Karrie Webb says the spectacular notion of an ‘‘Aussie double’’ in the first major tournaments for men and women this year has crossed her mind – and admits the timing would be impeccable.
With the sport in Australia in a boom period, Webb acknowledged that herself and someone like Adam Scott or Jason Day hoisting the first marquee titles of 2014 over the next fortnight could take golf in Australia to unprecedented heights.
Webb goes into the first female major of the year starting on Friday morning, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, having won twice already this year and sitting on top of the US LPGA money list.
A week later, world No.2 Scott will defend his green jacket and perhaps steal the mantle of the world’s best player should he win the US Masters, although Day – fresh off career-changing wins at the World Cup and World Matchplay – will also be a strong challenger again at Augusta National.
Webb revealed she had first considered the possibility of two big wins from Australian players as she waited to discover if her clubhouse score would be enough to clinch the JTBC Founders Cup two weeks ago.
It turned out it was enough to secure her 41st win on female golf’s richest tour. On that same Sunday, Scott blew a lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, and therefore the chance for a rare ‘‘Aussie double’’ between he and Webb.
Webb said she hopes the planets align for her and any of her male counterparts over the next two weekends.
‘‘When I had to sit and wait for so long at the Founders I thought about it, I was asking whether or not Adam had won [the Arnold Palmer] because I was thinking it would have been an Aussie double,’’ Webb said.
‘‘It would be kind of special if we were to go back-to-back with Aussie major wins, that would be huge.’’
Aside from Scott and Day, re-born PGA professionals Steve Bowditch and John Senden will also be part of the Australian charge coming off landmark wins in the US over the past month. Another Australian, Marc Leishman, tied for fourth at Augusta last year.
Webb, already a seven-time major winner, has no reason to put extra pressure on herself, although she said her belief to close out tournament from any position was as strong as ever.
It comes from her stunning come-from-behind win at this year’s Australian Open at Victoria Golf Club, where she gave the leaders five shots going into the final day. And also her even more remarkable triumph at the Founders Cup, where she reeled in a six-shot deficit.
‘‘I don’t think my problem has ever been raising my game when it really matters,’’ Webb said. ‘‘But it was nice to do it again, a couple of times, especially at the Australian Open,’’ she said.
‘‘I didn’t say it to anyone else, but I said it to myself that I’ve got a good chance here today. And I actually went out there and performed at my highest level.
‘‘So to play that quality of golf and then to actually pull off the win – it is exciting for me looking ahead to the future if I keep getting myself in those positions.’’
At 39, it is admirable that Webb is still so competitive when you consider the top 10 players in the women’s world rankings. Two of them are teenagers (Lydia Ko, 16, and Lexi Thompson, 19), while everyone else is in their 20’s except for Suzann Pettersen, who is 32.
Webb would be one of the oldest major winners in history if she clinched her eighth crown.
‘‘It would be important to me personally, but to do it when people for whatever reason doubt that I should be playing as well as I am at 39, it would just quiet that chatter down for a little while,’’ she said.
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