Featured Golf News
How About Karrie Webb?
Hard to believe, but Karrie Webb was almost forgotten Sunday in the LPGA Tour's Founders Cup. All the attention was on Lydia Ko, 16, and Jessica Korda, 21, who were sparring for the lead at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Arizona.
Starting her final round 90 minutes ahead of the two youngsters and six strokes behind leader Ko, the 39-year-old Webb ("I'm not even that added up," she said of the combined age of Ko and Korda) spun a marvelous closing effort, posting 10 birdies - including six on the back nine - and a bogey for a 9-under 63 for a 19-under 269 total.
And then she waited to see who could catch her. In the end, several players had a chance, but no one did, giving Webb - already a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame - her second title of the year and the 41st of her stellar career.
"I didn't expect to be sitting here at the start of the day," Webb said of the quick return to the winner's circle following her mid-February triumph in the Women's Australian Open. "Even, actually, when I finished the day, I didn't expect to be sitting here. So I feel a little bit lucky, I guess, to be sitting here. But it doesn't make it feel any less special."
Tied for second at 18-under were Stacy Lewis (66), Azahara Munoz (67), Amy Yang (67), Mirim Lee (69) and Ko (70). Korda shot a 70 and shared seventh at 17-under with Pornanong Phatlum (66) and So Yeon Ryu (68).
In tribute to the originators of the LPGA and the namesakes of the tournament, Webb donated $50,000 of her $225,000 first-place check, giving $25,000 each to LPGA-USGA Girls Golf and "The Founders" documentary movie. During the week she did an interview for the film and learned that only about 10 percent of the necessary money had been raised to complete the project.
"I was just standing on the 18th green when Mike (Whan, LPGA Tour commissioner) was introducing me, and it just came to me that, 'You know, I would love to be a part of that movie being produced.' "
On Friday, Webb talked with one of the tour's founders, Louise Suggs. The 90-year-old had attended the previous tournaments but couldn't make it this year. "(Suggs) told me that I had to go out and shoot 64 (Saturday), which I let her down and I didn't do that," Webb said Sunday evening. "So, I made it up to her today."
Webb has a strong affinity for the Founders Cup, winning the inaugural tournament in 2011. "I just love the feeling of this event," she said.
In addition to securing her 41st career win -tying the legendary Babe Didrikson Zaharias on the all-time list, Webb moved to the top of the LPGA's money list and its season-long Race to CME Globe points tally.
Following her victory, Webb met with reporters and discussed her remarkable performance and what this win meant to her.
MODERATOR: Hello, everyone, we would like to welcome the 2014 JTBC Founders Cup champion, Karrie Webb. 41 career wins now on the LPGA Tour, but I know this one's particularly special for you considering the event that it comes at and everything that's happened this week. Just tell me what this win means for you.
KARRIE WEBB: Well, to begin with, I didn't expect to be sitting here at the start of the day. Even actually when I finished the day I didn't expect to be sitting here. So I feel a little bit lucky, I guess, to be sitting here. But it doesn't make it feel any less special. It's a very special event, and you know, I thanked Mike Whan out on the 18th green, but it really was a wonderful idea and concept that he came up with four years ago, and you know, I hope it's an event that continues to grow and is around as a part of the LPGA for a very long time.
MODERATOR: 63 in the final round to come from six shots back. I don't know if you knew this, but in 2011 you were six shots back when you came back to win.
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, really? I didn't know that.
MODERATOR: Just talk about what you were thinking kind of going into the final round knowing you were six shots back. There were a lot of players crowded at the top of the leaderboard. What did you think you had to do and how did you get things going on that back nine, which you just seemed to be on a tear.
KARRIE WEBB: To be honest, I can't really say I really thought about winning today. I thought I could shoot a 63 or 62 and that still wouldn't be good enough, so I didn't really set my sights on a number, but my coach, Ian Triggs, has been here all week, which actually, that's two in a row for him because John Senden won last week. But he was here, and you know, I just wanted to make the most of my warm-up with him today because he's on a plane back to Australia night, and I wanted to just, you know, nail down a couple of things that we're working on out on the golf course today and sort of take some have a positive round today and take some momentum into next week and then obviously into Kraft.
