COLIN CALLANDER: What are your thoughts on the golf course?
PAULA CREAMER: It’s playing difficult. The rough, I don’t think I’ve ever played a British Open with this much rough or been penalised with this much rough, if you do hit it outside the fairways by five yards, you can’t just go up and hit it again.
You have to definitely think about the next shot, and it’s going to put a premium on hitting fairways. We have been lucky with the weather. It’s been great, but kind of scares me wondering what it’s going to be like coming in the next four days. I truly love this golf course. I think you have to be able to hit every shot here. Great par 4s, great first couple holes that you start out of the gate and the golf course kind of gives you some opportunity to make some birdies and then you have got your two par 5s finishing up.
Just the layout of it all, truly it’s one of the most beautiful ones, just with the rolling hills, everything about it. I really do like this golf course. It’s going to play hard and I like that.
COLIN CALLANDER: You’ve played here a couple of times and had some success, I think 15th and a 21st.
PAULA CREAMER: I don’t really remember. I remember I shot 65 the last day the first time I played here but I do have some good memories. This is my first British Open was here. So it’s nice to come back and now it’s my third here. That’s crazy.
Q. We had Laura in earlier talking about playing at 50 years of age. Have you thought that far ahead?
PAULA CREAMER: Well, obviously yes, I want to play the game as long as I can and be competitive. There’s obviously other personal things in my life, like having a family and kids, as well. It hasn’t been for the last couple of years that people started asking me about that.
Before it was just, you don’t ask somebody when you’re going to have kids; now I’m getting married and now people are like, how much longer are you playing. I’m like, what, I’m only 27.
But I do, I truly have such a passion for this game, I want to be in control of the day that I do step away from it. I don’t know, I don’t have a time line. I think what Laura and what Juli Inkster have done with their career and being such an ambassador for the game of golf is incredible. Is it speaks volumes that it’s really those two that are out on Tour doing that. The way they conduct themselves and the fact that they are still so competitive, is something that if I can do that, sure, I will.
But I do want to have a family and I do want to have kids, and it’s hard to try to be the No. 1 player in the world and to balance out that other personal side. But when that time comes, we’ll have to figure it out. But right now, like I said, I love what I’m doing and that passion, and I can be out here till then, then I will, just grinding away. I’ll push my dad in a wheelchair to come out and watch me; he’ll be out there watching, and I think that’s neat.
Q. Can you just talk about, you withdraw from Arkansas. How is the thumb and have you been able to practise much?
PAULA CREAMER: I didn’t get to practise much when I was home. I had an infection in my thumb and then my thumb from when I had surgery, just kind of blew up basically, was swollen. I saw a couple of my doctors and called my surgeon, and you know, it was just one of those decisions that it was unfortunate because I love that tournament and I love that course and I hate withdrawing. I think I just don’t like it. I think I’ve only done it a handful of times in ten years and it’s one of the hardest things you have to do. Once again, you have to listen to your body and I want to be prepared for this week, as well.
I only hit balls a couple times last week, but I played 18 holes the last two days, and I think it’s a blessing that it’s so green out here. If it was firm and rock hard, I would be a little bit more pre cautious with things.
But it does feel better and I don’t think it’s going to be an issue. I’ve been doing a lot of the treatment that I have to do for it, and the physio has been helping me. Sometimes that’s just what’s going to happen. Doctors have told me that it might flare up and everybody has those injuries when you do have surgery, and it’s just stopping it right away and not letting it progressing.
Q. Laura Davies was also saying the practise of caddies lining up putts from behind should be outlawed. What’s your feeling on that one?
PAULA CREAMER: I line myself up. I played my first eight years on Tour having Colin line me up on every shot. I think it is what it is; it’s a rule, we all go by it. In junior golf, you line yourself up, there’s no reason why. But if you have a caddie and you use them however you want to, that’s fine, as well. But if it becomes a rule, then it is a rule.
Q. Why did you change?
PAULA CREAMER: Why? I was ‑‑ especially in these kind of conditions, how could you ever really line somebody up when you’re aiming 30, 40 yards left or right, hitting knock‑down shots and this and that. It’s much more of a feel thing. One less thing that you have to really worry about, if someone does, it’s a confidence thing, hitting good or whatnot.
But for me I needed to take control of my own game. I was getting a little bit too dependent on Colin and I wanted to just do it myself and get more confidence on that way. U.S. Open, he lined me up a couple times and for the most part I do line myself up on every shot. So either way.
Q. You say about having a family and play golf, so what do you think about Catriona Matthew?
PAULA CREAMER: Talk about ‑‑ she’s so focused, determined, but she’s such an awesome mom. You follow her on Twitter and she has her little girls painting their nails and showing all the different colors.
I think the relationship between her and Graeme is what makes that. It’s a family. Graeme doesn’t come out quite as much anymore. He stays home with the kids. But with Skype and technology these days are such a great thing, and she says she wouldn’t know how to do without that, and I always see her talking to her kids as much as she can.
