No home-field advantage for Paula Creamer

By Randall MellSeptember 24, 2009, 12:03 am

LPGA Tour _newThere’s no home-field advantage in golf.

In fact, you can make the argument that it’s one of the few sports where playing at home is a disadvantage.

Ask Tiger Woods. Yeah, he does pretty well in Orlando and San Diego, but he’s 0 for Riviera Country Club, the Los Angeles PGA Tour stop closest to the Cypress, Calif., home where he grew up. He has failed to win in 11 tries at Riviera.

That brings us to Paula Creamer, who’s back at home this week for the CVS/pharmacy LPGA Challenge at Blackhawk Country Club in Danville, Calif., near her hometown in Pleasanton. She once said trying to win this event is like trying to win a major championship. She wants to win it that badly.

That’s the problem with home games in golf.

Trying too hard usually doesn’t work.

In three starts in her hometown event, Creamer’s failed to record a top-10 finish. That’s a pretty good indication of how out of sorts players can feel at home. In her nearly five seasons on tour, Creamer, an eight-time LPGA winner, has finished among the top 10 in 52 percent of her starts.

Paula Creamer Samsung World Championship
Paula Creamer waves during the Samsung World Championship at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif. (Getty Images)

 

Creamer posted a 76 in the third round at Blackhawk Country Club last year and ended up tying for 19th.

She opened with a 77 there two years ago and tied for 11th.

She tied for 16th in her first start there three years ago.

Tour pros are creatures of routine. There are more distractions at home, more folks players want to see and please. There are more obligations. That messes up routine and makes for more pressure at home. Of course, there's typically greater joy in playing well at home.

“It’s always great to come back to a place where you can see your friends and your family, and, just, where you grew up,” Creamer said in her pre-tournament meeting with media this week. “I have a lot of memories here. I don’t get to come back here as much as I would like, so this is always a treat.”

A trick and a treat.

The trick’s blocking out what winning at home would mean.

South Florida’s Morgan Pressel knows the feeling. She was the hometown favorite in the season-ending ADT Championship in West Palm Beach, Fla., last year. Creamer said back then that she knew exactly what Pressel was feeling.

“When I go to Blackhawk, it feels like a U.S. Open,” Creamer said. “It feels like, not pressure, in itself, but you play in front of all the people that have supported you and gotten you to where you are today, just being part of your team, my family, and people I've grown up with. It's a different situation. There are a lot more demands that week. More media, local channels and things like that. It’s hard. I struggle every time. I play the golf course well, it's just kind of maintaining myself and not putting too much pressure on myself.”

A lot of young California girls who want to be the next Paula Creamer come out to this event.

“This is kind of where I became who I am,” she said. “I think that if people see that, and if people watch, it kind of gives them a little bit of hope in their lives.”

Creamer would relish breaking through at Blackhawk and winning for the first time this season. She has struggled this year with a mysterious stomach ailment, a thumb injury and a back injury. A victory at home would be soothing.

It’s not like tour pros never win at home.

Raymond Floyd won at Doral three times when he lived in Miami. Ben Hogan won five times at Colonial in his hometown of Fort Worth, Texas. Larry Mize won the Masters in his backyard.

Creamer left Pleasanton when she was 14 to elevate her game at the IMG Golf Academy and Pendleton School in Bradenton, Fla. She makes her home today in Isleworth, the same Windermere, Fla., community where Tiger Woods lives. Like most of us, though, a part of her will always reside in the hometown where she grew up.

“Just being back in Pleasanton is such a good feeling,” Creamer said. “You know, it's just so beautiful here, you're so lucky you've gotten to grow up here. It's absolutely gorgeous. And I am, I'm very lucky.”

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Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.

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Rose leads Indonesian Masters; Snedeker WDs

By Associated PressDecember 15, 2017, 2:04 pm

JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose completed the final two holes of his second round early Saturday for a 3-under 69 and a one-stroke lead at the Indonesian Masters.

Rose, who had a first-round 62, was among a quarter of the field forced off the Royale Jakarta Golf Club course after weather delays on Friday.

The Englishman, who bogeyed his last hole, had a two-round total of 13-under 131.

Kiradech Aphibarnrat, who completed his 64 on Friday, was in second place.

Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters. He has been affected by a rib-sternum injury for most of the season.

Newsmaker of the Year: No. 2, Donald Trump

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 1:00 pm

Even away from the White House, President Donald Trump generated plenty of headlines this year.

Trump’s first year in office didn’t dim his enthusiasm for the game, as he made splashy appearances at two big events, tweeted about golf to his more than 44 million followers, teed it up with some of the sport’s biggest stars, including Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy and Lexi Thompson, and fired a few eyebrow-raising scores. Logging more than 75 rounds since his inauguration, the 3-handicap has only bolstered his reputation as the best golfing president, particularly after his alleged 73 with Sen. Lindsey Graham.

None of his appearances created a bigger stir than when he attended the U.S. Women’s Open. Despite protests and calls for the USGA to move its premier women’s event from Trump Bedminster – the president reportedly threatened to sue – his weekend there went off without incident, as Trump watched the action and hosted players in his private box near the 15th green.


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Despite his controversial rhetoric on a variety of national issues, Trump has remained a staunch supporter of women’s golf, and he became the first sitting president to attend the U.S. Women’s Open.

An honorary chairman of the Presidents Cup, Trump also flew to Liberty National for the biennial team event, where he presented the trophy to the U.S. team and dedicated the victory to the hurricane victims in Texas, Florida and Puerto Rico.

In late November, amid tweets about the national anthem, Turkey, Egypt and Time Magazine, Trump announced that he was playing a round in South Florida with Woods and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson.

Yes, that too became a headline, just like everything else Trump did in 2017.


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Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017

By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 12:30 pm