-- They are teenagers, their prime perhaps a decade away. One recently got her diploma, the other her driver's permit. Yet, on the eve of the LPGA Championship at Bulle Rock Golf Course, the season's second major, Michelle Wie, 15, and Paula Creamer, 18, are not focusing on the future. For them, the future is this week.
"I'm feeling very confident," said Creamer, who captured the Sybase Classic three weeks ago, becoming the youngest player in history to win a multi-round LPGA event. "I hit the best I have all year today in the practice round."
Wie doesn't have a problem with her confidence, either. Why would she? Two years ago, only 13, she played with Annika Sorenstam in Sunday's final group of the Nabisco Championship, a major tournament. She tied for ninth. In February, she tied for second in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay.
"One of my goals is definitely to win, obviously," Wie said. "I want to just shoot consistent under-par rounds. I achieved that in the SBS, and it proved to be really good."
Wie's appearance here, the first by an amateur, has been criticized by some who contend the event should be reserved for professionals. Wie, who received a sponsor's exemption, defended her participation.
"All I did was receive it," she said. "It's not like we lobbied for it. It was a great privilege to accept it."
Creamer and Wie could make for quite a rivalry in the years ahead. But there doesn't seem to be one now.
"I don't really consider [it] a rivalry yet since she's not a professional golfer," said Creamer, who identified her true rival, Sorenstam. "She's the number one player in the world."
Creamer, who hopes to attain the same distinction someday, is certainly headed in the right direction. She made it to the semifinals of the 2003 and 2004 U.S. Women's Amateur, and won last year's LPGA qualifying tournament to earn her playing rights. She is ranked sixth on the tour's money list this season, earning almost $360,000.
With one goal, winning her first tournament, out of the way, Creamer is concentrating on another, playing for the United States in September's Solheim Cup. Through last week, Creamer was in 18th place. The top 10 in the points standings automatically qualify.
"To get there, I have to win tournaments," said Creamer, who recently graduated from high school in Bradenton, Fla. "Hopefully, this will be one of a couple more to get me on the team."
Creamer also is going after another prize, her college diploma. This one may take longer than the others. She's going to pursue it online, starting this fall. She said she'll probably major in communications.
Wie will be a high school junior this fall in Hawaii. She's very relieved to be done with her sophomore year.
"I was so stressed out the last week of school," she said. "It was exam, exam, exam, and after the last one, I felt so good. Actually, I never felt that stress before in my life. I get really nervous during math tests."
Her sports psychologist asked if she needed to discuss any issues on the golf course.
"I was like, 'No, I have to talk about my math tests,' " she said. "After we talked a little bit, I have been getting really good grades."
Wie, who also will play in the season's final two majors, the U.S. Women's Open and Women's British Open, has been working on her driving lately.
"After I got my permit, we were in Pittsburgh," she said, "and they had a Hummer off-course trail. So I was doing that, going over logs and going into water. That was really cool."