Featured Golf News
Webb Motivated to Win by Ill Grandmother
Karrie Webb had extra motivation Sunday in winning her 39th LPGA Title. Already a member of the Hall of Fame, the 38-year-old Aussie added to her status as the active LPGA player with the most career victories by tacking on another.
Webb closed with a stellar 4-under 68 at a tough, wind-blown Bay Course at the Stockton Seaview Hotel and Golf Club to edge China's Shanshan Feng by two strokes.
Later during his post-victory interview session with reporters, Webb revealed that, just days earlier, she was notified by her parents that her seriously ill 87-year-old grandfather was near death. Webb considered returning home, but her grandmother changed Webb's mind.
"She talked to me on the phone and said she didn't want me to come home, and that I had to win one for her," Webb said tearfully.
When Webb began rising up the leaderboard, her grandmother's condition also improved. "When I got off to that start, I was like, 'Oh, my God.' Well, when she started to make a turn for the better, my dad said, 'Look, she's going to make it, so the pressure is off, you know.'
"He felt for me after she told me I had to win it for her. But you know, I was in contention and in the lead today. I was like, `Wow, I might actually be able to do this for her.' "
Here's what else she had to say during her post-round interview.
MODERATOR: All right. I'd like to welcome in the 2013 ShopRite LPGA Classic Presented by Acer winner Karrie Webb. Karrie, your 39th career victory on the LPGA Tour. Grinded it out in this final round. Talk about what this win means and just talk about this week in general.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Well, I'm really excited to be sitting here. It's a lot of hard work paying off sitting here, probably more hard work mentally, on my mental part of my game, but I've been working really hard on all aspects of my game, and just to do it in such tough conditions today, just feel really pleased.
MODERATOR: You got a little emotional outside. I have to ask, you said your grandmom is a little sick in the hospital. She said win it for her.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah.
MODERATOR: Talk about winning that and how special this win really means to you personally.
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Well, actually my parents called Wednesday night, and they didn't think that she was going to make it through the day. So I actually thought about flying back to Australia on Thursday, but she had - I talked to her on the phone and she had said that she didn't want me to come home and that I had to win that one for her. So Mom and Dad called the next night, and she'd took a turn for the better, and she's still in the hospital, but things are looking a little better than they did a couple days ago. So hopefully this will give her reason to feel better.
MODERATOR: I'm sure it'll bring her a bright spot for sure. You're one of only three 68s today, low round of the day, coming in five shots off, did you have a number in mind? Everyone thought even was going to win the tournament. Did you come in thinking you had to go a certain number?
KARRIE WEBB: No. I didn't really I knew that when it was windy and we were warming up, a lot windier today early than it was yesterday, that we were going to be in for a tough one. But I knew if I could get off to a decent start, and you know, I wouldn't have felt comfortable in Shanshan's position with a three shot lead. This course plays really tough even with a small breeze because every hole is a cross breeze. I think there's only - I think we played two holes downwind, and we don't play any - sorry. 17 is almost dead into the wind, 17, 18. But other than that, every hole is cross breeze. So the greens are really tiny, and even when you got a wedge in your hand, you're like how do I hit this on the green. You're not even looking at the pin. You're just like how do I keep this on the green. I just felt like if I could just plug away and be patient, and that's pretty much what I've had to do all week, but if I could do that, I didn't really have a number in mind, but coming down the stretch I was parring myself to sleep almost, although I was making some good par putts. But I knew I needed to get one more maybe to feel comfortable. So it was a great birdie on the last.
MODERATOR: Yeah, I was looking at your score card. It wasn't very colorful; it didn't look eventful, but you got off to a hot start. Does the scorecard tell the story, do you think, or do you think it was more of you kind of just stayed patient and just kind of parred along?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I just did what I needed to do. You know, I think because the conditions were so tough you couldn't get too far ahead of yourself, so you just really had to think about each shot. And we got timed for, I think, four holes, four or five holes. So in those conditions it's tough to know that you've only got 30 seconds to make a decision and pull the trigger. So you know, for a while I think that's all I was focusing on was hitting a shot and not getting two shots for slow play.
