Country: United States
nicknamed the "Pink Panther," is an American professional golfer who plays on the U.S.-based Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) Tour. In her four seasons as a professional, she has won 10 tournaments, including eight LPGA Tour events. Creamer has been as high as No. 2 in the Women's World Golf Rankings.
An an amateur, Creamer won numerous junior golf titles, including 11 American Junior Golf Association (AJGA) tournaments. Creamer joined the LPGA Tour in the 2005 season, and her victory in that year's Sybase Classic made her the LPGA's second-youngest event winner.
Paula Creamer was born in Mountain View, California, and was raised in Pleasanton, the only child of an airline pilot father and stay-at-home mother. The family's home overlooked the first tee of the Castlewood Country Club's golf course. Creamer participated in acrobatic dancing and gymnastics during her childhood, and started playing golf when she was 10 years old. At the age of 12, she won 13 consecutive regional junior events in Northern California, and the following year she became the top-ranked female junior golfer in the state.
During Creamer's amateur career, she won 19 national tournaments, including 11 American Junior Golf Association events, and was named Player of the Year by the AJGA in 2003. On two occasions (2002 and 2003), Creamer played on the United States team in the Junior Solheim Cup. She was a semi-finalist in the 2003 U.S. Girls' Junior Championship and U.S. Women's Amateur Championship, and reached the same stage of both events the following year. In June 2004, Creamer placed second in the LPGA Tour's ShopRite LPGA Classic, finishing one stroke behind Cristie Kerr. Later that year, she tied for 13th in the U.S. Women's Open and represented the United States in the Curtis Cup.
In December 2004, Creamer won the LPGA Tour Final Qualifying Tournament by five strokes, thus gaining membership on the Tour for the 2005 season. She turned professional immediately after the event at the age of 18.
Upon joining the LPGA Tour in 2005, Creamer quickly became a top player. On May 22, she holed a 17-foot birdie putt on the final hole of the Sybase Classic in New Rochelle, New York to win by one stroke. Creamer became the youngest winner of a multiple-round tournament in LPGA history. (Marlene Hagge won twice at a younger age than Creamer. Both wins came in 18-hole events.) On July 23, she claimed her second title of the year, winning the Evian Masters tournament in France by an eight-shot margin. She became the youngest and quickest player to reach $1 million in LPGA career earnings. In August Creamer won the NEC Open on the Japan LPGA tour, and added a victory at the Masters GC Ladies tournament two months later. Creamer earned a spot on the U.S. Solheim Cup Team, becoming the youngest player to do so. She helped the U.S. team win the cup, going 3–1–1 for the competition. Creamer won the LPGA Rookie of the Year award for her season, in which she earned over $1.5 million, second on the money list behind Annika Sörenstam, and recorded eight top-three finishes.
After her strong first-year performance, Creamer was second behind Sörenstam in the inaugural Women's World Golf Rankings, which were released on February 20, 2006. Her 2006 season, however, was not as successful. She did not win a tournament, and was hampered by wrist and foot injuries during the year. Creamer still managed to earn over $1 million and make the cut in all 27 LPGA tournaments in which she played, compiling 14 top-10 finishes. Her best result of the season was a tie for second at The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions.
In 2007, Creamer rebounded with two LPGA Tour titles. On February 17, she won her third career LPGA title at the SBS Open at Turtle Bay, making a 40-foot birdie putt on the 17th hole of the final round to defeat Julieta Granada by one shot. In November, Creamer won The Mitchell Company Tournament of Champions, defeating Birdie Kim by eight strokes. She also played in her second Solheim Cup, leading both sides in points earned. Creamer went unbeaten in five matches as the U.S. team retained the cup. For the season, she posted 13 top-10 finishes and earned over $1.3 million, third on the money list.
In the 2008 season, Creamer won a career-high four LPGA events and made more than $1.8 million, the highest amount she has earned in a season. In February 2008, she earned her fifth LPGA title at the Fields Open in Hawaii, coming back from a late two-shot deficit with birdies on the final three holes. On April 27, Creamer came up short in a bid for her second win of the year, losing in a sudden-death playoff to Sörenstam at the Stanford International Pro-Am. The following week, Creamer bounced back at the SemGroup Championship by defeating Juli Inkster in a playoff. At the U.S. Women's Open, she entered the final round one shot off the lead and in good position to claim her first major championship victory. However, a five-over-par 78 on the last day dropped her into a tie for sixth. On July 10 at the Jamie Farr Owens Corning Classic, she shot an 11-under 60, just one stroke off of the LPGA Tour record of 59 by Annika Sörenstam. She shot 60–65–70–73 to beat Nicole Castrale by two strokes. Creamer's fourth title of 2008 came in October's Samsung World Championship, where she won by one stroke and became the first American with four or more wins in an LPGA Tour season since Inkster had five tournament victories in 1999. In November of that same year, Creamer teamed with team International to defeat team Asia for the Lexus Cup.
At the LPGA Playoffs at the ADT, the last event of the 2008 season, Creamer was hospitalized with a stomach ailment, which was originally thought to be peritonitis. The ailment continued to affect her in the opening few months of the 2009 season, with doctors unable to make an exact diagnosis. At the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open, held at Saucon Valley Country Club, Creamer finished tied for sixth. In her third Solheim Cup, she was 3–1 as the U.S. again won the competition. As of the end of the 2009 season Creamer is 13th on the LPGA Carer Money List with earnings of $6,968,600.
In 2000, Creamer moved to Bradenton, Florida to attend the IMG Golf Academy, where she graduated from the IMG-affiliated Pendleton School the week after her first LPGA victory. She relocated again in 2007, this time to Isleworth, a gated community in Windermere, Florida. As of 2009, she remains a resident of Isleworth, where No. 1 PGA golfer Tiger Woods is among her neighbors.
Creamer has endorsement deals with many companies, including TaylorMade-adidas, Citizen Watch Co., NEC, and the Royal Bank of Scotland Group. Golf Digest estimated her 2008 endorsement income to be $4.5 million, an amount that is third-highest among female golfers. Her likeness has been featured in EA Sports' Tiger Woods PGA Tour series of golf video games.
Since 2005, Creamer has done charitable work for The First Tee, an organization that benefits junior golfers. She hosts the Paula 4 Kids Celebrity Event, an annual outing that raises money for The First Tee of Sarasota/Manatee. In addition, Creamer has appeared at youth golf clinics and donated scholarships to the IMG Golf Academy.
Due to her fondness for wearing pink, Creamer's friend Casey Wittenberg nicknamed her the "Pink Panther." The sobriquet followed her when she turned pro. In addition to her pink outfits, Creamer sports the color on several of her golf accessories, including her club grips and golf bag. Creamer also uses a Pink Panther club head cover, in a nod to her nickname. She uses a pink golf ball during the last round of every tournament provided by Precept Golf, one of her sponsors.