Kona Country Club plays to par 72 with 6,257 yards of Bermuda grass tees, fairway's and greens that - trust me- are a challenge to even the most accomplished golfer. You are now entering one of those weeks when there will be a lot of talk about the grain of the green.
2001 has turned out to be a refreshing surprise. To date, there have been three tournaments producing three different winners - none of which have the last name Webb. But all that may change this week as Karrie Webb gears up for her second defense of the season.
There was seemingly no way to stop Karrie from winning any event she entered at the beginning of the 2000 season and the Takefuji Classic was no exception. Webb claimed the inaugural event as her own after shooting rounds of 68-70-69=207 (-9) and defeating Annika Sorenstam in a playoff.
This year has turned out to be somewhat different.
Karrie had a slow start during the Florida Swing and all eyes will be on her this week to see what she will do. After being denied a win at the Office Depot by 21-year-old Grace Park, this reporter has secret hopes that Webby will apply a little extra heat on the field.
Webb, struggling to adjust to her new caddie, Scotsman Mike Paterson, has not been able to repeat her winning spree of 2000. In the last two events alone, she has come in second - and second isn't what Karrie Webb comes to tournaments for.
Although both parties will need time to adjust to each other, with a work ethic like Karrie's, she is sure to be back on top any time.
Others teeing it up amidst the gentle trade winds this week are: spit-fire Helen Alfredsson, Brandie Burton, Italy's Stefania Croce, Dorothy Delasin, Vicki Fergon, Pat Hurst, Becky Iverson, Lorie Kane, Mi Hyun Kim, Betsy King, Kelli Kuehne, the Swedish duo of Annika and Charlotta Sorenstam, Jan Stephenson and Grace Park. Sponsor exemptions were given to Kasumi Fujii and Miho Koga.
All will compete for a share of the $850,000 purse in this three-day event and all the action will be televised on The Golf Channel 5-7pm ET.