A Kid Yeah But What a Player

By George WhiteJuly 28, 2005, 4:00 pm
And to think that only a couple of months ago she had to interrupt her career to go to her high school graduation. Now - shes officially a millionaire.
 
Paula Creamer has come out of the gigantic shadow cast by her fellow teen-ager, Michelle Wie. Last week Paula won for the second time ' thats this year, in professional tour events, while still at the youthful age of 18. She has left Wie ' and virtually all the LPGA save Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Ochoa ' in the dust.
 
Paula Creamer
Paula Creamer picked up her second trophy of the year at the Evian Masters.
Shes third on the tour in money won 'how does $1,114,650 in the bank sound? And while most girls in the summer of their 18th year are thinking only about shopping and boyfriends, shes thinking about shopping and a boyfriend, too ' but also about the Womens British Open. The Weetabix Womens is on the agenda this week.
 
Last week it was the Evian Masters in France ' now, theres an exciting possibility for an 18-year-old, making a ton of money while working in France. Oh yes - she won there ' did I say that? She won by eight shots over a field that included, yes, Ms. Sorenstam.
 
She recently participated in her high school graduation in Bradenton, Fla., where she had moved four years ago from Pleasanton, Cal., to pursue golf on a 365-day basis. She persuaded her parents that was what she wanted more than anything else on earth. Paula was 14 at the time, but her parents hesitantly agreed, renting a condo while keeping their house in Northern California just in case.
 
I know I've not lived the normal teenage life, said Creamer. I know that. I realized that when we moved to Florida and I'm trying to pursue my dreams and being here right now.

But for me, I think that on the golf course, I'm a totally different person. When I'm here, it's all business. I mean, this is my job now. This is what I have to do and I love doing it and that makes it even better.
 
Poppa is a pilot for American Airlines, and he was able to transfer his base from San Francisco to Miami. It was he who asked the big question of Paula when she was 14 and trying to decide whether to be a cheerleader or be a golfer: Do you want to cheer for people or have people cheer for you? And there really was only one answer, Paula decided.
 
It certainly isnt easy when you have to leave your friends and your home and uproot yourself across the continent, just because of golf. But Paula is whats known as a phenom. That not withstanding, though, she still is just a girly-girl when shes not with the women who play the tour.

When I'm off the golf course and I'm away from, you know, golfers, I'm just a normal 18 year old, she says. I like to do everything. I like to go shopping, hang out, all of the things that other people do.
 
It's just I have a job right now and a lot of the other teenagers that I know and my friends, they don't, and that's the difference. But off the course - normal girl.
 
Normal girl sort of. Creamer realizes that she has missed out ' is going to miss out ' on a lot of juicy little things that come the way of normal girls. But how many girls make $375,000 while working a week in France? How much MORE comes her way now that normal girls never have a chance of experiencing? Paula thinks its a hugely beneficial trade-off.
 
This is what I want to do, she said resolutely. I'm happy doing this. I have so much fun out on the golf course. Golf is so enjoyable because every day is different. It's not going to be the same thing twice. That's what I really enjoy.
 
I mean, there's times, of course, where I just want to go home and sleep or go home and just do nothing. But in the back of my mind, I have my goals and my dreams that I want to achieve.
 
She played at several sports when she was growing up ' acrobatic dance, softball, soccer. She lived off the first hole at a club in Pleasanton, her father was a single-digit handicapper, but she had never played when several friends suggested taking lessons when she was 12. Paula grudgingly went along, and found that she thoroughly enjoyed it.
 
Now, though she is still just a girl herself, she counsels other little girls who might want to play golf.
 
I think just to have fun with it, she said, and realize that I've always said to little girls, There are other girls out there that want to dream about what you're dreaming about and you're not alone. It's a sport that is getting bigger and bigger over the years.

I remember when I was 12 years old, getting involved with golf, I played with the boys. There weren't any girls, but there are (golfers); you just have to kind of look around and find them.
 
Her talent ' and in no small measure her looks ' have already persuaded three companies to jump on the Creamer bandwagon: ADT, Royal Bank of Scotland and addidas. Undoubtedly there are going to be a lot of new contracts because of her success this year. And Creamer leaped into the top 10 in the Solheim Cup standings with the win at Evian. That, she says, was the ultimate goal this year. And it looks like that goal will be achieved.
 
You know, I hope I bring it in a positive way, said Paula. I'm out here just trying to achieve my dreams and play golf and (do it) for the good of the game.
 
And also, I hope that there's more younger girls that get involved with it as well. I'm 18, so I think with that, that helps out with teenagers that are trying to get here and know that they can do it.
 
Email your thoughts to George White
 
Related Links:
  • Full Coverage - Weetabix Women's British Open
  • Getty Images

    Poulter offers explanation in dispute with marshal

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:47 pm

    Ian Poulter took to Twitter to offer an explanation after the Englishman was accused of verbally abusing a volunteer during the third round of the Scottish Open.

    Poulter hooked his drive on the opening hole at Gullane Golf Club into a bush, where Quintin Jardine was working as a marshal. Poulter went on to find the ball, wedge out and make bogey, but the details of the moments leading up to his second shot differ depending on who you ask.

