Australian Ladies Professional Golf
Stone: Plenty of fight left in Webb
Date: 29th July 2013
By: Peter Stone / Golf.org.au
Karrie Webb
Karrie Webb in action at Buckinghamshire Golf Club.

Karrie Webb might well never forgive me but let the fingers on the keyboard do the talking anyway.

There is life in the old girl yet.

But, then again, in recent years the 38-year-old Webb has been asked the question countless times of what lies ahead of her for the future. Her career wasn’t quite the halcyon days of 2000-2001 when she so totally dominated women’s golf but, well, the spark seemed to have died just a little.

The answer is always the same: Her remaining goal is to represent Australia in the Rio Olympics in 2016 and, after that, she will assess what lies ahead.

She did tell golf.org.au at Royal Canberra during the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open in February that one thought was to improve the public health system in northern Queensland following an unfortunate experience of one of her sisters and her young child.

In the meantime she has tournament golf to play and, on the evidence of yesterday, some damn good golf as well.

It wasn’t quite in the fashion of Phil Mickelson winning last week’s British Open at Muirfield but up there nevertheless as Webb crafted an almost faultless closing seven under par 65 to win the ISPS Handa European Ladies Masters in Denham, Buckinghamshire just outside London.

And, what an ideal way to was to prepare for the third women’s major of the year – the Ricoh Women’s British Open – that starts on Thursday at St Andrews, the spiritual home of golf.

Webb played in company with the extroverted, at times outrageous, American Christina Kim who never stops talking especially to her ball as it is in flight, but remained fully focussed on stitching up the 55th worldwide victory of her professional career.

She broke into a delighted smile and gave Kim a high-five when the American made an ace at the miniscule par three 18th, measuring around the 110-metres, and duly waited, first in the clubhouse and then with a few putts on the practice green, to await her victory being confirmed.

Webb has seven majors to her credit, but the last was the 2006 Kraft Nabisco and, yes, she does face a formidable task this coming week against a far stronger field to that assembled in Buckinghamshire headed by Korean Inbee Park who has won the first three women’s majors of the year – the Kraft Nabisco, LPGA Championship and US Women’s Open.

Whatever else Webb does in tournament golf, her legacy for the women’s game especially in Australia is massive. She is an LPGA Hall of Famer and also a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, an induction to the latter just a few years ago had her practising her acceptance speech in a mirror without breaking into tears.

She is arguably Australia’s greatest ever golfer but has rarely dipped her toe in the controversial matters of golf and the world in general – unlike Greg Norman who never fails to take a bite at the fishing hook dangled by media even if it isn’t baited.

In Britain’s Sunday Telegraph yesterday she went close, but her words were measured when Alasdair Reid asked of her opinion on the Women’s British Open being played at St Andrews, a club that does not have women members like Muirfield last week when the Open Championship visited.

The media made much of the issue early in the week, but it became quickly forgotten, not just by the events on course that followed but the deft handling of R&A chief executive Peter Dawson.

Webb told Reid: “I don’t have a problem with a private club choosing who they allow to be members, the problem I have is when a private club like that decides to host a very public event.

“If you are going to hold a public event, take money from the public and from public companies, it is pretty hard to say that only a certain kind of person is allowed to be a member here.

“I would have no problem with Muirfield saying, ‘We are a great links course and a private men’s club’, and just never hold the Open Championship there,” Webb said.

There were few media at the ISPS Handa European Ladies Masters but this week the golfing scribes will descend on St Andrews after covering the Senior British Open at Royal Birkdale and, as they say, questions will be asked.

Let’s hope it doesn’t distract Webb as she has shown already this year that there is life in the old girl yet with her victories in the RACV/Volvik Australian Ladies Masters, the ShopRite Classic on the LPGA Tour and now theISPS Handa European Ladies Masters on the European Tour.

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