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Chris BaldwinThis Week at Nov. 13, 2007

Tournament of Champions winner Paula Creamer has no killer instinct & that's ok

Paula Creamer is one of the most photogenic players on the LPGA Tour (non-PC translation: she's a babe). She's unfailingly polite with the fans; I've seen her spend more than 40 minutes next to the practice green getting to every last autograph seeker. And she wins.

Still, it's hard to imagine Creamer ever completely dominating women's golf the way Annika Sorenstam ruled for so long or Lorena Ochoa has this season. Even after Creamer ran away with the Tournament of Champions that no one watched last weekend.

That's because Paula Creamer possesses all the killer instinct of a Care Bear.

Creamer is so relaxed with her place in golf, so well-grounded in life, so comfortable with who she is (pink balls included) that it's hard to imagine her obsessing over being No. 1. She's about as similar in temperament to Tiger Woods as Charles Barkley is.

It's easy to jump up and declare this some great failing in an athlete. Watching Creamer at the LPGA Championship this summer, you couldn't help but groan as she shrugged off a lost opportunity the way your teenager might shrug off cleaning her room.

Creamer electrified the crowd at Bulle Rock with a final-round eagle that's the shot of the year if Tiger makes it, then spent the rest of the back nine making sure no one remembered it. And afterwards, she couldn't have been more smiley and happy with reporters.

That's Creamer.

It's why she will likely never drop into one of those prolonged career slumps that hit a guy like Steve Stricker. It's why she will always be better than Michelle Wie - which once was amazingly regarded as a crazy bold prediction.

It's also why she'll never hold a prolonged reign at No. 1.

And you know what? That's all right. In a women's sports world that often eats its young with a ferocity rarely seen in men's sports (unless your dad's named Marc O'Hair), a little sweet normalcy deserves celebration.

Paula Creamer is a 21-year-old who doesn't hide the wacky truth that winning using a pink ball means more to her. She's comfortable enough to make herself seem like a dork. That's rare. That's a role model with no glare.

As always, welcomes your comments.

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