In the summer of 2008 historic Interlachen Country Club in Edina, Mn hosted the USGA Women’s Open Championship. Most Minnesota golf fans were pulling for two players, Paula Creamer and Hillary Lunke. Paula Creamer, AKA “The Pink Panther,” was seeking her first win at the US Open. The other fan favorite was Hillary Lunke, the 2008 US Open winner at Pumpkin Ridge, playing golf in her home town. Hillary Lunke did not make the cut. Paula came up a little short down the stretch at Interlachen – BUT SHE FINISHED (the event) WITH STYLE.
The Pink Panther finally broke through and won The 2010 Open at Oakmont Country Club outside Philadelphia. Standing over her final 4 footer, where she could 4-putt and still win, her caddie Colin Cann, recalls telling The Panther, “Finish Off In Style.”
It was Tuesday, a practice round at Interlachen. At the US Open, the gallery is allowed to take pictures during practice rounds. A true golf fan and a member another private golf club had taken his 5 year old grand daughter to watch these wonderful women athletes play the game he hoped his offspring would learn to love. At the urging of the little grand daughter, Paula posed, for a moment on the pathway to the next tee, while granddad snapped a quick picture of his grand daughter and The Pink Panther.
Fast forward to Sunday’s final round. The little grand daughter and her granddad are again in the huge gallery, this time seeking an autograph on the blown-up picture of the grand daughter and her “super hero”. As the round progressed and the tension mounted, the little girl could not get the attention of the Panther who was among the leaders of the Open, her elusive lifetime goal.
After a bad bounce and a missed putt the dejected Panther slumped off the 72nd green. Creamer came face to face with the little girl. Holding the prized picture right in The Panther’s face the little girl said, “Please Paula, please signs our picture.” The dejected Paula smiled weakly and said pointing up the hill at the Women’s locker room door, “I don’t have time right now, but if you will come up to that door in about 20 minutes I will sign the picture for you.”
Grand-dad said, “well let’s go honey. She does not have time to sign the picture.” “No grandpa, she said to come up to that door in 20 minutes,” she said with a pleading look in her eyes. For 25 minutes the two waited, grand-dad impatiently, grand daughter eager with anticipation. “Let’s go honey.” “No Grandpa!” Then to his amazement, the door opened, and out came The Pink Panther, hiding her bitter disappointment behind that beautiful smile. She was carrying a signed, pink visor, the one she had worn during the grinding final round, and a sleeve of signed pink balls. The gracious Paula handed the prized souvenirs to the little girl and signed the picture while they chatted for a few minutes.
YES THE PINK PANTHER FINISH OFF WITH STYLE!!