Landing in the Green

KARRIE WEBB, 22, golf’s golden

Last year, Australian-born golfer Karrie (rhymes with “starry”) Webb became the first player in Ladies Professional Golf Association history to win $1 million in a single season—and the first rookie of either gender to top the million mark.

On a different par: “I feel like I’m the same person,” says Webb, named LPGA Rookie of the Year in December 1996, “but everyone looks at me as different.”

Cashing in: Endorsement deals—on everything from sunglasses to her own clothing line in Australia—near $700,000.

Out of the rough: “It is a comfortable feeling,” says Webb, new owner of a three-bedroom Orlando home and a red BMW touring sedan, “to be financially secure.”

Male clone: LPGA head Jim Ritts likes to call phenom Tiger Woods “the Karrie Webb of the men’s tour.”

Vitals: Oldest of three sisters born and raised in Ayr in Queensland, Australia. Says parents—home builder Robert and cafe owner Evelyn—are average golfers.

Turning point: Maternal granny—a “keen golfer”—bought her a set of clubs for her eighth birthday. Soon after, Webb, a bit of a tomboy, realized, “I was born to play.”

First break: Made the Australian junior team at 16. At 19, skipping college, she turned pro, borrowed some cash from her family and headed for Europe to play.

Love life: After breaking up with fiancé last year, “I’m not into that sort of thing. I’m concentrating on golf.”

Off course: “I listen to quite a bit of music. Stuff you can dance to at clubs.” Considering taking up skydiving after one attempt.

Price of fame: In Australia, where she’s a celebrity, she complains, “I have a tough time being myself.” In the U.S. it’s easier “because no one recognizes me.” Not for long.

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