Date: June 25, 2014
Author: Jayde Panos / GA National Squad member

My U.S Open week with Karrie Webb

U.S Open was a blast to say the least. The week started with a 9 hole walk inside the ropes with Karrie Webb, Stacey Lewis, Alison Walshe, and Jaye Marie Green. That night we headed to the past U.S Women’s Open Champions dinner, which was probably one of the best golf experiences I have ever had.

Karrie, Minjee and I got dolled up for the dinner and sat for dinner in a room of 37 past champions ranging back to 1962. We sat at dinner with Paula Creamer and her fiancé Derek, Meg Mallon and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster. It was beyond amazing to think that the whole room was full of past U.S Open Champions and of Hall of Famers like Se Ri Pak, Annika Sörenstam, Amy Alcott and of course 2005 inductee Karrie Webb.  This was so special to me because it is at the top of my dream list to be in the Hall of Fame. I was sure to ask some of them what it was like to be inducted.

The dinner started with all the past champions walking around and catching up, as I’m sure some of the players had not seen each other for a while. Then they went outside and had a reunion photo with all the players gathered around the U.S Women’s Open trophy. 

As the night went on most people had bought U.S Open flags for people to sign. I bought two with me and got all the past champions that were there to sign it along with the year they won.

Pretty awesome to walk up to someone and watch them sign away their name with all the other past champions signed around them.

It was also very special for me to meet Jan Stephenson who was the first Australian woman to win the U.S Open. As the night came to a close they went around with the microphone and ask each champion to tell their best memory of their win.

The responses were incredible, all of them, gave me chills because I felt so special sitting in that room being able to listen to each champion tell their story. From listening to all their responses their one was thing they all had said, “there is one thing in life and that is that I’ll always be a U.S Open Champion”. The night came to a close and I got some very special memories I wont ever forget from that night.

Wednesday came round and we were of for another practice round with Juli Inkster and one of my favorite Aussies, Stephanie Na. I’m sure it was just as awesome for Steph as it was for me teeing it up with two Hall of Famers. To watch how they map the course and where they chip and pitch from to learn the course was great to see. The level of practice that is required to be great is beyond words. Walking inside the ropes for the first two days gave me a good look at the course and also made me realise how great these players all are.

The tournament came around and every day I went and watched Karrie play 18. It was really great to see how she manages her game around the course. I went and watched other players while she practiced before her tee time and there really wasn’t a player that managed their ball like Karrie did.

She hit her boxes on the green, didn’t go at flags with no landing areas and even took irons off tees when others were hitting a driver so that she wouldn’t short side her self with flags.  

What I learnt from the week was that players on Tour know how to putt and that scary 5 footers are what makes or breaks it at the U.S Open.

I saw so many clutch putts made inside 10 feet which is something I know I need to make more of. I also learnt that course management and having a plan will allow you the greatest opportunity and playing without a lot of stress of where to hit the ball. That’s not to say that I don’t plan my way around golf courses but it does show me how particular the plan needs to be to gain the best advantage on the course.

My week with Karrie was really special, I got to ask her many questions and also I got to hear her story of winning the Kraft in 2006. That was certainly an opportunity taken to be able to ask her what it was like going into the last round. Staying with her for the week was great, I could talk freely about the course and get inside thoughts to how she was playing the course or ask her what happen on certain shots.

It really was a week to remember and I’m so thankful for this opportunity and for Karrie Webb.

Thank you for having me with you for the week Webby, it was a memory I will never forget.

I will share one last lesson learned from the Open and that is, that being inside the ropes is a lot better than being outside the ropes……next year I want to be inside.