Date: January 26, 2018
Author: Mark Hayes

Webb promoted in Australia Day honours

Karrie Webb was shocked to learn she’d been promoted even higher in the Australia Day Honours list.

Webb, 43, was made a Member of the Order of Australia (OAM) in 2010, but was today elevated to become an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO), the nation’s second highest honour.

And in further recognition of services to golf and beyond, former Golf Australia board member Bruce Langford-Jones was made an OAM, while the trailblazing Jan Stephenson was also made an OAM.

Golf Australia chief executive Stephen Pitt said all honours were extremely well deserved.

"Karrie is obviously one of our all-time great players with the most phenomenal playing record," Pitt said.

"But beyond that, she's so much more in the golfing community having already given so much to her generation and the next to follow.

"She works at great length to ensure as many people as possible, particularly women and young girls, have the opportunity to play and improve their golf.

"What she's done and continues to do with her Karrie Webb Series and the scholarships she puts her heart and soul into deserves this recogntion and much more.

"She's just one of the great ambassadors for this country and our sport." 

Pitt also praised the contributions of Langford-Jones and Stephenson.

"Bruce has been a stalwart of golf and his contributions to administration in particular have been immense both at club level and at the national level with Golf Australia."

“It’s hard to paraphrase what Jan has meant to golf in not only Australia, but around the world, with all the effort she has put into developing young golfers and just generally better people through her charitable foundations.

“She has been tireless in her work for decades now and this is indeed great recognition of her efforts.”

Webb, in Florida preparing for the upcoming ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open, said she was stunned when told of her promotion.

“To receive the Officer of the Order of Australia was a complete shock, but I’m very thrilled by the honour and the recognition,” Webb told Brisbane’s Courier Mail.

“To have played a sport that I loved from the age of eight through to now, and to play it at the highest levels around the world … you can’t really ask for anything more. I don’t think I ever dreamt of reaching the heights that I have.”

The honour also recognises her efforts in the ¬community, helping aspiring female golfers through the Karrie Webb Series and scholarship program alongside Golf Australia.

“That part of it has been very rewarding for me, to try to get the next generation (and) as many women as possible flying the flag for Australia around the world.

“I think it wasn’t until I started to do that that I realised that I have all these experiences that I could share with these young girls and hopefully help them navigate through the beginning stages of their careers,” said the proud Queenslander, a seven-time major championship winner who’s also a World Golf Hall of Fame member and five-time national champion.

"I was thrilled a few years back when I became a member of the Order of Australia and I don't think it's something that you think you're going to climb the ladder on.

"They're such prestigious awards and the fact that my career and the things I've done in golf are so highly thought of that I would receive this recognition is really a thrill and an honour."

Langford-Jones, of Victoria, was honoured for services to the building and construction industry as well as golf.

He was deputy chairman of Golf Australia from 2006-12 and has held several posts at both the Sorrento Golf Club and Kingston Heath, where he was made a life member in 2015.

Stephenson won the Women’s Australian Open crown in March 1977 at Manly Golf Club and went on to win an incredible 40 professional tournaments globally, including 16 on the LPGA Tour and three major championship crowns.

She is in the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, is an ALPG honorary life member, is one of the 50 greatest LPGA teaching professionals and has been voted among the 100 heroes of golf, by Golf Magazine. Her work in countless non-profit charities, particularly in the United States, was also recognised in her honour.