Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer are dynamic dominant

By Jay CoffinAugust 21, 2009, 4:00 pm
2009 Solheim CupSUGAR GROVE, Ill. ' The U.S. Solheim Cup team dug deep late Friday here in suburban Chicago and found a winning formula that produced a one-point lead heading into Day 2.
 
The two key ingredients of that formula: Paula Creamer and Juli Inkster.
 
The Americans dynamic duo is invincible in Solheim Cup foursomes. Theyre a perfect 3-0 now in the alternate-shot format having won once in 2005, 2007 and now this year, a 2-and-1 victory over Europes Scottish pair of Catriona Matthew and Janice Moodie. (They have a combined 3-1-1 overall record together; Creamer is 3-0-2 in five career foursomes matches.)
 
Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer
Juli Inkster and Paula Creamer celebrate a victory at the Solheim Cup Friday. (Getty Images)
This version at Rich Harvest Farms wont go down in history as their best performance, but it could be considered their grittiest. They were even par when the match ended on 17, which is insignificant only because of the victory, but they did struggle at times, mostly with Inksters putting and precision off the tee.
 
Creamer, 23, and Inkster, 49, were 3 up after Inkster hit an approach on the 12th to kick-in range. But they found difficulty on the 13th and 14th holes, made bogey on both, and coughed up a big portion of what once looked like an insurmountable lead. But Inkster, still on of the best players on the LPGA with a wedge in her hand, chipped her third shot to a foot on the 15th and they moved back to 2 up.
 
Inkster hit a wayward tee shot on the 17th hole, Creamer punched out short of the water, Inkster hit wedge to 25 feet then Creamer drained the par putt to end the match.
 
Its pretty easy to ride a stallion, Inkster said. I just kind of go out there and say giddy-up and she goes.
 
Despite a 25-year age difference, this pairing works for so many reasons. For starters, Creamer idolized Inkster while growing up in California. They both have a similar personality, similar games, the same desire, work ethic and a competitive fire burning within that despises losing.
 
She reminds me a lot of me when I was her age, Inkster said. But I never wore the heels she wears.
 
Creamer began her Solheim Cup career, oddly enough, partnering with this years U.S. captain Beth Daniel in 2005 at Crooked Stick in Indiana. The Americans halved that foursomes match against Carin Koch and Catriona Matthew. Later that afternoon, Creamer joined with Inkster in fourball and lost, 4 and 3, to Laura Davies and Suzann Pettersen.
 
Since that match, Creamer has never lost at the Solheim Cup.
 
She and Inkster smoked Davies and Maria Hjorth on Day 2 at Crooked Stick, they defeated Davies and Becky Brewerton the first day in Sweden two years ago then halved with Pettersen and Sophie Gustafson the next day.
 
After going 2-0 Friday Creamers career Solheim Cup record is 7-1-4.
 
Its ironic that their latest point together pushed Inkster to the top of the list as highest point earners in the history of the U.S. Solheim Cup team. Although Inkster hopes to add to her total with more victories this week, she knows one day that her record will be shattered. And she has a pretty good idea who is likely to break it.
 
Records are made to be broken, Inkster said. And Ill be here to see it.
 
Creamers fast rise in this competition can be attributed to great play, but also a blossoming relationship with Inkster, who essentially has been her big sister and showed her the ropes over the years. Theyve been through a lot together in a relatively short time and they dont know how many more of these matches theyll play together now that Inkster is quickly approaching 50.
 
Juli has always been my partner, Creamer said. We get along really well out on the golf course. We know how to talk to each to each other. I know Jules is trying just as hard as I am out there, but at the same time, I know when she needs a little push, and I know when shes kind of trying to rein me back in.
 
I look up to Juli, and I never want to let her down.
 
So far, so good.
 
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    DJ: Kapalua win means nothing for Abu Dhabi

    By Associated PressJanuary 17, 2018, 2:55 pm

    ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates – Dustin Johnson's recent victory in Hawaii doesn't mean much when it comes to this week's tournament.

