|Australian Karrie Webb
World Golf Hall of Famer Karrie Webb is feeling refreshed and keen to start 2013 off on the right foot by adding an eighth Volvik RACV Ladies Masters trophy to her collection of wins.
Webb has won the Masters an incredible seven times (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007 and 2010) at the RACV Royal Pines Resort on the Gold Coast.
The 38-year-old went winless for the first time in her illustrious career in 2012, but for her, it was one of her most consistent years in recent times. In 2012 on the LPGA she posted seven top 10 finishes including a runner-up finish at the Evian Masters and finished the year 12th on the LPGA Money List with US$884,973.
“It was probably from start to finish one of my most consistent years for the last four or five. I actually probably gave myself more chances to win last year than I had in any of the last three or four years but just didn’t get across into the winners’ circle,” She said.
“That was probably the only disappointing part for me but I felt I ended the season really well, which normally the last three or four events I sort of can’t wait to be done. I felt really good. I mentally felt fresher than I had in past years at the end of the year, so that really excited me for the start of this year.”
The 38-year-old missed her first Ladies Masters in 2012 and when asked if she felt pressure about playing again this year she responded “I did feel pressure to play this year but I also have so many great memories here, of the lowest 72 hole score I’ve ever had in a tournament I’ve done twice here. My lowest career round was here – as well as somewhere else -- but here as well.”
“There are a number of great memories that I have here and also those memories I share with my family. It’s a great place for me to come. When I was younger choices were easy, I just chose golf all the time; now it’s family, golf; so it’s a hard decision. I was going to be up in North Queensland anyway and my two sisters and their kids decided they’d come down, so really that ultimately made that decision easier for me because I didn’t want to miss spending time with them.”
Another popular player this week is Cheyenne Woods, Tiger’s niece. Woods had a couple of issues with her passport and didn’t arrive on the Gold Coast until Wednesday but that hasn’t dampened her enthusiasm.
“I’ve always wanted to come to Australia so I’m excited to start playing out here. I’ve heard it’s beautiful and hopefully I’ll be able to see it these next few days. But my expectations, I just hope to start my season off very strongly.”
Woods turned pro just over six months ago and was chatting about the transition from amateur golf to the professional ranks.
“I’ve definitely learnt a lot in that transition from collegiate golf and amateur golf to professional. It’s been a great experience being able to travel the world and play in two LPGA majors so far. I’ve learnt a lot, trying to learn from the players that I’m surrounded by each week. Each week I just take it as a new experience and continue to grow my game.”
Being known as Tiger Woods’ niece doesn’t faze the young American. “I think I’ll always kind of have that title because Tiger Woods has been Tiger Woods for a long time. He’s a very elite athlete; he’s up there with the Michael Jordan’s of the world, so I think that me coming up in the exact same profession will always kind of have me with that title of being his niece. I accept that; I understand it. But I’m excited for my own career. I’m excited for this year on the European Tour and to have my very first season out here as a professional.”
Woods tees off at 12.30pm tomorrow with South African Lee-Anne Pace and Thailand’s Ariya Jutanugarn. Webb starts her campaign at 7.30am with fellow compatriot Stacey Keating and Rolex World No. 8 Jiyai Shin.