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Webb fears for Aussie women's golf future

NZN 14/02/2017 Steve Larkin

Karrie Webb fears for the future of Australian women's golf.

Webb believes young Australian golfers are being scared off the pro tour because they can't instantly match the current crop of rare talent atop the golfing world.

"My fear is that, and I have seen it with the young Aussie girls, is they feel like if they're not ready to play on the world stage at 18, then they're past it," Webb told reporters on Wednesday.

"I'm 42 and still playing. Golf, fortunately, you can have a long career if you choose to and you can peak at an older age.

"I just think mentally right now kids are being told that they won't peak in their 30s - if they don't peak when they're 22, they're never going to succeed."

Webb marvelled at the abilities of young stars such as 19-year-old world No.1 Lydia Ko, world No.2 Ariya Jutanugarn, aged 22, and Canadian 19-year-old Brooke Henderson, ranked eighth in the world.

But their success was a double-edged sword.

"My fear for the young girls is its either Lydia Ko or fail," she said.

" (But) ... you don't have to be in the top one per cent to make a career out of golf."

From Thursday, Webb chases a sixth Australian Open crown at Royal Adelaide - the course where she first played as a professional some 23 years ago.

And she still believed she was capable of adding another national title to her 41 LPGA Tour triumphs which include seven majors.

"Yeah," she said when asked if she could win.

"That is the one thing, if I'm at a golf tournament ... I'm not just here so everyone can say it's great to see me out and about.

"I'm here to try and win. I don't want to be making up the numbers.

"It doesn't ever appeal to me to be (teeing) off early on a Sunday, even though that does happen. I would prefer to be off late and having a chance to win."

Webb has committed to a full playing schedule this year after contemplating her future when missing a berth on Australia's two-golfer team for last year's Rio Olympics.

"Golf has been so good to me ... I couldn't let not making an Olympics bring all that down," she said.

"I'm committed to playing a full year this year and then we'll see. I'm just going to play it year by year."

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