Creamer with plenty to prove at Solheim Cup

By Randall MellAugust 16, 2017, 2:51 pm

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa – Paula Creamer has nothing to prove.

That’s what fellow American Cristie Kerr said Tuesday at the Solheim Cup.

Kerr said it for all the right reasons, to acknowledge the respect Creamer deserves on this stage, where Creamer has proven herself one of the most formidable players in Solheim Cup history.

Kerr was wrong, though.

Creamer does have something to prove, and Creamer knows it more than anyone.

Creamer wants to prove something to herself, that she’s still relevant, that there are still more victories to be won, more trophies to be claimed, more to conquer and achieve as she moves into her 30s with two of the most difficult seasons of her career behind her.

She said exactly that this summer as she fought to try to make the American team.

“I've had some pretty bad, sad moments,” Creamer said in June. “But I love this game. I love working hard. I love everything about it. I still have such a drive and a passion for getting back to where I want to be.”


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Creamer, 31, has won 10 LPGA titles, including the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. She’s 14-8-5 in the Solheim Cup. She has won more points (16½) than any American in the history of the matches not named Juli Inkster (18½) or Kerr (17½).

But it isn’t enough, not for Creamer. There’s more to prove, more to be won.

That’s why she’s here.

When you’re done trying to prove something to yourself, you’re pretty much done, period.

That’s how this game works.

“It’s such an important week to me, and at the same time, so is my golf and so is my career, long term,” Creamer said Tuesday.

Say what you want about her form the last two seasons, outside her encouraging last push over her last two LPGA starts, but Creamer is still grinding to get better, maybe more than ever.

When Creamer missed the cut at the U.S. Women’s Open in July, she looked doomed in her bid to make the American team. It was her fourth missed cut in five starts. She had slipped to a career worst 127th in the Rolex world rankings and 105th on the LPGA money list. For the first time in her pro career, Creamer wasn’t qualified for the Ricoh Women’s British Open. She had to play her way in through a final qualifier in Scotland three days before the championship.

Creamer said she found something working with her swing coach, Gary Gilchrist, before heading to Scotland. She says it’s a swing key that’s working wonders, something linked to the changes they’ve been working on for two years now.

At the Ladies Scottish Open, Creamer tied for 13th. At the Women’s British Open, she tied for 16th.

“I think that was a really big confidence booster,” Creamer said. “I definitely have spent hours and hours and hours these last three, four months practicing.

“I feel great. I’m driving the ball well. I'm hitting my irons really well. I know I can make big putts whenever I need to. That's never been an issue. And I feel like I'm in total control of where I want to put the golf ball.”

That trip to Scotland didn’t change Inkster’s mind about making Creamer a captain’s pick. She left Creamer off the team, but apparently it did change Inkster’s mind about making her an alternate, a pivotal decision after Jessica Korda withdrew from the Solheim Cup last week with a forearm injury.

Creamer’s here, and it doesn’t matter how she got here. She’s relishing this chance to prove to herself that all the work’s going to pay off.

“Nobody believes in Paula more than this team,” Kerr said.

There’s a strong bond between Inkster and Creamer, and ultimately maybe that is why Creamer is here.

“I have a lot of faith and confidence in Paula,” Inkster said. “She reminds me a lot of myself, as far as heart and grit.”

Two years ago, Creamer was a controversial captain’s pick, with her form off. But Inkster sent Creamer out in the first foursomes match with Morgan Pressel, and the duo took a point from Europe’s best team, Suzann Pettersen and Anna Nordqvist. Inkster later sent Creamer out in the anchor match in Sunday singles, and Creamer delivered again in the historic American comeback. She defeated Germany’s Sandra Gal in Germany to complete the dramatic come-from-behind victory.

Creamer will be looking this week to prove she can make a difference again. Mostly, she’ll be looking to help the Americans win again. 

Rahm wins finale, Fleetwood takes Race to Dubai

By Will GrayNovember 19, 2017, 1:42 pm

Jon Rahm captured the final tournament on the European Tour calendar, a result that helped Tommy Fleetwood take home the season-long Race to Dubai title.

Rahm shot a final-round 67 to finish two shots clear of Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Shane Lowry at the DP World Tour Championship. It's the second European Tour win of the year for the Spaniard, who also captured the Irish Open and won on the PGA Tour in January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

"I could not be more proud of what I've done this week," Rahm told reporters. "Having the weekend that I've had, actually shooting 12 under on the last 36 holes, bogey-free round today, it's really special."

But the key finish came from Justin Rose, who held the 54-hole lead in Dubai but dropped back into a tie for fourth after closing with a 70. Rose entered the week as one of only three players who could win the Race to Dubai, along with Sergio Garcia and Fleetwood, who started with a lead of around 250,000 Euros.

