Webb at Women's Aussie Open, planning 'full year'

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There may be a No. 1 vs. No. 2 world-ranking showdown at the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open this week, but Karrie Webb is the real headliner at Royal Adelaide Golf Club.

The LPGA Hall of Famer and Aussie star delivered some good news Wednesday to her faithful at an event she has won a record five times.

Webb, 42, said she’s planning to play a full schedule this year, welcome news for fans who wondered if she were gearing up for retirement after suffering a hard blow last year in failing to realize her Olympic dream. She fell short of qualifying for the Games in Rio de Janeiro. There were fears Down Under that she might walk away from the tour or severely curtail her schedule.

“I did have to re-assess,” Webb said. “One of the things that I had to re-assess was that I didn’t go to the Olympics, which was really disappointing, and, really, it took me a while to work out what I wanted to do.

“The game has been so good to me, and that’s what we’ve been talking about. I couldn’t let not making an Olympics bring all of that down. So, I’m committed to playing a full year this year and then we’ll just see. I’m just going to play it year by year.”

Webb has won 41 LPGA titles, her last coming at the Founders Cup almost three years ago. She said she wouldn’t commit to a full schedule if she didn’t think she was still competitive.

The average age of LPGA winners last year was 22. Webb sounds eager to mix it up with the rising youth.

“That’s the one thing,” Webb said. “If I’m at a golf tournament, especially committing to a full year, I’m not just here so everyone can say it’s great to see me at an event. I’m here to try and win.”

This is a special week for Webb. She made her professional debut at Royal Adelaide 23 years ago.

“Having your name on the bag and all of that, that was the part of the week that I remember the most, because I think that was the exciting part for me,” Webb said. “I was actually doing it. I was playing for money.”