Quick Round With

By Randall MellApril 29, 2009, 4:00 pm
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LPGA Tour _newPaula Creamer is the highest ranked American in the Rolex Womens World Golf Rankings at No. 4 and makes no secret about her driving ambition to be No. 1. No American has ruled over the womens game since Beth Daniel won LPGA Player of the Year honors in 1994. At 22, Creamers sitting in the best position to change that, accumulating more LPGA victories (8) at her age than any player since Nancy Lopez took the tour by storm three decades ago.
Creamer, working her way through nagging intestinal problems of an unknown origin this year, recorded back-to-back third-place finishes last month but is still searching for her first victory this season.
Im on a lot of medication, but I just have to deal with it right now, Creamer said. Doctors dont know what it is yet.
With the McDonalds LPGA Championship six weeks away, Creamers looking to sharpen her game in a bid to make the next big step in her career and win her first major championship.
In the first installment of GolfChannel.coms new Q&A feature, senior writer Randall Mell surveyed Creamer in an e-mail exchange on her thoughts ranging from golf, music, movies and the after life:



MELL: So whats the most important golf shot you ever hit?
CREAMER: Ive had quite a few memorable shots, but I think it was the 18-foot putt on the 72nd hole which virtually assured me of my first LPGA win at the Sybase Classic my rookie year. It was a cool, rainy day in May, 2005, and I was having a good round, but there was a crowd of good players at the top of the leaderboard. So I knew if I was going to win, I would have to finish strong. I pretty much knew on the 18th tee (a par 5) that I would need a birdie to have a chance. The putt itself wasnt easy, and you throw in the circumstances involved, it was an important moment. This was my ninth LPGA event as an LPGA professional, and while I had some pretty good results, I hadnt won yet. (My coach, David Whelan, had told me at the beginning of the year that Id win in my first seven events. He wasnt too far off.)
MELL: And the one shot of your career you would most like to go back and hit again?
CREAMER: Fortunately, I have a pretty selective memory. So, as far as the shots that didnt go as planned, lets just say that theyre gone from my memory.
2009 Corona Championship
Paula Creamer is motivated by her fans and being a role model. (Getty Images)
MELL: The single word that best describes you?
CREAMER: Driven.
MELL: What motivates you most in life?
CREAMER: To know that Im being given the opportunity to be the best that I can be ' both on and off the golf course ' and that I can make a difference, especially in young peoples lives.
MELL: Name three items that arent about golf on your bucket list (things you want to do before you die).
CREAMER: Sky diving! (But no one wants to do it with me!). Being on Dancing with the Stars sometime . . . But I know thats down the road, since I really dont have the time to do fun things like that due to my playing schedule. Still, it would be a blast . . . Also, I want to eat all the ice cream I can without gaining a single pound!
MELL: Whats the last good book you read thats not about golf?
CREAMER: Twilight Series (by Stephenie Meyer), very page turning stuff.
MELL: Your favorite movie scene?
CREAMER: Top Gun. When Tom Cruise is playing beach volleyball with Goose. Love that movie.
MELL: Three favorite songs or performers on your iPod?
CREAMER: My iPod has so many different songs/artists/types of music, its hard to pick a favorite. That said, right now I seem to be listening to Kelly Clarkson (her new CD is awesome) and Rihanna quite a bit. Check back in a week, though, as I might be listening to rap by then.
MELL: What would we find in your golf bag that we might not expect?
CREAMER: I have an American flag golf ball that my Curtis Cup captain gave me. It has been in every golf bag I have ever had since I was 16. That golf ball has seen a lot.
MELL: When you want to escape from golf, where do you go, what do you do?
CREAMER: Dinner with friends, hang out at my house, watch a movie. Working on getting my new house in order. Im learning to cook, which is quite a sight sometimes.
MELL: If you werent a pro golfer, what profession do you think you would pursue?
CREAMER: I love fashion, so while I dont know exactly what Id be doing, Im pretty sure it would involve the fashion industry.
MELL: At the end of your days, what would you like to hear God say to you?
CREAMER: Wow, what a heavy question. I guess Id like to hear God say a lot of things to me. But I would hope God would be proud of me and tell me that I lived my life and thought of others the way God wanted me to.
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    After Further Review: Nelson lost in the shuffle?

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 21, 2018, 3:40 am

    Each week, GolfChannel.com takes a look back at the week in golf. Here's what's weighing on our writers' minds.

    On the Nelson's future ...

