On Thursday, February 6, Australian Karrie Webb is going to face a full field of players intent on one thing and one thing only: unseating her from her championship at the Volvik RACV Australian Masters. Is she worried? I doubt it. Webb’s held the Australian Masters championship 8 times. Rolex Ranked No. 8, approaching her 40th birthday, Webb’s been playing pro golf for two decades and has a resume that includes 194 pro top-10 finishes and 39 pro victories. What makes Karrie Webb such a fantastic golfer? Her swing. It epitomizes balance and tempo perfection. Take a look:
Karrie Webb’s not a flashy player. She hits about 80% of her drives right down the middle of the fairway, she gets to the green in regulation about 75% of the time, and during the 2013 season she averaged about 29 putts per round. She’s all business on the course, focused, filtering out distractions. No matter who she’s paired with, no matter how hot or how cold, no matter how big the purse or how high the stakes or how noisy the gallery, Karrie Webb came to play some golf. That steady, consistent competence has won her every available major championship in women’s professional golf and put her in the World Golf Hall of Fame at the age of 30.
Over the course of her career Webb’s faced down the likes of Laura Davies, Annika Sorenstam, Se Ri Pak, Dottie Pepper, Laura Diaz, and Shanshan Feng to earn her victories.
This week Webb will take on a strong field of challengers that includes: American Jessica Korda, the 20-year old winner of the LPGA season-opener, Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, who would like to make it two in a row to jump start her 2014 season; Yani Tseng, also a past champion at the RACV Australian Masters, who would very much like to reclaim her place at the top of the board; Solheimers Caroline Hedwall and Charley Hull, who made their marks on the 2013 victorious Team Europe, who will both be hunting their first individual pro victory at the Australian Masters. In fact, just about everybody who’s playing will be taking a shot at Karrie Webb.
For the Australians who’ll challenge Webb, and there are a number of them lined up and waiting for their shot, there’s more at stake than a single tournament victory.
Australia & The International Crown
Australia qualified to send a team to the International Crown largely on the strength of Karrie Webb. The team will have three additional members, and there’s a list of Aussies who want to earn the right to play on their country’s team at the July event. They have only a few weeks, until the Kraft Nabisco Championship in early April, to qualify.
Countrywomen Bree Arthur, Sarah Jane Smith, Rebecca Artis and Nikki Campbell are all strong players with 2013 wins, and Arthur, Smith and Campbell had top-10 finishes last weekend at the New Zealand Women’s Open. They all need to win the Australian Masters just to have a shot at playing on the Australian International Crown team.
The Australian Ladies Masters will have international television coverage: ABC 1 (Australia), Golf Channel (USA, Canada, & Japan), J-GOLF (Korea), SKY TV (New Zealand), ESPN Star Sports (Asia), SKY SPORTS (Europe). Check your local television schedules for broadcast times.