Webb spins another great year

As a rookie, Karrie Webb won four times and became the first player in LPGA Tour history to win $1 million. This year was even better - six victories, a major championship, a record scoring average and record earnings.

As a rookie, Karrie Webb won four times and became the first player in LPGA Tour history to win $1 million. This year was even better - six victories, a major championship, a record scoring average and record earnings.

Two great seasons, neither of which might be fully appreciated. For that, she can blame Tiger Woods.

"This happened to me in 1996 with Tiger," she said with a grin, alluding to her remarkable rookie season that was overshadowed by Woods winning his third straight US Amateur, then turning pro and winning twice to qualify for the Tour Championship.

"I'm not really worried about it," the 24-year-old Australian said. "I've done what I've done. I mean, what Tiger has done is absolutely unbelievable, and it should be. They should be writing about him every day."

A solid year for Woods turned into a great one when he won the PGA Championship in Augusta, his second career major and his fourth PGA Tour victory. It became out of this world when the 23-year-old won his final four tournaments of the year, two of them World Golf Championship events worth $1 million each.Not since Ben Hogan had a player won four straight tour events.

Webb, meanwhile, was brilliant from the season-opening HealthSouth Inaugural through the season-ending LPGA Tour Championship. In a span of 25 tournaments, she won six times, was second another six times and 22-of-25 in top-10 finishes.

The most impressive of her feats was the 69.43 scoring average to win the Vare Trophy, shaving more than a half-point off the previous record set last year (69.99) by Annika Sorenstam.

"That's almost like 11 months nonstop," said Se Ri Pak, who denied Webb a seventh victory by winning a three-way playoff at the Desert Inn Golf Club. "I don't know if that can be lower than that. Eleven months is so, so difficult."

If there is one thing Webb and Woods have in common, it is their desire to be better than anyone in the game. Webb hasn't perfected the windmill fist-pumps because that's not her style. She prefers a subtle clench of the fist, which is just as effective showing her determination.

"Obviously, when I'm playing well, I know I can beat anyone when my game is on," Webb said. "I hope that I can continue to play the golf that I've played this year. It's certainly going to be very hard to top this year, but hopefully I can give myself a few chances to win some tournaments."

That should not be a problem. In just four years on the LPGA Tour, Webb already has won 15 times, and the Vare Trophy was her second such award. The only player who shaved more than .56 points off the previous scoring record was Patty Berg in 1955.

"It's going to be interesting to see how long this one lasts," Webb said. "This could be the lowest it ever gets - but I could break it myself."

Even more interesting to see will be how long Webb can keep alive this amazing streak. She has never gone longer than three straight tournaments without finishing in the top 10, a span of 98 events.

"Hopefully, I can ride this wave of good golf for as long as I can, because it has been incredible," she said. "There's going to be a time where it's down - I know that for sure. But I'm just going to enjoy it while it lasts."

One of these days, she might even get the recognition she is due - although Woods also shows no signs of slowing down.

"I think what needs to happen is that we just stop comparing the two tours," Webb said. "We all have different aspects of each tour that are good, and we have great players on both tours. And I don't think you can really compare a man and a woman - we weren't made to be the same.

"But we all get the job done the same way."

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