    If the goal was “different” by bringing the AT&T Byron Nelson to Trinity Forest, consider it achieved. But bringing a world-class field south of Dallas could still be tricky.

    Yes, the tournament can always rely on local resident and AT&T spokesman Jordan Spieth to throw his hat in the ring. But even with Spieth strolling the fairways this week, the field strength was among the worst all season for a full-point event.

    The debut of the sprawling, links-like layout likely did little to sway the undecideds, with only the third round offering the challenging conditions that course co-designer Ben Crenshaw had envisioned. And the schedule won’t do them any favors next year, as a revamped itinerary likely puts the Nelson right before the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black.

    The course will inevitably get better with age, and Spieth expects positive word of mouth to spread. But it might be a while before the stars truly align for an event that, for the moment, feels lost in the shuffle of a hectic schedule. – Will Gray

    On Jordan Spieth's putting ...

    Jordan Spieth’s putting is plainly bad right now, but it isn’t going to stay this bad forever.

    He is the second ranked player on Tour in strokes gained: tee-to-green, just like he was last year. This putting slump has lingered, but it’s unfathomable to think this guy just forgot how to putt.

    Sooner rather than later he’s going to remember he’s Jordan Spieth and the 40-footers are going to start pouring in. He’ll be telling Greller to go get the ball because he’s too far away and the tee is in the other direction.

    Bottom line, the ball striking is for real and the putting slump will pass. He’ll win soon – maybe even as soon as this week. – Nick Menta

    On golf and gambling ...

    On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court over tuned a federal ban on sports betting in most states, a move the PGA Tour and many professional sports leagues embraced as a tool to both build fan interest and grow revenue.

    Experts estimate sports betting could become a $150-$200 billion annual industry, and even a small piece of that could be significant for golf, but there will be risks.

    Unlike any other sport, golf is played on multiple fields simultaneously, which inherently creates risks when gambling is introduced to the equation. Although the Tour has gone to great pains to head off any potential problems, like all bets gambling comes with great rewards, and great risks. – Rex Hoggard

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    Wise continues whirlwind ascent with first win

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 3:13 am

    DALLAS – Still shy of his 22nd birthday, Aaron Wise continues to prove himself to be a quick learner.

    Wise went from unheralded prospect to NCAA individual champ seemingly in the blink of an eye while at the University of Oregon. After eschewing his final two years of eligibility in Eugene, he won in Canada on the Mackenzie Tour in his third start as a professional.

    He continued a quick learning curve with a win last year on the Web.com Tour to propel him to the big leagues, and he didn’t flinch while going toe-to-toe with Jason Day two weeks ago, even though the result didn’t go his way.

    Faced with another opportunity to take down a top-ranked Aussie, Wise made sure he got the job done Sunday at the AT&T Byron Nelson – even though it took until dark.

    With mid-day rains turning a firm and fast layout into a birdie barrage, Wise seamlessly switched gears and put his first PGA Tour title on ice in impressive fashion with a bogey-free 65. Deadlocked with Marc Leishman to start the day, Wise made six birdies in his first 10 holes and coasted to a three-shot win as the leaders barely beat the setting sun to avoid an anticlimactic Monday finish at Trinity Forest Golf Club.

    Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

    AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

    As it turned out, the hardest part of the day was enduring the four-hour weather delay alongside his mother, Karla, as his afternoon tee time turned into a twilight affair.

    “She was talking to me in the hotel about what a win could mean, what a second could mean, kind of taking me through all that,” Wise said. “I was like, I’ve got to calm down. I can’t just sit here. I said, ‘You’ve got to go.’ I kind of made her leave the room.”

    Wise displayed some jitters right out of the gates, with a nervy three-putt par on the opening hole. But with several players going on birdie runs to turn what seemed like a two-man race into a much more wide-open affair, Wise went on a tear of his own with four birdies in a row on Nos. 7-10.

    That gave him a window over Leishman and the rest of the chase pack, and he never looked back.

    “I talked to myself and kind of made myself trust my putting,” Wise said. “These greens out here are really tricky, and for me to roll those putts in on 8 and 9 really kind of separated things.”

    Leishman had held at least a share of the lead after each round, and the 34-year-old veteran was looking for his third win in the last 14 months. But a bogey on No. 10 coincided with a Wise birdie to boost the rookie’s advantage from two shots to four, and Leishman never got closer than three shots the rest of the way.

    “He holed putts he needed to hole, and I didn’t,” Leishman said. “Hit a couple loose shots where I could have probably put a bit of pressure on him, and didn’t. And that’s probably the difference in the end.”

