Webb Wins Inspiring Inaugural LPGA Founders Cup
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA

Karrie Webb hugs founder Marilynn Smith after finishing the final round of the Founders Cup

With the NCAA men’s basketball tourney happening concurrently, golf didn’t receive much notice last week, which is a shame because the LPGA pros had their first domestic tournament of the year, staging a very special event, not to mention altruistic. Karrie Webb, who took home the trophy three weeks ago in Singapore, came from behind and fired a six-under 66 to win the inaugural LPGA Founders Cup, beating Paula Creamer and Brittany Lincicome by a shot.

In somewhat of a juxtaposition to the Most Overhyped Interclub Match in the World, the ladies played for free. Well, not entirely — the Founders Cup honored the tour’s pioneers and donated $1 million to charity, with half going to The LPGA Foundation and its LPGA-USGA Girls Golf program and the other half to the top-10 finishers’ designated charities. (Yes, I realize the MOIMITW gives six-times that to charity, but the guys are also paid six-digits just to play in it.)

“I really think that the concept of this tournament is great, has been ever since it was announced,” said Webb. “And I don’t think we get the opportunity or we don’t do it enough is celebrate our Founders and where we’ve come from.  And I couldn’t be more honored to win that event because I wouldn’t have had the career that I’ve had and the life that I’ve had if it weren’t for those 13 women.”

Webb designated her $200,000 in winnings from the charity event at Wildfire Golf Club to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation and Japan relief efforts. Here’s an excerpt from an inspiring story written by’s Randall Mell:

“Things happen for a reason.”

Those were Karrie Webb’s words before the first tee shot was struck at the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup at Wildfire Golf Club.

She was speaking about the late actor Christopher Reeve and the inspiration, hope and help he offered those who were paralyzed as he was. She was explaining why she was playing for Reeve’s foundation as her designated Founders Cup charity. She went on to detail how her devotion to Kelvin Haller made the foundation so important to her. Haller, paralyzed from the neck down in an accident when Webb was 16, has coached her in their native Australia since before she turned pro.

“Kelvin’s obviously a very huge part of my life,” Webb said in a telephone interview after her victory. “I don’t think I would be the golfer I am without him and probably not the person.”

And here’s the full list of charities that will benefit from the top-ten finishers:

1: Karrie Webb, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
T2: Brittany Lincicome, First Tee of St. Petersburg
T2: Paula Creamer, Japan Relief Charity TBD
4: Cristie Kerr, Birdies for Breast Cancer/Muhammad Ali Parkinson’s Foundation
5: Angela Stanford, The Angela Stanford Foundation
6: Mindy Kim, Make A Wish Foundation of Central Florida
T7: Morgan Pressel, The Morgan Pressel Foundation
T7: Sun Young Yoo, Japan Relief Charity TBD
9: Seon Hwa Lee, American Heart Association
T10: Sara Jane Smith, Japan Relief Charity, TBD
T10: Stacy Prammanasudh, Special Olympics of Tulsa, Oklahoma
T10: Sandra Gal, Japan Relief Charity, TBD

Well done to all the ladies who played last week, and a huge thank you to the LPGA founders for paving the way.

(AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Michael Chow)