    The top-ranked American will play at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship for the second straight year. But this time he is coming off a victory at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, which he won by eight shots.

    ''That was two weeks ago. So it really doesn't matter what I did there,'' said Johnson, who finished runner-up to Tommy Fleetwood in Abu Dhabi last year. ''This is a completely new week and everybody starts at even par and so I've got to start over again.''

    In 2017, the long-hitting Johnson put himself in contention despite only making one eagle and no birdies on the four par-5s over the first three rounds.

    ''The par 5s here, they are not real easy because they are fairly long, but dependent on the wind, I can reach them if I hit good tee balls,'' the 2016 U.S. Open champion said. ''Obviously, I'd like to play them a little better this year.''

    The tournament will see the return of Paul Casey as a full member of the European Tour after being away for three years.

    ''It's really cool to be back. What do they say, absence makes the heart grow fonder? Quite cheesy, but no, really, really cool,'' said the 40-year-old Englishman, who is now ranked 14th in the world. ''When I was back at the Open Championship at Birkdale, just the reception there, playing in front of a home crowd, I knew this is something I just miss.''

    The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship starts Thursday and also features former No. 1 Rory McIlroy, who is making a comeback after more than three months off.

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    Kuchar joins European Tour as affiliate member

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 2:52 pm

    Months after he nearly captured the claret jug, Matt Kuchar has made plans to play a bit more golf in Europe in 2018.

    Kuchar is in the field this week at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told reporters in advance of the opening round that he has opted to join the European Tour as an affiliate member:

    As an affiliate member, Kuchar will not have a required minimum number of starts to make. It's the same membership status claimed last year by Kevin Na and Jon Rahm, the latter of whom then became a full member and won two European Tour events in 2017.

    Kuchar made six European Tour starts last year, including his runner-up performance at The Open. He finished T-4 at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open in his lone European Tour start that wasn't co-sanctioned by the PGA Tour.

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    Hot Seat: Rory jumps into the fire early

    By Randall MellJanuary 17, 2018, 2:11 pm

    The world’s top tours head to desert regions this week, perfect locales for The Hot Seat, the gauge upon which we measure the level of heat the game’s top personalities are facing ...

    Sahara sizzle: Rory McIlroy

    McIlroy won’t have to look far to see how his form measures up to world No. 1 Dustin Johnson at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

    McIlroy will make his 2018 debut with Johnson in his face, literally.

    McIlroy will be grouped with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood in the first two rounds.

    Players like to downplay pairings early in a tournament, but it’s hard to believe McIlroy and Johnson won’t be trying to send each other messages in this European Tour event in the United Arab Emirates. That’s the alpha-dog nature of world-class players looking to protect their turf, or in the case of McIlroy, take back his turf.

    “When you are at the elite level, you are always trying to send a message,” Trevor Immelman said about pairings during Tiger Woods’ return at the Hero World Challenge last month.

    And that was an offseason event.

    “They want to show this guy, ‘This is what I got,’” Immelman said.

    As early season matchups go, Abu Dhabi is a heavyweight pairing that ought to be fun.

    So there will be no easing into the new year for McIlroy after taking off the last three months to regroup from the stubborn rib injury that plagued him last season. He is coming off a winless year, and he will be doing so alongside a guy who just won the first PGA Tour event of 2018 in an eight-shot rout. Johnson’s victory in Hawaii two weeks ago was his fifth since McIlroy last won.

    “Mentally, I wasn’t in a great place, and that was because of where I was physically,” McIlroy said of 2017. “I feel prepared now. I feel ready, and I feel ready to challenge. I feel really good about where I’m at with my health. I’ve put all that behind me, which has been great.”



    Sonoran Smolder: Phil Mickelson

    Mickelson will turn 48 this summer.

