Aussie Karrie Webb claimed her 40th LPGA victory in February at the Women’s Australian Open, the week after she was disqualified at the Australian Masters for signing an incorrect scorecard. The Australian Open win put Webb in a tie with Babe Zaharias for number of LPGA all-time victories. Then she took a deep breath, played events in Thailand and Singapore, and in March rallied from a six-shot deficit to claim yet another win at The Founders Cup. That was her 57th career victory across all tours — the LPGA (41), LET (15), ALPG (13), LPGA of Japan (3), Futures Tour (1), and the 2000 Women’s World Cup Golf (with Rachel Hetherington), the 2001 Wendy’s 3-Tour Challenge (with Dottie Pepper and Annika Sorenstam) and the 2003 ConAgra LPGA Skins Game. Thirty-nine years old, Webb’s a year older than Tiger Woods and four years younger than Phil Mickelson, has been playing pro golf for eighteen years, is ranked 5th in the world, and is healthy, winning, and going into the first LPGA major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, on the top of the LPGA money list and leading in the year-long Race to the CME Globe.
Is this as good as it gets? Perhaps for some athletes, but not for Karrie Webb. Only six events into the LPGA season, Webb’s a multiple event winner, and this is her 10th multiple-win season. Webb’s the player who completed the career Grand Slam quicker than anyone, male or female, by winning all four majors in a span of seven starts. This is the player whose first win came at the 1996 Women’s British Open when she was a wet-behind-the-ears rookie from Australia.
How does Karrie Webb assess her game at this point in a magnificent career?
I can’t say what I’m doing now is better than another time. I think I understand my game more than I ever have. I understand on any given day what I’ve got for that day. And I think that allows me to understand how to score. I didn’t always have that ability.
Webb’s looking forward, into the future, not backwards. At the moment she’s thinking about an “Aussie double,” two big, simultaneous wins on golf’s global stage. It could have happened last weekend but Adam Scott blew his lead at the Arnold Palmer Invitational. (Would Steven Bowditch‘s win at the Valero Texas Open count?)
Webb goes into the first female major of the year starting on Friday morning, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, having won twice already this year. A week later, world number 2 Scott will defend his green jacket and perhaps steal the mantle of the world’s best player should he win the Masters, although Jason Day – fresh off career-changing wins at the World Cup and World Matchplay – will also be a strong challenger again at Augusta National.
But beyond the next tournament, is Webb thinking yet about retirement? Don’t despair, Karrie Webb fans. The World Hall of Famer and LPGA board member says she’ll give that matter some thought after the 2016 Olympics.