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|Paula Creamer revels in the roar of the crowd in support of the red, white and blue.|
The Solheim Cup will be played for the 13th time this week, beginning Friday at the Colorado Golf Club, just outside of Denver. There have been highs and lows, triumph and heartache for both teams through the years, moments the players will never forget. This week, espnW will highlight that history as six Solheim standouts share their favorite memories.
All who compete in the Solheim Cup talk about how much they enjoy the atmosphere. But few have thrived in it as much as American Paula Creamer.
She has a stellar record and has been durable, playing in the maximum five matches in three of her four appearances at the event.
"I come from a military background, with both my father and grandfather having been in the service," Creamer said. "And being able to wear red, white and blue and support our country -- there's nothing cooler than that."
"There's no better feeling than when you're standing on that first tee, and they say, 'Paula Creamer, representing the United States.' It gives me goose bumps even thinking about it."
Creamer also got the shivers the first time she played in the Solheim Cup because she was teammates with one of her idols, Beth Daniel.
"I was excited, but so nervous," Creamer said of that 2005 experience, when she was 19 and Daniel was 48. "And it was like that also when I played with Juli [Inkster], who is my role model and someone I've looked up to ever since I was a little girl.
"When you put yourself in a situation like the Solheim to play with someone you have tons of respect for, then you also get to know them as a person."
Creamer got to play for another legendary figure in golf in that 2005 Solheim competition.
"I would say nothing is more exciting than your first one, especially with Nancy Lopez as my captain," Creamer said. "Then I think I played some of my best golf when Betsy King was captain in Sweden [in 2007]. It was incredibly tough conditions there, and I had to play 17, 18 holes every match. And we just grinded it out.''
Even though Creamer cites 2007 as when she thought she played particularly well, she had a 2-0-3 record in that competition.
|In 2009, Paula Creamer led off for the U.S. in singles and delivered with a win over Suzann Pettersen.|
In 2009, Creamer went 3-1-0 at Rich Harvest Farms outside Chicago, when Daniel was captain. With the score tied 8-8 going into singles, Daniel picked Creamer to fill the all-important leadoff spot for the Americans. She beat Norway's Suzann Pettersen 3 and 2, which helped propel the U.S. squad to a 16-12 victory.
In 2011, Creamer and her teammates did not play well in singles on the final day, and they lost the Cup 15-13.
"The most emotional probably was this last one [2011 in Ireland], realizing that we lost,'' she said. "That was tough to swallow."
Creamer's last tour victory was the 2010 U.S. Women's Open. Since then, she has battled injuries and dealt with the emotional loss of two beloved grandparents.
"I'm 26, feeling like I'm going on 35," Creamer joked before her 27th birthday on Aug. 5. "I've had to grow up very fast. But I am so lucky, and I have a great team around me. I'm becoming my own person, too. A lot of that is just learning and having a well-balanced life.
"I've never not loved the game, even in those times when I was struggling."
Her energy is still high, and it is at its highest at the Solheim Cup -- especially when it's back on U.S. soil, like this year.
"There's nothing like a roar when you're in the States, but the fans over in Europe are still so polite," Creamer said. "They really appreciate good golf; they are so respectful. Our fans do just the same here. But we have so many that support us, I think that's why we've never lost here."