Skip to main content

Webb Doesnt Want To Be Anyone But Just Karrie

Tiger Woods is rapidly growing into the most recognizable face in America. They had cameras trained on him at the Orange Bowl. They had cameras on him in the off-season in the Bahamas. He has his Tigerjam and his Tigerfests and every step he takes is recorded for posterity.
Then there is Karrie Webb. She started playing here the same year as Tiger, 1996. During that time she has won and won, just like Tiger. She's won 23 times in just five years, and that's exactly one less than Tiger, who has won 24.

Karrie used to live in Orlando, the place where Tiger lives. She now lives in Port St. Lucie, 160 miles south. But while Tiger is constantly hounded at every step, Karrie lives quietly on the beach. She won seven times last year, an unbelievable number for man or woman, but few people notice her as she went about her day-to-day life. Which, incidentally, is just fine with Karrie.
She remembers that time in Orlando when she wanted to buy a BMW. She wasn't wearing slacks, golf hat and shoes. She was wearing jeans - nice, but still jeans - and a neat t-shirt.
She went the first time and salesmen in the dealership hardly noticed. She went back again, but for the second time she was ignored.
Finally, the third time she went in, she had made up her mind - on her own, I might add. She still didn't make an impact on the salesman. She wasn't sure how she was going to pay, so a 21-year-old golf star put in a hurried call to her agents at IMG.
'How do I pay for this?' she asked.
'Well,' the person replied, 'if they accept personal checks, you have enough in your account to cover it.'
Webb called the gent over and asked if she could write a check. Well, he replied, they would certainly have to check her bank records. You don't just walk in off the street and write a check for an M3 BMW, you know.

Karrie Webb_WomenShe endured the game a bit longer while the salesman strode off to see the sales manager. He did - then returned apologetically. 'Are you Karrie Webb, the golfer?' he asked.
Yes, she nodded.
'We don't need to check your records,' he said, suddenly a bit flustered.
Such are the insults that Karrie Webb suffers. Incidentally, she would have been swarmed had she showed up at a BMW dealership in Australia. There she endures a fame that is Madonna-like. But she does absolutely nothing to enhance her image in the U.S. besides win golf tournaments, so she goes on her way without hindrance.
She is back in Orlando for the LPGA's opening tournament of 2001. She's 26 years old now and she has overcome much of her schoolgirl shyness about appearing in public. But she doesn't have the innate charisma of a Tiger Woods or the one-liners that leave the room clutching their sides in laughter.
What she does have is a golf swing. And a philosophy.
'I don't want to go out on the golf course thinking I'm going to try and top last year or the last two years,' she said.
'If I play good golf, I know I can be No. 1 on the money list. It's hard to set anything harder than that, but I also know that's going to be hard to achieve every year. All I want is to get into contention as many times as I can, and especially at the four majors. If I'm in the hunt come Sunday at the majors, I'll be very happy.'
No mention of owning a face that is instantly recognized, or car salesmen that fuss over you ad nauseum. This woman wants to be exactly who she is - Karrie Webb.