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Friday, June 11, 2004



[ LPGA GOLF ]


Wie, Creamer find
time to bond


LIVERPOOL, England » Michelle Wie and Curtis Cup teammate Paula Creamer couldn't keep the grins off their faces.

The 2004 Curtis Cup at the Formby Golf Club in Merseyside starts tomorrow, but their giddiness wasn't from the anticipation of competing in one of the premier women's amateur golf events. Wie and Creamer had just completed a practice round yesterday, with the prospect of an afternoon of shopping ahead. Such is the life of teenage golfers, where good golf is complemented by a stroll through the shops.

"We're trying to find something that we can't find in America," said Wie, who wore the team uniform of navy trousers and a red, long-sleeved V-neck polo with her Nike slippers to the press conference. "We're really, really excited to go shopping.

"Our primary motive is to play golf, but also at the same time it's to have a good time and have a lot of fun, because if you're playing golf and not having fun, then you're not going to play good golf."

Wie was definitely focused on the fun factor yesterday. She and Creamer spoke several times about their shopping expedition to Chester Centre, about 40 minutes away from Liverpool. Their knowing looks to each other indicated that their days of rivalry may be short-lived.

"I think it will always be that we're good friends when it comes to golf," Creamer said. "We've gotten to know each other very well here. And I don't think that (rivalry) has anything to do with it any more.

"We always talk about things we've done or what's going to happen. We'll probably be friends a long time and hopefully play a lot of golf together. ... Yes, of course, she's my competition, but golf is pretty much an individual game."

Their shopping trip was encouraged by U.S. captain Martha Kirouac, who believed an afternoon to kick back would be good for her team.

"We planned this afternoon to sort of be a decompression. We're planning to get them to go to Chester and they're still out there putting," Kirouac said. "That's the makeup of this team. They're here to do what the Curtis Cup needs. They're here to play their very best golf and give it the best shot they can."

Kirouac hasn't had trouble motivating her team or guiding the eight players whose average age is barely over 18. Curfew has been set by the team and golf is clearly the top priority.

Team USA arrived in England last Saturday after a week of practice in Georgia. The golfers played a round at the Royal Liverpool on Sunday before arriving at Formby on Monday.

So far, so good: Nearly a week into her stay in England, the world-traveling Wie finds that England suits her. The often-hungry teenager has also found English cuisine very agreeable.

"People said that English food didn't taste so good, but I came here and I love the food here," Wie said. "I love the golf here, the golf is fantastic, the courses are nice, the weather has been beautiful, I've been playing golf with such good people that it's a jolly good time."

It's a nice beginning to a schedule that will keep Wie away from Hawaii for three months.

Michelle, my belle: It may be Wie's first visit to the Beatles' hometown, but her association with the city goes back 14 years.

"My dad was a really big fan of the Beatles, and he named me after one of the songs," she said of her father, B.J.

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