    Instead of sitting next to a trophy in Dallas, Wise could have been closing out his senior season next week with an NCAA appearance at Karsten Creek. But the roots of his quick climb trace back to the Master of the Amateurs in Australia in December 2015, a tournament he won and one that gave him confidence that he could hold his own against the best in the world. He returned to Eugene and promptly told his coach, Casey Martin, that he planned to turn pro in the spring.

    The same dogged confidence that drove that decision has been the guiding force behind a whirlwind ascent through every rung of the professional ladder.

    “I just have a lot of belief in myself. I didn’t come from a lot. A lot of people don’t know that. I didn’t get to travel a bunch when I played junior golf,” Wise said. “Kind of all along it’s been very, very few moments to shine and I have had to take advantage of them.”

    Despite that belief, even Wise admits that he’s “shocked” to turn only his second real chance to contend at this level into a maiden victory. But fueled by the memories of a close call two weeks ago, he put the lessons learned at Quail Hollow to quick use while taking the next step in an increasingly promising career arc.

    “It was awesome, everything I dreamed of,” Wise said. “To walk up 18, knowing I kind of had it locked up, was pretty cool.”

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    Grace celebrates birthday with final-round 62

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:51 am

    DALLAS – Branden Grace celebrated his 30th birthday in style, making the biggest charge of the final round at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

    Grace closed out a 9-under 62 as the sun began to set at Trinity Forest Golf Club, moving from outside the top 10 into a share of third place, four shots behind Aaron Wise. It equaled Grace’s career low on the PGA Tour, which he originally set last summer at The Open, and it was one shot off Marc Leishman’s course-record 61 from the opening round.

    “Good birthday present. It was fun,” Grace said. “Little bit of imagination, little bit of luck here and there. You get more luck on the links golf course than maybe on a normal golf course.”

    Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

    AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

    Weeks after Grace’s wife gave birth to the couple’s first child, he now has his best result on the PGA Tour since winning the RBC Heritage more than two years ago. As a world traveler and former Presidents Cup participant, the South African embraced an opportunity this week to go off the beaten path on an unconventional layout.

    “It feels like a breath of fresh air coming to something different. Really is nice. I really enjoyed the golf course,” he said. “Obviously I think we got really lucky with the weather, and that’s why the scores are so low. It can bite you if it settles in a little bit in the next couple years.”

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    Scott barely misses qualifying for U.S. Open

    By Will GrayMay 21, 2018, 1:33 am

    DALLAS – A birdie on the 72nd hole gave Adam Scott a glimmer of hope, but in the end even a closing 65 at the AT&T Byron Nelson wasn’t enough to earn an exemption into next month’s U.S. Open.

    Scott entered the week ranked No. 65 in the world, and the top 60 in next week’s rankings automatically qualify for Shinnecock Hills. The cutoff was a big reason why the 2008 tournament champ returned for Trinity Forest’s debut, and midway through the final round it seemed like the Aussie had a shot at snagging a bid at the 11th hour.

    Scott needed at least a solo ninth-place finish to pass an idle Chesson Hadley at No. 60, and while his 5-footer on the 18th green gave him a share of sixth place when he completed play, he ultimately ended up in a three-way tie for ninth at 15 under – barely short of a spot in the top 60.

    Full-field scores from the AT&T Byron Nelson

    AT&T Byron Nelson: Articles, photos and videos

    “I tried to make the most of really favorable conditions today, and I did a pretty good job of it. Just never really got a hot run going,” Scott said. “I feel like I struggled on the weekend reading the greens well enough to really get it going, but I think everyone but the leaders did that, too. They’re not the easiest greens to read.”

    Scott has played each of the last three weeks in an effort to earn a U.S. Open exemption, and he’ll make it four in a row next week when he returns to the Fort Worth Invitational on a course where he won in 2013. Scott still has another chance to avoid sectional qualifying by earning a top-60 spot at the second and final cutoff on June 11 following the FedEx St. Jude Classic.

    Scott has played 67 majors in a row, a streak that dates back to 2001 and is second only to Sergio Garcia among active players. While he’s prepared to play each of the next three weeks in a last-ditch effort to make the field, he’s taking his schedule one event at a time with the hope that one more good result might take care of business.

    “I’ll play next week and hopefully play really well, and give myself a bit of cushion so I can take a week or so off and try to prepare the best I can for the U.S. Open,” Scott said.