PINEHURST, N.C. – As 2010 U.S. Women’s Open champion Paul Creamer walked along the range on Wednesday to put in her final reps in preparation for 69th playing of the USGA Women’s Championship taking place at the famed No. 2 course at Pinehurst Resort and Country Club, she provided a candid outline of her key to success.
Though golf is an individual sport, it’s been teamwork, loyalty and commitment on the part of those closest to her that has made Creamer successful.
On the course, her working relationship with caddie Colin Cann has made them one of the most successful duos in the game to date.
Having caddied for players like Annika Sorenstam, Grace Park, and Se Ri Pak, Cann knew how to work with champions before matching up with Creamer fulltime at LPGA Q-School in December 2004.
“This is the 10th year,” Cann said.
“Paula’s been a great gal. It’s a pleasure to work for her.”
After winning at Q-School and earning her card, it didn’t take Creamer long to win as she claimed her first LPGA tournament title at the 2005 Sybase Classic at Wykagyl Country Club in New Rochelle, New York.
Interestingly enough, Cann wasn’t a part of that win.
He had broken his ankle at Kingsmill two weeks before that event and missed out on carrying her bag there as she used another caddy, Lance Bennett, who currently loops for PGA Tour veteran Matt Kuchar.
Happening a week before graduating high school, the win made Creamer the second-youngest to win a multiple-round event on Tour at the time and helped propel her professional career to the next level.
Cann returned five months later and has been beside Creamer through every other success she’s had in winning nine additional events as a part of 93 top-10 finishes on the LPGA Tour to date, including her first USGA major win at Oakmont.
“Colin is like my brother,” Creamer said.
“We’ve been through it all together. Good times, you know, tough times. Golf is a very humbling sport. This past year’s been toughest for me just because I haven’t played the way that I wanted, but Colin has been there.”
Currently sitting 13th in the Rolex World Rankings, Creamer has earned one win this year, claiming the HSBC Women’s Champion title back in February, but has not had a top-10 finish since that time.
For Creamer, Cann has been a valuable part of her career not only when winning events, but during darker times when playing and recovering through injury and inconsistent play.
“You know, just bein’ strong,” Creamer continued.
“You can always be there when things are good, but when things are bad is when it really brings out the best in our relationship. Nobody wants me to do better than Colin. Nobody wants me to work as hard as I do and nobody’s standing there with me in the pouring rain as much as Colin. Having that and having comfort in that – quite honestly – just the trust. If anything, he’s perfect for me. I mean we’re very different people, but you know opposites attract. I couldn’t imagine being out here without Colin.”
The 23-year professional caddie has spent 20 of those years on the LPGA Tour and has seen his stint with Creamer become his longest.
“The maturity – just to see her now – when she was 17 and now 27,” Cann began.
“I was impressed when I first met her. Her maturity – she’s matured year after year, more by more – not just on the golf course, but as a person too. It’s fun to see. She’s in a great place right now.”
“He’s obviously had to adapt as I’ve grown up as a female out here too,” Creamer pointed out.
“We met when I was 17 and I’m 27 now, so it is a growing experience for two people. I can’t say enough good things about Colin, and I think that’s why we’ve been together so long.”
With a win and four top-10 finishes in her last six U.S. Women’s Open tournaments played, Creamer and Cann will draw upon every aspect of previous successes as a team to help capture another major championship title at the ‘home of American golf’ starting on Thursday.