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Nearly five months after she was involved in a car accident in southeast Asia, Paula Creamer reflected on the progress she’s made both athletically and psychologically.
Speaking Wednesday at Highland Meadows Golf Club in Sylvania, Creamer discussed her recovery from the accident, which occurred in February in Thailand.
“Getting in a car was one of the scariest things I ever had to do after that,” said Creamer, who is 14th in the Rolex World Rankings, entering today’s opening round of the Marathon Classic. “Unfortunately, it happened. We all learned a lesson in a sense and we’re lucky, honestly, to be alive and walking around. You’re a little more carefree on a golf course after that.
“You know, people go through stuff like that. Mine was just a bit more publicized.”
Creamer was one of three pro golfers, along with Suzann Pettersen and Ai Miyazato, who were involved in a five-car pileup. Creamer was in the front seat, wearing a seat belt. Pettersen and Miyazato were in separate cars that were in the pileup.
The Golf Channel reported that Creamer’s caddie, Colin Cann, was also involved in the accident, and that doctors told Creamer that she sustained whiplash and a shoulder injury.
In a post on her Web site suzanngolf.com after the accident, Pettersen recalled the accident.
“Don't know how it all went down, but in a split second the entourage of our 5 cars was all crushed together!” Pettersen wrote. “Paula said she felt like a ping-pong ball being hit from both ends pretty hard! I was in the last car and managed somehow to just miss the rest!
“Out of all the cars, the car I was in was the only car suited to take us to the airport! We are just happy no one got more seriously injured from the impact!”
Creamer said in the week following the car accident, she experienced some neck pain and could not play through the course of a pro-am event in Singapore. However, Creamer finished third in the LPGA’s HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore.
“When you’re going 90 miles an hour and you’re smashed in between two cars, a lot of things could happen,” Creamer said. “To play the week after, I don’t know how I did it.”
ENTHUSIASTIC: Tom Tomczak’s booming voice has been a fixture at the starters tent of the LPGA event since its inception.
Tomczak’s deep baritone has introduced the best female golfers in the world at the local tour stop since 1984.
Tomczak, a 73-year-old Toledoan, announces each golfer before they tee off. Tomczak also announces the golfers as they approach the 18th green.
“We try to encourage them,” Tomczak said. “Some of the players have a lot of fun with it, some of them don’t and they want it more simple. They want their name and country and that’s it. We let them know what’s on the card.”
Tomczak said he is a friend of event-founder Judd Silverman, who knew that Tomczak developed his voice as a singer and actor in local theatrical productions.
“I've known Judd since he was a little kid. When he started this tournament he said he wanted some pizazz on the tee,” Tomczak said. “On Saturdays and Sundays when we have the big crowds, I’m shouting.”
Tomczak also uses his voice in his profession as an attorney.
Tomczak, a member of Highland Meadows, said he’s developed many friendships with the golfers through the years.
“I have so many stories — most of them I can’t tell,” he said.
Tomczak also was drawn to the volunteer position because he has been “an enthusiastic golfer for 61 years.”
“When I first started doing this I was a 3 [handicap]. But I stink now. Now I’m a 17,” he said.
Tomczak said former pro Meg Mallon, who retired in 2010, was his favorite.
“I developed a wonderful relationship with Meg Mallon, who at one point called me the best announcer on any tour in the country. She put it on her Facebook,” he said.
FAMOUS FACES: Former Detroit Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios and Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola were part of the Fathead Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday.
Chelios, who recently earned entry into the NHL hall of fame, was paired with pro Paige MacKenzie.
Raiola, who has played for the Lions since 2001, and Chelios played with Fathead chief executive officer Pat McInnis.
Chelios, a veteran of 1,651 games, played for the Montreal Canadiens, Chicago Blackhawks, Atlanta Thrashers, and the Red Wings. He was elected to the hall of fame on July 9 in his first year of eligibility.
MERCHANDISE: Ben DeArmond, the assistant golf pro at Highland Meadows, said merchandise sales have been brisk so far.
DeArmond, who was running the register at the merchandise tent on Wednesday, said the event’s new logo has sparked some interest.
“It stands out a little more,” he said. “So overall the logos has been [received] really well.”
The new Marathon logo for the event, which features a red-colored, capital “M,” has sparked sales.
DeArmond said T-shirts, including polos and hats featuring the logo, have sold well.
“We also embroidered towels this year, so that has been a big thing and we’ve sold a lot of them,” DeArmond said.
DeArmond said Wednesday is the big day for players to sign autographs for fans and that sales of small white flags were above average.
“The flags are always a big seller on Wednesdays,” he said.
HOLE-IN-ONE: Jim Drew carded a hole-in-one during the Fathead Celebrity Pro-Am on Wednesday.
Drew was paired with pro Yani Tseng.