MODERATOR: You had some time to sit and wait before finding out whether you won. I saw when you got on the green you still were a little emotional about the victory, and when you got to hug the Founders, to see Marilynn Smith and Shirley spork who were on the green. You made a donation, I was telling all the media about it, $50,000 total, 25,000 to LPGA USGA Girls Golf and 25,000 to the Founders film, which is the documentary they're shooting about the 13 Founders. Why that donation, and what kind of was your thought process in doing that?
KARRIE WEBB: The Founders movie you mean?
MODERATOR: Uh huh.
KARRIE WEBB: They interviewed me early in the week for the documentary, and after the interview, I asked them when they thought that they'd have the documentary done. And they said that it all depended on funding and that they had about 10 percent of the total raised for the movie. So I was just standing on the 18th green when Mike was introducing me, and it just came to me that, you know, that you know, I would love to be a part of that movie being - or documentary being produced, and I really think it's something that should be produced. And I think there should be a lot of attention put on it so that people are aware and maybe they get the total funding that they need.
MODERATOR: Definitely. And then for the future of women's golf, that's amazing, that donation, and you know, what a fitting way to pay tribute to this event with both of those donations in a nice way. Questions for Karrie.
Q. On Wednesday you talked about all the young women out here on the tour. Lydia is 16. Jessica is 21. You're not 16 or 21.
KARRIE WEBB: I'm not even that added up.
Q. Right. Does that make these victories even more meaningful because you don't have probably 10, 15 years to look forward to like they do on tour?
KARRIE WEBB: I wouldn't say it's any more meaningful. Every time I sit here as a winner of an event it's very special, and I probably celebrate those wins a lot more than I used to. And you're right. I don't have 10 or 15 years left. And honestly, my last event in Singapore I had a three shot lead with seven holes to go and didn't get the job done there. And I don't think there's been many times in my career where I haven't won from that situation. And this definitely erased that really quickly. You know, I was pretty devastated for a few days after Singapore. So you know, the fact that I could win in the next event sort of erases those painful memories as well, so makes it even sweeter that I've won today.
Q. Karrie, I think you were 6 under in the last eight holes today. What's your thinking is you're going through that? And then you took the lead, I believe, on No. 18 when you sank the birdie. Are you thinking I'm in great shape, this is going to hold up or what are you thinking that?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, to start the back nine, we were waiting on the tee for the fairway to clear, and I just said to myself, I almost said it to my caddie, Mikey, but I thought I'd jinx myself if I said anything or I just thought it would sound ridiculous, because I thought what would it take for me to get to 20 under on the back nine, and that would have been 7 under I would have needed to shoot. Then I thought we'll see. I mean it would be nice if I had a chance to shoot 29 on the back nine and win. I didn't even know if 20 under would be good enough. But I just started hitting some good shots, making some putts, and you know, before I knew it I was a couple of shots behind, and I didn't know - I just knew I needed to make that putt on 18. I didn't know it was to take the lead. I actually thought Lydia was still at 19 under when I made that. But yeah, I just knew I needed to get to 19 and that 18 wasn't going to be good enough.
Q. Kind of a two part question. I think you had an hour and a half wait before you knew you were the winner. What did you do during that time? And then there were four players that had a chance to birdie 16, 17, 18, get a birdie in closing holes to tie you. I'm guessing you were expecting to be in a playoff?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes. I didn't expect to win out right for sure. I thought best case scenario I was in a playoff and the other scenario that was going through my head was that 19 under just wasn't going to be good enough. I didn't expect to win outright. That's for sure. What was the beginning?
Q. Did you get a bite to eat?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Food, hospitality was closed, and I just really wanted, you know, a peanut butter sandwich was really all I was looking for, and we ended up with about 20 loaves of bread and half a deli to choose from. So I was able to get something to eat.
