Karrie’s back in the groove

Former Australian cricket batsman Matthew Hayden and American tennis ace Andre Agassi have been credited with helping Karrie Webb win the battle over her inner demons.

Webb cited the examples of eight-time Grand Slam champion Agassi and Hayden, considered by some to be Australia’s best opening batsman, as being instrumental in her revival.

Karrie Webb Karrie Webb

“Before playing in Singapore a year ago I had just read Matthew Hayden’s autobiography and in one of his chapters he talked about the terrible feeling and the noises in your head that go on when you’re about to have a big moment in your career,” she said.

“He said as he grew older and became a better player he learned to accept those noises as just part of it.”

“He says as a retired player he actually misses that. As bad as the feeling was, he said, ‘I can’t do anything in my life that replaces it’.

“So when those feelings were bubbling up I was just telling myself, ‘This is just part of it. This is what you want. You want to be in this position’.

“When you read about another professional athlete who went through a lot of mental ups and downs in his career – golf’s a tough sport. It’s all-consuming and it’s hard to not have it carry over into the rest of your life.”

“I’ve tried hard, especially over the past six or seven years, to keep it as two separate things. But it’s always there.”

“One of the things I took from Agassi’s interview when he retired was he looked forward to not waking up each day, making plans and then wondering how those plans would affect his tennis preparation.”

“That’s how golf is. When you’re in the midst of your career, whatever decision you make you still have to think ‘OK’, deciding to do certain things you think about golf.”

“You try to separate it as much as you can and you try to separate the results from defining you as a person.”

For Webb, the smile that spread over her face as she left herself a six-inch putt to win the HSBC Women’s Champions in Singapore a year ago was not so much for the fact she had finished at the top of a world-class field, nor that she had proved to herself she still has the game to win.

What stays with her to this day is the fact she did all that without being her own worst enemy in the process.

And she is confident her smile will again be on show at the Gold Coast RACV Australian Ladies Masters in February when she attempts to secure her seventh triumph at the event.