Neal Reid is on location at The Broadmoor, site of this year's U.S. Women's Open, to bring you an inside look at what is going on inside the ropes. Check back for daily updates.
July 11: The Open – By the Numbers
After a crazy week that included an extra day of play, Korea’s So Yeon Ryu defeated her countrywoman Hee Kyung Seo on a three-hole playoff. Numbers are always a part of the game, and there are several that people may not think of that come into play.
Here’s a look at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open by the numbers.
2 – Players (Ryu and Seo) who had to play a three-hole playoff to determine the tournament’s champion.
3 – The number of players who finished 72 holes under par (Ryu, Seo and Cristie Kerr).
5 – Number of players from South Korea who have now won the U.S. Women’s Open after So Yeon Ryu’s triumph this year. The other four are: Se Ri Pak (1998); Birdie Kim (2005); Inbee Park (2008); and Eun-Hee Ji (2009).
5 – Number of amateurs who made the cut, led by Moriya Jutanugarn, who finished tied for 32nd at 10-over-par.
5 – Weather suspensions during tournament week.
7 – USGA championships conducted at The Broadmoor, including this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
14 – Players who earned at least $60,000 at this year’s U.S. Women’s Open.
17 – Birdies for Angela Stanford, who finished fourth, in four rounds at The Broadmoor, the most of any player in the field.
20 – Number of sectional qualifying sites for this year’s Open, held between May 16-June 5.
25 – Number of amateurs who qualified for the 156-player field.
29 – Number of USGA champions who competed in this year’s tournament.
30 – Number of players who had to finish their final rounds on Monday.
49 – Players who earned at least $10,000 at the U.S. Women’s Open.
66 – Years the U.S. Women’s Open has been in existence, including this year’s event.
67 – Lowest round of the tournament (-4), by Mika Miyazato in the second round.
71 – Par (36-35) for The Broadmoor’s East Course for this year’s tournament.
72 – Number of players who made the 36-hole cut, which was 149 (+7).
80.5 – Course rating for the championship.
84 – Players who missed the cut.
155 – Slope for the course during the championship.
156 – Total players who competed in the event.
281 – Strokes in regulation for So Yeon Ryu and Hee Kyung Seo, who both finished at 3-under-par.
285 – Driving average, in yards, by Brittany Lincicome, the longest of any player in the field.
1,295 – Total entries for the 2011 U.S. Women’s Open.
2,700 – Approximate number of volunteers, from all 50 states, who helped run the championship.
7,047 – Yardage for this year’s U.S. Women’s Open, the longest in the tournament’s history.
121,591 – Dollars won by fifth-place Mika Miyazato, who will donate her prize money from all of this year’s majors to aid in the relief efforts for victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan.
585,000 – Dollars won by this year’s champion, So Yeon Ryu.
$3.25 million – Total purse for this year’s championship.
July 10, 2011 - A chat with the best
I first met Judy Rankin at 1998 The Solheim Cup at Jack Nicklaus' Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Rankin was captaining the U.S. Team to its second of two straight Solheim triumphs, and I was working my second tournament as a neophyte media relations coordinator right out of college.
I didn't know anything about anything, but one thing I realized during that amazing week was that Judy was a special lady. You could see how respected she was among the players, how she brought energy into any room she entered and how much she loved the game of golf.
Her credentials speak for themselves, earning her induction into the LPGA Tour and World Golf Halls of Fame in 2000. Judy won 24 times on Tour, won three Vare Trophies for lowest scoring average (1973, 1976-77) and was twice the LPGA Tour Player of the Year (1976-77). She was the first woman to earn more than $100,000 in a season in 1976, and her 25 top-10 finishes in 1977 is second only to Hall of Famer Mickey Wright's 27 from 1963.
Judy was awarded the Patty Berg Award by the LPGA in 1999 and earned the Richardson Award from the Golf Writers Association of America that same year for her contributions to the game. In 2007, she added the Ben Hogan Award and the LPGA Komen Award to her resume.
You name it, she's done it.
That includes surviving breast cancer, and now she's helping her husband of 44 years, Yippy, fight throat and neck cancer. She's one of a kind.
Judy was always one of my favorite people in the golf world during my tenure at the LPGA, and so I never minded helping her prepare for her gigs as a television commentator and helping her get the latest news on the players. She always carried herself with class and dignity and, I always felt, did a great job on TV.
