Karrie Webb on future golf funding, the Olympics and attracting girls to golf: video

Karrie Webb makes some insightful comments about the future of Australian golf ahead of this week’s Women’s Australian Open.

A fascinating press conference from Karrie Webb today that touched on her controversial disqualification from last week’s Australian Ladies Masters as well as her thoughts on the funding discrepancies between male and female athletes.

As arguably Australia’s best-ever golfer, Webb has always been a slightly reserved character, flying under the radar, never saying anything too controversial. Given her comments in today’s presser though, I’d like to hear Webb convey her thoughts more often – and more importantly – heard by the administrators of golf in Australia.

Webb’s thoughts on future funding for golf:

If I were to win a medal at the Olympics I think it would impact funding for Golf Australia across the board, it wouldn’t just impact women’s golf. I’m not sure if the Government’s waiting to see if we produce any medals but I think what Adam Scott did last year reminded me a lot of what Greg Norman was doing when I was a little kid.

I don’t think it necessarily means that young girls aren’t inspired by a male, because that’s what got me into golf and wanting to be a professional golfer, you know, Greg Norman was the best thing on the planet when I was a young kid and that inspired me to want to keep at the game and want to work at the game.

Webb also commented on the gap between junior golf level and elite, professional golf:

I think there’s a gap between junior golf and State golf and then to the elite. I think there needs to be something in the middle where girls can aim. Once they’ve represented their State it’s a big jump to representing your country and there’s nothing in the middle.

I think we need something in the middle but we also need someone out there identifying talent, kids that are 10, 11, 12 years old that might play golf as a secondary sport and are really good at netball or something but to encourage them to take the golf path rather than the netball path.

On the differences between boys and girls playing sport:

I think there is a difference between men and women as far as girls staying involved in sport in general. I think they get to a certain age and if they’re not encouraged the right way, they don’t stay in sport whereas for most boys growing up, being involved in a sport is just a pre-requisite to being a boy and it’s not necessarily that for a girl.

After responding to a question about the phenomenal rise of Lydia Ko, Webb also made it clear that young female golfers need not think they’ve failed just because they haven’t turned professional by the age of 16:

I think that’s the guidance that girls need over the guys, because there’s not a lot of guys ready to play men’s golf at 16 and that’s where you need to encourage them to really mature at their own pace and there’s no pressure. You’re not failing by turning pro at 22.

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