BY NEAL REID
Paula Creamer has been waiting for this weekend for two years.
The uber-patriotic 25-year-old is where she most loves to be - as part of Team USA at The Solheim Cup. Creamer is excited and eager for her fourth Solheim Cup experience, and her anticipation for the international battle has been building for quite some time.
"I've been excited for the last couple months," Creamer said two days before leaving with the team for Ireland. "That's one of my favorite events to play in, and any time you get to wear red, white and blue and play on a team with girls you play against every week, it's very special. There's nothing better than playing in this tournament."
Creamer's first Solheim Cup came when she was just 19 years old - in 2005 at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. - and she's been a mainstay in the event ever since. Creamer has performed well in the sport's flagship international competition, posting an 8-2-4 record, including a 3-0 mark in singles play.
That experience has taught Creamer much about the magnitude of playing in The Solheim Cup, knowledge she hopes to use at Killeen Castle.
"I've just learned that every match, every point and every half point is so big at the end of the day," said Creamer, who has scored 10 career points for Team USA. "I love match play, playing on a team and having a partner. I learned that it is different overseas than here in the States and you have to go over there and create your own energy and own adrenaline, because they will have everybody pulling for them."
Creamer is amazed by the fact that she's now considered a Solheim "veteran" since she is playing in the fourth of her career, and she certainly doesn't think that term applies to her.
"It is crazy, and it's incredible how time flies," she said. "I don't consider myself a veteran yet, however I have played a lot of matches. When Juli Inkster's on your team, you're not a veteran."
Inkster, who is competing in her ninth Solheim Cup, is also serving as one of the team's assistant captains. Creamer feels confident that, with Inkster's leadership and the talent of the rest of her teammates, Team USA has a good chance to claim the Cup for the fourth consecutive time.
"I think we have a great team," Creamer said. "We have three rookies and a couple girls who haven't gone overseas and played, but I think we're very compatible and we're playing well. I think it's going to be a really good match, and they have an incredibly strong team. It's going to be a grind."