Home » Personality Profile

At 19, Paula Creamer a force in LPGA golf - present and future

Chris BaldwinBy Chris Baldwin,
Contributor

Paula CreamerThe multi-colored ribbons in Paula Creamer's hair speak of a 19-year-old's fashion sense. She giggles like a teenager at blanking on a question.

But she talks golf with the focus of a steely, seasoned pro.

No wonder. Creamer is young everywhere but on the LPGA Tour where she competes against 15- and 17-year-old phenoms at the U.S. Open and finds herself second on the money list just a few months after her high-school graduation.

"My expectations are incredibly high," Creamer said. "I put the most pressure on myself. I'm not normally content with what I do unless I win."

This is typical of the teenagers taking women's golf by storm. Recently departed LPGA commissioner Ty Votaw believes it's a product of the increased emphasis on weight training, equipment advances and the lure of today's larger purses.

"These young women are going through training programs starting at a young age that were unheard of even a generation ago," Votaw said.

Even as David Stern ensured that June's NBA Draft was the last in which 18-year-olds could be selected, the LPGA embraces golfers barely out of junior high.

"These players have brought a lot of attention to our sport," Votaw said.

And a sense of having been there, done that at a just-turned 19 (Creamer's birthday was Aug. 5). Technically a rookie, Creamer racked up five top-20 LPGA finishes as an amateur. It's win now, ribbon or not.

Creamer doesn't look at her two wins and 10 top-10 finishes in 17 LPGA starts as a spectacular rookie year, even though she is second only to the most dominant golfer on the planet, Annika Sorenstam, on the money list.

No, to Creamer it's just the kind of year she expected to have.

She's the Pink Panther, the nickname bestowed on Creamer for her affinity for anything pink (including the grips and shifts of her clubs, an LPGA first). And the Pink Panther's always won, always planned on winning even bigger. She collected 19 national titles as an amateur, urged her parents into moving from California to Florida so she could attend the David Leadbetter Golf Academy.

Michelle WieCreamer isn't surprised she is hoisting trophies. She planned on it.

"I've always looked forward to turning pro," she said. "It was a big decision and everything has gone smoothly. I'm very lucky in the way that I have a great team around me that helps me get to where I have to go and things like that.

"But I enjoy it so much. I mean, this is a blast. I think any other 18-year-old would love it, as well."

A million-plus in the bank ($1,144,948 in pro tournament winnings alone), a new town and a new tournament almost every week, middle-aged men and women asking for your autograph (including several big-shot executives in the pro-am for the Women's World Match Play Championship a few weeks ago in Gladstone, N.J., a shopping spree in Paris to celebrate an Evian Masters win. Yeah, most teenagers could live with that. You think!?

Of course for Creamer and every young female golfer, it's a whole new game in 2005. Creamer isn't being measured by what she's doing or even what anyone else has done before her. Her accomplishments are being examined in the prism of what a 15-year-old golfer is expected to do.

No Wie-sized question

Michelle Wie gets "Late Night With David Letterman," "Good Morning America," the whole mainstream crossover tour and when she turns pro probably her own special line of Nike. Creamer remains rooted in the traditional golf avenues, Golf Digest and the like.

Creamer's gotten more PC at answering questions about Wie lately, most often commenting on how they both like shopping and have plenty in common, but there's little doubt the attention gap bothered her. At the 2003 U.S. Open, when Creamer was still an amateur, she lamented the Wie shadow.

"It gets old," Creamer told reporters. "You look everywhere and there (Wie) is. I play against the best juniors in the world and she's just another junior. I don't place her on a higher plateau."

Wie countered with her own digs at Creamer's status, making everyone sure they knew she wasn't worried about Creamer either.

"I'm not really sure if there's going to be a rivalry or not," Wie said. "I'm not going to think about it."

Sometimes, they can still act like teenagers.

Paula CreamerInterestingly, the LPGA itself has chosen to feature these two-year-old quotes in a prominent story on the rivalry on the tour's Web site. It's very apparent, the tour marketers are salivating over the potential fireworks of a Creamer-Wie career duel.

Most golf observers expect Wie to turn pro shortly after her 16th birthday. Until then, Creamer will keep going for the wins she always expected, waiting for the showdowns neither she or Wie can avoid.

Creamer might only get a one-year start on Wie on the LPGA Tour, but it appears to have been a year well spent. She credits LPGA veterans Lorie Kane and Wendy Ward with teaching her how to best utilize a practice round. She jokes around with 20-somethings Cristie Kerr and Natalie Gulbis as peers. She seems to enjoy media attention, talking about everything from her practice routines to her trend of using body glitter.

"Are you saying glitter is not mature?" she bantered in a U.S. Women's Open press conference.

Creamer's definitely comfortable, No. 2 at 19. Wie's still coming, though.

"The opinions expressed above are those of the writer and do not necessarily represent the views of TravelGolf.com management."

