurt you at all out on this golf course.
But I think the big distinction was I had a really good warm up. Nancy Lopez came out and watched me, just kind of kept me calm. I think my emotions have been taking the better part of me in the past couple of weeks.
That was really important, just to go out and enjoy myself and realize that there's a golf tournament to win and not to get in the way of myself.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: You were saying on TV, they were asking you about your hip and being on crutches earlier this week. But got to remind everybody your first win of the season did come when you were a little bit under the weather.
PAULA CREAMER: That's what I said. I said I always seem to play better when something's wrong with me. We'll take it, where we're at. Day by day goes by. We're doing a lot of therapy for it, so we'll see.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Let's go through your scorecard. Birdie on 6.
PAULA CREAMER: Birdie on 6. Driver, and then I laid up to 70 yards, I believe, and I hit a little 58 to 15 feet.
Birdie on 8. Driver, I had 150. I had a little 6 to about six feet.
Birdie on 11. Driver, 3 rescue. I laid up to -- no, 4 rescue, excuse me -- to about -- how far was it? I believe it was 55 yards, and I hit it to about 15 feet.
Then birdie on 18. Driver, wedge, wedge, to about four feet.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: All right. Questions for Paula?

Q. Annika is at 7 and you're at 6. Young Kim is right up there; Cristie Kerr is up there. Seems like it could be a pretty exciting final round shootout. Just talk about that.
PAULA CREAMER: It will be. It's a golf course where you can't get too wrapped up in everybody else's game, because it can come bite you in certain places because of how hard the greens are.
I'm just going to go out and play how I have been playing the last three days and take as many opportunities as I can to capitalize on birdies, but eliminate the bogeys. My goal tomorrow is to go out and have another bogey-free round.

Q. You talked about your emotions getting the best of you. What kind of emotions? In what way?
PAULA CREAMER: Just putting way too much pressure on myself and trying to do too much on the golf course. Most importantly, I was just not enjoying myself out there. It's only been a couple weeks, but still this is the best I have felt on a golf course. I'm very relaxed and calm, but at the same time, I'm incredibly focused on what I want.

Q. Just a Nancy Lopez follow-up. Did you seek her up, or was it a coincidental thing? Did she say anything specifically to help you?
PAULA CREAMER: I talk to her a lot. She has been really involved with my golf career. She has known that I've been kind of struggling lately and that kind of thing, so it's nice that she came out and watched me. She even watched me out on the course today.

Q. (No microphone.)
PAULA CREAMER: Just everything. You know, being around Nancy Lopez kind of calms you in itself, to always have a smile on your face. She knew what to say to me at the right moments on the range.

Q. Is it nice not carrying around your partner?
PAULA CREAMER: I miss my partner out there today. I did.

Q. Sort of revisit the first question a little bit, this is what you play for: to be in the final group and have a chance to win a tournament. The fact that Annika is going to be there, and obviously you have a bird's-eye view of everything she's doing, how much does what add to it when you're in the final group with a player like Lorena or Annika?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I'm not playing them, I'm playing the golf course. We'll see what five, six holes go about. I probably wouldn't look at the leaderboard, because we're the leaders at that time. You can get too wrapped up with what everybody else is doing and forget what you have to do.
That's going to be my main goal tomorrow. Just do what I have to do. Some people are fast starters and some are good finishers.

Q. I don't know if it was your rookie year, but as a feisty young player you had the situation with Annika on the 18th finishing up the ADT where you kind of took on this veteran. Could you characterize your relationship with her since then?
PAULA CREAMER: Annika? We're fine. You know, that was -- that happened quite a while ago, and it's kind of in the past. You know, we're fine. We do a lot of things, going places, that kind of stuff. But at the same time, I respect what she's done for women's golf.

Q. You talked about how you realized you needed to stop getting in the way of yourself and keep your emotions in check. Just how difficult is that? I think it was like the 17th. You were going to for birdie, and you it looked like you got really upset at yourself. Describe that transition for you and how difficult it is when you're out there.
PAULA CREAMER: I'm an incredibly competitive person. I think that can hurt me at times. Doesn't matter what it is. Could be playing cards and I want to beat you as badly as I can. It's just who I am. It's my nature.
At times, I put way too much pressure on myself. I'm 21 years old, and I'm learning how to do what I do on the golf course in a mature way. My emotions get the best of me.
I've asked a lot of people how they control -- people that are the best in their sports how they control themselves, and it's a learning process and something that I've been working on.

Q. Are you going to maybe consider wearing the earrings every week now?
PAULA CREAMER: Maybe. We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I know, I'm sure my phone has many text messages saying, You have to wear the earrings now.

Q. There are times when every player hits the ball better than at other times. With you, do you find that momentum from one day to the next, that there's a real pronounced carryover? Or is tomorrow morning just a new day for you, and what you did today doesn't necessarily carry over?
PAULA CREAMER: Why wouldn't I want it to carry over?

Q. Not want, but do you just find that good feeling?
PAULA CREAMER: Yeah. I'll go out and practice for a little bit. Hit 14 golf balls and go to dinner and wake up in the morning and do the same thing.
No, I feel very, very confident. I think that's the biggest thing: I have confidence in my irons and my putting. Standing over the ball I feel like I'm going to get a great shot. That's incredibly important on this golf course. It can get you if you're not there mentally.

Q. Going back to the emotional question, you seem like you were having a lot fun out there Thursday and Friday with James. But were you kind of underneath all the laughter putting too much pressure on yourself? Was that the last two days, or was it something that carried over from previous weeks?
PAULA CREAMER: The last two days you mean?

Q. When you say you put too much pressure on yourself, was that the last two days, or before?
PAULA CREAMER: No, no, before. This is Kraft, last week, you know, those tournaments, Arizona, that kind of thing. It wasn't the last two days. It's been the best this past week. It's been very positive. I've looking at it in a good way.
Like I said, I feel really good. I like where I'm at. I've been doing a lot of swing changes, and I'm learning how to take them to the golf course once again. That's the biggest step: To go forward you kind of got to go backwards and see what happens.

Q. Is it possible the timing of this event, being able to play two rounds with James Blake and maybe have it be a little lighter was perfect for you?
PAULA CREAMER: Definitely. Timing was huge right now.

Q. (No microphone.)
PAULA CREAMER: I have a strained muscle in my hip. I did it last Monday in Orlando.
ASHLEY CUSHMAN: Thank you, Paula. Good luck tomorrow. We'll see in the earrings again.

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