Now, as she approaches 30 years on the tube talking about the game that has been her life, I was happy to spend some time with Judy before the fourth round at The Broadmoor. She was as warm and fun as ever, and I enjoyed picking her brain about everything from the state of women's golf to her own career.
Q: Annika Sorenstam said that being involved with the Annika Academy and her other endeavors gives her the "golf fix" she used to get from competing. Do you find that working in TV does the same for you?
JR: Oh, for sure. It keeps you close to your industry, and I was able to learn about something completely foreign to me in mid life. I think that was very energizing, and I would recommend that anyone in their 40s who gets the chance to branch out and do something different take advantage of it. It does give you a big physical and mental boost. It was an extension of something I know and has been extremely good for me. I've been able to stay close to some of the older players and also become reasonably close to some of the young players, because we have a lot in common.
Even doing television, you can still get deeply emotionally involved in a golf tournament if it's tight coming down the stretch on a Sunday. That's when it's fun.
Q: Speaking of emotions, I'm sure being the U.S. Solheim Cup Team Captain in 1996 and 1998 ranks pretty high on the emotional scale, as you look back on your career.
JR: Being the Solheim Cup Captain twice, I have to say, was one of the really great experiences of my golf life. I said at the time that, if that was a job you could have for life, I would take it. I really loved that.
Q: What's the hardest part about doing television?
JR: Being knowledgeable about 150 players. In the booth job, someone you don't know could pop up, and you'd like to be able to say something factual and knowledgeable about everybody. Sometimes, if someone gets into the mix who you didn't really expect, particularly if it's all of a sudden, you just might have to wait until round three to get some information on that person. I do the best I can, and I know a lot of the players, but you're never going to have a lock on every player in the field. What we do is bring you entertaining golf, and I think mostly with ESPN and The Golf Channel - who are my employers - we do a good job of it.
Q: What are some of the major changes you've seen with the LPGA Tour in the last 10 years or so?
JR: It seems like there's a continuing stream of more and more greater numbers of very good players. The Asian influence has become very strong, and I think there have been some challenges as to how to figure out how to get the American fans to embrace people who have names that are unfamiliar to them and who don't speak great English. I think that gap is being closed by those players themselves. They're working so hard on English and are doing so many of the right things to really contribute to the U.S. Tour. There's no doubt about that. Ai Miyazato and I.K. Kim - who are in the mix today - are two of the great examples of that.
Q: Since we're at the U.S. Women's Open, would you consider not winning one of these the biggest missing piece of your great career?
JR: It's a huge miss. Second was the best I ever did. I was one of those little girls who grew up wanting to win the U.S. Women's Open. I came from a generation that almost put too much importance on it when you went and didn't do your best. It seemed like it was too big, too hard and you would try too hard. There are segments of players today who still do that. Jack Nicklaus used to say that sometimes the biggest events were the easiest to win, because a big portion of the field puts themselves out of it before it even starts.
I watched players on the practice tee very late Wednesday night. I was thinking to myself, "I used to do that." Come Thursday, you're already tired. Chances are, you're not going to find "it" at 7:30 Wednesday night, and you would have been better off spending two hours on the putting green or hitting a few chips. Me, my family, my husband and everybody around me put huge importance on this event, and I didn't respond in the very best way. I think I only had one, maybe two, really good chances to win it.
Q: Do you miss playing golf?
JR: I don't really play a lot of golf. People ask me if I miss playing, and I always say that I miss playing well. When I was a good player, if I was playing well and went to the practice tee and struck the ball really well and had one of these days where you're playing 36 holes, I would just be so happy. I'd be thinking, "Today, I've got it, and we're going to play all these holes. This is a great opportunity." There will be five or six players out there who have a chance to win who have that feeling today, and it'll be fun to see who can make it happen.
Q: Do you like the direction you see the Tour going?
JR: The Commissioner (Mike Whan) works very hard, and it's a hard job. With so few domestic events and so much foreign travel, that's going to be the way of the golf world. So, you really have to manage your schedule a little differently, particularly gals who have children. I think the foreign travel will stay there - and could even grow - and I think the big hope is that domestic events grow by at least three or four.
