Karrie Webb rose quickly from her first professional game in 1994 to become one of the highest-earning golfers in recent history. A native of Ayr, Queensland in Australia, Webb’s skills and performance has garnered comparison with Tiger Woods, the prodigy of the Professional Golfers’ Association. She is #2 in career earnings in the Ladies Professional Golfers’ Association, with more than 40 championships in her belt.
Let’s learn 20 quick facts about this Australian legend and what she carries in her bag for her games.
Fact 1 – She Won Her First Amateur Championship at Age 19
Like all pro golfers, Karrie started making a name for herself in amateur tournaments. She won the Australian Stroke Play Championship in 1994 when she was 19 years old. Karrie spent two years in the Australian Amateur team, appearing in tournaments like the Espirito Santo Trophy World Amateur Golf Team Championships.
After winning the Australian Stroke Play Championship, Karrie immediately decided to go professional.
Fact 2 – She Was the Youngest Winner in the Weetabix Women’s British Open
In 1995, Karrie competed in the Weetabix Women’s British Open. While she already had a reputation back home in Australia for winning the Australian Stroke Play Championship as an amateur, the British audience barely knew her. She was half a world away from home and a rookie in her first year as a professional.
Nevertheless, Karrie won the title with a six-point lead on the final day. Her winning play included four birdies in the last leg. The rookie from Australia bested Jill McGill and Annika Sorenstam. It was just one of the many remarkable victories she’d wear as feathers in her cap.
Fact 3 – Karrie Earned Her First $2 Million in 1998
Karrie Webb showed no signs of slowing down in her first four years as a professional golfer. By 1998, she had won two tournament championships. Aside from these, she ranked among the top 20 in the past 20 games she had played so far. Thanks to these achievements, her accumulated earnings reached $2 million by 1998.
Fact 4 – She Says She Played Golf with Boys Than Girls as a Youngster
Karrie Webb says that she honed her skills as an amateur playing against boys in her hometown of Ayr, Queensland, Australia. According to her, few girls from her hometown, which housed just about 8,500 people, wanted to compete in golf. As a result, she practiced and then competed mainly with boys during her amateur years.
Webb also credited the size of her town for helping her hone her skills. As a small town, she said that Ayr allowed her to play and practice her golf anytime she wanted, especially on weekends.
Fact 5 – She Has a Trophy Named After Her and Designed By Her
Karrie Webb joins the line of professional golf players to have a trophy named after her. Not only that, the Queensland native got to design the cup as well. Webb says that the cup’s design was inspired by Australia and Queensland in particular. She also added functionality to the design – the trophy should be able to hold a bottle of wine.
The winner of the Australian WPGA Championship, Su Oh, received the Karrie Webb Cup in January of this year. She was the first recipient of the Karrie Webb Cup.
Fact 6 – Webb Needed Only One Try to Qualify for The LPGA Championship
All professionals that want to play in the LPGA championships need to go through the qualifying school. Webb is one of those players that manage to qualify for the tournament in just one try. In October 1994, she placed second in her first and only qualifying tournament in the LPGA school. What’s remarkable is that she won in the qualifiers with a broken wrist.
Fact 7 – She Received Training from the Australian Legend Greg Norman
The Shark is perhaps one of the most renowned Australian golfers. Greg Norman sat on the #1 spot in the Official World Golf Rankings throughout the 80s and the 90s. By the time he retired, the Shark had 89 professional tournament victories, including two Open Championships in 1986 and 1993.
Karrie Webb cites Norman as one of her heroes in golf and her mentor. At 15 years old, she won a week of stay at his residence in Florida in the United States. There, she received rigorous training from Norman himself that tremendously improved her playing. Norman took special note of her swing, which he called “beautiful.”
Fact 8 – She Has a Golf Scholarship Program
Karrie Webb has a scholarship program awarded to the top finishers of the Karrie Webb Scholarship Series. The KWS series comprises both female professional and amateur events throughout Australia. At the end of the series, judges calculate each participating player’s points to determine who receives the scholarship for that year.
Each year, the top female player in the World Amateur Golf Rankings also receives the scholarship by default.
Fact 9 – She Faced Tiger Woods in Monday Night Golf
In 1999, Tiger Woods and his representatives organized special match play golf challenges called “Monday Night Golf.” Woods would compete with other top players in all of the games. Both competitors donated a portion of their winnings to charity.
The 2001 edition, dubbed the second Battle at Bighorn, featured Woods with Karrie Webb, David Duval, and Annika Sorenstam. Webb and Duval teamed up against Woods and Sorenstam, whom Webb defeated in Weetabix Women’s British Open in 1995. This time, however, Sorenstam won in tandem with Tiger Woods.
Fact 10 – She Is a Member of Two Golf Hall of Fames
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame is a tremendous honor. The honor is even more significant for Karrie Webb, for she joined not one but two Hall of Fames, namely, the World Golf Hall of Fame and the Ladies PGA Hall of Fame. She entered the two Halls in 2005. At 31 years old, she also was the youngest player to be inducted into the Hall of Fame until Se Ri Pak joined the Hall in 2007.
Fact 11 – She’s Lived in Florida for the Past 23 Years
Webb moved to Boynton Beach in Florida in 1999 and has lived there ever since. She describes the weather in Florida as similar to the sunny climate of her home country, Australia. The LPGA champion owns a 32-foot Intrepid fishing boat that she pilots on fishing trips or during visits to Boynton Beach’s various waterfront restaurants.
