Unofficial Australian team captain Karrie Webb insists that the Australian team will need to have fun is they are to taste success at the UL International Crown this week in Chicago.
Webb, still recovering from the disappointment of failing to qualify for the Australian team for the Rio Olympic Games said that having a good time will be the number one goal for herself and her younger compatriots.
"To me the goal -- the first goal this week is that we all have fun, and that if someone doesn't play well or none of us play well, that's just what's meant to be, but we need to be out there having fun and enjoy this team format because we don't get the opportunity to do it very often"
"You know, if we play well and we have a chance to win, that's just going to be awesome. I hope we really do make it through to Sunday and really have a great shot on Sunday to win. Obviously, I think we all want to do that, and I think we all believe we can do that, but if we don't have a good time Thursday through Saturday, I don't think we'll be there on Sunday."
Webb also said she was revelling being in the company of her fellow Australians this week,
"Australians are a different breed, and I think when we're together as a team, there's a lot of joking, it's nice to hang out with Aussies and have the banter back and forth that we do. You don't get that as often as I would like on Tour. It's a fun week, and we had fun two years ago, but I think we'll have an even better time this year"
Webb has great memories of the host venue this week, she won the US Women's Open at the Merit Club in 2000 by 5 shots.
"Well, it's great to be back here. I haven't been back to the Merit Club since 2000, so it's been a nice trip down memory lane for me. Two of my team-mates Minjee and Su were on 4 years old when I won here! Just remembering that week of the U.S. Open in 2000, and obviously the course is not set up U.S. Open style, which I think we're all pleased about. This event should have a lot of low scores being shot in the best-ball format and lots of birdies, and that's how it's set up."
Webb will be joined in the Australian team this week by Minjee Lee, Su Oh and Rebecca Artis.
Artis will be representing her country for the first time as a professional, and said that some good scoring could be expected this week during the matches
'I think it's a fantastic golf course. I think it's at the moment set up perfectly for match play. There's some reachable par-5s, drivable par-4. The course is in fantastic condition. It's got a little bit bouncier, like Minjee said. I noticed it a lot today compared to even yesterday and Monday. So it's starting to firm up."
Victorian Su Oh, who ironically was the player who knocked Webb out of the Rio Olympics, felt that strategy would play an important part this week,
"I didn't get to play in it two years ago, but since then I've really wanted to be part of the team. The golf course is great. Like Beck and Minjee said, it's a great -- some of the par-5s are short and the par-4s you can drive it on, so I think especially in the four-ball, we can see what the other partners are doing, and then maybe a different strategy if needed. But we're playing in team, so I think we can figure it out."
The Australian team is seeded 4th this week at the UL Crown, and in tomorrow morning's opening fourball matches they will face the 5th seeded team from Chinese Taipei.
Oh will tee it up tomorrow morning in the opening match with her idol Karrie Webb against the former world number 1 Yani Tseng and her compatriot Teresa Lu.
The 20-year-old Victorian couldn't hide her excitement of playing alongside her long-time mentor and friend.
"Karrie won the U.S. Open here in 2000, so we have a winner in the group already. I'm just trying to see what she does. I've always wanted to play in a team with Karrie, and she's just a really amazing role model. I think she's amazing. I can't wait to go out there and play really well and see how we go"
Oh and Lee, as shy young 17-year-olds finished first and second in the Karrie Webb Series, a scholarship program Webb started back in 2008 to inspire and nurture young amateur women golfers in Australia. As the scholarship winners, they got to spend a week with Webb at the U.S. Women’s Open at Sebonack, with Karrie funding the trip and mentoring them. Oh says that the experience of that week really helped motivate her,
"Yeah, that was my very first experience of the U.S. Women's Open. I didn't know what to expect, I was just happy that I got to spend a week -- so we spent a week with Karrie at her house. We just kind of do everything with her, like go inside the ropes in the practice rounds with her and just be with her the entire week so we get the full experience of the U.S. Open.
After that I was just like, wow, I want to play in this and I want to be part of this, and that's just another motivation that I got after the week. And not just -- not just that week. She's always there. I had a tough year last year, and I would have one good round and she would message me, first person to message me to say, great round, Su, and just keep it up.
When I have a question on my mind, I just email her and call her, and she's always -- she gets back to you really quickly. Just everybody, like a friend of ours, she got engaged recently, and one of the very first people that she called was Karrie. Just that relationship, the ability to have that relationship is just incredible"
Teammate Minjee Lee was quick to agree with Oh's sentiments,
"Yeah, well, that was my first year, as well, spending the week with Webby at a U.S. Open. No, it was just a great experience. Pretty much what Su said, we got to do everything that Webby would do at a U.S. Open, and we were inside the ropes so we could see all the types of shots she would play, and just sort of like that on-course experience, so that was really cool.
It just gave me the experience that I really wanted to play at the U.S. Open, as well, and the next year I got to play, so it was really cool. Yeah, just -- it was just a great experience.
With the pressure of qualifying for Rio now lifted from her shoulders, the 41-year-old Webb is now hoping she can find the kind of form she has been working hard towards,
"Yeah, it hasn't been the most fun year. You know, the bottom line, obviously I wanted to play in the Olympics, something I stated back in 2009 when it was first announced. But I think the thing I'm most disappointed about is that I just haven't played well.
I've really worked my butt off for two years, and I'm just not really seeing the rewards to that good play. It could be a good reset button, like you said. I'm hoping that's the case, that the weight of the Olympics is off now; I don't have to think about that. I don't have that in my schedule.
I'm not playing a ton of events between now and the end of the year, but hopefully I can have a good finish to the year and see where that puts me at the end of the year.
In the second fourball match the Australian pairing of Minjee Lee and Rebecca Artis will be up against the Chinese Taipei pairing of Ssu -Chia Cheng and Candie Kung
Round 1 can be watched live on Fox Sports Channel 3 from 2:00am Friday
For live scores go to http://www.lpga.com/leaderboard
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