I would like to think we've gotten over the bad bump where the LPGA did some things wrong and the economy was devastating to us and women's golf would be back where it needs to be. A good friend of mine - who is well-versed in sports - says that it should be the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour one and two and that those are the first two golf places you go, and then the others should follow. The PGA TOUR has been extremely fortunate with all three of its tours in surviving these last five years.
Q: As a Hall of Famer, who do you think is the next Hall of Famer on Tour?
JR: Well, I don't think there's much doubt that Yani (Tseng) will be there. I think the person we really need to get into the Hall of Fame is Laura Davies. She could get in on her own merit, but she has to win another time or two, she could get in on the international ballot or she could get in from the Lifetime Achievement category. There are a lot of ways she can get in, but she wants to get in on her own playing merit. The fact is, she's won close to 80 times around the world, but not all of those count in the points system. Her contributions to women's golf around the world have been tremendous for a long time. But she'll get in.
One who maybe isn't going to get in - I don't know, maybe she will - but who was a remarkably consistent player and a huge ambassador for the game is Meg Mallon. She's retired now and, I don't think, has any plans to come back, so I don't know if it's going to happen for her. But she is very deserving. She won two of these (Women's Opens).
Q: Now, it's time to put you on the spot. Let's say Annika Sorenstam, Karrie Webb, Se Ri Pak, Lorena Ochoa and Yani Tseng are all playing in their primes during the same season. Who wins the most tournaments?
JR: It'd be great golf. Boy, what a Tour that would be! I would really have to think on that, but I tell ya, they all can play. So, it would come down to which one had the two- or three-year hot streak with the putter. Annika sometimes was great in spite of her putter almost, so that's a very interesting question. I'd like to watch the Tour for two or three years with that cast of characters. It'd be a lot of fun.
July 9, 2011 - It takes an army
No golf tournament - especially a major championship - could ever function without the help of dedicated volunteers, and this week's U.S. Women's Open is no different.
An army of approximately 2,700 volunteers from all 50 states and Australia have descended upon The Broadmoor this week to help conduct one of the nation's biggest golf tournaments. Often unheralded and underappreciated, volunteers are a crucial component of a successful championship event.
"It couldn't happen without all of their support," said Volunteer Headquarters Chairman Cherryl Kilgore. "I think they really have fun, and lots of people take their summer vacations to volunteer at something like this. They're really, really helpful and hardworking. It's a big machine, and our volunteers do everything."
Kilgore is right. Volunteers are needed for a plethora of committees, including marshals, scorers, merchandise sales, crowd control, player hospitality, media center, admissions, evacuation, standard bearers, communications, leaderboards, shuttles and television, just to name a few.
And they pay money to volunteer.
Volunteers receive two shirts and a windbreaker, as well as free access to the tournament, meals and refreshments each day and a discount on championship merchandise for their efforts. They also have the chance to watch some of the world's best golfers play a beautiful golf course and the are able to experience being a part of a successful event.
"I thought, what a fun way to come see my first pro golf tournament," said Natalie Carpenter of Pagosa Springs, Colo., who was working in the media center Saturday. "It's a great way to see the tournament and get the inside scoop. I just love watching these amazing women golfers. It's fun to see the women do their thing."
Merta Anderson came from American Fork, Utah, to visit her daughter and granddaughter in Colorado Springs, but to also volunteer for the tournament. An avid golfer, Anderson has thoroughly enjoyed her time at the U.S. Women's Open thus far.
"It's been an absolutely wonderful experience," Anderson said. "I love golf, and it's my passion. Most of the players are very easy to talk to and very congenial."
She was impressed to hear that volunteers from all 50 states have come to help out.
"It shows me that people have just as much appreciation for women golfers as they do for the men," Anderson said. "To be able to serve without being paid means a lot to me. It's a tremendous opportunity, and I think more people would do it if they knew more about it."
Gil Bonse from Colorado Springs knows all about it. He and his wife volunteered at the 2008 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor, and he's back this year to help out while his wife enjoys being a spectator.
"You get to see some very good golfers, and it's fun to see it all in real time," said Bonse, who is serving as a marshal on the third hole. "It's also nice to be outside, and most of the people I've met have been very nice."
