Karrie Webb is in a transition phase, and it’s all learning for the legend of Australian golf.
Webb is 44, already a part-timer and by her own admission, winding down from the glory days. She spent more than four months back in Australia last year, more than any of the previous 20 years when she was based in Florida and winning seven majors, earning herself a Hall of Fame gong.
Her decision to pull back came because she was not ready to retire. And she feels the same now as she prepares for a tilt at the ISPS Handa Vic Open this week and then the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open next week in Adelaide.
“You know, I feel fortunate that my career's been so good to me that I can choose to wind my career down slowly rather than … a lot of athletes are forced out because either they're going to be cut from the team or their bodies are not allowing them to play their sport anymore or they're a step slower or whatever,” she said today. “You know, I get to choose on my own terms when I'm done. Honestly, to stop cold turkey I think would be a huge life adjustment rather than doing it the way I'm doing it.’’
Webb played eight tournaments last year but her last was the Women’s British Open in August. She has not played a tournament since then, a period of more than five months, which is a less than ideal preparation for the next fortnight.
But that’s okay, according to Webb, who wanted to pursue other interests after more than 20 years on the road. Back in Townsville close to her sister and her parents, who still live in Ayr nearby, fishing, watching North Queensland Cowboys in the NRL, generally living another life. Recently it was announced that she will redesign Brisbane’s Indooroopilly Golf Club with her friend and renowned golf architect, Ross Perrett.
She does not want to be wheeled out as a celebrity in a tournament every other week, so it has been an adjustment for a player who admits she competed for a long time at “110 percent or not at all”. Which is why she has zeroed in on her practise in recent weeks, trying to prepare for tomorrow and beyond. “I don't view myself as a ceremonial golfer and I'm not here so everyone can say, ‘Oh, it's so great to see you’,’’ she said today. “I actually want to play and think I have a chance to do well in the events that I play in, so we'll see how the playing goes this year of.’’
Webb tees off at 7.50am Thursday on the Creek course’s 10th hole with Sweden’s Pernilla Lindberg and England’s Georgia Hall.