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Bill Kwon

Sports Watch

By Bill Kwon

Friday, February 9, 2001

Woods and Webb
far from slumping

CALL Karrie Webb the LPGA's Tiger Woods. The 26-year-old Aussie is as dominating as Woods is on the PGA Tour. Their parallel worlds of success are ball-strikingly similar.

Both have been the player of the year on their respective tours in 1999 and 2000. Both turned professional in 1996, winning rookie of the year honors.

The number of tour victories over that period of time? Woods 24, Webb 23.

At age 24, Woods is already the PGA Tour's all-time money winner.

Starting her sixth year, Webb is already second behind LPGA career money leader Betsy King -- $6.8 to $6.3 million. And Webb should easily overtake the Hall of Famer with another season like last year, when she set a single-season earnings record of $1,876,853.

Their successes have raised people's expectations so much so that when both went 0-for-January, the question being asked was, "What's wrong with Tiger?" "What's wrong with Karrie?" They start talking about "slumps."

What slumps?

"I had two seconds in three starts, I certainly don't feel like I'm in a slump," said Webb, who's defending her title in the LPGA Takefuji Classic at the Kona Country Club this weekend.

The same could be said of Woods, who finished tied for eighth, fifth and 13th in his three starts this year.

"People like to put him on a pedestal and think he's not human like the rest of us," Webb said. "Like me, I don't think he's in a slump."

It's tough improving when you're already the best.



During the Mercedes Championships at Kapalua, Maui, last month, Phil Mickelson noted that with the new equipment and improved golf balls that go 20 yards farther combined with the talent today, fans are going to see a lot of low scores on the PGA Tour this year.

Mickelson was dead, solid perfect.

It didn't escape any of his fellow pros that Brad Faxon, never known as someone long off the tee, is now hitting the ball a lot longer. Combined with his putting skills, Faxon won the Sony Open with a tournament record 20-under-par 260, matching the same record 72-hole score set by John Huston when he won the 1998 Hawaiian Open when Waialae played to a par-72.

That same weekend at Hualalai, Larry Nelson won the MasterCard Championship -- the Senior PGA Tour's tournament of 54 -- with a 19-under 197 for 54 holes.

Then Mark Calcavecchia set the all-time PGA Tour record one week later in the Phoenix Open, posting a 72-hole score of 256 to better by one stroke the previous low set by Mike Souchak in 1955.

Mind you, all of these low numbers are being posted and Tiger hasn't even found his game yet this year. Wait 'til he gets going.



The Hawaii Pearl Open this weekend at the Pearl Country Club continues to be one of the biggest golf tournaments in Hawaii.

The 192-player field includes 60 golf professionals from Japan, 65 from Hawaii and the mainland and four from Australia.

Playing in the event for the first time in three years is David Ishii, PCC's head professional and the 1990 Hawaiian Open champion. Ishii has won the Pearl Open six times, while Kevin Hayashi, Lance Suzuki and Greg Meyer each won the event twice.



Because of the construction of its new clubhouse, the Navy-Marine Invitational will not be played this year, according to David Chin, Navy-Marine's head golf professional.

Bill Kwon has been writing
about sports for the Star-Bulletin since 1959.
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