Part-time Palm Beach County resident Karrie Webb was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame yesterday. She became the youngest inductee to date, Karrie is only 30 years of age. No doubt in my mind, Karrie deserved the honor.
Open Post- Basil's Blog
ST. AUGUSTINE — Karrie Webb fell in love with golf in a bunker and on the back of a buggy.
Webb, only 4 at the time, didn't realize sand traps were a no-no for a golfer, much less a future Hall of Famer. At that age, bunkers were fun, a place for Webb, her friends and two sisters to frolic while their parents sipped cocktails.
"We would just run riot downstairs around the practice putting green and the 18th green, running in and out of bunkers and stuff like that," Webb, 30, said Monday during her induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame.
Webb, a native of Australia who lives in Boynton Beach, soon learned the sand traps' real purpose, joining her grandparents — Mick and Joyce Collinson — for nine holes every Sunday morning. Playing with plastic clubs and too young to walk the course, she finished each round riding on Mick's cart — or "buggy."
"I look back at that and think my grandparents are the most patient people in the world," Webb said.
Fighting back tears, the Hall's youngest inductee recalled how those days with family at the only golf course in her rural hometown of Ayr — in north Queensland — were the inspiration for a player who would win 30 professional tournaments and six major championships.
Webb has tailed off in recent years, winning twice since the 2002 British Open.
But even if Webb never hoists another trophy, she'll always be amazed at where the game has brought her — from a small town in Australia to a waterfront spread in South Florida.
Webb's golf game took off when, at age 8, she replaced her plastic clubs with a set of sawed-off woods and irons that she received for her birthday along with her own buggy.
That year, the top amateur at Ayr Golf Club, Kelvin Haller, began to offer Webb swing tips in exchange for caddying duties during club tournaments. Haller still works with Webb, but wasn't able to attend his prized pupil's induction.
Webb's parents, her sisters and Joyce Collinson sat in the front row, most of them dabbing away tears as Webb gave her speech.
"It seems like a huge jump from those memories to now," she said. "The ride has been so unbelievable."
Webb's ride included a stop at the top of the Australian junior ranks, where she came to know fellow Hall of Famer and countryman Greg Norman. From there, Webb stormed the world amateur stage and conquered the LPGA Tour before she was 25.
Webb joined the LPGA in 1996, won rookie of the year and became the first player to win $1 million in a season. A few years later, she began a run as remarkable as any women's player has experienced.
From the 1999 du Maurier Classic to the 2001 McDonald's LPGA Championship, Webb won five majors in eight tries.