MODERATOR: Sure. Questions for Karrie.
Q. You made that birdie putt at 2 and then the par save at 4. What did those two putts do for you as far as giving you some confidence that you could make putts today?
KARRIE WEBB: The putt at 2, I mean that is quite an exposed green and that putt, it was good that that went in. I felt a little bit lucky. The wind - it was off line for how I read it, and I think the wind blew it back on line. So the next hole, 3, I made a really good putt for eagle there. You know, I hit it on my line and hit it in with good speed. So that was probably more comforting for the next putt on 4. And when I made that putt on 4, I knew that I was feeling pretty good today and just to not get ahead of myself. It was hard. You know, after that eagle I had to really try and get the adrenaline to calm down a little bit, and you know, I played the next few holes quite scratchy, but I managed to only make one bogey. So I made some good par putts after that as well.
Q. Karrie, could you tell us your grandmother's name and what's wrong with her, what ailment she's in the hospital for?
KARRIE WEBB: Her name is Merion Webb, but she's 87. So that's about all that's wrong with her.
Q. Karrie, the conditions obviously tough and you come through with 68. Your experience, how much do you think that played a part in your dealing with the conditions and staying focused on each shot?
KARRIE WEBB: Sorry. I was thinking about my grandma. What did you ask?
Q. You had a 68 today in very tough conditions. Do you feel your experience played a role in you concentrating every shot and being able to win this tournament?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. You know, experience does count for a lot, but I think every situation is different, and I feel like - you know, I had to talk myself down a little bit today, you know, make sure that I didn't get too far ahead of myself, you know. And the one thing that I was really proud of, I probably did better on the greens than I did with my full shots was that I committed 100 percent to the read and didn't overthink things and got in there and committed 100 percent and lived and died by whether it was going to go in. And I probably haven't done that consistently enough on the greens for a very long time. So when the wind is really blowing and you know, balance is an issue, I really stayed focused; and really putting today was what won it for me. I wouldn't say that I hit my irons particularly well, but I made a lot of good putts.
Q. And to follow up, part of calming yourself down, was that the excitement over maybe getting a win for the first time in two years?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. Obviously I won at the start of the year in Australia, so I have had the feeling, but getting a win on the LPGA, you know, you're beating the best of the best. And you know, I don't want to be out here if I don't feel I can do that. So when I put myself in there with a chance, I think I want it badly more so than I did when I was younger. I think I want it in a different way, I guess, than when I was younger.
Q. Karrie, you're the fifth Hall of Famer to win on this course. Is there something about this course that seems to bring out the best in the LPGA players?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. One of my friends pointed out the owner board in the grill and pointed out the names that were on it and said at the beginning of the week that it was time that my name went up there. I don't know what it is about the course. I think it's a really tricky golf course. You know, when you think about coming to this event, like I look forward to this event and then I get here and then I realize that it's not a walk in the park. Like you think about this course and you look at the scorecard and it's not an exceptionally long golf course, but we never play with no wind. I mean this is probably the extreme, but you know, when you get here and you're playing the practice round, and it's just a really tricky golf course. And I think with Hall of Famers winning, I think, you know, we've obviously won a lot and we've overcome our emotions a lot and learned to stay patient, and I think this course is really one of those courses that you have to do that.
Q. And secondly, you've played here a lot in the past, but you've never really contended here, but you always seemed to shoot one low round here. Is there something different this week or something click different?
KARRIE WEBB: I didn't have to shoot 63 this week. Yeah, the scores obviously weren't - well, the course and the conditions weren't conducive to really low numbers, but you're right. I haven't - when my grandma, when I spoke to her, I think it was Wednesday night or Thursday morning, she told me that I needed to win this one for her. I was like, this isn't the one that you tell me that I have to win for you because I was like I've never really even had a shot to win here. So when I got off to that start, I was like, oh, my God. Well, when she started to make a turn for the better, my dad said, look, she's going to make it, so the pressure is off, you know. He felt for me after she told me I had to win it for her. But you know, I was in contention and in the lead today. I was like, wow, I might actually be able to do this for her.
