Young Karrie Webb Wins 95 British

By George WhiteJuly 30, 2003, 4:00 pm
She was 20 years old, a professional golfer less than a year. In addition, she was from Ayr, Australia, halfway around the world, and this was the 1995 Weetabix Women's British Open. Could there have been more intimidating circumstances in which to win a golf tournament?
 
Karrie Webb is perhaps as fine a womens golfer Australia has ever produced, along with Jan Stephenson. But in 1995, she was hardly a name to be reckoned with, still a rookie on the Ladies European Tour, hardly known outside her native country. But all that was about to change.
 
She had won the Australian, Queensland, New South Wales and Victorian Stroke Play tournaments as an amateur. She had turned professional in 1994 at the age of 19 and finished runner-up in the second pro tournament she played ' the Australian Masters. In 95 she had crossed the Pacific to America and played a Futures Tour event ' which she won. She then crossed the Atlantic to get her European card and, in 10 events, already had recorded five top-10s.
 
Finally she was at the pinnacle event for European tour women, the British Open at Woburn, and waiting was a field consisting of the best of America, as well as homegrown European talent. And then ' she went right out in the first round and shot 69, leaving her only two behind Liselotte Neumann.
 
The secret that first day might have been the fact she was paired with a fellow Australian. Playing with Karen Lunn helped a lot, she admitted. Shes a friend, shes won here, and she made me feel comfortable.
 
Friday, it was more of the same. She took the lead with a 70 on the par-73 course, sinking putts on the last three holes of 25, six and 15 feet.
 
She called home to Australia that night, prepared to deliver a full report on her surprising news. She was a little too late.
 
They already knew, which surprised me, she said, but it shows how big a tournament it is.
 
In the third round, Webb shot a 69 with an eagle at the 18th. It was a 35-putt that gave her the lead, by one again, over Val Skinner.
 
On Sunday, four birdies on the first 10 holes boosted her ahead by six shots. Six shots up is where she eventually finished, looking down on the second-place finishers ' Annika Sorenstam and Jill McGill.
 
'I had dreams of walking up the 18th to win a tournament, but for it to be the British Open is unbelievable, said Webb. A lot of people at home will be shocked ' but happily shocked. The last few holes were the most nerve-wracking.
 
Webb went on to win Rookie of the Year honors in Europe, but still had to go through the LPGA qualifying school that year. She finished second there in October of 94, though she had to play with a broken bone in her wrist, and has since won 28 times on the LPGA.
 
As a youngster in her hometown of Ayr, she had to play with the boys because not enough girls competed. The town is small by American standards, just 8,500 people. But it has become a golfing mecca with first Greg Norman and then Webb going on the world superstardom.
 
I practiced every day and played on weekends, she said. Thats the advantage of a small town ' you could play and practice whenever you wanted.'
 
Norman was always Webbs idol. She got his autograph at a tournament when she was just 11 years old. Webb won the Australian Juniors in 1991 at the age of 15 and her reward was a week at Normans home in Hobe Sound, Fla. It was a week of hard work for Webb, not hero-worship.
 
Thats when I knew shed be a special player, said Norman. She has a beautiful swing.
 
In 1993, though, she was still working in her mothers caf in Australia. In 1994 she was working in a pro shop with only $200 to her name. But she decided to turn professional, borrowed some money from her mom, and joined the Australian womens tour.
 
Then it was Australia to America, America to Europe, then back to America where she has become a star of the first magnitude. But for Karrie Webb, she will always remember her first big professional victory ' the 95 Weetabix Women's British Open.
 
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    Hadwin returns to site of last year's 59

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 11:04 pm

    Adam Hadwin had a career season last year, one that included shooting a 59 and winning a PGA Tour event. But those two achievements didn't occur in the same week.

    While Hadwin's breakthrough victory came at the Valspar Championship in March, it was at the CareerBuilder Challenge in January when he first made headlines with a third-round 59 at La Quinta Country Club. Hadwin took a lead into the final round as a result, but he ultimately couldn't keep pace with Hudson Swafford.

    He went on to earn a spot at the Tour Championship, and Hadwin made his first career Presidents Cup appearance in October. Now the Canadian returns to Palm Springs, eager to improve on last year's result and hoping to earn a spot in the final group for a third straight year after a T-6 finish in 2016.

    "A lot of good memories here in the desert," Hadwin told reporters. "I feel very comfortable here, very at home. Lots of Canadians, so it's always fun to play well in front of those crowds and hopefully looking forward to another good week."

