Karrie Webb is happier with golf than she’s ever been, regaining lost yardage off the tee and thinks playing in front of her home crowd will be a factor in this week’s ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open.
The five-time champion, an honorary member at Royal Melbourne, says she feels far more confident about her chances this week than when the tournament last visited in 2012.
And helping the Queensland legend along is a change of coaches to regain distance she said she’d slowly lost in the past few years.
And while at pains to point out that she’d lost no respect for long-time swing mentor Ian Triggs, she said the move to American Mike McGetrick) had begun to pay off.
“I actually lost distance, so I’m not actually looking to hit it further, just getting that back,” Webb said today.
“It happened slowly, but all of a sudden it hit me that I was substantially shorter than I ever have been.
“So making the change to a new coach was something that was very hard for me.
“I feel like I have had the same team for the majority of my career, so to make a change wasn’t something I was comfortable with, but I went and sought a second opinion, just to see.
“If it was going to be a dramatic change, I didn’t feel like I had the time to rebuild my swing.
“And honestly, I’m really working on the same principles, just hearing it a different way. Sometimes when two people work together for a long time, those things that used to work aren’t working any more and you just need to hear it said differently for it to click.”
Webb said her iron play had become “very inconsistent”, but that she’d recently rediscovered the groove that has given her an unprecedented five national championships, including last year’s at nearby Victoria Golf Club.
“Peter Thomson was the first one to let me know I’d joined his club (as a five-time Open champion),” joked Webb, who thinks home crowd support is worth more than her name on a Sunday leaderboard.
“It’s really worth a shot or two to me when I play in Australia and I have that crowd support,” the world No.9 said.
“It gives me a boost myself, but I think it also helps me (in relation) to all the others in the field. If there are other Aussies up there, they’ll get cheered for as well, but anyone else who’s not from Australia, they know who everyone is supporting.”
And it’s that sense of belonging, of a refound passion, that has the 40-year-old still going strongly with visions of Olympic selection next year in her mind.
“I’d say I probably enjoy it more now than I did and I should have enjoyed it more when I was at the top of the game,” she said.
“But I have learnt to enjoy the process a little bit more and what it takes to play well.”