WHEN I SAW PAULA CREAMER at the PGA Merchandise Show late last week, there were long lines of golf enthusiasts waiting patiently to have a moment for an autograph or photo with the highly popular player.
The ebullient Paula Creamer is certainly one of the bright spots on the LPGA Tour. She won four times in 2008 and contended in the majors with three top 10s. No. 3 in the Rolex Women’s World Golf Rankings, Paula answered my questions in a recent email exchange.
Q: What's your outlook for 2009? Are you making any significant changes?
PAULA CREAMER: I am really excited about this year. I'm working my tail off this offseason and I hope the results will show it! I will be using a new TaylorMade driver, the Limited, and also a new Precept ball.
Q: How do you prepare for a new golf season?
PAULA CREAMER: Practice, work out, proper nutrition, lots of work on my short game. In golf, that's really where the strokes come off the scorecard.
Q: What part of your game needs the most work?
PAULA CREAMER: I like to address all parts of my game, but I'm really concentrating a lot of time with my coach, David Whelan, on my short game and on the greens.
Q: How many events do you plan to play in 2009? Any favorites on the schedule?
PAULA CREAMER: I will probably have my regular number of events, somewhere between 23 and 27. Any place where I've won previously is a definite favorite!
Q: You really looked like you were ready to break through and win a major last year, especially at the U.S. Women's Open. What did you learn that will help you get that first major win?
PAULA CREAMER: I learned that round four of a major is really not too much different than rounds one through three. I didn't keep to my game plan in the '08 US Women's Open for the final round. That won't happen again!
Q: What do you think the LPGA Tour will be like without Annika?
PAULA CREAMER: It will be strange not seeing her week in, week out, but I have a feeling she won't be retired forever. I think we'll be seeing her again at some point. The tour is deeper than ever and I think it will continue to move forward. When Nancy Lopez retired I assume people were concerned, but look how far the tour has come since.
Q: What will you miss most about her?
PAULA CREAMER: I like her work ethic and her overall dedication to her game.
Q: What's it like living at Isleworth?
PAULA CREAMER: I really enjoy what little time I have at home. The golf course and practice facilities are perfect and so close to home!
Q: What's your best advice for amateur golfers?
PAULA CREAMER: Practice your short game as much as the long game and don't get down on yourself if things go south. This game can drive anyone crazy at any level. Have fun!! After all, you're lucky in that you can talk trash with your buddies and get away with it.
Most trusted club in your bag:
PAULA CREAMER: All 14, thanks to TaylorMade!
Favorite sport other than golf:
PAULA CREAMER: Tennis, but the WTA has nothing to fear on my going pro in that sport.
Favorite sports teams:
PAULA CREAMER: San Francisco 49ers, Oakland Athletics, and Boston Celtics.
Favorite new fashion or golf accessories:
PAULA CREAMER: Wow, great question but not a quick-answer item. The new Adidas apparel I'll be wearing looks great! I saw the full line when I visited the Adidas offices back in December. I'm also pleased with the way my 2009 Paula Creamer Collection of sunglasses came out. As always, Sundog did a terrific job with this year's line. I also have some special accessory pieces that I will unveil this year.
What frustrates you:
PAULA CREAMER: When people don't do simple things like say “please” and “thank you.” I mean, how hard is that?
What makes you smile:
PAULA CREAMER: Wow, what doesn't make me smile? I like to smile a lot.
Special thanks to Jay Burton of IMG World for coordinating this interview.