Womens British Was Karries Webb-Site

By George WhiteAugust 5, 2002, 4:00 pm
It was 1995, seven years ago, and Karrie Webb was an anonymous kid from a small town in Australia who struggling to play professional golf. Only 19 years old, she was less than a year removed from America where she had spent a year on the Futures Tour, less than two years from her home in little Ayr, Australia, where she worked at her mother's caf making $10 an hour.
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.
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Recovering Thomas thinks Match Play could help cause

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 10:07 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – It’s been a tough couple of days for Justin Thomas, and he hasn’t played an event in three weeks.

The world’s second-ranked player had his wisdom teeth removed on March 7 following the WGC-Mexico Championship and has been recovering ever since.

“I'm feeling OK. As funny as it is, as soon as I got over my wisdom teeth, I got a little strep throat,” Thomas said on Tuesday at the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play. “I was pretty worried yesterday, to be honest, how I was going to be doing, but I feel a lot better today and just keep taking medicine and hopefully it will be good.”

Thomas, who is listed in the Tour media guide as 5-foot-10, 145 pounds, said he lost about 6 pounds when he had his wisdom teeth removed and has struggled to put that weight back on because of his bout with strep throat.

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As a result, his energy levels are low, which is a particular concern considering the marathon nature of the Match Play, which could include as many as seven rounds if he were to advance to Sunday’s championship match. Thomas, however, said the format could actually make things easier this week.

“I told my dad, I only have to beat one person each day. I don't have to beat the whole field,” said Thomas, who has won just one match in two starts at the Match Play. “If it was stroke play then I may have a little harder time. But hopefully each day I'll get better and better. Who knows, maybe that will help me win a match in this golf tournament, because I've had a pretty hard time in the past.”

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Spieth thought Mickelson blew him off as a kid

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:50 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – Phil Mickelson is widely recognized as one of the PGA Tour’s most accommodating players when it comes to the fans and signing autographs.

Lefty will famously spend hours after rounds signing autographs, but sometimes perception can deviate from reality, as evidenced by Jordan Spieth’s encounter with Mickelson years ago when he was a junior golfer.

“I think I was at the [AT&T] Byron Nelson with my dad and Phil Mickelson and Davis Love were on the putting green. I was yelling at them, as I now get annoyed while I'm practicing when I'm getting yelled at, and they were talking,” Spieth recalled. “When they finished, Phil was pulled off in a different direction and Davis came and signed for me. And I thought for the longest time that Phil just blew me off. And Davis was like the nicest guy. And Phil, I didn't care for as much for a little while because of that.”

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Entering his sixth full season on Tour, Spieth now has a drastically different perspective on that day.

“[Mickelson] could have been late for media. He could have been having a sponsor obligation. He could have been going over to sign for a kid’s area where there was a hundred of them,” Spieth said. “There's certainly been kids that probably think I've blown them off, too, which was never my intention. It would have never been Phil's intention either.”

Spieth said he has spoken with Mickelson about the incident since joining the Tour.

“He probably responded with a Phil-like, ‘Yeah, I knew who you were, and I didn't want to go over there and sign it,’ something like that,” Spieth laughed. “I’ve gotten to see him in person and really see how genuine he is with everybody he comes in contact with. Doesn't matter who it is. And he's a tremendous role model and I just wasn't aware back then.”

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This week, let the games(manship) begin

By Rex HoggardMarch 20, 2018, 7:47 pm

AUSTIN, Texas – The gentleman’s game is almost entirely devoid of anything even approaching trash talk or gamesmanship.

What’s considered the norm in other sports is strictly taboo in golf - at least that’s the standard for 51 weeks out of the year. That anomaly, however, can be wildly entertaining.

During Monday’s blind draw to determine this week’s 16 pods, Pat Perez was the first to suggest that this week’s WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play is the exception to the stoic rule on the PGA Tour.

“Me and Branden [Grace] played a nine-hole match today and were chirping at each other the entire time,” Perez laughed. “Stuff like, ‘go in the trees.’ We were laughing about it, I didn’t get mad, I hit it in the trees.”

Although Perez and Grace may have been on the extreme end of the trash-talk spectrum, it’s widely understood that unlike the steady diet of stroke-play stops in professional golf, the Match Play and the Ryder Cup are both chances to test some of the game’s boundaries.

“There’s been a couple of different instances, both in the Ryder Cup. I can't share them with you, I'm sorry,” laughed Jordan Spieth, before adding. “I think they [the comments] were indifferent to me and helped [U.S. partner Patrick Reed].

Often the gamesmanship is subtle, so much so an opponent probably doesn’t even realize what’s happening.

Jason Day, for example, is a two-time winner of this event and although he was reluctant to go into details about all of his “tricks,” he did explain his mindset if he finds himself trailing in a match.

