Creamer would be icing on the cake for Open
Paula Creamer may play in Canberra. Photo: Getty Images
Former US Open champion Paula Creamer is next on the hit-list of stars for next month's Australian Open after former teenage wunderkind Michelle Wie confirmed on Thursday that she would be making her Australian debut in Canberra.
Australian Open organisers will know by Saturday morning whether Creamer, dubbed ''The Pink Panther'' because of her liking for the colour, will join a star-studded field which already includes world No.1 Yani Tseng, the LPGA player of 2012, Stacy Lewis, and Australia's greatest female golfer, Karrie Webb.
Creamer, who has been ranked as high as two in the world and won nine events on the LPGA Tour, including the 2010 US Open, has indicated interest in coming to Canberra.
Michelle Wie will play in Canberra. Photo: Getty Images
The 26-year-old American, who has amassed career prizemoney of almost $10 million, would be a massive drawcard for the Australian Open, to be held at Royal Canberra Golf Club from February 14-17.
Two-time British Open champion and former world No.1 Jiyai Shin, of South Korea, is another of the world's top 10 expected to contest the Open.
''Looking at the rankings at the moment, it looks like we're going to end up with five of the top 10 players in the world coming, at a minimum,'' a Golf Australia spokesperson said.
Having already snared Tiger Woods' niece Cheyenne, Australian Open organisers announced on Thursday that Wie, once talked up as the female version of Tiger, would be coming to Australia for the first time.
Wie was a teenage sensation, making the cut at the US Open as a 13-year-old and signing multi-million-dollar sponsorships once she turned professional at 15. But the 23-year-old, who made headlines for contesting male PGA events in the United States in 2006, has never reached the heights predicted for her.
Last year she missed the cut in 10 of her 23 events. Her presence, however, is sure to give the event more global appeal.
Canberra's Nikki Campbell predicted that Royal Canberra's long layout - extended to more than 6100m - could suit a player such as Wie if she could control her short game. ''I would think it's going to be set up to suit the bigger hitters and so that will suit her,'' Campbell said.
''It's always a great challenge to play against a player of that calibre, and it's even better that it's at my home club. If Yani [Tseng] gets back to the form she was in about a year ago then obviously she's going to be the one to beat.''