5 Things: Creamer psyched about Solheim

Paula Creamer celebrates after making a putt during the 2009 Solheim Cup.

COUNTY MEATH, Ireland – Here at Killeen Castle, where the biggest Irish draw is Sandra Gal’s caddie, Roy Clarke, it’s already raining sideways. Let’s hope the two busloads coming from Clarke’s club in Cork aren’t the only ones who brave these conditions. Some say the weekend weather will be nice; others are asking about contingency plans for a Monday finish.

Perhaps the media shuttle driver said it best: “The joke over here is the weathermen spend five minutes talking about what the weather did that day.”

Apparently, forecasts are overrated.

Best week ever: Paula Creamer always said the Solheim Cup was her favorite week of the year. Then she won the 2010 U.S. Women’s Open. Amazingly, her thoughts on the subject didn’t change.

“You’re not just playing for yourself,” Creamer said. “And that brings a whole other element to it.”

Creamer watched video from three previous Cups – at which she has an 8-2-4 record – and studied her intensity and demeanor. She credits part of her success at Oakmont to her Solheim experience. Creamer’s enviable 3-0 record in singles play makes her a strong leader on the U.S. team at age 25. Her 71.85 winning percentage is the highest in U.S. history among those who have at least two Solheim Cup appearances.

Going the distance: Most agree this is Europe’s deepest team to date. A few of the Americans, however, are questionable, at best. Don’t be surprised to see several on the U.S. team carry the load play all five matches. Rosie Jones admitted it’s a possibility, though she wouldn’t name names. The most obvious choices: Creamer, Cristie Kerr and Stacy Lewis. Brittany Lincicome, a two-time winner on the LPGA this year, let nerves get to her the last time she played on foreign soil, in 2007. She’s improved quite a bit mentally since Sweden but still has much to prove on this stage.

World’s most overqualified substitute: Kathy Whitworth will act as a substitute for assistant captain Juli Inkster while Inkster competes in a match. Inkster called Whitworth the “Goddess of Golf” and said her calming presence helps the team immensely. Whitworth captained the first U.S. Solheim Cup team in 1990 and won 88 titles on the LPGA.

“Whether you’re 5 up or 5 down, she can come up to you and give you a little bit of a hug or a pat on the back, and you just feel better,” Inkster said.

Creamer first met Whitworth as a 14-year-old when she competed in the Kathy Whitworth Invitational.

“Just like Juli said, when you’re in the same room with her, you feel better,” Creamer said. “I feel like I can go and shoot 54 after talking to her.”

Lesson learned: Kerr, winless on the LPGA in 2011, thought a change in equipment might turn her near-misses into gold. (She’s second on the money list, with nine top-4s.) Kerr changed her putter last week in Prattville, Ala., and missed the cut for the fifth time since 2006.

“Sometimes, you think, Well, if I switch putters and I can make those extra putts, that it’s kind of like a magic pill,” Kerr said. “And sometimes it has the opposite effect.”

Kerr went back to her Odyssey Marxman. Her playing partners should be pleased.

Quiet conqueror: Much focus heading into this week’s Solheim Cup has centered around Europe’s big hitters. But a quick glimpse down the “most matches won” category reveals a surprising name: Catriona Matthew. The no-nonsense Scot has won 10 matches in five Solheim Cup appearances. Besides the iconic Laura Davies (21), no other active player on Europe’s side can match it.

And Matthew is in good form: She won the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open last month, just minutes from her home.

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