In her short time on the LPGA Tour, 23-year-old Paula Creamer has become a household name. As the youngest female winner of a multiple-round LPGA event, youngest to reach $1 million and youngest to play in the Solheim Cup event, the Pleasanton native’s golf accomplishments precede many of her peers. Creamer will be in the field of the Kraft Nabisco Championship, hitting Mission Hills Country Club March 29-April 4.
What charity do you volunteer with?
Through my association with Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), I have proudly supported The First Tee Foundation. Additionally, I’ve been very involved in the Paula4Kids Fundraiser for the Sarasota (Florida) First Tee Chapter. The ideals of The First Tee are terrific, as it’s not just about golf, it’s about life!
Why is it important for juniors to get involved in athletics?
Again, it’s about teaching lessons in life. Sports do that. Integrity in golf is unique compared with other sports. Could you imagine other sports not having referees, and the athletes calling their own fouls and penalties? In golf we do just that. Golf benefitted me because it’s about individual performance. No teammates to rely on from the first tee to the 18th green. It teaches you a lot about yourself as a person. It can be brutal at times but you have to fight through the highs and lows, adversity and elation, and still try to compete and have discipline.
Who do you look up to on the PGA and LPGA Tours?
I admire Tiger Woods. I like the dedication he puts into his game — his work ethic among players seems second to none. I’ve had the Opportunity to practice with Tiger several times and have always learned something. I also admire Nancy Lopez. I was very young and didn’t know what a golf ball was when Nancy was playing, so I never had the opportunity to see her play. As a person, though, I know first-hand she is outstanding.
You accomplished so much in your early years. Is it difficult or motivating to be so successful at such a young age?
If you’re not motivated to win, then why be on the Tour? Although I turned pro earlier than most players, I only did so because I felt I had the ability to compete at that level. I took second at 16 while an amateur at the ShopRite LPGA Classic, so I knew my game would be fine. Winning is contagious, so once I did get in the winner’s circle as a professional, I was — and still am — motivated to give myself as many chances as I can to win. Winning is certainly my goal every time I tee it up in an event.
Do you have any aspirations beyond golf?
Absolutely. I was once asked if I live for golf, or do I golf to live. I was in this world long before golf was a part of my life. And while it’s what I do for a living, and while I’m passionate about my career and enjoy the competitive juices that flow every time I tee it up, it’s not what makes me as a person. My dad always said when I was learning that golf is a game, and it doesn’t change who you are after the round is over whether you play well or not so well.
How did you get involved with the game?
My dad played, and I tagged along with him when I was young. At first, I just rode on his pull cart, then in his golf cart, but then when I was about 10 years old, I started to hit shots and really liked it. My dad arranged for lessons with our club’s golf professional, and it kind of just blossomed from that point on. My mom doesn’t play golf, but she swings a mean tennis racquet! Through my early days, my parents mentored me in every step of the process. I wouldn't be where I am today if it weren't for them.
What’s your most memorable moment on the course?
It is tough to say, but I think I’ll always treasure my first win as a professional in May 2005, at the Sybase Classic in New York City. To be able to fight the elements that day and make an 18-footer on the last hole for the win was something that was very special for me. The following week I graduated from high school which made that two-week period truly fantastic.
You grew up in California but moved to Florida — was it difficult to adjust?
Although I’ve been living in Florida since I was 14, I still consider myself a California girl. Florida is nice as it relates to travel, the Tour and my coach, but I love California. I’m so happy to come back to play in the Samsung World Championship.
What’s your favorite California course to play?
Castlewood Country Club in Pleasanton, where I grew up. We had 36 holes and I just have so many great memories from playing and living there. After that I would say Olympic Club and Pebble Beach.
Do you have a group of players or friends on Tour that you hang out with?
On Tour, I do have friends like Morgan Pressel, Taylor Leon, and Yani Tseng, but we’re really so busy with our games and schedules, there really isn’t a lot of time to hang out. We’re always on the go.
Who would be in your dream golf foursome?
It would have to be a fivesome. Tiger, my dad, David Cook, Sydney Crosby, and Shaquille O’Neal, because I want to see how far Shaq can hit it, and if he can hit it straight — I’m betting he can’t!
What is something not many people know about you?
I can’t sing very well, although I really like to try! I’m confident I will get better at it though.
When you look back on your life in 20 years, what do you hope to have accomplished?
I’d hope that I would have made a positive difference in young peoples’ lives. It’s not all that long ago that I was a child, and I think we need to do everything we can to make sure kids are brought up in a good environment. If I can be a positive influence on others and perhaps help others, I’d feel good when looking back.