5 Things: Keys to Karrie Webb’s longevity

Karrie Webb during the 2011 HSBC Women's Champions

Karrie Webb became the second player in LPGA history to cross the $16 million mark in career earnings (Annika Sorenstam is the other) with her victory last week in Singapore. Golfweek caught up with her swing coach, Ian Triggs, to talk about Webb’s longevity:

1. Off and running: Webb’s offseason, according to Triggs, had a large emphasis on off.

“Massive rain and floods really hampered us in training,” Triggs wrote in an e-mail. “In fact, devastated most of the state (Queensland). Karrie continued to train in the gym, but we had no preparation together at all.”

Triggs said when the pair arrived in Melbourne for the Australian Open in January, her game was a little off, her sequence, timing and coordination needed work. But the Aussie vet was fresh, and as evidenced by her T-3 in Thailand and Singapore victory, played her way into form.

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2. Wise beyond her years: That’s a nice way of saying Webb isn’t as old as you think. A rookie in 1996, Webb is still in her prime at age 36. It’s easy to forget, given that she earned enough points to qualify for the Hall of Fame back in 2000 and became the youngest to achieve the career grand slam in 2001.

“I’m one ahead of my age,” said Webb, who now owns 37 LPGA victories.

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3. Keepin’ up with the kids: There’s a certain stamina that’s now required to compete on the LPGA’s global circuit. The new level of fitness on tour isn’t lost on Webb, whom Triggs said has worked hard to improve her muscle balance in the past few years.

“This is keeping her fit and maintaining her current flexibility and stability and therefore her swing dynamics,” Triggs wrote.

“With the skill levels of all being so high, no one can afford to let their guard down for long. Karrie is well aware of this.”

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4. Delayed gratification: Webb ranked 79th on tour in putting last year. In October, Triggs spent time with her in Florida to address short game.

“We felt that her putting deserved special attention to see if we could get it back to a very high level,” Triggs wrote. Their work last fall seems to have seeped in, as Webb had no complaints on the greens in Singapore.

“I think as I get older, those putts are not easier than they were when I was 21,” she said. “But I get over them and I am pretty sure I’m going to put a good stroke on them.

So that feels good. I’ll take that feeling for as long as it stays with me.”

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5. Added motivation: Next up for Webb is the inaugural RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix. Top-10 finishers have a chance to raise money for a charity of their choice, and Webb will play for the Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation.

An ambassador for the foundation, Webb met Reeve in 1999 and teamed with him to raise funds for spinal cord injury research. It’s a cause that’s near to her heart, after her longtime coach Kelvin Haller became a quadriplegic after suffering an accident. With Haller unable to travel, for years they have communicated via the web.

The winner of the Founders Cup will donate $200,000 to her designated charity.

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