Womens British Was Karries Webb-Site
In 1995, Webb had made the decision to play the Women's European Tour after the Futures Tour in America had ended. Now it was time to compete in the biggest tournament of her life, the Weetabix Women's British Open. It wasn't yet part of the LPGA schedule, but it had the biggest prize money in Europe and the atmosphere was totally unlike anything the girl from Queensland had seen.
She caused a slight stir the opening round when she got around in 69 strokes, two off the 67 of leader Liselotte Neumann. But she surged to the top in Round 2 with a 70 to grab a one-stroke lead, and maintained her one-stroke advantage after three rounds with another 69.
Now she was about to enter the final round, and she looked across the tee and saw American veteran Val Skinner, just a stroke behind.
'She scared the hell out of me,' said Webb later, smiling at the memory. 'Val can be pretty intimidating, and on the first tee I could hardly breathe.'
She shook so bad that she could nothing but hit shot after shot almost perfectly. Webb shot another 70, Skinner shot a 77, and Webb was introduced to the world after a six-shot victory.
Halfway around the world in the little Queensland farming community, Webb's mother, Evelyn, could not believe it.
'Look, it's two o'clock in the morning, you're not having me on?' she asked the caller from England telling her the news. 'Six shots? You're kidding!'
No, the caller assured her, he was serious. Webb had won the British Open, which is about to be played again this week at Turnberry in Scotland. 'I had always dreamed of walking up the 18th to win a tournament, but for it to be the British Open is unbelievable,' Webb said at the victory ceremony. 'A lot of people at home will be shocked ' but happily shocked.'
Webb went on to win the European Tour's Rookie of the Year award. But because the Women's British wasn't at that time a part of the LPGA, she wasn't exempt from qualifying school for the American LPGA.
So she entered the '95 qualifier, but just 10 days before the tournament was to begin, Webb received the cruelest of breaks. She broke her arm. Realizing this was it for all of '96, though, she gritted her teeth and played anyway. She survived, finished second, and today is one of the top players on the LPGA.
In 1997 she won the British Open again, this time as a 22-year-old who had made her mark on the LPGA, this time by an even more convincing margin of eight strokes. And this time she opened with 65 at Sunningdale, added a course-record 63 in the third round, and shot 19-under for the tournament, a record-setting score by five shots.
'At first,' said runner-up Rosie Jones, 'I thought it was mistake on the board when I saw her at 18-under and I was at 9-under. I thought I had better make a birdie at the last because she would lap me.'
Webb was 'over the moon' to win the British again. 'It's such a special tournament for me, being the first one I ever won,' she said. 'It was a great week for it all to click into place.'
It was the culmination of a golfing career that had its seeds when little Karrie was just eight years old and starting to play the game. Both her parents played, as well as both her grandparents.
The golf course in Ayr ' the same area in Queensland in which Greg Norman was born ' wasn't much. Her grandfather used to pull her around the course in a trolley. And by her senior season at Ayr State High School, Webb had progressed to become the best young female player in Queensland.
She was working in her mom's caf, Sugarland Fast Foods, in 1994, and early in '95 she was still nearly broke, working as an assistant at the Ayr golf course with just $200 to her name. She had to borrow money from her mother to continue with her career, but came to America to play the Futures, then went to Europe to play the British.
Now she is a superstar. Has she changed?
'Me as a person and away from the golf course, I don't think too much has changed ' except that I've gotten a little bit older,' she says.
'I think I've matured on and off the golf course. But for on the golf course, I think just the maturing factor has made my game better and better every year.
'Each year I'm less and less hard on myself, to the point that I know if things are going to be good sometimes, sometimes they are not going to be good at all. If I can get through my career finishing 1, 2, 3 or 4 on the money list every year, then I'm pretty lucky. I think that is the sign of a great player, the years that they are not playing so well, to still manage to finish all right at the end of the year.
'But at times, trust me, there's still time when I'm a 21-year-old rookie out there and sometimes I make rookie mistakes still. But I think everyone does that, and it's less and less every year.'
The Women's British Open winner of 1995 and 1997 is a big girl now, 25 years old and owner of a big house near the ocean in Boynton Beach, Fla. She entered 2002 with 26 victories after only six years on tour. But always she will remember where it all began, with the '95 British, returning to win the British in '97 as an LPGA star.
What's in the bag: CareerBuilder winner Rahm
Jon Rahm defeated Andrew Landry in a playoff to earn his second PGA Tour title at the CareerBuilder Challenge. Here's what's in his bag:
Driver: TaylorMade M4 (9.5 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Fairway wood: TaylorMade M3 (19 degrees), with Aldila Tour Green 75 TX shaft
Irons: TaylorMade P790 (3), P750 (4-PW), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Wedges: TaylorMade Milled Grind (52, 56 degrees), Milled Grind Hi-Toe (60 degrees), with Project X 6.5 shafts
Putter: TaylorMade Spider Tour Red
Ball: TaylorMade TP5x
Strange irked by Rahm-Landry friendly playoff
Curtis Strange knows a thing or two about winning golf tournaments, and based on his reaction to the CareerBuilder Challenge playoff on Sunday, it’s safe to say he did things a little differently while picking up 17 PGA Tour victories in his Hall-of-Fame career.