Q. Karrie, people talk about being old, and I mean 38 is not old. I mean how much is left in the tank?
KARRIE WEBB: A lot. You know, I don't know what the length of my career is, but you know, when I made that eagle today, that adrenaline, and then you know, the crowds are always quite good here. I think just the way the course is designed, it's a little amphitheater around every green. You know, that feeling that I have, that's why I practice, you know. When I feel like I'm going through the motions doing all this work and maybe not getting the results that I want, today is why I do it. You know, if I can keep throwing those wins in there, it'll keep me out here.
Q. You said that when you saw the weather conditions for today, your eyes brightened, and yeah, a lot of people can come back to you, but do you have an advantage being an Australian playing in the wind, being maybe weaned on the wind? Are you more comfortable maybe than other players?
KARRIE WEBB: I don't know. I mean Australia is quite a windy country. I did grow up playing in quite a bit of wind. But you know, believe it or not, my coach was here this week and we were working on wind shots because I didn't feel like I was playing them very well, which put me in two minds a little bit on the course this week. So I've still gotta nail down what we were working on. But I've tended to play well in the wind, I think. I like to be able to play shots. You know, I don't just stand there and hit it one way, hit a draw. You know, I like the challenge of the wind, I think. It narrows my focus a little bit rather than you've got 150 and you have to pitch 150 and you hit the club that you hit 150, you know. I think I knuckle down and focus a lot better when conditions are tough.
Q. Karrie, generally speaking, in this area it's such a professional sports town, there's a lot to do around Atlantic City. Do you think when a recognized name like yourself wins, does that help the LPGA Tour like attract casual fans?
KARRIE WEBB: I hope so. I don't really know the answer to that, but you know, I think whenever any of our top players are doing well and playing well, I think that's great for our tour, and you know, if me winning brings that sort of focus to the event then that's great because this event's been here a long time and we'd like to see it stay.
Q. You said earlier that you might want the wins more now than you did when you were younger. Can you just talk a little bit more about that, just why that is?
KARRIE WEBB: Yeah. I think when I was winning a lot the 22, 23 year old me wouldn't have said that I was taking it for granted, and I don't think in a 23 year old way I was, but I definitely did not enjoy that great golf enough. And I don't know if it's a regret, but you know, I want to - you know, golf is a sport that can beat you down very quickly. So you really should enjoy the good. And you know, I've been through - I haven't really ever been through any bad times, but you know, times where I haven't won, and you know, questioned whether you can do it again. And when I say that I want it more, I just want to - I want it so that I can enjoy it more than I did when I was winning a lot.
Q. This is one of those chicken and egg questions. Could you have won without the wind? I mean is a five shot deficit too much?
KARRIE WEBB: Yes and no. I think it would have brought more people into the mix. It would have made Shanshan feel a bit more comfortable. But with no wind this course can also give up some pretty low numbers as we've seen. So you know, I could have won. But you know, we won't know.
Q. Although it's early in Australia, is there any chance anybody from your family back there knows that you've won?
KARRIE WEBB: Oh, they know.
Q. And your grandmother?
KARRIE WEBB: I'm sure she knows now. She's still in the hospital. The LPGA is on satellite TV in Australia, and she has it specifically so she can watch me. She wouldn't have got to watch me, but I'm sure my mom and dad were at home and my other grandmother would have been watching as well.
MODERATOR: A win is good any week, but headed into a major next week at Wegmans, how much does this mean? Obviously your game is coming together and you feel very confident. Talk about going into next week and hopefully grabbing another one.
KARRIE WEBB: Yes. I think - it feels great. Obviously I think, you know, I just wanted to get another good week under my belt this week heading into next week. And obviously we've got the U.S. Open and British Open coming up. But you know, to get a win, you know, on a course where I've never really had a chance to win is a big bonus and gives me a lot of good confidence going into next week where I have won a couple of times.
MODERATOR: Any more questions? All right. Thanks for joining us. Congratulations.
KARRIE WEBB: Thank you.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.