2015 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Oh the Webb She Still Weaves!
Harrison, NY—Major events often bring to the surface the most experienced players and this week’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship could not illustrate that better than the fine play through 36 holes of LPGA Hall-of-Famer Karrie Webb.
Webb is tied for second just one shot back at -7 (68-71-139) heading into the final 36 holes at Westchester CC. Her steadiness and past successes bode well as she seeks to earn her 8th major—the last coming in ’06 at the Kraft Nabisco Championship.
The 40-year-old Aussie is far from looking to retire. In 2014 Karrie won twice and placed in the top ten money winnings.
The amazing aspect is that Webb has rarely been given the full acknowledgment for her steady play over the years. Going into 2015 the 16th ranked golfer has 41 total victories—tying her for 10th all-time with the legendary Babe Zaharias. Webb is also 2nd all-time on the LPGA money list.
Unfortunately, during her peak playing years, the focus of much of the press centered around her chief rival—Annika Sorenstam. The powerhouse Swede has been retired for a few years now but a new generation of younger players has clearly come forward, and from different parts of the world.
Webb’s rookie year was 1996—two years before Sorenstam entered the scene. The rivalry grew but often times the focus—from media and from fans—was less on the tenacity and overall skills Webb consistently provided. Just five years after joining the tour, Webb became the youngest to achieve a career Grand Slam.
This week’s event marks the 20th consecutive appearance for Webb in the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship—although technically the event was called the LPGA Championship prior to this year. She owns 10 top-10 finishes, including her 2001 victory. This week marks the 79th major appearance, with 33 top-10 finishes.
With a win Sunday, Webb at 40 years, 5 months, 25 days, would become the 2nd oldest winner in the 60-year history of this event. The odlest is 1969 winner Betsy Rawls who was 41 years, 2 months and 23 days.
Should Webb earn her 8th major, she then passes Juli Inkster (7) for the most major wins by an active player. With the win, Karrie would move into a tie for 6th placer on the all-time LPGA major winners list with Rawls.
The fascinating aspect with Webb is never looking backwards, believing that with solid play for the final two rounds she is just as capable in getting back to the winner’s circle.
“I feel comfortable with where I put myself. Who knows if that will be leading or tied for the lead or one behind tomorrow,” said Webb. “I’m just really happy to have played the course really solidly for two days and see what happens on the weekend.”
Westchester CC crowned many great players during its time as host for the PGA Tour’s Westchester Classic which was played continually from 1967 through 2007. Webb is certainly prepared to add her name to that stellar honor roll. Doing so at this stage in her career could mean an added acknowledgment for a player who clearly has been a major force for nearly 20 years at the top of women’s professional golf.
M. James Ward, a member of Golf Writer’s Association of America (GWAA) and past member of Met Golf Writer’s Association (MGWA), has reported on golf’s grandest events since 1980 in a variety of forums.