While Jon Rahm and Andrew Landry were “battling” through four extra holes, Strange, 62, tweeted his issues with the duo’s constant chit-chat and friendly banter down the stretch at La Quinta Country Club, where Rahm eventually came out on top.
Watching Andrew Landry and Jon Rahm in playoff. Walking off tee talking to each other. Are you kidding me ? Talking at all. ?— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The two-time U.S. Open champ then engaged with some followers to explain his point a little more in depth.
0 words— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
The issue is I don’t want to make you a bit relaxed or comfortable. High pressure, good.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you watch the end of the NFL games yesterday ? Enough said.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
I didn’t say you couldn’t be friends and competitive. But in a playoff, 1 tiny mistake and you lose, and that devastated me. Friends before and after, competitors during play.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
Did you win ? It’s all about surviving the competition to test yourself.— Curtis Strange (@golf_strange) January 22, 2018
So, yeah ... don't think he's changing his perspective on this topic anytime soon ever.
Randall's Rant: The Euros won't just roll over
The Ryder Cup may not be the King Kong of golf events yet, but you can hear the biennial international team event thumping its chest a full eight months out.
As anticipation for this year’s big events goes, there is more buzz about Europe’s bid to hold off a rejuvenated American effort in Paris in September than there is about the Masters coming up in April.
Thank Europe’s phenomenal success last weekend for that.
And Rory McIlroy’s impassioned remarks in Abu Dhabi.
And the provocative bulletin board material a certain Sports Illustrated writer provided the Europeans a couple months ago, with a stinging assault on the Euro chances that read like an obituary.
McIlroy was asked in a news conference before his 2018 debut last week what he was most excited about this year.
The Ryder Cup topped his list.
Though McIlroy will be trying to complete the career Grand Slam at Augusta National come April, he talked more about the Ryder Cup than he did any of the game’s major championships.
When asked a follow-up about the American team’s resurgence after a task-force overhaul and the injection of young, new star power, McIlroy nearly started breaking down the matchup. He talked about the young Americans and how good they are.
“Yeah, the Americans have been, obviously, very buoyant about their chances and whatever, but it’s never as easy as that. ... The Ryder Cup’s always close,” McIlroy said. “I think we’ll have a great team, and it definitely won’t be as easy as they think it’s going to be.”
McIlroy may have been talking about Alan Shipnuck’s bold prediction after the American Presidents Cup rout last fall.
Or similar assertions from TV analysts.
“The Ryder Cup is dead – you just don’t know it yet,” Shipnuck wrote. “One of the greatest events in sport is on the verge of irrelevancy. The young, talented, hungry golfers from the United States, benefitting from the cohesive leadership of the Task Force era, are going to roll to victory in 2018 in Paris.”
European Ryder Cup captain Thomas Bjorn won’t find words that will motivate the Euros more than that as he watches his prospective players jockey to make the team.
And, boy, did they jockey last weekend.
The Euros dominated across the planet, not that they did it with the Ryder Cup as some rallying cry, because they didn’t. But it was a heck of an encouraging start to the year for Bjorn to witness.
Spain’s Jon Rahm won the CareerBuilder Challenge on the PGA Tour, England’s Tommy Fleetwood started the week at Abu Dhabi paired with American and world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and won the European Tour event, and Spain’s Sergio Garcia won the Singapore Open in a rout on the Asian Tour.
And McIlroy looked close to being in midseason form, tying for third in his first start in three months.
Yes, it’s only January, and the Ryder Cup is still a long way off, with so much still to unfold, but you got an early sense from McIlroy how much defending European turf will mean to him and the Euros in Paris in September.
The Masters is great theater, the U.S. Open a rigorous test, The Open and the PGA Championship historically important, too, but the Ryder Cup touches a nerve none of those do.
The Ryder Cup stokes more fervor, provokes more passion and incites more vitriol than any other event in golf.
More bulletin board material, too.
Yeah, it’s a long way off, but you can already hear the Ryder Cup’s King Kong like footsteps in its distant approach. Watching how the American and European teams come together will be an ongoing drama through spring and summer.
Quail Hollow officials promise players easier conditions
Quail Hollow Club - a staple on the PGA Tour since 2003 - debuted as a longer, tougher version of itself at last year’s PGA Championship, receiving mixed reviews from players.
The course played to a lengthened 7,600 yards at last year’s PGA and a 73.46 stroke average, the toughest course in relation to par on Tour in 2017. As a result, it left some players less than excited to return to the Charlotte, N.C.-area layout later this spring for the Wells Fargo Championship.
It’s that lack of enthusiasm that led officials at Quail Hollow to send a video to players saying, essentially, that the course players have lauded for years will be back in May.
The video, which includes Quail Hollow president Johnny Harris and runs nearly five minutes, begins with an explanation of how the first hole, which played as a 524-yard par 4 at the PGA, will play much shorter at the Wells Fargo Championship.
“I had a number of my friends who were playing in the tournament tell me that tee was better suited as a lemonade stand,” Harris joked of the new tee box on the fourth hole. “I doubt we’ll ever see that tee used again in competition.”
Harris also explained that the greens, which became too fast for some, will be “softer” for this year’s Wells Fargo Championship.