Re: Rule Question - on Paula Creamer
I believe the correct ruling was made. For the ball to be in play off the tee you have to have made a stroke at it. Until then, it's not in play. You can kick it off the tee, knock it off when addressing it, etc. You can't swat at it with a swing-like motion or that would either be a stroke or practice, both of which have their associated penalties.
Paula tried to check her swing, thus she didn't have the intent to hit the ball. The definition of "stroke" is the only time, I believe, where "intent" matters in the Rules of Golf.
A "stroke" is the forward movement of the club made with the intention of striking at and moving the ball, but if a player checks his downswing voluntarily before the clubhead reaches the ball he has not made a stroke.
So, again, I believe the correct ruling was made. I haven't seen it, of course, so I don't know how much she tried to "check" her swing, so I have to go by what was said above.
P.S. Rules Officials rarely make mistakes.