For Paula Creamer, love came out of blue
Paula Creamer is known for her love of the color pink. But she traces her love of golf to something blue.
When Creamer was just 10 years old, she received a 7-wood from her first coach, Larry O'Leary.
"He cut it down for me and the head was actually blue," said the LPGA star, who is looking for her second U.S. Open title this week, at Sebonack Golf Club in Southampton, N.Y. "Nobody had one like that, so it was very special and I used to show it off all the time."
Along with the 7-wood, her bag contained just three irons and a putter. She still has them today.
Growing up in Pleasanton, Calif., in a home that sat near the first tee of Castlewood Country Club, golf seemed like an obvious activity for the young Creamer to gravitate toward. But it was acrobatic dancing that first captured her heart.
It wasn't until she was 10 that she began tagging along with her dad on the golf course. Just two years later, when Creamer was 12, she told her parents she wanted to give up all her other activities to focus on golf.
"They asked if I was sure that's what I wanted and I said, 'Yes,'" said Creamer, now 26 and the world's 14th-ranked player. "The rest is history."
The challenge of continued improvement was what hooked Creamer for the long haul.
"I am competitive in everything I do," said Creamer, who won the U.S. Open in 2010 at Oakmont and is nicknamed the Pink Panther for her love of all things pink.
Whether it was playing at a junior event or hitting balls at the range, the young Creamer was innately competitive from the moment she picked up a club. When she made the middle school golf team in sixth grade, she had the chance to play exclusively with boys, further driving her progress.
"Some could hit further than me, but I was able to hold my own," she said. "Playing with them throughout the year really helped me get better."
By the time she hit her teens she already had her sights set on a professional career.
"I got to meet several touring pros and it seemed like it would really be a good way to go," Creamer said. "For me, golf has always been fun to play, so that made it seem like a dream profession."
Having taken her around the world and back, golf remains her dream job to this day.
"I think some players certainly like golf more than others, but if one has very high goals within the game, I think it's important to love it," she said.