    Hadwin's 59 last year was somewhat overshadowed, both by the fact that he didn't win the event and that it came just one week after Justin Thomas shot a 59 en route to victory at the Sony Open. But he's still among an exclusive club of just eight players to have broken 60 in competition on Tour and he's eager to get another crack at La Quinta on Saturday.

    "If I'm in the same position on 18, I'm gunning for 58 this year," Hadwin said, "not playing safe for 59."

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    Rahm: If I thought like Phil, I could not hit a shot

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 10:39 pm

    When it comes to Jon Rahm and Phil Mickelson, there are plenty of common bonds. Both starred at Arizona State, both are now repped by the same agency and Rahm's former college coach and agent, Tim Mickelson, now serves full-time as his brother's caddie.

    Those commonalities mean the two men have played plenty of practice rounds together, but the roads quickly diverge when it comes to on-course behavior. Rahm is quick, fiery and decisive; Mickelson is one of the most analytical players on Tour. And as Rahm told reporters Wednesday at the CareerBuilder Challenge, those differences won't end anytime soon.

    "I don't need much. 'OK, it's like 120 (yards), this shot, right," Rahm said. "And then you have Phil, it's like, 'Oh, this shot, the moisture, this going on, this is like one mile an hour wind sideways, it's going to affect it one yard. This green is soft, this trajectory. They're thinking, and I'm like, 'I'm lost.' I'm like, 'God if I do that thought process, I could not hit a golf shot.'"


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    The tactics may be more simplified, but Rahm can't argue with the results. While Mickelson is in the midst of a winless drought that is approaching five years, Rahm won three times around the world last year and will defend a PGA Tour title for the first time next week at Torrey Pines.

    Both men are in the field this week in Palm Springs, where Mickelson will make his 2018 debut with what Rahm fully expects to be another dose of high-level analytics for the five-time major winner with his brother on the bag.

    "It's funny, he gets to the green and then it's the same thing. He's very detail-oriented," Rahm said of Mickelson. "I'm there listening and I'm like, 'Man, I hope we're never paired together for anything because I can't think like this. I would not be able to play golf like that. But for me to listen to all that is really fun."

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    DJ changes tune on golf ball distance debate

    By Will GrayJanuary 17, 2018, 9:16 pm

    World No. 1 Dustin Johnson is already one of the longest hitters in golf, so he's not looking for any changes to be made to golf ball technology - despite comments from him that hinted at just such a notion two months ago.

    Johnson is in the Middle East this week for the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, and he told BBC Sport Wednesday that he wouldn't be in favor of making changes to the golf ball in order to remedy some of the eye-popping distances players are hitting the ball with ever-increasing frequency.

    "It's not like we are dominating golf courses," Johnson said. "When was the last time you saw someone make the game too easy? I don't really understand what all the debate is about because it doesn't matter how far it goes; it is about getting it in the hole."

    Johnson's rhetorical question might be answered simply by looking back at his performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions earlier this month, an eight-shot romp that featured a tee shot on the 433-yard 12th hole that bounded down a slope to within inches of the hole.

    Johnson appeared much more willing to consider a reduced-distance ball option at the Hero World Challenge in November, when he sat next to tournament host Tiger Woods and supported Woods' notion that the ball should be addressed.

    "I don't mind seeing every other professional sport, they play with one ball. All the pros play with the same ball," Johnson said. "In baseball, the guys that are bigger and stronger, they can hit a baseball a lot further than the smaller guys. ... I think there should be some kind of an advantage for guys who work on hitting it far and getting that speed that's needed, so having a ball, like the same ball that everyone plays, there's going to be, you're going to have more of an advantage."

    Speaking Wednesday in Abu Dhabi, Johnson stood by the notion that regardless of whether the rules change or stay the same, he plans to have a leg up on the competition.

    "If the ball is limited then it is going to limit everyone," he said. "I'm still going to hit it that much further than I guess the average Tour player."

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    LPGA lists April date for new LA event

    By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 17, 2018, 8:18 pm

    The LPGA’s return to Los Angeles will come with the new Hugel-JTBC Open being played at Wilshire Country Club April 19-22, the tour announced Wednesday.

    When the LPGA originally released its schedule, it listed the Los Angeles event with the site to be announced at a later date.

    The Hugel-JTBC Open will feature a 144-player field and a $1.5 million purse. It expands the tour’s West Coast swing, which will now be made up of four events in California in March and April.

    The LPGA last played in Los Angeles in 2005. Wilshire Country Club hosted The Office Depot in 2001, with Annika Sorenstam winning there.