    Jardine wrote a letter to the tournament director that he also turned into a colorfully-titled blog post, accusing Poulter of berating him for not going into the bush "feet first" in search of the ball since Poulter would have received a free drop had his ball been stepped on by an official.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    "I stood and waited for the player. It turned out to be Mr. Poulter, who arrived in a shower of expletives and asked me where his ball was," Jardine wrote. "I told him and said that I had not ventured into the bush for fear of standing on it. I wasn't expecting thanks, but I wasn't expecting aggression, either."

    Jardine added that Poulter stayed to exchange heated words with the volunteer even after wedging his ball back into the fairway. After shooting a final-round 69 to finish in a tie for 30th, Poulter tweeted his side of the story to his more than 2.3 million followers:

    Poulter, 42, won earlier this year on the PGA Tour at the Houston Open and is exempt into The Open at Carnoustie, where he will make his 17th Open appearance. His record includes a runner-up at Royal Birkdale in 2008 and a T-3 finish at Muirfield in 2013.

    Getty Images

    Immelman misses Open bid via OWGR tiebreaker

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:25 pm

    A resurgent performance at the Scottish Open gave Trevor Immelman his first top-10 finish in more than four years, but it left him short of a return to The Open by the slimmest of margins.

    The former Masters champ turned back the clock this week at Gullane Golf Club, carding four straight rounds of 68 or better. That run included a 5-under 65 in the final round, which gave him a tie for third and left him five shots behind winner Brandon Stone. It was his first worldwide top-10 since a T-10 finish at the 2014 Farmers Insurance Open.

    There were three spots available into The Open for players not otherwise exempt, and for a brief moment it appeared Immelman, 38, might sneak the third and final invite.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    But with Stone and runner-up Eddie Pepperell both not qualified, that left the final spot to be decided between Immelman and Sweden's Jens Dantorp who, like Immelman, tied for third at 15 under.

    As has been the case with other stops along the Open Qualifying Series, the tiebreaker to determine invites is the players' standing in the Official World Golf Rankings entering the week. Dantorp is currently No. 322 in the world, but with Immelman ranked No. 1380 the Swede got the nod.

    This will mark Dantorp's first-ever major championship appearance. Immelman, who hasn't made the cut in a major since the 2013 Masters, was looking to return to The Open for 10th time and first since a missed cut at Royal Lytham six years ago. He will instead work the week at Carnoustie as part of Golf Channel and NBC's coverage of The Open.

    Getty Images

    Stone (60) wins Scottish Open, invite to Carnoustie

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 6:06 pm

    There's never a bad time to shoot a 60, but Brandon Stone certainly picked an opportune moment to do so.

    Facing a jammed leaderboard in the final round of the Scottish Open, Stone fired a 10-under 60 to leave a stacked field in his wake and win the biggest tournament of his career. His 20-under 260 total left him four shots clear of Eddie Pepperell and five shots in front of a group that tied for third.

    Stone had a mid-range birdie putt on No. 18 that would have given him the first 59 in European Tour history. But even after missing the putt on the left, Stone tapped in to close out a stellar round that included eight birdies, nine pars and an eagle. It's his third career European Tour title but first since the Alfred Dunhill Championship in December 2016.


    Full-field scores from the ASI Scottish Open


    Stone started the day three shots behind overnight leader Jens Dantorp, but he made an early move with three birdies over his first five holes and five over his first 10. Stone added a birdie on the par-3 12th, then took command with a three-hole run from Nos. 14-16 that included two birdies and an eagle.

    The eye-popping score from the 25-year-old South African was even more surprising considering his lack of form entering the week. Stone is currently ranked No. 371 in the world and had missed four of his last seven worldwide cuts without finishing better than T-60.

    Stone was not yet qualified for The Open, and as a result of his performance at Gullane Golf Club he will tee it up next week at Carnoustie. Stone headlined a group of three Open qualifiers, as Pepperell and Dantorp (T-3) also earned invites by virtue of their performance this week. The final spot in the Open will go to the top finisher not otherwise qualified from the John Deere Classic.

    Getty Images

    Daly (knee) replaced by Bradley in Open field

    By Will GrayJuly 15, 2018, 12:13 pm

    Former champion John Daly has withdrawn from The Open because of a right knee injury and will be replaced in the field at Carnoustie by another major winner, Keegan Bradley.

    Daly, 52, defeated Costantino Rocca in a memorable playoff to win the claret jug at St. Andrews in 1995. His lingering knee pain led him to request a cart during last month's U.S. Senior Open, and when that request was denied he subsequently withdrew from the tournament.

    Daly then received treatment on the knee and played in a PGA Tour event last week at The Greenbrier without the use of a cart, missing the cut with rounds of 77-67. But on the eve of the season's third major, he posted to Twitter that his pain remains "unbearable" and that a second request for a cart was turned down:

    This will be just the second time since 2000 that Daly has missed The Open, having also sat out the 2013 event at Muirfield. He last made the cut in 2012, when he tied for 81st at Royal Lytham. He could still have a few more chances to improve upon that record, given that past Open champions remain fully exempt until age 60.

    Taking his place will be Bradley, who was first alternate based on his world ranking. Bradley missed the event last year but recorded three top-20 finishes in five appearances from 2012-16, including a T-18 finish two years ago at Royal Troon.

    The next three alternates, in order, are Spain's Adrian Otaegui and Americans Aaron Wise and J.B. Holmes.