Karrie Webb Back in Action on Favorite Course
The fact that Srenstam isn't here doesn't matter to Webb, who lost in a playoff last year at the ANZ Ladies Masters, preventing Webb from winning a fifth consecutive title on the par-72 East Course at the Royal Pines Resort.
Srenstam went on to win 11 tournaments in 23 starts on the LPGA Tour in 2002, including 20 top-10 finishes and earning a single-season record of $2.8 million.
Webb, by her own standards, had an off year, winning just three tournaments, including the Australian Open and British Open.
In late January, Webb got 2003 off to a good start by beating Srenstam, Britain's Laura Davies and American Laura Diaz in Hawaii, taking 12 skins for an event-record $470,000.
Both Davies and Diaz are entered at Royal Pines, as are 2002 LPGA Rookie of the Year Beth Bauer and the runner-up for the award, 19-year-old Natalie Gulbis.
Most of last year's European Solheim Cup team are also here -- Suzann Pettersen from Norway, Scotland's Mhairi McKay, Sweden's Sophie Gustafson, Iben Tinning from Denmark and Karine Icher from France -- in all, 22 of the world's top 50.
All of which makes Webb discount suggestions of an easy win with Srenstam out of the picture.
'I've never been someone who talks or even thinks like that,' said Webb, who has been working out and has lost nine pounds. 'I obviously feel really comfortable around this course and it's nice to kick the year off here where I've played so well for the last seven or eight years.'
Webb, who has 28 career LPGA Tour wins, has owned Royal Pines except for her loss on the fourth playoff hole last year against Srenstam. In nine Masters at Royal Pines since 1994, she has won four times and finished runner-up three times.
She has played her 36 rounds in 123-under par, including an LPGA Tour record of 26-under when she won in 1999.
'It's a perfect place for me to start the year,' said Webb, who will play Thursday and Friday with two Solheim Cup players, European No. 1 Paula Marti and Diaz, who won twice on the LPGA last season and finished seventh on the money list.
'It's a great golf course,' Diaz said of Royal Pines. 'We (the LPGA) don't start until the second week of March, so it's given me an opportunity to get going a bit earlier. It couldn't be a better place to come and get prepped up for the year.'
The LPGA Tour season will begin March 13-16 with the Welch's/Fry's Championship in Tucson, Ariz.
Davies, who lost in a playoff last week in the ALPG Players Championship to Australian rookie Tamara Hyett, is also looking to have a strong week at Royal Pines.
'My confidence is back,' said Davies, twice an ANZ Masters winner. 'I'm hitting the driver really well and making a few putts.'
Rain hit the course Wednesday, forcing cancellation of the afternoon portion of the pro-am after greens became flooded.
Copyright 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Day's wife shares emotional story of miscarriage
Jason Day’s wife revealed on social media that the couple had a miscarriage last month.
Ellie Day, who announced her pregnancy on Nov. 4, posted an emotional note on Instagram that she lost the baby on Thanksgiving.
Swipe to see what’s up in my world. It’s long-winded.... short version, we lost the baby. Had to share this since we had shared the news already. I know you’re all so supportive and kind. I just couldn’t face it before. Now let’s get back to our regularly scheduled programming. #ihavealotoffeelings #andphotostocatchupon
“I found out the baby had no heartbeat anymore. I was devastated,” she wrote. “I snuck out the back door of my doctor, a hot, sobbing, mascara-covered mess. Two and a half weeks went by witih me battling my heart and brain about what was happening in my body, wondering why this wouldn’t just be over.”
The Days, who have two children, Dash and Lucy, decided to go public to help others who have suffered similar heartbreak.
“I hope you know you aren’t alone and I hope you feel God wrap his arms around you when you feel the depths of sorrow and loss,” she wrote.
Newsmaker of the Year: No. 5, Sergio Garcia
This was the year it finally happened for Sergio Garcia.
The one-time teen phenom, known for years as “El Nino,” entered the Masters as he had dozens of majors beforehand – shouldered with the burden of being the best player without a major.
Garcia was 0-for-72 driving down Magnolia Lane in April, but after a thrilling final round and sudden-death victory over Justin Rose, the Spaniard at long last captured his elusive first major title.
The expectation for years was that Garcia might land his white whale on a British links course, or perhaps at a U.S. Open where his elite ball-striking might shine. Instead it was on the storied back nine at Augusta National that he came alive, chasing down Rose thanks in part to a memorable approach on No. 15 that hit the pin and led to an eagle.
A green jacket was only the start of a transformative year for Garcia, 37, who heaped credit for his win on his then-fiancee, Angela Akins. The two were married in July, and months later the couple announced that they were expecting their first child to arrive just ahead of Garcia’s return to Augusta, where he'll host his first champions’ dinner.
And while players often cling to the notion that a major win won’t intrinsically change them, there was a noticeable difference in Garcia over the summer months. The weight of expectation, conscious or otherwise, seemed to lift almost instantly. Like other recent Masters champs, he took the green jacket on a worldwide tour, with stops at Wimbledon and a soccer match between Real Madrid and Barcelona.
The player who burst onto the scene as a baby-faced upstart is now a grizzled veteran with nearly two decades of pro golf behind him. While the changes this year occurred both on and off the course, 2017 will always be remembered as the year when Garcia finally, improbably, earned the title of major champion.
Green jacket tour
Man of the people
Ace at 17th at Sawgrass
Departure from TaylorMade
Squashed beef with Paddy
Victory at Valderrama
Newsmakers of the Year: Top 10 in 2017
GolfChannel.com is counting down the top 10 Newsmakers of the Year as voted on by Golf Channel’s writers, editors, reporters and producers. Check out the list below, including future release dates:
No. 4: Dec. 13
No. 3: Dec. 14
No. 2: Dec. 15
No. 1: Dec. 18
Montana parents can't watch kids play high school golf
Well, this is a one new one.
According to a report from KTVQ in Montana, this line in the Montana State High School Association rule book all but forbids spectators from observing high school golf in that state:
“No spectators/fans are allowed on the course except for certain locations as designated by the tournament manager and club professional.”
Part of the issue, according to the report, is that most courses don't bother to designate those "certain locations" leaving parents unable to watch their kids compete.
“If you tell a parent that they can’t watch their kid play in the Thanksgiving Day football game, they would riot,” Chris Kelley, a high school golf parent, told KTVQ.
The report lists illegal outside coaching as one of the rule's chief motivations, but Montana State women's golf coach Brittany Basye doesn't quite buy that.
“I can go to a softball game and I can sit right behind the pitcher. I can make hand signals,” she is quoted in the report. “I can yell out names. I can do the same thing on a softball field that might affect that kid. Football games we can yell as loud as we want when someone is making a pass or a catch.”
The MHSA has argued that unlike other sports that are played in a confined area, the sprawling nature of a golf course would make it difficult to hire enough marshals to keep unruly spectators in check.
Meanwhile, there's a lawyer quoted in the report claiming this is some kind of civil rights issue.
Worth note, Montana is one of only two states that doesn't allow spectators on the course. The other state, Alaska, does not offer high school golf.