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Webb wants to be an Olympic golfer

31 January 2013

GOLF: Karrie Webb has seven majors, 38 US tour wins, a career grand slam and is a member of golf's Hall of Fame, all before the age of 40.

The kid who grew up in Ayr in north Queensland, inspired by Greg Norman, has done it all.

Or has she?

Webb refuses to put a use-by date on her magnificent career, declaring the desire to win another major still burns strongly.

Now, the prospect of being part of an Australian team competing at the 2016 Rio Olympics could help Webb rebound from her first winless calendar year in 2012 and climb back from her world ranking of 17 into the top 10.

"It would be a special thing to share if I was good enough to make the Australia team," said Webb before attempting to win another Australian Ladies Masters around a damp Royal Pines this weekend.

"I know I still have the game to do that (win majors).

"I could have another 40 or 50 (majors) if I decided I wanted to play that long but, in my mind, I don't think I am going to go that long.

"With golf being added to the Olympics in 2016, that's the carrot that's dangling out there in front of me to keep me working hard.

"It would really be a special thing for me to achieve in my career, if I could be good enough to make the Australian team for the 2016 Olympics."

Webb, who featured in the World Golf Federation's successful campaign to have golf included at the next Games, remembers getting out of bed early in the morning as a young kid to watch the Moscow Olympics with her mum and dad.

"Being part of an Olympics, just walking out with the team at the opening ceremony, those are the things I think about. The golf would be secondary," she said.

"Winning a medal, gee, that would be the icing on the cake, wouldn't it?"

She disagreed with claims by retired swimming great Ian Thorpe in his recent autobiography that, with so many major tournaments, golfers would not take the Olympics seriously.

"Some of our most famous sporting athletes in Australia are Olympians," she said.

"Growing up in Australia, you realise just how big the Olympics are."

Ladies Masters promoter and long-time women's golf supporter Bob Tuohy has crowned Webb the country's best golfer.

But Webb says she still looks up to Norman, even though her record in majors (seven wins) is far superior to the Shark's (two wins).

"For people to say that is the highest compliment ... but to me, Greg Norman is still Greg Norman.

"I am still an 11-year-old girl sometimes when I think of Greg Norman."

If Webb wins this weekend against the likes of top 10-ranked rivals So Yeon Ryu and British Open champion Jiyai Shin, she will equal the great Sam Snead's effort of winning the same tournament (Greater Greensboro Open) eight times between 1938 and 1965.

Wayne Heming

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