Q. And I'm sorry. I heard on TV you said you had to change flight plans?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Yeah, I have a flight up to San Diego tonight, so I just booked on the next one up.
Q. Karrie, when you made the turn at the back nine, did you notice how far you were back at that time?
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't know - oh, I think - I think maybe I saw that Lydia was at 19. I'm not sure. I think she was at 19. And I knew that - well, at that stage, I didn't even think 20 was going to be good enough, but I thought if I finished at 20, I'd be finishing far enough ahead that that would make them think about it at least. But I didn't even know if I could get to 20. I mean, you know, if you go out and try to actually do that, it probably never happens. So it's sort of one of those things that just sort of snowballed into a great back nine.
Q. And could you just tell us a little bit more about Louise Suggs? Have you heard from her yet? What do you expect to hear?
KARRIE WEBB: I noticed that she's called me this afternoon. But she called me Friday night, actually, and I was glad that I was around to get her call because it would have been 9:30 or so at night East Coast time. And she told me that I had to go out and shoot 64 yesterday, which I let her down and I didn't do that. So I made it up to her today, though.
Q. You said you weren't aware that you were six back here in 2011, but you were five back in Australia last month. Is there something you feel comfortable chasing leaders and ferrying at pins that enables you to play that well coming from behind on Sundays?
KARRIE WEBB: Well, the last round of the Australian Open was a lot different. I actually thought I had a chance to win that because the conditions had changed considerably from the first three rounds. And I knew that I wasn't going to have to shoot lights out to win, and I knew that gave me a chance. Today, like I said, I didn't have sights on sitting up here as champion. So two sort of totally different mindsets, but obviously when I got into the middle of the back nine, I knew that I needed to try and post a number, and it's a way more comfortable situation because you've really got nothing to lose, and you just try and post as low a number as you can and see if it's good enough.
Q. So the other side of all the freedom that you played with today is trying to defend the lead. Can you kind of describe that side of the equation as well?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I normally have not had a tough time with that in my career. I'd say that I've combat - well, a higher percentage than not when I've had the lead. It is different. It's - especially if someone posts a number as early as I did, I think, then you just sort of start playing to that number rather than trying to birdie every hole. Like on a course like this where, you know, if you're out there leading and you're in front, you sort of, you know - and then no one's posted a number, the sky's the limit, but when someone's posted a number, I think that limits you to that number.
And so that's probably the tough part for Lydia. Once that number was posted, she knew she had to at least get to that, so you sort of play to that number. But yeah, it's different, but if you have the right mindset, I don't think it's - if you're in the right mindset, I don't think - I enjoy being in the lead, because I know that's, you know, I've done well in that position before. So I've obviously enjoyed coming from behind of late, but I'll be happy wherever I win from in a tournament.
Q. So you did some work with your coach before the round today?
KARRIE WEBB: Just all week. Yeah.
Q. And so was that substantive work or was it just polishing what you were already doing?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. It's, I guess, more polishing than anything. It was just trying to get my body dynamics just sequencings out a little bit, that I'm flighting the ball a little bit too high and just trying to get the flight down a little bit, which this week it didn't really matter because it's not windy, but for future tournaments it will.
Q. Did you find yourself thinking about this work while you were playing today, or you were just shooting at pins?
KARRIE WEBB: No, no. I was thinking about it, yeah.
Q. And so how did you manage to have that in mind and still keep going at the pins?
KARRIE WEBB: I know you guys think that we just go out there and have nice swing thoughts, but I think it's been about 12, 13 years since I've played golf without a swing thought. I think you always have a couple, and then, you know, having Ian in this week is prep for Kraft, and I'd rather be a little bit more technical this week than I want to be at Kraft. So you know, that's why we were doing that stuff this week.
MODERATOR: Any more questions for Karrie? Karrie, congratulations. Your win today ties you with Babe Zaharias for 10th on the LPGA all time wins list, a very fitting time to tie one of the Founders on the LPGA Tour. Two wins already this year. Been putting yourself in contention. We look forward to seeing you again soon.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.