Chris Baldwin keeps one eye on the PGA Tour and another watching golf vacation hotspots and letting travelers in on the best place to vacation.

 
Reader Comments / Reviews Leave a comment
  • congratulations

    Bill G. wrote on: Jul 11, 2010

    In your first WEGMANS tournement, you were on the driving range, when a driver got out of his car on Jefferson Road and walked to the tee. I got out of my car, told him to leave, and he asked who I was.I told him he really didn't want to know. You gave me a wink, and at the time, this almost 70 year old man became a Pink Panther fan. I prayed for you during your surgery. Today, I was yelling all the way. Congratulations on the Open win. There will be more.

    Reply

  • Dear Paula Creamer

    Mamoru Watanabe wrote on: Feb 14, 2009

    Hello!
    How are you. I am your fan.I wish to give to my massage for Dear Paula.
    I hope this SBS Open in HawaiiYou be sure to get winner. I am every times watching your play. Please do your best. I am pray for you be sure to get
    winner.
    Take care good luck! HUG.HUG.HUG.
    Sincerely Yours

    Reply

  • Whats in the bag

    Raymond C. Neyerlin Jr. wrote on: Sep 26, 2008

    I would like to know what Paula has in her Golf Bag. What I would like to see is Her putter most.
    Thank You.
    Ray

    Reply

  • Dear Paula Creamer

    Mamoru Watanabe wrote on: Jul 31, 2008

    Dear Paula
    Hello!
    I am your fan. I am every times watching your plays. Now Womans British
    Open starting. I am praying you be sure to get winner. I am thinking of you. May you have happiness, health and peace of mind in all the years to follow.
    Take Care Good Luck! HUG.HUG HUG!
    Sincerely Yours
    Mamoru Watanabe
    Email watanabedrink81@yahoo.co.jp

    Reply

  • Calendar

    Ben Fant wrote on: Mar 18, 2008

    You made a calendar in Japan. How do I buy one? Do you have one in English? Thanks. I enjoy your game. You add a lot to the game. Hope you are in Rogers, AR this year.

    Reply

  • can i ask you something

    kristen wrote on: Nov 23, 2007

    what is your fav food? i saw you on tv you where eating some out of the world things. Why do you always have pink on that is my fav. love kristen.

    Reply

  • Love your golf game

    Vaughn Swink wrote on: Nov 2, 2007

    I really love your golf game.Keep going for it.Good Luck!!!

    Reply

  • career

    Al Gwin wrote on: Jul 14, 2007

    GO PAULA! GO PAULA! GO PAULA!

    Reply

      • Hawaii !!

        Don Marr wrote on: Feb 23, 2008

        Hi Paula;
        Great win we wish you all the best in the future.
        You do light up the Screen.
        Don

        Reply

  • paula creamer

    rob wrote on: Jun 29, 2007

    paula marry me. I need help with my swing

    Reply

      • RE: paula creamer

        Mamoru Watanabe wrote on: Jul 31, 2008

        Dear Paula Creamer
        Hello!
        I am your a fan, I am every times watching your plays. you are very beautiful, sweet and great. I am thinking of you, May you have happiness, health and peace of mind in all the years to follow. Anyway now Womans British Open starting. I am praying you be sure to get winner.
        Take Care Good Luck! HUG.HUG.HUG!
        Sincerely yours
        Mamoru Watanabe
        Email watanabedrink81@yahoo.co.jp

        Reply

      • RE: paula creamer

        wweerrer wrote on: Sep 7, 2007

        Loser!!!

        Reply

  • Paula Creamer

    Jack wrote on: Nov 21, 2005

    This child needs to grow up!!

    Reply

      • RE: Paula Creamer

        Fields Open wrote on: Feb 24, 2008

        She may be young but she knows how to play the game and she treats all of her fans with respect. I have never seen her be rude to any fan.
        Paula, good luck in all of your future tournaments. Congratulations on your fifth victory. I thought you did a great job in hanging in there with so many putts just missing on being a birdie.

        Reply

      • RE: Paula Creamer

        CJ wrote on: May 21, 2007

        u suck dude!!! Paula Creamer can beat u anywhere anytime!!!

        Reply

      • RE: Paula Creamer

        Rickert wrote on: Feb 21, 2006

        who do you think you are?I watched paula and good looking natalie at the womans world cup,ok they did not do well but they showed fighting spirrit till the final round. not only do they look good but also brings back colour in womans golf.paula you go my pink lady.xxxxx

        Reply

          • RE: RE: Paula Creamer

            Big Lou wrote on: Nov 19, 2007

            To Paula I wanted to go to Trumps to see you play but business did not permit me to be there.There is nothing your game needs.Just keep playing and let me know if you like sushi restaurants.We'll both order some, Lou R. Redwood City ca.

            Reply

Comments Leave a comment