Karrie Webb says it’s time to choose life over golf. But given her time over, she isn’t sure she would have chosen golf to start with.
Such is the burst of growth in other women’s sports in Australia, Webb says golf risks getting left behind.
“When I was 11, I told my parents that I wanted to be a professional golfer,” Webb said yesterday, on the eve of the Women’s Australian Open at Kooyonga Golf Club in Adelaide.
“That was followed up shortly later with ‘I will either be a professional golfer or I will play cricket for Australia’.
“But playing cricket for Australia when I was 11, there wasn’t a visual, that wasn’t even a possibility — women’s cricket wasn’t even on the radar.
“If I was 11 years old now and said that, what direction would I have taken? Would I have played golf or would I have play cricket?
“Right now, playing cricket for Australia is perhaps more visible.”
Webb, 43, is winding down her LPGA commitments in an attempted transition to part-time golf.
After shooting for a sixth Australian Open crown from today, she’s planning a maximum of 10 LPGA tournaments this year.
“When I was in my 20s and making decisions between a friend’s wedding or some life event or golf, it was very easy to choose golf and my career,” Webb said.
“And as the years have gone on I have still put golf first. But the last three, four years I haven’t felt good about always choosing golf and so I’m trying out the part-time schedule this year.
“Hopefully I can take part in some life events and still play some golf because I still feel like there’s a little bit left.
“I guess I’m not quite ready to put the clubs away.”
The Queenslander has seven majors among her 41 LPGA Tour titles and is second on the all-time LPGA Tour money earners list — $US20,179,509. “I don’t know if you will ever hear me tell you that I have retired,” Webb said. “I don’t have time limits. If this part-time works, I might do it for a few years, but it’s sort of unknown — I might not be competitive enough.
“I’m not someone that is going to play LPGA events just so people can say it’s great to see me.
“I want to feel competitive. And if I don’t, I will probably stop playing LPGA events.”