The Loop

Creamer seeking to make up for lost time

November 30, 2010

ORLANDO, Fla. - A good year? A great year? With a U.S. Women's Open victory at Oakmont, it's hard to say 2010 wasn't the latter for Paula Creamer. But as hard-earned and memorable as her maiden major-championship triumph was - coming as it did less than four months after surgery on her left thumb - it is her only win of the season.

That gives Creamer, who is No. 10 on the money list despite playing only 13 events because of her injury, all the more reason to finish 2010 with a victory at this week's LPGA Tour Championship where she is taking a bit of a backseat to the handful of players battling it out for player of the year and the top spot in the Rolex Rankings.

Not only is it a home game for the 24-year-old Creamer, who lives about 15 minutes from Grand Cypress GC, but the layout's fast and sloping greens aren't a bad thing to someone who conquered Oakmont's diabolical putting surfaces. "This course is all about the greens," Creamer said Tuesday. "You can't spend enough time [practicing] putting and chipping. I heard by Sunday they're going to be 12 ¿ on the Stimpmeter. They're not as fast as Oakmont. You lag so much there, even from 10 or 15 feet. Here you can be aggressive in some places even though you're playing three or four feet of break. The speed around the hole, it doesn't get away from you."

After winning the Open, Creamer didn't contend in the next half-dozen events but comes into this week with T-4s in her last two starts. The thumb, on which she had an operation March 30 to repair stretched ligaments and a hyperextension, is still a work in progress. "I still don't have much mobility, but my pain is a lot better and the swelling isn't as bad," she said. "Right after I used to play, my hand would just blow up - it's not doing that as much anymore. They said a year [to heal completely]. That'll be the end of March. Hopefully, after that, I won't have any pain."

-- Bill Fields