Karrie Webb is in-form for this week's U.S Women's Open
Coach Ian Triggs believes veteran Karrie Webb still may add to her astonishing tally of seven major golf championships.
Back in the top 10 of the world rankings after a win in New Jersey earlier this season, the 38-year-old Webb tees it up along with four other Australians in the U.S Women's Open at Sebanack Golf Club on Long Island, New York, this weekend.
The Queenslander won the most recent of her seven majors all the way back in 2006, holing out from 100 metres with a wedge at the 72nd hole in the signature moment of her career.
But while she has indicated she may jump off the touring roundabout after the 2016 Olympic Games, Webb is still playing superbly. She has had 11 top-10 finishes in major championships since that crazy day at Rancho Mirage, California, and is ranked No. 8 in the world.
Triggs, one of the world’s foremost golf coaches, believes it can happen again. “There’s no reason why not,’’ he told Golf.org.au today.
“I mean every week is tough. There’s always someone who’s hot and the standard is getting higher. There are names there we don’t know or they don’t have a lot of history. The players from Karrie’s era have moved on except for a couple. They’re all young, they’re all very enthusiastic to do well, they train hard. There are lots of very good players."
“Karrie would have to do her best to achieve it but she’s trying to do that every week. I don’t see any reason given a few breaks and a sniff of the lead she’s got a chance, yes.’’
Webb dominated two US Opens in 2000 and 2001 when she was the undisputed champion of women’s golf.
She had a disappointing finish, tied for 33rd, at the most recent major, the LPGA Championship in Rochester, but she had won an LPGA tournament in New Jersey the very weekend before that; Triggs believed she suffered for her own expectations.
“It’s so difficult when you’ve been the best in the world. She sets such high standards for herself. Going into tournaments sort of trying to chill out and enjoy yourself, it takes some real management to let go of the ‘overtry’ and the sheer passion that she always played with. To me, she’s found a really nice place at the moment."
“She’s got a nice balance. She’s enjoying her life off the course and she’s enjoying her golf. I think she deserves that and it’s really good to see she’s been able to manage it. She would hate to be going out there performing poorly. She would hate that. Maybe No. 1 is not her goal any more, but she still wants to perform as Karrie Webb is known.’’
At the LPGA Championship the rough was penal and Webb struggled on a course she does not enjoy; this week’s venue is links-style, with big, undulating greens. It may well suit her better, although she will have plenty of hot competition.
World No. 1 Inbee Park, the 24-year-old from South Korea, is the player everyone is chasing. Park won again last weekend, for the fifth time on the LPGA Tour this year, and she has also won both this year’s majors.
“It’s middle of fairway, middle of green and hole putts from everywhere,’’ said Triggs. “It’s pretty hard to beat. There’s nothing complex about the way Inbee plays. Everything’s simplified. She repeats the same swing, goes through the same routines.’’
Park beat another one of Triggs’ pupils, Korean So Yeon Ryu, in a playoff last weekend. The popular Ryu is a previous winner of the US Open, but she has been undergoing technical changes.
“She’s working very hard, physically to get rid of a few of the imbalances she has to neutralise her swing,’’ said Triggs.
“She’s nearly there and I expect in the next year she’ll really come into play but at the moment we have some tournaments where her body movements and coordination is out of sequence and the timing is out and she doesn’t play quite as well. She’s motivated, she’s driven. I think the best is still to come from So Yeon and the bigger the event, the better she can rise to the occasion.’’