MIKE SCANLAN: Paula Creamer, thanks so much for coming in. Welcome to the Samsung World Championship which is being played in sort of your backyard. You are originally from the area. If you would just give us your thoughts on playing here.
PAULA CREAMER: Well, I am very excited to be back home definitely. When they said you landed in San Francisco, I was like ‘yeah, I'm back home.' I haven't been here since last year around this same time during Danville but the golf course is in great shape. The greens are very quick, lots of undulations. The rough is actually a lot thicker than I thought. When I first looked down the first fairway I was thinking, man, these fairways are pretty wide open. But it's difficult. I really don't think 20under is going to win this. It's going to be a lot lower than that, especially if the wind picks up. The more I keep playing it, the harder I tend to think it is.
Q. You got five Top10's in your last six events, three wins this season. Obviously you are having a great season. If you would talk about what it means to be at an event like this, 20 person, very elite field and what you feel your chances are?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, this is obviously one of the best fields that we have. Twenty top players in the world are here. It's a goal every player wants to make at the beginning of the year is to get into the Samsung event. I am very happy to be here. But hopefully not just to be happy, but to try to win this tournament. I've come close a couple of years ago, at a different golf course, kind of everybody is at a level pace now, and you just go out and try to play four good rounds of golf.
Q. You said level field, what is your opinion about the courses changing from year to year because the last couple of years it has been at BIGHORN?
PAULA CREAMER: BIGHORN was obviously a great golf course. It was nice to be there. But at the same time, you know, things happen. I don't know, I'm here this week. I'm not going to dwell on it too much. I think it's a great venue. Any person that would come here, it's amazing. You can stand on every hole out there and see the ocean and see how beautiful it is. I would not not want to be here. That's for sure. I think Samsung has done an exceptional job in finding Half Moon Bay and then having this event here.
Q. Paula, I would like to ask you a question which would test your memory. A little test of the memory. I was just reading about Bradenton, and that brings the question to mind, what can you remember especially about that experience down there in your learning period as we could put it?
PAULA CREAMER: Okay. Well, I went there from ages 14 to 18, so I was there for I actually didn't move until I was 21, but it's one of the best decisions my family and I ever made to go to the Academy.
I think you can become a professional golfer, and become a No. 1 player anywhere, but to me that was a wonderful place to be around so many great athletes.
Q. You were described as being one of the most devoted students they had, they always knew where you were out there banging balls. Even though there were an awful lot of highly talented young people who went there, I would hazard a guess that a lot of them exited and never continued to climb. You did, clearly. And I wonder whether you have any thoughts as to what it was that made you successful as compared to most of the others?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, you know, I could only answer that question from what I've done. I think that the path that I've taken has been the perfect path for myself. I have a great support system, a great team around me that keeps me very focused. There is so much I want to achieve with women's golf and the goals that I have. I'm very driven, and I think that's what's helped me a lot to get to where I am today. I want to be the best and I am willing to do what it takes to get there.
Q. Well, you are getting there.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
Q. Paula, Juli was in here earlier and she was talking about how she mentors several players on Tour, and your name came up, and we've talked in the past as sort of a role model for you. I'm curious if you recall the first time you met her, didn't you carry her bag?
PAULA CREAMER: I did. And I gave her a lot of hard time about it too. I carried it at Solheim Cup. It was my first Solheim Cup and I got to play on the Junior Solheim Cup team in Minnesota. It was the 18th hole, and we were walking up, watching her, I forget who else she was playing with. She called us in. There were six of the girls that were out there, they were playing their practice round, and I asked her, I said, "is that bag heavy." She said sure, try it. And Worth was caddying for here at the time no, no, Gregor was caddying for her at the time. And I picked it up and I carried it.
I don't know how it came up the next time, but I asked her, I said, "do you ever remember me carrying it?"
She goes, "No."
And I was like, "that was the best moment of my life."
It was better than winning any tournament as a junior, and you don't even remember it. Now we are partners in the Solheim Cup and all of this.
She said, "I don't remember, you were just a little kid at the time." But I give her a lot of grief if that.
Q. How old were you?
PAULA CREAMER: I must have been 16. It was '01. I met her husband before at Paso Tempo (phonetic) we used to have a junior golf tournament there. One of our junior NorCal events. I thought it was the coolest, met Juli at practice. That is where I got to meet her.
Q. You didn't know her at all when you lived here?
PAULA CREAMER: No.
Q. But because she was from here also?
PAULA CREAMER: Yes, I knew a lot about Juli Inkster when she was here. I never met her until then. I never watched her play before then in person.
Q. And can you give a synopsis of how your relationship evolved over the years, maybe in specific ways that she has helped you?
PAULA CREAMER: She definitely is one of my biggest mentors out on the Tour. Nancy Lopez has helped me a lot, too. People know the story through Miami.
But I have so much respect for what Juli Inkster has done for women's golf. She has a family. She is still out here, 48 years old, grinding it with the best players in the world. She is here this week. I see a lot of myself in her.
