US champion lured to Adelaide
American superstar Paula Creamer has been lured to Adelaide for the Women's Australian Open at The Grange in a massive coup for the tournament.
The 2010 US Open champion, desperate to resurrect her career after wrist surgery had her fearing retirement in 2017, will attack the Open from February 14-17 reinvigorated in the body and mind.
Creamer will start her season at the Victorian Open in Barwon Heads starting on February 7 and is approaching her first trip to Australia in five years healthy, confident and with her "killer instinct" restored.
"This is the first time I can say I am beyond healthy," Creamer said. "There is no injury and I feel really comfortable in my own skin.
"I can't emphasis how good that feels because it has been long time. It is funny how you think normal is being in pain. Then you actually don't feel anything and think 'holy cow' I can't believe I've been doing that for so long.
"I'm confident I can get back where I was. You can talk yourself into things and believing you can. But there is a difference thinking you can and actually going out and doing it.
"My confidence in myself is so much higher than it has been for a long time and mentally I'm in really good place. I can't tell you how motivated I am to get back out there, I just want to win."
The former world No. 2 and winner of 10 LPGA Tour events had her 2017 season cut short when she aggravated a wrist injury at the Evian Championship in 2017. Her arm was in a cast for two months after her third surgery on her left hand and Creamer was worried for her golfing future.
"When your hand comes out of cast it is bruised and I was thinking, how in the world will I play the US Open in that thick grass, or the British Open and hit off that hard turf?" she said.
"It (end of career) does enter your brain. When I got back, it took a good five months before I was not scared, am I going to hurt myself?"
When she returned to the fairways after a six-month rehab, Creamer also had new coach Kevin Craggs reinventing her swing and she admits results wise the tough year was expected.
Her attitude has altered significantly, aided by a highly productive off-season working with Craggs, and she knows she has to practice even harder to combat the wealth of young talent invading the LPGA Tour.
Last year, there was little expectation after being unsure if she would even play again and she just wanted to have fun.
"I don't want to do that, that is not me and my nature," she said. "I'm a fighter and a grinder and I want to win.
"The injury rejuvenated me, to go from thinking I may not play again to now being the healthiest I have been for years, of course I'm going to give it all I've got."