When Paula Creamer was 11 years outdated, her mother and father took her to Olympic Club for the third spherical of the 1998 U.S. Open. Her fondest reminiscences weren’t simply the large grandstands or star gamers but additionally the big umbrella she received from the merchandise tent, one with a giant American flag, stars and the membership’s iconic emblem on it.
“This umbrella was like bigger than I was,” Creamer recalled, “but I think we actually ended up having to throw it away a couple years ago because it was not looking so good anymore.”
She’ll get an opportunity to switch it subsequent month after the USGA introduced Monday that it had prolonged Creamer a particular exemption to play within the 76th U.S. Women’s Open, which will likely be contested June 3-6 on the famed San Francisco membership.
The 34-year-old Creamer hasn’t performed on the LPGA since October 2019 as she’s battled wrist and hand points, although the Pleasanton, California, native will play the Pure Silk Championship at Kingsmill two weeks earlier than her USWO begin. The 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion at Oakmont missed final winter’s nationwide championship in Houston, the final 12 months of her 10-year exemption.
“I really want to give a huge thank you to the USGA for allowing me to play this year,” Creamer stated Monday on a convention name with reporters. “You know, it was very difficult not being able to go and play last year in the Open, and I was pretty bummed about it, so to be able to have this exemption for me and to come in and play, it means the world, especially in the Bay Area.”
Creamer, who now lives in Orlando, Florida, owns 5 top-10 finishes amongst 11 top-20 finishes in 17 profession USWO begins, however she additionally hasn’t made a lower since 2016. The subsequent 12 months she had wrist surgical procedure and hasn’t been the identical since.
“After that surgery, I just came back too soon, and I felt OK,” she stated, “but I pushed it too hard, and that was a mistake that I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and looking at it on my career, it wasn’t the best of moves that I did. But I’m a fighter, I’m a grinder, and I didn’t want to sit out. When this happened, I just really had to sit there and kind of sit on my hands and tell myself, ‘OK, we’re not doing this this time.’”
Creamer initially deliberate to return final spring, however after the pandemic halted the LPGA calendar, she determined to attend just a little longer. She not too long ago returned to her outdated teacher of 12 years, David Whelan, and presently splits her follow between Bradenton, the place Whelan relies, and Creamer’s residence at Isleworth, the place she lives a chip away from the vary.
“We sat down and he asked me, ‘What are your goals? What do you want to do?’” Creamer stated. “And I was honest with him and told him I obviously want to get back in the winner’s circle, but I want to be consistent.”
Consistency is feasible as a result of for the primary time in a very long time Creamer doesn’t really feel any ache. She and Whelan have improved her grip and swing aircraft, and she or he’s added extra velocity again. Now, it’s only a matter of placing all of it in play.
“I miss it,” Creamer stated of the competitors. “I love playing golf. Playing golf when you’re playing bad is very hard to do, but it’s still – I love the game. Right now, this is just a challenge for me to overcome everything that I’ve had to go through, and it challenged my mental game, too. I have to realize that my expectations are not going to be as high as they used to be; not right now. I haven’t played in tournaments. I have to be a little bit more easier on myself, which I’ve never been able to do before, so it’s all kind of a new beginning.
“But honestly even when I wasn’t playing I was always thinking about it. I was always, should I go hit balls tomorrow, should I do this, constantly doing that. But I’m thankful for it because every time I step out the door and put my golf shoes on, I enjoy it. I really am loving what I do right now.”