Australia’s greatest ever Major champion, Karrie Webb, is returning to professional golf for the first time since 2020 this week as she seeks to fit some competitive golf into her schedule.
The World Golf and LPGA Hall of Famer is teeing it up in the Gainbridge LPGA tournament at Boca Rio in Florida simply because she can.
“I chose golf over life events for 25 years and I want to put life events ahead of golf,” Webb said.
“This week is perfect. Convenient that the tournament is here where I’ve lived for 23 years and it’s fitting in with my life. I’m not missing out on something in my life.”
The seven-time Major champion has made it clear that she has no desire to return to the weekly grind of the professional game, instead she seeks an occasional tournament golf fix to rediscover the things she misses about life on tour.
“It’s not necessarily a return. I don’t think there’s any full-time or even part-time golf in me, but when you’re away from it for a long time there are a lot of things you miss about it,” Webb said.
“It’s very convenient that I could stay at home this week and play in a tournament for the first time in a while and not have the rigours of having to travel.
“After 20-plus years of lugging your clubs in a tour bag around and a heavy suitcase from shuttle buses to the car rental place to the hotel, it adds up over the years doing that all on your own. Those aren’t the highlights of playing on the LPGA but they’re all part and parcel of it.
“Those definitely aren’t the things I miss. I miss the people and the banter on the range.”
To prepare herself for the week ahead, Webb has dedicated more time to the grind on the range and putting green – another thing she does not miss – but in addition to a troublesome neck injury, she has encountered a significant obstacle.
“I played quite a bit in November and December. Then actually I got COVID over Christmas and that hampered practice for a couple of weeks. I didn’t touch a club for a couple of weeks,” Webb said.
“It’s not Karrie Webb practice that I’m used to, but it’s more than if I’m not preparing for a tournament. The range sessions and short game sessions and stuff like that are not a regular thing if I’m not preparing to play a tournament. If I’m playing a social round, I’m warming up to go play and that’s about it.”
Webb played a practice round yesterday with the inaugural Karrie Webb Cup winner Su Oh – they are also paired together for the opening two rounds in Florida – and she sees her continued involvement in golf in the mentoring and supporter role which she already plays for the Australian women tackling the professional tours.
“I communicate with all the girls quite often, especially when they’re playing tournaments. They’re all on my favourites for live scoring,” Webb said.
“I finally understand what my parents have gone through for all these years watching live scoring – especially if the telecast isn’t on or I’m not able to see the telecast. It’s stressful watching live scoring when you care about the results the girls have.”