Once again, that respect for them to have that balance, you know, a lot of it, she has said to me is through trial and error. Of course, there’s not a book to say how to do it but listening to them and their stories, it can be done for sure. It’s just when you have to realise that sometimes golf is not going to be your priority, I think that’s the biggest thing. And her family is that.
Q. And when are you getting married?
PAULA CREAMER: December.
Q. Is there a day in December or the whole month or what?
PAULA CREAMER: The whole month of December.
Q. Is there a day?
PAULA CREAMER: There is a day but I’m not going to say.
Q. Someone earlier in the week talked about the bunkers being one thing but the thickness of the grass making the landing areas seem even tighter than usual. Wonder if you can comment on that and also what day you’re getting married.
PAULA CREAMER: The whole month of December. It’s one big party every day.
The bunkers, when you come over here, it’s always just to hit it out, advance sideways, whatnot. But the biggest punishment would be the rough, for sure. I would rather be hitting on the green‑side rather than miss it with the rough on some of these holes. The windier it’s going to get, the harder, but if there was no wind like yesterday, it plays much longer. You can’t take advantage of the par 5s as well as you can when it’s windy so it’s kind of ‑‑ the numbers on the scorecard, pars or whatnot, don’t really mean anything. To me it’s just kind of there’s some holes that four or five ‑‑ today, No. 2, playing that into the wind ‑‑ I think the penalty ‑‑ there wasn’t really even much wind but that was early morning.
I remember in the afternoons on the other days, there was 5‑woods, 3‑woods, people were laying up short of that bunker one of the toughest starting two holes we ever really play at the British Open. It’s like hello, welcome. After that, you kind of get into the heart of the course.
Q. In the eight or nine years, can you talk about what you’ve learned?
PAULA CREAMER: I don’t know what it is about links golf or the wind or the rain, but I love it. I have that mentality that it’s going to be hard, it’s going to be windy. I expect it has a lot to do with my coach who is from Newcastle. My caddie is English, as well.
It’s just nice being able to have two guys that have grown up and played golf and taught me that mentality of just keep on going, keep plugging around, different shots. I think you very much have to be a feel player in these kinds of positions. It’s too hard to be mechanics and numbers and this and that. You stand there and on the paper it might say, it’s an 8‑iron but you’re hitting a 6‑iron.
I’ve learned a lot about, I think the most I’ve learned was probably from Lytham, just being able to place yourself around the golf course.
Q. How much of a difference is the climate to the way you play in the U.K. to elsewhere?
PAULA CREAMER: The last several tournaments, it’s been so hot. Like you’re sitting in a sauna. So it’s actually very refreshing to come out. Today I see everybody in shorts and a tee shirt and I think I have four shirts on right now.
So I’m not quite used to this type of weather. It does play a big factor. You still have to be able to move in the clothes you wear and whatnot. But I will take this sunshine and wind any day. It’s nasty here when it rains and it’s so cold, but I do ‑‑ when you’re over here, and I think I’ve overcome that you can’t be covered the whole time.
Q. If you look back, I guess I reference the Curtis Cup and even through junior golf, could you see the cycles changing and was there any evidence changing and what has allowed it to take shape this year?
PAULA CREAMER: For a while there, we were constantly questioned, why are we not at the top, why are we not at the top. I think all of us, I can really only speak for myself, just worked harder. We weren’t at the top. Nobody was really dominating.
There was ‑‑ you have a couple players play well and I’ve been pretty consistent throughout my career, but still haven’t really had that American person that was dominating. Still, Stacy has been playing really well and Michelle has been playing really well. We all have been. It was a matter time. I think Solheim cup has helped us a lot, too, realising that we need to keep practising and get better.
Funny how a team event is such an impact on an individual sport. But it really has played a big part, I know for myself, I don’t like to lose. We’ve lost the last two and it’s been hard. I don’t like that and I’m trying to get better, not only for that, but for myself and it’s kind of a little bit of a wake‑up call in a sense I think with everybody. You know, you can’t control what other people do. You can only control yourself. I feel like proactively we have all kicked it up a notch and it shows.
PAULA CREAMER: We never lost at home ‑‑ that’s something I’m never forget. We never lost at home and then we did. But they played well. What are you going to do? They played well. They played great. They played harder than we did and we got beat.
But when we look at it, I think our team and our dynamics is just, for a while, it was all of our veterans that were playing and the young ones were slowly coming in and now we have been on a couple teams together. When we go to Germany, it will be a different team, too. Just how much we relate with each other. We’ve been there, and we don’t want to lose again.
But that whole mentality has taken over into our own individual games as well. Even Lexi, that was her first one, and I want her to feel what it feels like to win, as well, because there’s nothing cooler than holding that Solheim Cup trophy.