Kathleen and Robert Mellor came with two other couples from Wichita, Kan., to volunteer at the tournament, while also visiting their summer home in Green Mountain Falls, Colo. Both are avid golfers who have enjoyed their experiences during tournament week.
"It's funny, the players take off their Winnie the Pooh and Mickey Mouse head covers and then smack the ball 300 yards," said Kathleen, who has worked as a spotter, at the 14th hole's crossing gate and on the greens. "It's great and has been a lot of fun."
Her husband agrees.
"It's exciting - it's a U.S. Open," said Robert, who lists Honorary Chairman Annika Sorenstam as his favorite player of all time. "I also like the international flavor."
Flavor and excitement are two ingredients to a great golf championship, and this year's Open is shaping up to meet those requirements. And a large part of that can be credited to the hard work of the tournament volunteers.
A tip of the cap to them all.
July 8, 2011 - A bear of a day
To effectively run a professional golf tournament, a network of staff, supervisors and volunteers is a crucial need. Arguably the busiest person among them is the Championship Director.
Every aspect of the tournament - from vendors, hospitality, media, volunteers, parking, spectators and players - is under the Championship Director's umbrella. While the Championship Director couldn't possibly do everything themselves, managing a large staff of people is a chief requirement.
That duty this year falls on the shoulders of Doug Habgood, a Bruno Event Team veteran who spearheaded the immensely successful 2005 U.S. Women's Open at Cherry Hills Golf Club in Denver and the 2008 U.S. Senior Open at The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs.
Habgood is a longtime friend, as I worked as a media relations coordinator with his wife, Kirsten, for years at the LPGA. He let me tag along with him for an hour during Friday's play to get a glimpse of what a day in the life of the Championship Director is like.
I was not disappointed.
Within minutes of sitting down in his mobile office - a golf cart he drives while juggling a smart phone, pocket notebook and handheld radio - there was talk about another dreaded weather evacuation. After checking with his transportation crew to make sure the shuttles were in position if needed (they weren't, thankfully), Habgood and I headed to the ninth green, where there had been a report of a bear sighting.
The report was correct.
We arrived behind the trees bordering the green to see a midsized brown bear cub helping himself to the trash can behind the green. The police and Department of Wildlife staff had already been dispatched to the area and arrived shortly after.
One of the DOW officers chased the bear - who was favoring an injured back right leg - up a rather large pine tree, and that's where we left them as a TV crew arrived to get footage of the furry visitor.
Habgood described his "typical" tournament week day, which begins when he arrives at the course at 4:45 a.m., detailing the checklist he goes through each morning. That list includes coordinating staff that helps with everything from blocking off roads, setting up tents, getting admissions and the merchandise tents going each day, opening the hospitality venues and the player and caddie areas (caddie bibs are dry-cleaned each night) and distributing newspapers to a number of areas of the resort.
Taking calls and exchanging decisions and information on 15 different channels of his handheld radio, Habgood snaked through the course while describing the operations aspect of a major championship. With a thousand moving pieces, the event is almost a living thing, one that has an energy all its own.
Then it was time for a brief break to do a radio interview with a Denver-based radio station. Habgood updated the station's listeners about how the tournament was progressing after play had been halted at 12:30 p.m. Thursday, discussed ticket sales and availability and the weather, among other things.
"We've got a great leaderboard and great crowds, and we just chased a bear up a tree by nine green, so we've pretty much checked off our list of objectives for Friday," he told the radio hosts. "We're off to a great start. We did get jumbled up a bit on Thursday, but our goal is to play as much golf as we can today and then re-evaluate. We're going to go wall to wall, and we may have players teeing off at 8:30 tonight."
He also the week's activities that helped kick off the tournament, praised Honorary Chairman Annika Sorenstam's dedication to helping promote the event and encouraged people to come watch the tournament and visit the website (www.2011uswomensopen.com).
From then, it was on to the daily 4 p.m. staff meeting he conducts with his division supervisors, where they discussed everything from spectator flow issues, the fallout from the previous day's evacuation, barricades, volunteer issues and practice range areas.
After play is over for the day, Habgood will wrap up his duties at the course by finishing filtering through the 50-100 e-mails he receives daily, many of which are ticket requests from friends, colleagues and acquaintances.
And that was just a peek at a tournament week day.