With Fleetwood in the middle of the tournament pack, ultimately tying for 21st after a final-round 74, the door was open for Rose to capture the title thanks to a late charge despite playing in half the events that Fleetwood did. Rose captured both the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open, and was one round away from a two-trophy photo shoot in Dubai.

Instead, his T-4 finish meant he came up just short, as Fleetwood won the season-long race by 58,821 Euros.

The title caps a remarkable season for Fleetwood, who won the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship as well as the French Open to go along with a pair of runner-up finishes and a fourth-place showing at the U.S. Open.

"I find it amazing, the season starts in November, December and you get to here and you're watching the last shot of the season to decide who wins the Race to Dubai," Fleetwood said at the trophy ceremony. "But yeah, very special and something we didn't really aim for at the start of the year, but it's happened."

Rose falters down stretch, Fleetwood wins Race to Dubai

By Associated PressNovember 19, 2017, 1:16 pm

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates - Tommy Fleetwood was crowned the European Tour's Race to Dubai champion Sunday after his nearest challenger, Justin Rose, faltered on the back nine. 

Rose appeared to be on track for a third win in as many starts, getting to 19 under after 11 holes Sunday without any trouble at Jumeirah Golf Estates. But his round unraveled after that with bogeys on the 12th, 14th and 16th holes to finish with a two-under par 70 and a share of fourth place.

With Fleetwood struggling to make birdies and finishing way behind in a tie for 21st place at 11 under, Rose needed to finish in sole possession of fourth to win his second Order of Merit title.


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The season-ending tournament was won by Spain's Jon Rahm, who fired a final-round 67 and a 19-under total.

Ireland's Shane Lowry (63) and Thailand's Kiradech Aphibarnrat were tied for second at 18 under.

Rose was T-4 with Masters champion Sergio Garcia (65) and the South African duo of Dylan Frittelli (69) and Dean Burmester (68).

Battling mono, Kaufman tied for lead at CME

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 2:05 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Kim Kaufman’s bout with mononucleosis might leave fellow tour pros wanting to catch the fever, too.

A couple months after Anna Nordqvist battled her way into contention at the Women’s British Open playing with mono, and then thrived at the Solheim Cup with it, Kaufman is following suit.

In her first start since being diagnosed, Kaufman posted an 8-under-par 64 Saturday to move into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. It was the low round of the day. She’s bidding to win her first LPGA title.

“I’ve been resting at home for two weeks,” Kaufman said. “Didn’t do anything.”

Well, she did slip on a flight of stairs while recuperating, hurting her left wrist. She had it wrapped Saturday but said that’s mostly precautionary. It didn’t bother her during the round.


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“I’m the only person who can take two weeks off and get injured,” Kaufman joked.

Kaufman, 26, left the Asian swing after playing the Sime Darby Malaysia, returning to her home in South Dakota, to see her doctor there. She is from Clark. She was told bed rest was the best thing for her, but she felt good enough to make the trip to Florida for the season-ending event.

“We had some really cold days,” Kaufman said. “We had some snow. I was done with it. I was coming down here.”

How does she feel?

“I feel great,” she said. “I’m a little bit shaky, which isn’t great out there, but it’s great to be here doing something. I was going a little bit stir crazy [at home], just kind of fighting through it.”

Kaufman made eight birdies in her bogey-free round.

New-look Wie eyes CME Group Tour Championship title

By Randall MellNovember 19, 2017, 1:32 am

NAPLES, Fla. – Michelle Wie is sporting a new look that even has fellow players doing double takes.

Bored during her six-week recovery from an emergency appendectomy late this summer, Wie decided to cut and die her hair.

She went for golden locks, and a shorter style.

“I kind of went crazy after being in bed that long,” Wie said. “I just told my mom to grab the kitchen scissors and just cut all my hair off.”

Wie will get to sport her new look on a big stage Sunday after playing herself into a four-way tie for the lead at the CME Group Tour Championship. With a 6-under-par 66, she is in contention to win her fifth LPGA title, her first since winning the U.S. Women’s Open three years ago.


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Wie, 28, fought her way back this year after two of the most disappointing years of her career. Her rebound, however, was derailed in late August, when she withdrew from the final round of the Canadian Pacific Women’s Open to undergo an emergency appendectomy. She was out for six weeks.

Before the surgery, Wie enjoyed getting back into contention regularly, with six finishes of T-4 or better this season. She returned to the tour on the Asian swing in October.

Fellow tour pros were surprised when she came back with the new look.

“Definitely, walk by people and they didn’t recognize me,” Wie said.

Wie is looking to continue to build on her resurgence.

“I gained a lot of confidence this year,” she said. “I had a really tough year last year, the last couple years. Just really feeling like my old self. Really feeling comfortable out there and having fun, and that's when I play my best.”