PARKER, Colo. – A new teenaged star is born in women’s golf and she doesn’t wear red, white and blue.
World, meet Charley Hull. She’s 17 years old and is going to be around for a while. You may recognize her as the fresh-faced, long-hitting, ponytailed blonde who waxed American superstar Paula Creamer to the tune of 5 and 4 in singles Sunday at the Solheim Cup, then asked Creamer to autograph a golf ball.
The England native contends the autograph was for a mate back home. Perhaps the friend ought to make sure he’s collected one from Hull too. She’s on the verge of becoming a superstar.
Hull is eminently likeable, saying early in the week that “It would rock my world if I went out there this time and won a couple of points.” After collecting a spectacular 2-1 record for the week she said she’d return home and describe her first Solheim Cup experience as “wicked.”
Hull charmed the masses with an interview on Tuesday at Colorado Golf Club that was equal parts naïve and hilarious.
For starters, she insisted she wouldn’t be nervous.
“Really is no different to hitting a tee shot at my home golf club,” Hull said with European teammate Suzann Pettersen sitting nearby shaking her head. “It’s the same swing and stuff, it’s a lot of people, obviously, but I’m just going to think of it like that.”
Hull insisted she’s never been intimidated on the course.
“Well I played with Karrie Webb and Laura Davis the other day in the European Masters and I look at it as I was playing good golf and it was a great experience to play with them, but when I got out there and played I thought, ‘you know, they’re just normal people who are just good golfers.’ … I don’t see any point in being really intimidated over it. But I don’t know, I’m still young,” she said.
Over the next few days Hull – a captain’s pick whom Liselotte Neumann vehemently insisted could handle this big stage – proved she wasn’t nervous or intimidated when she went out and delivered the goods against the best American players.
“You have to like the fact that at 17 years of age and the newbie, she is not participating in the cheering and fist pumping,” said Golf Channel analyst Judy Rankin, a former winning U.S. Solheim Cup captain. “She is being respectful. I love the way this girl is handling that this week.”
After a defeat in her first fourball match, Hull’s stock rose Saturday afternoon when she and fellow rookie Jodi Ewart Shadoff took Creamer and Lexi Thompson to the last hole of their fourball match and recorded the 2-up victory. Hull made six birdies including one on the 17th hole from 4 feet after Thompson had already hit her shot to 5 feet. Thompson missed, Hull made and won the pivotal hole.
That match was the first of the session and set the tone for what ultimately ended with a 4-0 European sweep to set up a less stressful Sunday for the continent.
Hull’s singles performance was epic.
Going out in the second match against Creamer was the perfect spot for Hull to shine. First, not many expected Hull to win. Secondly, the pressure was on Creamer to perform because the Americans were in such an overwhelming deficit.
The match was all square after six holes but Hull put on a clinic when she won five of the next seven holes to quickly put the match out of reach. Creamer even holed a bunker shot on the 13th hole for birdie, but Hull then knocked in her birdie putt to halve the hole. Believe it or not, Hull also missed 4-foot birdie putts on Nos. 2, 4 and 8. You get the picture.
“Charley’s going to be around for a long time, and it’s pretty neat to see kind of the future of their team, as well, grow,” Creamer said. “She was a good player and she represented her country very well.”
Everything Hull does is as impressive as her performance this week. She’s the youngest ever to play in the Solheim Cup. She turned pro in March, promptly finished second in her first five Ladies European Tour events and caught the attention of Neumann, who was Hull’s captain two years ago for the Junior Solheim Cup.
Hull’s results speak volumes and are not a fluke. She has the game to be a success for a long time. She takes a violent lash at the ball with the driver and her trademark blonde ponytail whips around and hits her in the face. Her iron game is laser-like and her putting is above average even though she was shaky over a couple shorties during the singles match with Creamer.
Still, the most remarkable trait is Hull’s ability to play golf without a care in the world. It’s not an act. She truly doesn’t get nervous, she doesn’t get intimidated and she plays the game with a fresh approach that should be bottled and sold.
“This is how I always look at golf,” Hull said. “I’m not going to die if I hit a bad shot. Just hit it, and find it, and hit it again.”
Said Neumann: “She had a special game and she brings a lot of energy to our team. She plays fearless and it was just awesome to have her on our team.
“I think we all love Charley.”