RICOH 2012: Exclusive Paula Creamer interviewSeptember, 2012
We speak to American star ahead of her return to the UK
Paula Creamer is every inch the all-American girl, but she has been coming to British links for seven summers now.
And while she has no plans to move to a caravan in Largs to see out her days knocking down 7-irons into the wind, her love for her annual sojourn to these shores is always evident.
This year, it’s a first for her – with Royal Liverpool staging the WBO.
We caught up with her as she made her final preparations for her transatlantic visit.
What did you make of Hoylake on your recent visit?
Hoylake was great. It was in great condition and will be a very good test at the Ricoh Women’s British Open. Everyone was so nice and I can sense how excited everybody is for September.
Is there any hole that sticks in the memory?
No one hole jumps out at me right now but I must say the 17th is a very good hole. I think all 18 are great. I love links style golf because I get to really be creative.
Your WBO record has been solid right from the start – did it take long to learn the nuances of links golf?
Creativity is the key. Both my coach, David Whelan, and my caddy, Colin Cann are British so I have received a lot of great input over the years. I played just down the road at Formby in the Curtis Cup a few years ago prior to turning professional and really liked it.
Do you learn something every time you visit?
Absolutely. That is what makes it all so much fun. It is never boring playing over here on such wonderful and historic courses. I wish I could do it more!
Links golf and firm ground has a big impact on the hands, are you now completely recovered from the thumb injury?
Basically yes. My thumb has a little less range of motion compared to pre surgery. The doctors told me that it would take a few years for all the scar tissue to break down and be absorbed so there really have been no surprises. It is really nice to be pain free. As much as I tried to avoid surgery I really had no choice and am glad it is behind me.
Do you need to do anything differently in your swing since the injury?
No not at all. Actually now I can do a few things that I could not do before the surgery. Everything has turned out very good. Dr Hunt did a great job with the reconstruction.
Creativity is the key. Both my coach, David Whelan, and my caddy, Colin Cann are British so I have received a lot of great input over the years. Do you change the set-up of your bag for a WBO, presumably you have more fairway woods for an LPGA event?
Yes I have in the past. I have put a 3-iron in and taken some of the higher lofted clubs out. I will play a couple of hybrids which will replace a fairway wood. I will also play with three wedges instead of my normal four wedge set-up.
A lot of people rate Carnoustie as the best golf test on the Open rota, how highly would you rank it?
Carnoustie was really fun to play for sure. It was difficult as well but I don’t think it is any more difficult than most of the other courses we have played. Wind is the key to the week, the more it blows the more difficult that course will play.
Playing the same rotation of courses at the Ricoh Women’s British Open as the men do at the Open Championship is really good. I wish we could do that in the United States as well with the men’s US Open and the US Women’s Open.
I am not really sure why we don’t.
Were you a bit disappointed with the set-up at Carnoustie, for example that the 6th and 18th were played from forward tees?
No not really. It made things a little more exciting. I liked playing there and hopefully will get the chance to go back again.
You were still on the putting green when it was dark at the US Open – is your putting a mental or technical concern?
My stroke was really good that week and I made a lot of really good putts, they just did not go in frequently enough. That was frustrating. I stayed on the green quite late simply to build up my confidence and get a little more comfortable with the speed. The greens were not as fast as I had expected. Usually at the Open they are quite quick but they were not that week. I tried to adjust but I guess I ran out of time.
Do you or would you consider working with a putting specialist like Dave Stockton?
I have spoken with Mr Stockton several times as well as some other instructors. I am a feel putter and really do not want to be mechanical. My coach David Whelan has a really good feel for my putting and we have been working on several different things.
I have all the confidence in the world in David, so I really have not considered working with someone else. I am gaining confidence on the greens and as a result more and more putts are dropping. I guess you can say I am trending the right way.
You seem to be quite a non-stop type of person, how will you relax away from the course at Hoylake?
Runs on the beach, nice dinner with my coach and caddy, listen to my music and hopefully find a nail salon. Having a manicure is one of my Open traditions!
What do you know of Liverpool and will you be having a tour of the city?
We’ve been nearby in previous years but I haven’t seen the city yet. I really hope to this year.
Can you name three famous people from Liverpool?
I can name four actually: Paul, John, George and Ringo! Ha ha!
Will there be more fish, chips and mushy peas this year?
Absolutely! It’s the only reason I come to the UK to play the Ricoh Women’s British Open!