About eight or nine years ago I was on the practice green preparing to play the Crossing course at the Magnolia Grove, which was Mobile’s part of Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, when I noticed this adorable, fairly tiny little blonde-haired girl, perhaps 14 or 15 years old, holing 15-foot-putt after 15-foot putt as if it were as easy as pouring water from a pitcher into a lake. I was playing in the afternoon because the course was being used during the mornings that weekend for a fairly important national junior girl’s tournament. There was a certain haughtiness to this little prodigy, but also a very winning smile. I remember sort of slinking off the green and quickly to the practice tee, because I was a bit embarrassed about being so much worse a putter than this female munchkin.
I read the sports section at the end of the weekend to see that that same girl had won the tournament, I think in a runaway.
Ten minutes ago, that same little girl, now a full-fledged star, just won the U.S. Women’s Open. Paula Creamer, dressed in her traditional pink, had come back from major thumb surgery for an injury that came very close to ending her career, and her thumb is still hurting her. But Creamer hit phenomenally good shot after phenomenally good shot on the final six holes, and won the Open by a decisive four shots. “Thank you, God, and thank you, parents!” she said within the first few seconds of her immediate post-tournament interview.
I wish I could say that it was I on the green that day who taught her everything she ever knew about golf. (In truth, we never even exchanged a word.) But I can say that I am delighted to see her win, as I have followed her career since then and she seems an entirely class act, just the sort of person who would jump at the chance to give thanks to the Almighty and to her parents. Well done, Miss Creamer. Well done.