Karrie Webb returns to LPGA this week to gear up for British Open at St. Andrews

Karrie Webb returns to the LPGA this week for the first time in two years for one big reason: She wants another crack at the Old Course.

Webb, 49, is playing this week’s ShopRite LPGA Classic under the Hall of Fame/Career Wins category. A 41-time winner on the LPGA, Webb won the AIG Women’s British Open in 2002 and is exempt into the event until age 60. (She also won the Weetabix Women’s British Open in 1995 and 1997 before it was designated a major.)

This summer marks the first time the Women’s British has been contested at the Old Course since Stacy Lewis won in 2013. Lorena Ochoa won the first women’s professional event ever held on the Grand Old Lady in 2007.

“I just think St. Andrews and the Old Course is such a magical place,” said Webb. “I’ve never worked out how to play the Old Course well, but I just love everything … staying in the town, being there, even being on the golf course.”

2013 Ricoh Women's British Open
2013 Ricoh Women's British Open

Stacy Lewis putts for birdie on the 18th green during the final round of the 2013 Ricoh Women’s British Open at the Old Course at St. Andrews in Scotland. (Photo: Warren Little/Getty Images)

There’s a possibility that the women could return to the Old Course again before Webb reaches the end of her exemption, but she has no desire to tee it up with 20-year-olds when she’s 58 or 59.

This, she feels, is her last chance.

A seven-time major winner who will be eligible for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open next year, Webb last won on the LPGA in 2014 and claimed the ShopRite LPGA Classic the year prior.

The ShopRite Classic at Seaview Country Club in Galloway, New Jersey, is one of the longest-running events on tour and a favorite of Webb’s. While there are only two 54-hole events remaining on the LPGA schedule, Webb remembers there were nearly a dozen three-rounders when she came on tour in 1996.

“It is a bit of a throwback,” she said. “I think what this tournament does for charities in the local community is a huge thing, and it’s probably why it’s remained the three rounds.

“I would say any one of the girls that played in the U.S. Open last week would probably be really glad it’s three rounds this week because they get a bit of a breather before they have to tee it up.”

Last week’s winner Yuka Saso, now a two-time U.S. Women’s Open champion, is in the ShopRite field along with fellow Aussie Hannah Green, a two-time winner in 2024.

Green, currently No. 5 in the world, is slated to represent Australia in the 2024 Paris Olympics alongside Minjee Lee, who is currently 10th in the Rolex Rankings.

Webb will captain Australia’s golfers in Paris, replacing Ian-Baker Finch, who held the position for the Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 and again at Tokyo 2020.

Both players are past recipients of the Karrie Webb Scholarship and consider the LPGA and World Golf Hall of Famer a mentor. On Tuesday of ShopRite week, the Aussies in the field had dinner together. Webb said the Aussies on tour are as tight as they’ve ever been.

“I’m a wreck watching live scoring or watching the telecast these days,” she said. “I feel like their big sister I guess, but I know what my parents went through watching me in live scoring all these years.”

2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship
2019 KPMG Women's PGA Championship

Hannah Green is congratulated by Karrie Webb after winning the 2019 KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club. (Photo: David Cannon/Getty Images)

As for the rest of her summer playing schedule, Webb isn’t sure. While she’s never declared herself “retired,” being out on tour, she said, will never again be a regular thing. She just likes to get out and see what’s left in the tank.

“By the end of the week,” she said, smiling, “I’ll know why I don’t play regularly, probably.”

Story originally appeared on GolfWeek