LPGA Symetra Tour
Golf Extras
More Golf

Golf Tidbits: Creamer dramatically ends drought

By Kevin Currie, Senior Golf Editor

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - 75 feet. 25 yards. 900 inches. 2,286 centimeters.

That is all that separated Paula Creamer's ball from the hole on Sunday at the HSBC Women's Champions. The distance was going to be easily covered as the putt was mostly downhill.

What wasn't mentioned? The 10- to 12-foot worth of break. Creamer fed the ball perfectly down the slope and dead into the center of the hole.

If by chance you haven't seen the putt by now, check it out for yourself. ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Stdvw5nsE0w)

Afterward, Creamer recalled having a similar putt at the Solheim Cup years earlier. She knew if she got her ball into the right slot, it would feed right to the hole.

Sure sounds easy, right? Creamer did say, "Obviously, a bit of luck going in on that one."

Luck? You think? She then said, "I could stand there all day long and putt that and not get it within six or seven feet. It just happened."

The putt was a once-in-a-lifetime make, but the reaction also spoke volumes. There was a bit of did-that-really-happen? A bit of it's-about-time and a bit of sheer relief.

The putt ended a winless drought that dated to the 2010 U.S. Women's Open at Oakmont. In the interim, she had 27 top-10 finishes, five of which came in major championships.

Despite not winning, Creamer had played well enough to make the last two Solheim Cup teams, and went 3-1-1 at the 2011 matches, but Europe won both times.

She couldn't win by herself and her teams couldn't win, either. She also has come back from a thumb injury that held her to 14 events in the 2010 season.

Then the putt dropped, and Creamer went high-stepping across the back of the 18th green on the Serapong Course at Sentosa Golf Club.

The winless streak was over. It took years, but she finally validated her first-ever major championship. Not that it needed validation because that major victory was her ninth tour title.

Creamer has been one of the faces of the LPGA since joining the tour. The 27- year-old is already in her 10th season on tour. She has met two qualifying steps for getting into the Hall of Fame; now she needs to more than double her point total.

The LPGA Hall of Fame criteria shows that a player must win a major championship, check; must have played on the tour for 10 or more years, check; and accumulated 27 points. Creamer has 12 qualifying points now.

What Creamer needs now is more wins. Is she a Hall of Famer? Points-wise, she is definitely short, but talent-wise, she should be in the conversation.

In three of the previous four years she won, Creamer was victorious multiple times in those seasons. She won four times in 2008, the year Lorena Ochoa won six times, including four in a row.

To make a little comparison, Creamer is the Zach Johnson of the LPGA Tour. Not the flashiest of player, but tougher than nails and excelling in an era of dominant players.

Creamer has played against Annika Sorenstam, Ochoa and Yani Tseng, who have all had their dominant runs. Johnson has played his entire career against the likes of Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson as well as Vijay Singh, who has had 19 of his 34 wins since Johnson joined the PGA Tour in 2004.

Both Creamer and Johnson have one major championship and double-digit wins on their respective tours. And they both have many years left while at the top of their respective games.

Now that her drought is over, look for Creamer to again start piling up wins.

HENLEY HOLDS STRONG AS OTHER FALTER

You don't always needs to shoot 65 in the final round to win a tournament. Russell Henley showed that sometimes 72s are enough in the end.

With seven of the top 10 in the world playing at the Honda Classic, Henley couldn't have been among the top 20 or 30 favorites to win at PGA National.

But after two of those seven - Mickelson and Henrik Stenson - missed the cut, and Woods withdrew during the final round with back spasms, it seemed third- round leader and then-world No. 8 Rory McIlroy would cruise to the title.

Adam Scott and Johnson, the other two highly ranked players in the field, shared 12th and 33rd, respectively.

Henley had two bogeys, two birdies and a double-bogey on the final nine Sunday. On the final hole of regulation, Henley went for the par-5 green in two, but missed left. He then hit a poor chip, and left a 60-foot putt three feet short.

He drained that for par, and when McIlroy, who had double-bogeyed the 16th and bogeyed the 17th, failed to make an 11-foot eagle try, both were headed to a playoff.

Henley, McIlroy, Ryan Palmer and Russell Knox returned to the 18th tee. Henley was the only one of the four to hit the green in two. He lagged his eagle try within three feet.

As the other three made mess of the hole, Henley focused on his shots and his shots alone: driver into the fairway, fairway wood to the green, and two putts. He drained the birdie putt for the win after the other three missed their birdie chances.

Henley, 24, has now won in back-to-back years on tour. He has a ways to go to catch McIlory's six wins and two majors, but Henley has entered the discussion of best players still in their 20s.

MINI-TIDBITS

- If Woods manages to play the WGC-Cadillac Championship, it will mark the first time since the 2012 PGA Championship that all 50 from the top 50 in the world rankings will have played at the same event. Odd, but true.

- There have been several reports that Congressional, host site of AT&T National, has voted to host the event only in alternate years after the current contract runs out. Aronimink Golf Club hosted while Congressional prepared for and hosted the U.S. Open a few years ago, and at the time it seemed as though Woods wanted the event in the Philadelphia or Washington area since the event was played on 4th of July weekend. Having lost that slot, and reportedly gained a new sponsor - Quicken Loans - that is based in Michigan, could the PGA Tour return to the Detroit area for the first time since 2006? There are several ifs and maybes there, but you never know.

03/04 14:38:30 ET


LPGA Tour News
· Kim moves to 10th in world rankings

· Hyo-Joo Kim wins wild Evian Championship

· Suzuki claims Konica Minolta Cup title

More News