    His world ranking is sliding, down to No. 43 now, which is the lowest he has ranked in 24 years.

    It’s been more than four years since he last won, making him 0 for his last 92 starts.

    There’s motivation in all of that for Mickelson. He makes his 2018 debut at the CareerBuilder Challenge in the Palm Springs area this week talking like a man on a renewed mission.

    There’s a Ryder Cup team to make this season, which would be his 12th straight, and there’s a career Grand Slam to claim, with the U.S. Open returning to Shinnecock Hills, where Mickelson finished second in ’04.

    While Mickelson may not feel old, there are so many young stars standing in his way that it’s hard not to be constantly reminded that time isn’t on his side in these events anymore.

    There has only been one player in the history of the game to win a major championship who was older than Mickelson is right now. Julius Boros won the PGA Championship when he was 48 back in 1968.



    Campaign fever: Jordan Spieth

    Spieth’s respect in the game’s ranks extends outside the ropes.

    He was just selected to run for the PGA Tour Player Advisory Council’s chairman position. He is facing Billy Hurley III in an election to see who will succeed Davis Love III on the Tour’s Policy Board next year.

    Spieth, just 24, has already made Time Magazine’s list of the “100 Most Influential People.” He made that back in 2016, with the magazine writing that “he exemplifies everything that’s great about sports.” Sounds like a campaign slogan.

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    CareerBuilder Challenge: Tee times, TV schedule, stats

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 1:10 pm

    The PGA Tour shifts from Hawaii to Southern California for the second full-field event of the year. Here are the key stats and information for the CareerBuilder Challenge. Click here for full-field tee times.

    How to watch (all rounds on Golf Channel):

    Thursday, Rd. 1: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Friday, Rd. 2: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Saturday, Rd. 3: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream

    Sunday, Rd. 4: 3-7PM ET; live stream: http://www.golfchannel.com/pgastream


    Purse: $5.9 million ($1,062,000 to winner)

    Courses: PGA West, Stadium Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,113); PGA West, Nicklaus Tournament Course, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,159); La Quinta Country Club, La Quinta, Calif. (72-7,060) NOTE: All three courses will be used for the first three rounds but only the Stadium Course will be used for the final round.

    Defending champion: Hudson Swafford (-20) - defeated Adam Hadwin by one stroke to earn his first PGA Tour win.


    Notables in the field

    Phil Mickelson

    * This is his first start of 2018. It's the fourth consecutive year he has made this event the first one on his yearly calendar.

    * For the second year in a row he will serve as the tournament's official ambassador.

    * He has won this event twice - in 2002 and 2004.

    * This will be his 97th worldwide start since his most recent win, The Open in 2013.


    Jon Rahm

    * Ranked No. 3 in the world, he finished runner-up in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.

    * In 37 worldwide starts as a pro, he has 14 top-5 finishes.

    * Last year he finished T-34 in this event.


    Adam Hadwin

    * Last year in the third round, he shot 59 at La Quinta Country Club. It was the ninth - and still most recent - sub-60 round on Tour.

    * In his only start of 2018, the Canadian finished 32nd in the Sentry Tournament of Champions.


    Brian Harman

    * Only player on the PGA Tour with five top-10 finishes this season.

    * Ranks fifth in greens in regulation this season.

    * Finished third in the Sentry Tournament of Champions and T-4 in the Sony Open in Hawaii.


    Brandt Snedeker

    * Making only his third worldwide start since last June at the Travelers Championship. He has been recovering from a chest injury.

    * This is his first start since he withdrew from the Indonesian Masters in December because of heat exhaustion.

    * Hasn't played in this event since missing the cut in 2015.


    Patrick Reed

    * Earned his first career victory in this event in 2014, shooting three consecutive rounds of 63.

    * This is his first start of 2018.

    * Last season finished seventh in strokes gained: putting, the best ranking of his career.

    (Stats provided by the Golf Channel editorial research unit.)