Check out this featured article about IMG Academy golf program alum and IMG Academy graduate, Paula Creamer, in the The Scotsman. Creamer is currently in Scotland preparing for Women's British Open this week. Article by Martin Hannan:
SHE is nicknamed the Pink Panther for her love of the colour that she wears every time she plays golf, but Paula Creamer of the US doesn't need gimmicks to be a star.
Those old enough to recall the Peter Sellers movies will remember that the Pink Panther was in fact the diamond at the centre of the plots, and Creamer is most definitely a shining bright jewel in women's golf.
Her maiden major win in the US Women's Open last year means the 24-year-old Californian comes to Carnoustie as a leading contender for the Ricoh Women's British Open, with her status as a major winner making "a huge difference to me," as she said.
"I have always been very confident," says Creamer, "but there's a difference between knowing and believing you can win a major and actually winning one. But now I know I can win majors, and I just have to take that confidence into every week."
Creamer has enjoyed her visits to Scotland and has Scottish connections: "It's a great country and the people are so welcoming and they love golf. They just want to watch you hit great shots and I appreciate that. Also, my aunt, married to my mum's brother, is Scottish so I do have some Scottish ties."
She knows our weather can be changeable, to say the least - and cites "Mother Nature" as possibly her main competitor at Carnoustie - but she'll be colourfully prepared: "I don't have a pink umbrella but I do have pink waterproofs, and black ones, because if it's raining a lot then you have to go through multiple rain kits.
"I have just had my first practice round, and I think the course is great. I didn't realise how narrow the greens are, and the fairway bunkers do come into play, so you have to be a straight driver and that's one of my strengths.
"I love links golf. You get to hit different shots and I have a different set-up of clubs in my bag, but it's fun."
Her image is of a woman that enjoys her sport and life: "People who know me know that I like to have fun, and I quite enjoy the fun I've had from being nicknamed the Pink Panther.
"Pink has always been my favourite colour as it means a lot to me. One of my friends at the IMG Academy, where I lived and trained for five years, jokingly called me the Pink Panther one day, since I always showed up at the golf course wearing pink. And it's kind of stuck since then and has taken on a life of its own. It's been a lot of fun because people know of the Pink Panther movies and image all over the world."
Though genuinely delightful and fun-loving, there is a serious side to Creamer, who has set up her own charitable foundation: "My ambition is to make a positive difference in young people's lives through my role as a professional golfer. I see golf as more than just a game, and I hope more people can see that."
She adds: "If I play a role in raising that awareness, then I'll have achieved one of my biggest goals."