“Always walk forward in front of the person that you're playing against, just so you're letting them know that you're pushing forward and you're also letting them know that you're still hanging around,” Day explained. “People feed off body language. If I'm looking across and the guy's got his shoulders slumped and his head is down, you can tell he's getting frustrated, that's when you push a little bit harder.”

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Some moments are not so innocent, as evidenced by a story from Paul Casey from a match during his junior days growing up in England.

“I remember a player’s ball was very close to my line, as his coin was very close to my line and we were still both about 10 feet away and he kind of looked at me,” Casey recalled. “I assumed he looked at me to confirm whether his marker was in my line and it needed to be moved. I said, ‘That's OK there.’ So he picked [his coin] up. And then of course he lost his ability to understand English all of a sudden.”

While the exploits this week won’t be nearly as egregious, there have been a handful of heated encounters at the Match Play. In 2015 when this event was played at Harding Park in San Francisco, Keegan Bradley and Miguel Angel Jimenez went nose to nose when the Spaniard attempted to intervene in a ruling that Bradley was taking and the incident even spilled over into the locker room after the match.

But if those types of encounters are rare, there’s no shortage of mind games that will take place over the next few days at Austin Country Club.

“It's part of it. It should be fun,” Spieth said. “There should be some gamesmanship. That's the way it is in every other sport, we just never play one-on-one or team versus team like other sports do. That's why at times it might seem way out of the ordinary. If every tournament were match play, I don't think that would be unusual.”

It also helps heat things up if opponents have some history together. On Tuesday, Rory McIlroy was asked if he’s run across any gamesmanship at the Match Play. While the Northern Irishman didn’t think there would be much trash talking going on this week, he did add with a wry smile, “Patrick Reed isn’t in my bracket.”

McIlroy and Reed went head-to-head in an epic singles duel at the 2016 Ryder Cup, which the American won 1 up. The duo traded plenty of clutch shots during the match, with Reed wagging his finger at McIlroy following a particularly lengthy birdie putt and McIlroy spurring the crowd with roars of, “I can’t hear you.”

It was an example of how chippy things can get at the Match Play that when McIlroy was asked if he had any advice for Spieth, who drew Reed in his pod this week, his answer had a bit of a sharp edge.

“Don't ask for any drops,” laughed McIlroy, a not-so-subtle reference to Reed’s comment last week at Bay Hill after being denied free relief by a rules official, “I guess my name needs to be Jordan Spieth, guys,” Reed said on Sunday.

Put another way, this is not your grandfather’s game. This is the Match Play where trash talking and gamesmanship are not only acceptable, but can also be extremely entertaining.

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Romo set to make PGA Tour debut at Punta Cana

By Will GrayMarch 20, 2018, 6:43 pm

While much of the attention in golf this week will be focused on the WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play in Austin, Tony Romo may send a few eyeballs toward the Caribbean.

The former quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst will make his PGA Tour debut this week, playing on a sponsor invite at the Corales Punta Cana Resort & Club Championship in the Dominican Republic. The exemption was announced last month when Romo played as an amateur at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am, and he's apparently been hard at work ever since.

"I'll be treating it very serious," Romo told reporters Tuesday. "My wife will tell you she hasn't seen me much over the last month. But if you know me at all, I think you know if I care about something I'm going to commit to it 100 percent. So like I said. you'll get the best I've got this week."

Romo retired from the NFL last year and plays to a plus-0.3 handicap. In addition to his participation in the Pebble Beach event, he has tried to qualify for the U.S. Open multiple times and last month played a North Texas PGA mini-tour event as an amateur.

According to Romo, one of the key differences between pro football and golf is the fact that his former position is entirely about reactive decisions, while in golf "you're trying to commit wholeheartedly before you ever pull the club out of your bag."

"I'm not worried about getting hit before I hit the ball," Romo said. "It's at my own tempo, my own speed, in this sport. Sometimes that's difficult, and sometimes that's easier depending on the situation."

Romo admitted that he would have preferred to have a couple extra weeks to prepare, but recently has made great strides in his wedge game which "was not up to any Tour standard." The first-tee jitters can't be avoided, but Romo hopes to settle in after battling nerves for the first three or four holes Thursday.

Romo hopes to derive an added comfort factor from his golf in the Dallas area, where he frequently plays with a group of Tour pros. While Steph Curry traded texts with a few pros before his tournament debut last summer on the Web.com Tour, Romo expects his phone to remain silent until he puts a score on the board.

"I think they're waiting to either tell me 'Congrats' or 'I knew it, terrible,'" Romo said. "Something along those lines. They're probably going to wait to see which way the wind's blowing before they send them."

Romo will tee off at 8:10 a.m. ET Thursday alongside Dru Love and Denny McCarthy.