Date: January 30, 2007
Author: Luke Buttigieg

Karrie eyes No.1 ranking

By Luke Buttigieg Coming off her best season in five years, former world No.1 Karrie Webb has her sights set on regaining that mantle, and she heads into this week&aposs MFS Women&aposs Australian Open as the player to beat. Webb burst onto the international scene as a teenager in the mid-1990s, becoming the youngest player to win the Women&aposs British Open in 1995 and eventually completing a career Grand Slam of the majors when she won the McDonalds LPGA Championship in 2001. The years since then had not been as prolific for the 32-year-old as Swede Annika Sorenstam dominated the women&aposs game like Tiger Woods has the men&aposs game, although she was inducted into the World Golf and LPGA Halls of Fame in 2005. But after three years that included only single wins in each season from 2003-2005, Webb famously won the Kraft Nabisco Championship for a second time last year when she came from seven shots adrift on the final day. Webb pitched in for an eagle at the 72nd hole from 116 yards to force a playoff and then beat Mexican Lorena Ochoa at the first hole in sudden death, with the victory followed by others at the Michelob Ultra Open at Kingsmill, Longs Drugs Challenge, Mizuno Classic and Evian Masters. That sensational form has Webb again believing in her game and eyeing off not only Sorenstam&aposs perch at the top of the women&aposs game but also other achievements that eluded her last year like No.1 on the LPGA Tour money list and Player of the Year. “I feel like I have the ability to be the best player in the world again and that&aposs the very far-distant carrot, I don&apost know how far away it is, but that&aposs the carrot that&aposs the ultimate one,” Webb said at Royal Sydney on Tuesday. “Steps in between that are continue doing the same good work that I&aposve been doing and giving myself lots of chances to win like I did last year and just really enjoying that process of doing that.” “I think I&aposm not going to put the pressure on myself to have to have a better year than last year but I think just a similar year would be very successful for me, it will be on the right track towards obviously like I said that ultimate goal, if I were to achieve it, of being No.1 in the world.” Webb also revealed that a desire to prove she could still match it with the world&aposs best and show the young stars coming through that she isn&apost finished helped her return to such great form. And having worked her way back from the seasons when things didn&apost go her way, Webb also believes that she is better equipped now to handle any future struggles she may have than early in her career when things had gone so well. “I did it once before and I think the difference between then and now is that I don&apost really believe that I knew exactly what process it took for me to get to that, I think I just rode a big wave of confidence for five or six years,” Webb said. “Obviously my talent got me to be to that position but mentally I didn&apost really have a process of how I went about that so when things got a little bit lean there for a while I didn&apost have that process to go back and draw upon to say &aposwell I&aposve won all these tournaments, how did I do it&apos, I really didn&apost have any idea.”