The Paula Creamer and Angela Stanford Factor for growing golf
Watching the recent LPGA’s HSBC Women’s Championship at the Tanah Merah Country Club in Singapore, it was hard to find any player’s name at the top of the leaderboard I could easily pronounce. Going into the final hole we had Na Yeon Choi, Shanshan Feng, and Jenny Shin with Ai Miyazato, I.K. Kim (that’s an easy one), Hee Young Park, Jiyai Shin and So Yenn Ryu, not far behind. And Angela Stanford.
Certainly these players are all accomplished golfers and appear to have pleasing personalities, but I was cheering for the “home team” and happy to see Angela Stanford emerge as the winner in a four-way playoff as the first American to win in Singapore. I liked that 34-year-old Stanford gave her caddy a lot of credit. She said, “When I got discouraged, he kept telling me, ‘Let’s grind away … stay in it, stay in it.’”
I was sorry to see Paula Creamer withdrew after the second round, but she had a good reason. It’s reported she flew home to be with her ailing 94-year old grandfather she calls “Pops.”
We could use more winning Americans more upbeat young women in the game to boost the interest in women’s golf. Golf gurus can talk all they want about Golf 2.0 initiatives and tapping the women’s market to increase the number of golfers, but until an appealing “Tigress” emerges with staying power and captures more women viewers on TV, it’s going to be a slow go.
So I am rooting for Creamer, Stanford, Wie and Thompson hoping one (or more) really takes fire with the media and gets more people watching women’s golf prime time.
One-on-one interviews with our players would help. Paula Creamer talked to reporters at the recent PGA Merchandise Show. Dressed in a very cool outfit with creamy white short shorts, classy silk blouse and high heels, her blond hair perfectly draped around her shoulders, she candidly told us, “I’m a female so I love clothes. If I hadn’t gone into golf, it would have been fashion.”
Paula admitted her last season had not been ideal, but then she was recouping from a thumb injury. When asked how she dealt with that she said, “You just push through the pain.”
Her goal for this season, to be the top American on the LPGA Tour. “It’s a good goal to try to achieve,” she said. Creamer, who has won one major added, “I want the second major even more.”
Smiling, poised and so articulate it’s easy to forget she’s only 25 years old, Creamer shared some of her favorite things. She loves potato chips, her dog Studley, a white fluff ball Coton de Tulear and the 49ers. She signs autographs with a Sharpie and was once asked to sign a tee. One of the few ladies on the tour to consistently wear sunglasses, she wears Sun Dogs and has her own line with the company.
Creamer said, “Flying with the Thunderbirds at 9.1 Gs, upside down and even twirling was the most exciting time I have ever had. We got up to 10,000 feet in three seconds.”
She is dubbed “The Pink Panther” for obvious reasons. So why does she wear that color? Simple. “I just like the color so I wear it on Sunday, the most important day.”
What ever color she or any of the other players wear, here’s hoping our American LPGA ladies catch fire and achieve higher TV ratings. It’s a tough fight out there. Creamer said, “I give credit to Yani Tseng who has raised the bar. The level of play is very high.”
But our American girls have the talent and they’re smart. Stanford has the ball rolling, so here’s to a successful 2012.
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