LPGA FIELDS OPEN
Paula Creamer kept a close eye on her drive on the eighth tee at yesterday's Fields Open pro-am at the Ko Olina Resort. CLICK FOR LARGE
Paula Creamer knows there is more to life than just playing the game of golf
Paula Creamer was coming off a routine pro-am round and into the media room for a press conference yesterday afternoon when life came by to pay her a call.
During her morning tour of the Ko Olina Resort golf course, a tradewind shower blew through to give the 18 holes one last drenching, leaving Creamer slightly off-center as she prepared for the next part of her day that included doing telephone sound bites for the MasterCard Classic next month.
But what happened before today's opening round of the $1.2 million Fields Open in Hawaii left Creamer and her family visibly touched.
ON THE TEE
What: Fields Open in Hawaii
When: Today to Saturday
Where: Ko Olina Golf Club
Time: 7:30 a.m.
TV: The Golf Channel, 1:30-3:30 p.m.
Seems Chuck Anderson and his wife, Christina, were here in Hawaii with their two children, Katie and Blake, as part of the Make A Wish Foundation. Their daughter, Katie, is battling cancer and her wish was to meet the cast of "Lost." Problems in scheduling have delayed the encounter that will take place sometime before Sunday, but it gave Chuck Anderson an idea.
Before his 12-year-old daughter was diagnosed with cancer, she and some of her friends back home in Dubuque, Iowa, spent their summers playing golf. Her mom described this sixsome as dedicated, to the point of playing 36 holes a day. Katie's favorite player is Creamer, who was about to make an unlikely dream come true.
With just a few phone calls, Chuck Anderson managed the necessary connections to give his daughter 15 minutes of subdued joy. Wearing a pink hat that proudly displayed Creamer's autograph, penned eloquently across the bill, Katie waited patiently as Creamer came through the door and met the Andersons from out in the Midwest.
It was mostly small-talk as Creamer interacted with these common folk like a friend who hadn't seen them in a long time. She heard about Katie's first eagle, how she had holed it from 190 yards. She spent a lot of time looking for the golf ball, before deciding to have a peek at the hole.
"You thought it was lost?" Creamer asked. "That's really like a hole-in-one. I've only had one of those in my lifetime."
Twice, they posed for pictures as Blake, a lively 3-year-old, offered a half-eaten Chips Ahoy cookie that Creamer swallowed in one bite. It was a moment that had everyone in the room smiling, in spite of themselves.
Defending champion Meena Lee watched her drive off the 11th tee during Fields Open pro-am at the Ko Olina Resort. CLICK FOR LARGE
Creamer asked the Andersons if they wanted to stick around for the press conference. They did. They gathered at the back of the tent with Creamer's mom, who had a proud smile on her face, and listened as Creamer answered a standard set of questions with an equally standard set of remarks.
One light moment came when a local reporter asked Creamer if her mom had ever caddied for her.
Earlier in the day, local media members had a chance to meet with rising star Julieta Granada of Paraguay. Her mother, Rosa, remains her caddie and came by for an impromptu visit. In a 15-minute session, you could see where Julieta gets her wry sense of humor.
Last week at the SBS Open, after making an eagle from 150 yards at the par-4 seventh, Granada dryly said, "I read the break."
Yesterday, when Julieta was within earshot, Rosa told everyone her daughter was a good driver. The reason? "Maybe she leave me good tip."
As for Creamer, she was taken aback by the question, but quickly regained her stance.
"My mom?" Creamer said, voice dripping with sarcasm. "Oh my goodness, my mom can't carry the bag 10 yards, let alone 18 holes."
Creamer's mother was comfortable with the joke and the Andersons smiled and nodded their heads at the remark.
"I think that's fantastic," Creamer said of Rosa Granada. "No, my dad caddied for me a couple of times as a professional. We don't really have to have dad caddie for me right now."
And with one more question, Creamer was done. She said goodbye to the Andersons and hello to the telephones at the back of the room. From there, she would talk with a reporter for a telephone interview, do those sound bites to drum up tour business, then tell LPGA Tour official Pam Warner it was all she could do not to cry.
Usually, the day before a tournament is spent getting to know the golf course in windy and rainy conditions, a group of amateurs in tow. It's not the favorite day of the week, just ask Creamer.
She began the afternoon wondering aloud if the course would be in shape for today's opening 18 holes and left wondering what kind of life awaited 12-year-old Katie Anderson, instead.