Australia’s Greatest Golfer: Karrie Webb v Geoff Ogilvy

Two of their most significant career milestones were separated by just 77 days.

Karrie Webb’s victory at the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship would represent her seventh and final major crown; little more than two months later Geoff Ogilvy etched his name into Australian golf history with an all-time up-and-down at the 72nd hole to claim the 2006 US Open at Winged Foot.

It’s been a tick over 14 years since Ogilvy’s triumph yet even more challenging than a Sunday showdown with Phil Mickelson and Colin Montgomerie is the task of moving past our greatest major champion as we edge closer to identifying Australia’s Greatest Golfer.

Few players – male or female – have asserted dominance in the manner of Karrie Webb at the turn of the century. In a two-year period Webb racked up four majors among 10 LPGA Tour victories, prompting Hall of Famer Nancy Lopez to declare the shy Queenslander as “the Tiger Woods of women’s golf” just as Tiger Woods was doing very Tiger Woods things.

From the moment Webb won the 1997 Weetabix Women’s British Open at 20 years of age she was on a path to greatness, even if the fame and attention that came with it never sat too well.

Her first official major title was the 1999 du Maurier Classic and in 2001 Webb won three of the biggest events that the ladies play for.

If Webb was dominant internationally what she did on home soil was downright unfair.

Anyone who wanted to win either the Australian Ladies Masters or Women’s Australian Open had to first go through Webb, and few were successful.

Webb won four straight Masters titles at RACV Royal Pines Resort from 1998-2001 and over the space of three years from 2000 didn’t finish worse than second in either of the ALPG Tour’s two most prestigious events.

Eligible for the World Golf Hall of Fame at 25 years of age – she was officially inducted in 2005 – Webb was regarded by none other than five-time British Open champion Peter Thomson as our most accomplished golfer of all time.

The sheer number of tournament wins dusts almost everyone who has ever played the game whereas Ogilvy seemed to save his very best for when the game’s leading players all congregated.

In addition to his Winged Foot wizardry, Ogilvy won three World Golf Championships in the space of three years, defeating major champions Mike Weir, Tom Lehman, Davis Love III, Rory McIlroy and Stewart Cink on his way to Match Play Championship wins in 2006 and 2009.

Two of his eight PGA TOUR titles came at the season-opening Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in successive years, demolishing the field of certified PGA TOUR winners by six strokes at Kapalua’s Plantation Course in 2009.

He has only two wins on the PGA Tour of Australasia, and they are the two most feted, the 2008 Australian PGA Championship at Coolum and 2010 Australian Open at The Lakes.

Not only do their playing records stack up against the best Australia has ever produced but their considered voices make them two of the most influential people in the game, even as their on-course commitments decrease.

Both are engaged in golf course design, highly sought-after for their insights and big supporters of the Oates Vic Open and the opportunities it provides for both male and female golfers.

Undisputedly two of our all-time greats.

Karrie Webb
Career wins: 57
Major wins: 7 (1999 du Maurier Classic, 2000 Nabisco Championship, US Women’s Open, 2001 McDonald’s LPGA Championship, US Women’s Open, 2002 Weetabix Women’s British Open, 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship)
LPGA Tour wins: 41
Women’s Australian Open: Won (2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, 2014)
Australian Ladies Masters: Won (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2010, 2013)
Round 1 def. Eric Cremin
Round 2 def. Peter Senior

Geoff Ogilvy
Career wins: 12
Major wins: 1 (2006 US Open)
PGA TOUR wins: 8
Australasian Tour wins: 2
Australian Open: Won (2010)
Australian PGA: Won (2008)
Round 1 def. Wayne Smith
Round 2 def. John Senden

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