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Friday, July 4, 2014

Magical Golf Shots: An Eyewitness Account

Annette Walker, @TinkWalker
For those who love the Game of Golf there are places -- Musselburgh Links, The Royal and Ancient Golf Club of St Andrews, Pinehurst No 2, Pebble Beach -- and people -- Old Tom Morris, Francis Ouimet, Babe Zaharias, Arnold Palmer -- that anchor our collective memory and give meaning to the game.  And whether we play the game of golf or simply love it from behind the ropes, we savor and share our golfing stories about places and people in much the same way that families tell stories at holiday gatherings. The memories created by those stories bind us together.

When I posted my preview of the Ladies European Masters that highlighted defending champion Karrie Webb I picked up a new Twitter follower, Annette Walker, who just happens to be an ardent and enthusiastic Karrie Webb fan.

Well, why not?  They're both Aussies, Webb's dominated the women's international golf stage for twenty years and Annette's a golf fan.

Annette retweeted my preview Tweet and following Twitter good manners protocol I thanked her for the retweet.  She responded, and in this amazing virtual world of instant and transnational connectedness we began to chat.  Annette mentioned that two of the most amazing golf shots she'd ever witnesses had been executed by Karrie Webb.  I took that irresistible bait and asked her to tell me about them.  She did, and she was correct: they were both stunning demonstrations of magical golf moments.

I give you Annette's eyewitness account of both shots, precious private memories now shared, broadening and deepening our collective memories that define the Game of Golf:

Karrie Webb. Photo Credit: Harry How.
One of the Karrie Webb golf shots that I still shake my head at was in 2001 at the Women's British Open at Sunningdale.  (I think it was the par-4 7th hole.)  From a blind drive to a well-protected green, Webby had placed her ball left and long into the thick pine trees without a clear way out.  I couldn't think how she would get her ball anywhere near the flag as it sat hard left on the green.  It was almost a 45-degree angle from where she stood.  I thought a dropped shot was coming up.

In true Webby style, after perusing her options she drew a club from her bag and hit her ball low and hard.  I wondered why she'd aimed to the right of the green.  The ball smacked into the surrounding bank of the green, bounced off at the desired angle, and made its way over to the pin.  She two-putted and walked off to the next challenge.

At the Australian Ladies Masters, around 1998-2000 Webby had driven her ball right.  It went into the trees.  I stood where I could see her options to get out.  There wasn't an option out.  I appeared that anyone would have to hit that ball into a tree and risk a ricochet.  Then I noticed Webby looking a little way up the tree in front of her.  It didn't take her long to decide her shot.  She took a club out of her bag and hit the ball through a narrow fork in the tree.  The ball made it clear and long and continued up the fairway . . . I still shake my head.