Habgood's job is a 365-day-a-year endeavor, and he and his staff customarily arrive in a host city two or three years prior to the event. From forming relationships with host city dignitaries and businesses and bidding out services for every aspect of the tournament to pre-tournament meetings with USGA officials and TV producers, the Championship Director is involved in bringing the event to life from scratch.
That's what Habgood and his staff did for the 2008 U.S. Senior Open, and he said that experience was a great help for this year's tournament.
"If tension for the Senior Open was an eight, it was about a 3.5 for this one," he said. "It has been nice to have the tournament at the same place."
Habgood and his staff have bonded with The Broadmoor's exemplary staff, which has gone out of its way to make the tournament and players feel at home from the start. He's enjoyed working with everyone involved with the championship and said he gets satisfaction and pride from seeing his younger staff members excel during the tournament.
"We have a lot of young people on staff who haven't been through this before, so it's fun to see them experience it," he said. "The thing that's cool is that you've got so many people at your disposal, and everybody's proud of the tournament and the city. They're all gung-ho to help out and make it a success. These guys are rock stars."
Years of preparation are paying off for Habgood and his able staff, and it's clear that he is enjoying what he does.
"It's all adrenaline now," he said. "That's what gets you going. This is what you work for and why you put in all the hours you put in leading up to the championship."
One thing he isn't privileged to have enough of during tournament week is sleep, but that's just fine with Habgood. He displayed his dedication for creating a memorable experience for everyone involved with this year's open while signing off from the radio interview.
"We'll sleep next week," he said.
July 7, 2011 - Caddie connections
In addition to a number of amateurs who have family members serving as their caddies at the 66th U.S. Women's Open, there are some family ties for LPGA pros this week at The Broadmoor.
From wife-husband duos to father-daughter teams, several players at this week's championship have the comfort of a family member on the bag. Two-time winner Laura Diaz's husband Kevin has been caddying for his wife for years and will carry her bag inside the ropes this weekend. In addition, LPGA Tour winner Leta Lindley's husband, Matt Plagmann, is looping for her, three-time winner Catriona Matthew's husband Graeme is in his customary spot next to her and Sarah Jane Smith's husband Duane is handling her caddying needs.
Players find comfort in having their spouses next to them inside the ropes.
"For me, it's huge," said Lindley, a 17-year Tour veteran. "Having Matt on my bag gives me such a comfort level, and we know each other so well. He knows my game so well and knows how I perform under pressure, and when someone else caddies for me, they just don't have that kind of knowledge.
"It's great to have my best friend out there. He believes in me so much that it helps make me a better player. We are true partners in all aspects of our lives, and he's like my right arm. When he's not there, I feel like a part of me is missing."
The connections don't end there.
Futures Tour player Mallory Blackwelder has her father, veteran caddie and multi-time winner Worth, on her bag - something her mother, Myra, was accustomed to while playing on the LPGA Tour. Julieta Granada's mother, Rosa, is on her bag, while Yoo Kyeong Kim's father, Sung Jin, is serving as her caddie.
Granada, who won a tournament in her rookie year in 2006, feels more comfortable than ever with her mother carrying her bag.
"We get along great off the course, and I think that helps," said Granada, who has more than $2.3 million in career earnings. "On the course, we've been growing as a team every year. We get along so great and work together really well, and it just makes sense for us. We've been through ups and downs, and it's pretty cool to see that we've been through everything and handled it pretty well."
Amanda Blumenherst's father, Dave, is also inside the ropes this week, albeit on the bag for Vicky Hurst. He admitted to urges of wanting to find a scoreboard to see how his daughter was doing while helping Hurst navigate The Broadmoor's East Course.
Brittany Lang is looking to her brother Luke - an all-conference golfer at Arkansas Tech - for guidance and help with club selection this week.
A quartet of former LPGA Tour pros are also serving as caddies this week. A.J. Eathorne is on the bag for Brittany Lincicome - the duo won their first tournament together earlier this year - and longtime pro Mardi Lunn is on Becky Morgan's bag. Michelle Simpson is handling the caddying duties for Alison Walshe, while Danielle Downey is doing the same for Sarah Kemp.
July 6, 2011 - Teenager living a dream in Colorado Springs
The 66th U.S. Women's Open hasn't even begun, but Mariel Galdiano has already had a magical week.
