by Amy Walsh
There’s no doubt that the best golfer that Australia has ever produced has given her fans many reasons to cheer over the years. 57 worldwide professional wins (including 7 official Majors), along with a World Golf Hall of Fame induction is pretty impressive; and yet Karrie Webb is far from done. I could go on about her illustrious on course achievements thus far, however, I think her LPGA stats page would do a far better job of that than me.
In contrast to popular thought, I think that it’s Webby’s performances off the course are what should keep the support flowing. Many of you may not know what Karrie is like off the course; which isn’t surprising considering that she admits to being described as somewhat “unapproachable” (which isn’t true by the way- she is super friendly). However, as someone who has had one real life conversation with her (and internally fangirled when walking past her many times), I feel like I can shed some light on the matter and provide a little Webbucation if you will.
The one real life conversation I’m referring to, happened at Royal Pines Resort a couple of days before the 2014 Australian Ladies Masters. I had earned a start that week, by winning a junior qualifier on Monday. I was already feeling pretty happy with myself when one of the Golf Queensland coaches invited me over to sit down with a couple of other juniors with whom Karrie had offered to take some questions from. Despite being massively under prepared for a Q&A with a legend, I was pretty pleased to listen to what she had to say to my three friends. I was wondering about what questions she always faces and I ended up asking the first thing that came to mind. I don’t know if I was expecting to have the super secret to success imparted on me but I asked what the difference was between a good player and a great player.
Karrie talked about how other players had more talent than she did (which was pretty hard to believe) but she always played a lot smarter than they did and, obviously, worked really hard. That is something that still sticks with me today when I get a little too consumed with trying to perfect technique, especially when out on the course. Needless to say my three friends and I won’t be forgetting the chat anytime soon. The highest ranked Australian woman in the game at the time, who had already lifted the Australian Ladies Masters trophy 7 times, gave up some of her time to sit down and help a few local teenagers. Pretty cool right?
Another way Webby gives back? The Karrie Webb scholarship. The scholarship, which is a partnership with Golf Australia is awarded to the 2 women who have performed the best throughout the year in the nominated events. They are to the value of $10,000 each, to be spent on international travel and playing experiences over the northern hemisphere summer; and mentoring support from Karrie for the duration of the scholarship. Not support as in a friendly email. No. Support as in you travel to the U.S. Women’s Open and stay with Karrie where you train with her for the week. Pretty great stuff!
Enough of the giving back, though, I’ve really saved the best fact for last. If you’re following @karrie_webb on social media (which you definitely should be) then you probably already know what I’m talking about. Karrie is a proud and passionate supporter of her home team, the North Queensland Cowboys in the National Rugby League.
Fellow Aussie LPGA tour player Sarah Kemp, however, is a Cronulla Sharks fan and whenever to the two teams clash they like to bet on the outcome. On the Australian Tour, we don’t like to bet with money because it’s far too easy to hand over the cash and for that to be the end of it. It’s far more entertaining when there’s something embarrassing awaiting the loser and even better when it can be posted on social media.
Karrie has lost her share of Cowboys vs Sharks bets, resulting in her playing practice rounds in a Sharks’ jersey or being forced to use Kempy’s team’s head cover during a tournament. But she certainly had the biggest triumph when the Cowboys took out the premiership last year and
Kempy suffered the humiliation of riding around on a hobby horse, wearing the Cowboys’ shirt, waving their flag and of course finishing off the ensemble with a cowboy hat. This all played out during the week of the Australian Open and Webby posted it online for all to see. And it was majestic.
So this year, let’s keep looking for Webb’s name atop the leaderboards; and depending on who you’d like to see sheepishly sporting their rival colours- perhaps even spare some luck for the North Queensland Cowboys or the Cronulla Sharks!
Amy Walsh is a talented Australian professional golfer based on the Queensland Gold Coast and aiming for success on the Australian, European, and LPGA tours.