Date: February 02, 2011

Webb stokes the fire in the belly

Karrie Webb has won 50 times as a professional golfer. Seven of those are majors. The word &aposchampion&apos follows her wherever she goes. But even champions have flat spots occasionally that they need to drive themselves out of. “I was pretty happy with my progress until the start of the main stretch of events with the three majors,” Webb said. “I had great practice rounds through the US Open and really, really fancied my chances. I could not get it done on the course. I finished 17th so it wasn&apost a terrible US Open but I was pretty deflated after it. I only had a week off before the Evian and British Open. I did not get over it and I was sort of flat for a couple of months. I finished the year not too badly but the damage was done.” “The schedule is such that if you don&apost play well in June, July and the beginning of August, you are struggling to keep up,” Webb added. World Golf Hall of Fame member Webb is her biggest critic and continues to work with renowned sports psychologist Noel Blundell to channel her emotions in a positive directon. “I am still very hard on myself. I used to be really hard on myself and tell myself how crap I was,” Webb said. “I think of it as the devil and the angel and the devil saying, &aposYou&aposre crap, you&aposre crap, you&aposre crap&apos. The angel is like, &aposNo, I&aposm going to beat you. &aposThat&aposs what happened when I was younger. Now the devil says that and I go, &aposYeah, you&aposre right.&apos Or I feel sorry for myself rather than saying, &aposDon&apost listen to that crap.&apos I&aposm training myself to stop doing that as much. I still have that fire in my belly.” That fire will be raging this week as Webb takes on Commonwealth for a second time, knowing that she led the tournament last year after 54 holes. “It is a tricky golf course. Even some of the short par fours aren&apost “gimme” birdies,” Webb said. “There are a couple of reachable par fives but there is trouble. You have to be firing on all cylinders to shoot low around here. I don&apost see the scores being any different to last year.” While the scores may be similar, the level of interest in the Australian schedule is rising – the ISPS Handa Women&aposs Australian Open chief among them. “Girls ask who they have to contact to get a start in the tournaments in Australia. Girls are looking to come down here,” Webb said. “They hear how well run the events are and the hospitality and the golf courses. It is a good combination and a great start to the year for everybody. I see that field strength continuing.” Among Webb&aposs chief opponents will be Laura Davies – the runner up in 2010 and in -form Briton has the putter running hot. “I&aposve never stroked it any better than I do now. In the last two weeks I&aposve lipped out an unimaginable number number of times,” Davies said. “That, to me, means you are getting really close. Pace has been the worst thing. You come to Australia and you assume the greens are going to be lightning. So far they haven&apost been.” This year marks the 20th year that Davies has come to Australia to compete – one of her many stops around the world. In 2010 she fought out a titanic battle with South African Lee-Anne Pace who won the Ladies European Tour Henderson Money List, edging Davies on money after both won five events during the 2010 season. Pace, like Davies, says she feels at home here. “I love Australia. It is great to come back every year,” Pace said. “It is a lot like South Africa. The people are the same. It feels a little like home. I have played both these courses before. I think I have a pretty good chance, knowing the courses better and playing well at the moment.” All three are in contention but experience often pays handsome dividends. An enthralling contest awaits.