The 13-year-old Hawaiian - the youngest player in this year's 156-player field - has had the pleasure of playing nine holes with world No. 1 Yani Tseng and former teen phenom Michelle Wie during practice rounds and had the thrill of meeting the iconic Annika Sorenstam Wednesday. Galdiano took part in a 30-minute clinic conducted by Sorenstam on the driving range at The Broadmoor, hitting different shots as the Hall of Famer talked to the crowd about her career, the game of golf and preparing for a tournament.
Admittedly nervous, Galdiano impressed the crowd and Sorenstam by her ball-striking abilities and clearly enjoyed herself while chatting with the Hall of Famer. Galdiano hit a variety of shots - from wedges to her driver - as Sorenstam addressed the crowd, answered questions and shared some stories from her 16 years on Tour.
Sorenstam engaged the nervous teenager, asking Galdiano questions ranging from her warm-up routine to the importance of eating well before playing. The Swede and Galdiano had a couple of humorous exchanges after Sorenstam asked her specific questions.
"Did you bring your patience with you?" Sorenstam asked.
"I'm getting there," Galdiano said.
"Where will you get it? Do they sell it somewhere?" said Sorenstam.
"Umm, yeah, they sell it at Target," Galdiano said.
Then Sorenstam inquired whether Galdiano usually hits a fade or a draw.
"It's a mix, but when I hit it good, it goes straight - which is most of the time," Galdiano quipped.
They finished up with Sorenstam giving Galdiano some sage advice for playing in her first Open.
"I want you to have fun, have confidence when you stand over the ball and play tee to green," Sorenstam said.
Galdiano, who turned 13 on June 25, is becoming accustomed to dealing with pressure. She faced it during the 36-hole qualifier she entered that eventually gave her a spot in this year's Open.
Galdiano birdied the final hole of that May event to win the tournament by one stroke and gain a berth into the Open. It's been a whirlwind experience since then, one that the teen is soaking up with glee.
"It's quite fun to be on the other side of the ropes, and I never imagined I'd be here," said Galdiano, who said her career-low round is a 68. "A lot of other golfers hopefully can come experience it, too. I had some fantasies in my head, and I still can't understand how big it is. It's pretty grand seeing all these people, and I never imagined I'd be out here at such a young age."
Galdiano learned the game from her father, Roger, a construction foreman who will caddy for her this week in Colorado Springs and in four other tournaments on the mainland this summer. He bought her a set of junior clubs when she was just 4, and she took to the game with a passion.
Despite her early success, the grounded young talent is not getting ahead of herself or giving any thought to playing on Tour just yet.
"Maybe later, but not right now," she said when asked if she's thought about a professional career. "I think I'll go through college first. I think school is important, too. I'll go through high school, go to college and see where golf takes me."
She has much the same approach this week at the Open, where she's focusing on having fun and cherishing the special week.
"I don't really expect to make the cut, but I think playing with (the pros) will be such a great experience," Galdiano said. "I try to think of it as no pressure, because if I pressure myself, who knows what's going to happen out there."
She played a practice round with Tseng on Monday and nine holes with Wie early Wednesday morning, a fitting pairing considering it was Wie's record of being the youngest player from Hawaii to qualify for the Open that Galdiano broke this year. She said she picked up some good tips for how the best players in the world go about practicing on the course.
"I noticed that they don't let the crowd get to them and that they focus," Galdiano said. "When they're on approaches, they're always hitting extra shots and do a lot of putting on the greens."
The highlight, naturally, to her amazing week thus far was meeting and spending time with Sorenstam on Wednesday. Her reaction to meeting the legend - who is this year's honorary chairman - was typical for a youngster.
"I was like, 'Whoa, that's Annika Sorenstam!'"
July 5, 2011 - Passion project
Creamer takes time to give advice to juniors
Not only is Paula Creamer an elite golfer, but she's a people person, too.
That was evident at The Broadmoor's driving range Tuesday afternoon, when the defending U.S. Women's Open champ spent 30 minutes talking to a group of junior golfers, their parents and fans. Creamer - clad in her traditional pink and sporting a partially pink ‘do - entertained a group of approximately 250 at the resort's practice facility before teeing off in a practice round.
