For a time there at least, mortals could relate to Paula Creamer. After 18 months away from the game, she felt like the rest of us on the range when she’d look over at her dad, coach or fiancée and say, “What the heck is going on here? Like I cannot make contact. Is this really happening?”
“It came back quickly,” said Creamer, “but that first month I was thinking, my goodness gracious. It was embarrassing. It was bad. Definitely humbled me.”
Creamer tees it up in the Pure Silk Championship this week, her first LPGA start in more than 18 months. She’ll be in the TV window on Thursday (3-6 p.m. ET), playing alongside Jessica Korda and 2020 U.S. Women’s Open winner A Lim Kim at 12:59 p.m.
“When I saw that I was like, ‘OK, here we go, back in it,’ ” said Creamer of her grouping. “It doesn’t surprise me. I’m always thrown little curve balls here and there. It’ll be fun.”
Creamer, 34, lost in a nine-hole playoff to Jiyai Shin that extended to Monday at Kingsmill in 2012. The 10-time winner played her last event in October of 2019, taking time off to heal her left wrist and hand and then taking more time away after the pandemic hit.
She took didn’t touch a club for one full year, starting back on the range last November. She has since reunited with longtime coach David Whelan. Creamer, who received a special exemption to compete in next month’s U.S. Women’s Open at Olympic, said there are no expectations for this week.
The biggest question mark, she said, will be her yardages. Carry distances with her irons will be found by trial and error.
“My short game is really good right now,” she said. “I feel very confident with that. We worked really hard on my wedges.”
Creamer said the No. 1 goal of the week is to take what she’s been working on with Whelan inside the ropes and not deviate because she’s nervous or excited to hit it farther or make something happen.
She doesn’t feel pain right now when she’s hitting golf shots. It’s important that she avoids the bad habits that might change that.
“Ever since my thumb surgery I’ve had a really hard time with my grip,” said Creamer. “It’s very hard for me to get my right hand on top of my left because I don’t have much motion in my thumb. Most people, when they put the left hand on the club you can push your thumb down. I can’t do that, so I always have a big gap in my hands.
“We’ve tried building up clubs, I mean, you name it, we’ve done literally everything you can imagine. I’ve had to work on that scar tissue, but because of so many times I’ve hit balls where I’m afraid it’s going to hurt, my right hand gets moving over, moving over to the right side which promotes a bad takeaway for me which makes me go inside.”
That forces Creamer to reroute and miss big to the left. That’s why posture, grip and takeaway are so important. Like most, she has a tendency to grip too tight when she’s nervous.
“Those are things that happen before the actual club really moves,” she said.
“Those are my main tendencies right now, that kind of create the bad habit which then affects my whole left arm.”
But, if all goes as planned, not this week.
original article link https://golfweek.usatoday.com/2021/05/19/paula-creamer-lpga-kingsmill-returns-us-womens-open/