From a driving range on the side of the road in Long Island, to posh Palm Springs, I chased her around the country getting to know a young, but fierce, competitor who predicted a U.S. victory in the 2005 Solheim Cup -- and then backed it up with her sticks. (Creamer went 3-1-1 and embarrassed an LPGA legend, Laura Davies, beating her 7&5 in singles.)
I considered the opportunity to do a Digest Q&A with Creamer my break, on the heels of her breakthrough. I had dealt with pros on all three tours for years, but none as young, or as refreshing, as Creamer. Where some say she was cocky, I thought she was simply comfortable being confident. Some warned me that her parents would try to control the outcome of the Q&A. That was not even close. Although I met Paula's parents, they had no interest in being involved in any of our interview sessions. They might still tag along on Paula's adventures, like any interested set of parents who can afford to do so, but it has always been clear to me that Paula was driving the boat of Creamer ambition, and God help the tip of any iceberg that got in her way. (See Laura Davies.)
Creamer, now 23, has eight tour victories but no majors; she has a pile of cash, but she still doesn't know how to use an ATM card. In our most recent conversation, she was still not afraid to be open about the status of her tour, Tiger and travel -- and she's still predicting the future. Coming off a year that was stalled by an iceberg, in the form of some physical adversity, she's back at the helm, and she's predicting her best year yet.
Here's a link to the Q&A that appeared in the January, 2006 issue of Golf Digest.
And here's a few more perspectives on the life of Paula Creamer:
(Photographs courtesy of Getty Images; Dolphin: Discovery Cove.)