She sees a lot of herself in me. We are both feisty competitors. I hope I can always have a career that she has had.
She just teaches me little things, how to travel, how to practice rounds, how to prepare for Majors, certain things likes that.
It not necessarily works for me all the time but she tries to help me which means a lot.
Q. Paula, can you talk a little bit about what you do in the off season to get ready for this year, obviously having a very good year, how did you prepare for 2008?
PAULA CREAMER: I took a month off. I worked really hard the month of January, worked on some swing changes, worked out a lot.
However, this off season will be much better than last off season. I know there are certain things exactly that I need to work on. My putting stroke for one, golf swing.
I'm learning more and more about being, I guess you can say, an athlete, being physically fit. Just in being more mobile.
But I really feel that my coach and I are on the right page. We are working on a lot of things with my wedges.
Golf is amazing how there is so many little things that you can change. There is never one thing that is perfect. You can always get better.
Q. How do you view your season, obviously three wins are good, I know how important majors are for you, you had a chance at the U.S. Open and it didn't work out how you wanted, how do you reflect to this point on how your season is going?
PAULA CREAMER: The three wins, that's a positive. I think what's impressed me the most so far this season is how consistent I've been. There has been so many weeks where I am just Top10 every week. Last week kind of ended that stretch, or the last event, I took 12.
Still I really feel that even when I'm not playing my best I'm still right around that, in contention and somewhat. That has always been a goal of mine, just to give myself a chance on the weekend to win. Yes, the Majors were not the greatest, but I learned a lot at the U.S. Open. A lot of people don't realize that was the first time I ever played in the lead group on Sunday, and I definitely know now what it feels like to do that and to take that to the next event or to the next Major.
Q. What did you learn?
PAULA CREAMER: I worked so hard for three days always saying the P word, Patient. Sunday comes around, I was kind of a different player, a different person, and I look back on it and I see the replays of it all. It showed how I kind of went back to my old ways.
Q. I would like to comment and build a question into the comment. When I have seen you on television, and in person, one word always hits me, you have poise on the golf course.
PAULA CREAMER: Thank you.
Q. You look very controlled, like you know what the heck you are there for. That's an admirable quality. In fact, it bears into a comment that Juli said when we were talking to her, and that was one of the things she had admires about you is the way that you will comeback maybe from a little rough start, let's say a 74 on the first day, but you definitely are going to be in the hunt toward the ends and that impresses her pretty much. That raises then the question, do you have some sort of you philosophy, or what's your ticket to pulling yourself together when you have had a bad round and coming right back?
PAULA CREAMER: I guess I just want it. It's very hard for me to play bad golf, but it's also not easy, by any means, but coming back the next day is who I am. I'm competitive. I want to win. I'm going to do what it takes to get there. I'm not a quitter by any means. I could shoot 85 the first day, and I can come around tomorrow and try to make the cut, that's my one goal.
For me, I love the game. I love the pressure. I love coming out to play every day. That's something I saw with Juli, she never gave up, still never gives up. When you watch her, she makes you want to root for her, she makes you want to pull for her when she is out there. She grinds. And that's what you need to do sometime, you just kind of grind it out and find out who you really are the next day after a bad day.
Q. Did your dad give you that inspiration on the course?
PAULA CREAMER: My dad and I are incredibly close. We have worked a lot together mentally. But I don't think that you can teach someone how to be a fighter. I think you are born with it or not. There are certain techniques to help you through it. My dad is very competitive. I think I got that from him. Golf is a game where it's just you out there. Nobody is telling you to do this, do that. You are the one that's trying to make the four or fivefooter at the end of the day.
Q. Paula, when you heard that Samsung was coming to Half Moon Bay, which is almost in your backyard, minus a toll fair, what were your thoughts? Were you excited, shocked, or were you like, I didn't know Half Moon Bay golf course was this good?
PAULA CREAMER: No, I've actually never been here before, but I was very excited to come. Of course, whenever I get to come home around my house, where I grew up, it's always exciting for me to get so many of my friends and my family and the people who have supported my career from when I just started playing golf at my old country club in Castlewood, to have them come out and watch them me play is great. I was very excited to here that they moved to Half Moon Bay and was even more pleased when I played the golf course.
Q. How much do you measure yourself against Lorena? Obviously, the season she is having, you are also having a very good year, do you measure yourself against her in your bid to become the best player in the world?
PAULA CREAMER: Right now she is the No. 1 player in the world. However, I really feel that I am based more on my goals than what I need to try to achieve. I feel if I work hard enough I will be there one day. And this next off season is going to be a big year for me. I'm doing a lot of changes. We will see what happens. Lorena is a very confident player, but there are so many people out there that are trying to challenge that. I think that's great.
I don't think we've had that before in women's golf, so many people trying to challenge it. There has always been a couple here and there trying to do that. But now I feel that women's golf is getting deeper and deeper.