Date: August 05, 2015
Author: Mark Hayes

The ultimate feeling of pride

You could forgive Karrie Webb if she didn’t have a spring in her step.

But as the Queenslander ploughs through a 22nd season on the road as a professional, she has something special driving her on – the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

Webb, 40, has done almost everything there is to do in golf, as her World Golf Hall of Fame member status will attest.

With a year today until golf makes its return to the Olympic family after a 112-year absence, Webb remains hopeful she’ll make the team as she chases a feeling that none of the professional tours of the world can provide.

“Playing for Australia and wearing the green and gold has always been very special for me – I haven’t had the opportunity a lot as a pro,” Webb said.

“So the Olympics would, I believe, be the ultimate feeling of pride for my country.”

That’s a big statement for a woman who has won 57 times professionally around the world – including 41 on the LPGA Tour – and never been anything but proud of her Aussie roots.

On current rankings, Webb (world No.20) and rising star Minjee Lee (No.15) would comprise the Aussie women’s golf team.

But when you hear her speak of her hope to make the selection grade, you realise not only her patriotism, but her passion for a concept and experience she once thought might never materialise.

“If I’m lucky enough to be in Rio, I will be looking forward to all of it,” Webb beamed.

“I think that would be the really cool part of the Olympics – meeting other dedicated athletes from your country who have done the `blood, sweat and tears’ of getting to the pinnacle of their sport.”

More broadly, Webb is thrilled that her sport has been included again after not having appeared since St Louis in 1904.

“Golf returning to the Olympics is huge for the growth of the game throughout the world, especially countries where golf either hasn’t been introduced or is in its infancy,” Webb said.

“Most countries, including Australia, value medals at the Olympics and therefore those sports in the Olympics receive more funding from their governments.

“It’s only a good thing for golf’s growth.

“It could be huge to introduce the game to countries that haven’t had a lot of exposure to it and hopefully will encourage people to take up the game.”