No slowing down for Karrie Webb

RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. -- Keep 'em coming.

Karrie Webb has seven major championships, 41 carrier victories, a place in the World Golf Hall of Fame and something she values even more.

A thirst for more.

When Webb tees off Thursday in the LPGA's Kraft Nabisco Championship, golf's first major championship of the season, she continues to be as timeless as salsa music.

I feel like my game is as good as it's ever been as far as having the ability to win majors.
Karrie Webb

Nineteen years after winning her first LPGA title and 15 seasons since her first major championship, Webb, 39, comes to Mission Hills Country Club this week already owning two 2014 victories and showing no indication of slowing down.

"I feel like my game is as good as it's ever been as far as having the ability to win majors," she said.

Even better, Webb believes her mental side is just now shifting into high gear.

"I think I just understand myself a lot more," she said. "I think I've learned that side of the game a lot in the last 10 years. I feel like I'm in as good a place mentally on the golf course as I ever have been, probably because I understand what it takes out there, what it takes for me to play well."

In February, Webb won the Women's Australian Open for her 40th career LPGA title. Last month she rallied from a six-shot deficit in Arizona to win the Founders Cup. She easily could have three wins this year if not for a closing 74 in Singapore to miss a playoff by one shot.

No matter. She already has the 10th multiple-win season of her career.

"I definitely respect her a lot. A lot," Michelle Wie said. "I got to know her personally over the last couple of years. I respect her as a person as well, too. She's so cool and so nice. Her game, I mean, she's ferocious.

"Definitely a Hall of Famer. You can tell when you play with her. She's cool, awesome."

AP Photo/Theo Karanikos

Karrie Webb's resume includes 41 LPGA victories, including two already this year.

Webb is quick to acknowledge that the motivations and goals that now drive her have evolved over the years, but the same beat goes on.

"Yeah, I think they've definitely changed," Webb said. "Fifteen years ago I can honestly tell you I woke up every morning before I went to practice or play a golf tournament and it was, 'What do I need to do to be the best in the world?' That was something that I constantly pushed myself to achieve.

"Probably didn't enjoy the challenge I set myself as much as I should have. But now I think I still challenge myself, I still push myself, but I cut myself some slack so I can enjoy life a little bit and enjoy the spoils of good golf.''

This is the result: Dating to the 1995 Women's British (not a designated major at the time), when she was 20, Webb's 41 LPGA wins have come over a 19-year span. Only five other women in LPGA history have stretched victories over a longer period of time. Hall of Famer Beth Daniel won her first LPGA event in 1979 and her 33rd and final tournament in 2003. Kathy Whitworth (88 wins) and Juli Inkster (31 wins) went 23 years between their first and last wins.

"You have longevity, but [then there's] playing good golf for a long time, which is what Karrie has done," top American Stacy Lewis said. "I don't see her as old. Everybody is writing her as being so old. She's younger than Phil [Mickelson], a lot of those guys on tour. She has a few good more years in her.

"The way she's playing right now, the sky's the limit. But playing that well, how hard she works, she's been doing this a long time. She works just as hard as some of the girls that are 18 years old in their first year on tour, she's probably working harder than them.''

Now Webb comes to the final Kraft Nabisco -- the sponsorship expires after this week -- and to a golf course where she has won twice (2000 and 2006), ready and eager to put another coat of wax on an already classic career.

"The beauty of golf, I guess, is that you can play at the highest or a very long time if you have the desire to do that," she said. "I'm glad that I'm still prepared to put in the hard work, and I'm glad that work is playing off."

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