Fact 12 – An Author Refers to Her as “Golf’s Tigress” in Biography
Webb’s prowess has been frequently compared to Tiger Woods, her counterpart in the male PGA. In his biography of the Australian golfer, author Phil Tresidder referred to Webb as “Golf’s Tigress” in the title – an apparent reference to the equally skilled Woods. Tresidder also wrote two biographies for Greg Norman, the Great White Shark and one of Webb’s earliest tutors.
Fact 13 – Webb Endorses Nippon Shaft
Karrie Webb credits some of her winning plays to Nippon Shaft, which she has used in her irons since 2002. She used the Nippon Shaft Pro Modus 3 Tour 105 irons and the Pro Modus 3 Wedge 105 wedges. Her metal woods also have the same company’s Pro Regio Formula B shaft. According to the LPGA champ, she first heard about Nippon Shaft from some of her colleagues who she thought had great striking when using the company’s products.
Fact 14 – She Has Now Accumulated $20.28 Million in Career Earnings
Webb has won 41 championships in the LPGA alone. This allowed her to accumulate, as of 2022, $20.28 million in career earnings. She’s only $2 million behind her closest rival, Annika Sorenstam. The two women have been in constant competition during the early days of the LPGA. Sorenstam, however, retired in 2008, while Webb remains active today.
Fact 15 – She’s a Lifetime Member of the Australian Ladies Professional Golf
Together with Jan Stephenson, Karrie Webb received a life membership in the Australian Ladies Professional Golf (ALPG) in 2009. Both Australians received the same honor as ALPG founding members Betty Dalgleish, Sheri Wright, and Laureen Ford. Both Webb and Stephenson received a Rolex Rookie of the Year Award in 1974 and 1996.
Fact 16 – She Was Named Queensland’s Sportswoman of the Year for Three Consecutive Times
Karrie Webb received another distinction from her home country of Australia for her achievements in world golf. She was named the Sportswoman of the Year in Queensland for three consecutive years, from 2000 to 2002. Together with Susie O’Neill, she became a Womensport Queensland Legend in 2002.
Fact 17 – She Donated to the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation
The Christopher and Dana Reeve Paralysis Foundation aims to financially support research and development of techniques that could cure spinal cord injury. It results from a collaboration between the American Paralysis Association and former Superman actor Christopher Reeves.
To support the cause, Karrie Webb established an annual event called the “Karrie Webb Celebrity Pro-Am Golf Tournament.” All proceeds from the competitions between 2002 and 2005 went to the Foundation.
Fact 18 – She Spearheaded a Drive to Give Free Event Tickets to Fans
The LPGA champ brought golf closer to fans by giving out 50 free tickets to events hosted by the LPGA and the U.S. Women’s Open in 2009. This move garnered attention from the tournaments’ organizers. As a result, 800 lucky fans received a ticket for one event hosted by the Women’s Open or the LPGA.
Fact 19 – She Enjoys Reading, Basketball, and Fishing
Miss Webb also enjoys dabbling in other hobbies aside from golf. In her free time, she’s either taking her Intrepid out to the Florida coastal waters for some game fishing or going to the gym for a basketball game. On quieter days, she’s at home with her nose buried in a book or two.
Fact 20 – She Earned $1 Million in a Single Season as a Rookie
Karrie won four tournaments in 1996 and placed within the 10 in six other matches for the year. Because of these achievements, she bagged $1,002,000 in that year alone. These winnings made her the first rookie to achieve that feat in the history of both the PGA and the LPGA.
What’s In the Bag?
Every player owes their prowess in golf to their equipment line-up. Let’s look at the Golf Clubs that make up Karrie Webb’s inventory during games.
Karrie carries a Ping S56 to her games. Her S56 carries a Nippon Shaft 1050 GH Stiff and is predominantly stainless steel. The S56 has a low handicap iron designed for expert-level players like Karrie, who plays with a 4-9 setup. The iron features a distinctive head shape that spells “confidence” in bold, shiny steel and allows further customization via a tuning port behind the head.
Miss Webb plays with two fairways woods: the Taylor Made R9 and the Cleveland Launcher. Her Cleveland Launcher has a loft setting of 15 degrees and has a Nippon Shaft NS Pro Regio shaft. On the other hand, her TaylorMade R9 is dialed for a loft of 19 degrees. Karrie used a Nippon Shaft Pro WT600 shaft for this fairway wood.
Miss Webb also plays with a hybrid club – a cross between irons and fairway woods. In her case, she uses a TaylorMade Rescue TP FCT with a Nippon Shaft Pro WT7000 shaft. This hybrid incorporates the proprietary Flight Control Technology that allows players to adjust loft settings to fit their playing style or specific game conditions.
Karrie Webb uses two Ping clubs for wedges – the S56 and Tour Gorge. She dialed her S56 wedge for a loft of 48 degrees and picked the Nippon Shaft Pro 1050 GH stiff shaft. Her Tour Gorge clubs are dialed for lofts of 52 and 58 degrees.
Last but not least, Karrie Webb plays with a Ping Scottsdale TR Grayhawk Putter. This putter guarantees excellent control and optimized ball speeds thanks to the variable-depth groove technology. Players can also adjust the length of the shaft to further improve power and boost performance on the greens. The Scottsdale Grayhawk also features some forgiveness on off-center putts.
Without a doubt, Karrie Webb is a prodigy as Tiger Woods was in his early years in the PGA. Her $1-million single-season earning is a testament to her skill in golf. It’s no wonder that she currently ranks #2 in the LPGA for all-time career earnings, just behind Annika Sorenstram.
Aside from her golf victories, Karrie also made a distinction for her charitable donations to the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the “Karrie’s Fantastic Freebies” drive that saw 800 fans receive tickets to golf events.