Continuing with the interviews...today I am posting an interview I did with Paula Creamer, who happens to be the No. 5 ranked golfer on the LPGA circuit. Judging from her responses, the 22-year old definitely has her head on straight. Here it is:
Your nickname is "The Pink Panther." What is the story behind that and what do you think of the name?
I almost always am wearing something pink, and my friend once kiddingly called me the "pink panther". It has stuck with me ever since. I really like the color pink (all shades of it) as it's soft and fashionable, yet it also can be a sign of strength, which is me when I'm in competition!
You turned pro in 2005 at the age of 18. Most kids are seniors in high school, and you were becoming a professional golfer. What was it like knowing that you rank among one of the best golfers in the world at that time?
I had a great summer of golf tournaments on the LPGA when I was 17 and still an amateur. I received special invitations to play in about 6 LPGA events. Based on those results, I knew I was ready for the LPGA Tour. It wasn't an easy decision (not going to college and turning pro instead), but I knew it was the right one for me. I don't really dwell on what my ranking is really. I just am trying to be the best that I can be. I am always working on my game and trying to be # 1. That is my goal.......to be # 1.
You have been a part of both the 2005 and 2007 U.S. Solheim Cup teams. How much does that mean to you and how is it playing with the world's best golfers as a team instead of competing individually?
There is nothing better for me than to be representing the USA. Wearing red, white and blue is so cool. I hope it's part of the Olympics soon as I'd love to compete in those games like so many other sports get to do. To be in a team environment is also neat (since golf is usually such an individual sport). I was honored to play on both victorious Solheim Cup teams in 2005 and 2007. The 2009 Solheim Cup can't get here soon enough!
In the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic this year, you shot an 11-under 60 in the first round. That was just one stroke off the LPGA record held by Annika Sorenstam. What made you so effective on that day of golf?
It sounds like a cliche, but I played one shot at a time, and really didn't know I shot 60 until after I finished my round. I made a lot of good putts that day, which really is the difference in shooting a good score and shooting a great score! If I counted up all the times my putt grazes the lip of the hole and subtracted them from my actual score, I'd shoot 60 a lot of times!! You need to be swinging the club well for sure, but it all comes down to making those putts inside 15-20 feet, which I did quite a bit that day.
You are one of the golfers that people can choose to play with in the game Tiger Woods PGA Tour 08. What is it like seeing yourself in a video game and do you ever play as yourself?
I just attended the 2009 Tiger Woods PGA Tour Game in NY city a few weeks ago and they had set up all these games for people to play. It was kind of fun walking around watching people play against me. I have played the game, too, and it's a lot of fun.
The David Leadbetter Golf Academy in Bradenton, Florida played a big part in your development as a golfer. How did you know at age 13 that you were serious about playing golf?
I had already decided to get very serious about golf when my family moved with me to Bradenton, Florida to attend the DLGA. Still, I didn't know where my future was going to lead me, I just knew that I was going to put 110% into it and see what happened. As it turned out, my hard work and dedication wasn't wasted. I still have a lot of goals left to accomplish, but overall, I'm proud of these first four years of my professional career.
One of the all-time greats in Annika Sorenstam is retiring at the end of this season. Just how big of a role did Annika play on the LPGA tour (I think some of us do not know how successful she was on the tour) and was she a mentor-like figure to younger players like yourself?
Annika's contributions to professional women's golf were tremendous. I will miss competing against her in 2009. It will be kind of strange not seeing her after this year, especially at the Majors. I wish her nothing but the very best as she moves onto the next chapter of her life.
What are you expectations for the rest of this season and then the 2009 season?
I would love to win more events this year. Although it's already September, I still have about 8 or 9 events left, and I will be trying my hardest to win them all!
I'd like to thank Ms. Creamer for the interview, and Jay Burton for setting it all up.
In the coming days look for an interview with an ESPN.com golf writer (should take me a couple hours to convert into text) and what? Hockey in Algeria? Yes. So stay tuned.