Creamer talked to the crowd about a myriad of topics, including her career, playing golf growing up, her favorite things and what it takes to be a professional golfer. The affable nine-time LPGA winner kept the mood lively on the sunny and windy day, cracking jokes and telling anecdotal stories from her life and career.
She also stressed several key points to the golfers of the future.
"You've got to play as many tournaments as you can," Creamer said. "Don't worry if you get frustrated, because it happens to everyone. So, keep at it, because it's worth it. Holding up that trophy - there's nothing like it."
Creamer also discussed the importance of having a pre-shot routine, encouraged juniors to warm up on the range before playing a round and talked about how she lines up shots.
The attentive audience peppered Creamer with a variety of questions, including her favorite things - her favorite color (pink); favorite hole at The Broadmoor (16); club (all of them); and course (any one she wins on). She was also asked about her fitness routine, how much her driver cost, how many holes-in-one she's had (one), number of wins, her goals as a junior and as a pro and her thoughts before hitting the ball.
She hit a number of shots with a wedge and her driver, talking about her swing thoughts, showing fans how to hit different shots and discussing her swing in general. When asked how far she had hit one drive, Creamer paused a beat before answering.
"That one went 430," she joked. "I'm very strong."
When asked about playing in the Solheim Cup for the United States, Creamer answered in a way the kids could fully understand.
"It's better than the most awesome thing in the world," she said.
Creamer sent a wave of laughs and giggles through the crowd after one junior asked her if she likes to play miniature golf.
"I do play mini golf, but my friends always beat me," she said. "I even take my own putter and use my own ball, but I just don't understand that game. You hit good putts, but they don't go in!"
The children and fans in attendance weren't the only ones who got something out of Creamer's special exhibition.
"This was a lot of fun," Creamer said. "I love the game and want to give back to it as much as I can. So, if one of these boys or girls gets into the game because of me, that's great."
Several girls, including 7-year-old Claire McAllister, wore pink in honor of Creamer's favorite color and had a great time at the exhibition.
"It was awesome," said McAllister, who came to the event with her parents Kristen and Brian.
What they're saying…
Players weigh in on longest course in U.S. Women's Open history
At 7,047 yards, this year's layout at The Broadmoor for the U.S. Women's Open features the longest course in the tournament's history. Not only will players have to contend with its length, but also with thick rough, elevated and diabolical greens and the mystery of Colorado Springs' high altitude as they chase the most coveted prize in women's golf.
Here's what some of the game's best had to say about the resort's daunting East Course.
"The greens are really big, so I just try to cut them into two or three greens to make them smaller. If you (yourself) leave 30 or 40 feet, you can make a three-putt easy on these greens, so you need to be patient."
"It's a good U.S. Open golf course. The altitude is pretty tricky, because you have to hit it solid for it to kick in. If you mis-hit your driver a little bit, even though it goes straight, it's not going to go anywhere and you're going to have a long shot into these greens.
"The greens are pretty wide, they're pretty big, but they're going to play small because you have to be in the right section. They're the kind of greens where, from the fairway, they don't look very daunting. They don't look slopey, but you have to be on the right part of the green. If you're not, you're going to have a hell of a putt trying to get par."
"I think this is a fantastic golf course. The fairways are pretty generous for a U.S. Open, but if you do miss the fairway, the rough is pretty brutal. The greens and everything is in beautiful shape, and it's a really good layout. I think this is going to be a really good test this week. The course is going to play tough. Going into the greens, where certain pins are, you have to just eliminate half the golf course and say you can't miss over there no matter what.
"The greens are awesome here. There's a lot of slope and a lot of mountain effect. I charted the breaks on the greens, finding where the highest point on the green is and where the lowest point is. So, I know where the fastest direction on each green is so that I know when I'm putting whether it's super fast, cross-mountain or slow up the hill."
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster
"You've got a lot of options out there - which I think is great - as far as where they set the tees. Like any Open, you have to drive the ball well. I'm still trying to figure out how much farther I hit it here (at altitude), but I'm getting close on that. With the Open, you've just got to put on your patience hat on and grind away. I think the course is playing tough enough that even par is a good score.
"It's a good golf course. I think the greens are extremely tough, so it's just trying to position yourself on the right side of the pin."
Neal Reid is a Colorado Springs-based writer who spent six years as a media relations coordinator for the LPGA Tour from 1998-2004.
Topics: US Women's Open