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May 23 - Teen Queen of the Tees

She is one of the new breed of players on the LPGA Tour and her name is not Michelle Wie. Plus, she
does not need a sponsors exemption to play in a Tour event. You may not know her yet, but Paula
Creamer (pronounced “Kramer”) will become a household name in the next few years. Creamer made
me look good this week when I profiled her on WLNY-TV’s “NEWS 55 Live at 11” program. Five days
removed from our scintillating conversation, Creamer went out and grabbed her first LPGA Tour Victory
at the Sybase Classic in New Rochelle. In the process, she becomes the youngest winner on the LPGA
since Marlene Hagge in 1952.

Creamer hails from Northern California. In 2004, she became both the youngest ever and the first
amateur to win the LPGA Final Qualifying Tournament. Her victory meant that she did not have to qualify
for any tournament this year. So the 18-year-old turned pro immediately after that final round and has not
looked back. Counting her take from the Sybase, Creamer has won $356,311 so far in 2005 and that is
not chump change.  

During the Sybase Classic at the Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, I had the chance to chat with
the “teenie bopper” who believes she is not overmatched when it comes to competing against other
more seasoned women on tour. “It’s a lot of fun. I’m getting used to things,” said Creamer. “Every
Sunday is a final exam. I’m learning lots of things.”

Creamer was so good as an amateur in 2004 that she captured the 6th annual Nancy Lopez Award
which is given out to the top female amateur golfer. I asked her how many times she’s been compared
to the former queen of the fairways. “Many times, but that is a good thing. I would love to be like her and
represent my country well,” said Creamer.  

In case you are wondering, back in 1978, as a rookie, Lopez won nine tournaments, including a record-
setting five in a row. She finished her Hall of Fame Career with 48 victories so Creamer is just 47 to
behind this year’s United States Captain of the Solheim Cup Team, which is the Ryder Cup for the
women’s golf.

Now, Creamer is the new Queen of New Rochelle and speaking with her makes you realize that some
people are just ready to be in the limelight.

I can remember back to my senior year in high school and worrying about such things as my high
school baseball team’s games and Islanders playoff games. I did not have the pressure of trying to fit in
and win money, too. Now with her first winner’s check in the bank, you have that feeling that she could
reel off a few victories in a row. But that streak will have to wait because she is skipping this week’s
LPGA Tour stop in Corning, New York to attend her high school graduation.  

So, will there be a rivalry between Michelle Wie and Paula Creamer? I asked some golf experts about
the comparison of Wie and Creamer and they agreed that their rivalry will not develop until Wie finds her
way on tour full time. By then, Creamer could be in a league of her own.