By Michael Davis

KARRIE Webb will be nominated as captain of Australia’s golf team for the Olympic Games in Paris in 2024.

Webb, the legendary seven-time major winner and World Golf Hall of Fame member, steps in to replace Ian Baker-Finch, who has retired from the role after captaining Australia at the 2016 Rio De Janeiro Games and the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She will possibly become the first-ever woman to captain both men’s and women’s teams at an Olympic Games golf competition. 

In previous Games since golf returned to the schedule in 2016, nations have used separate men’s and women’s captains, but Golf Australia, which made the announcement, chooses to use a single captain for both competitions.

Webb has also agreed to coach the Australian women’s team at the World Amateur Teams’ Championships this year.

That event is being held at the same venue that will host Olympic golf, Le Golf National, in August-September, meaning that Webb will get first-hand information about the Olympic host course just outside Paris.

Karrie Webb and Golf Australia boss James Sutherland after the announcement of the Olympic Games captaincy. Photo courtesy of Golf Australia.

“I couldn’t be more excited to be nominated,” Webb said. 

“The Olympic Games are very special to me and I’m a patriotic Australian, so to have an opportunity to work with the best Australian players on the biggest stage in sport is incredibly powerful.

“Aside from all that I’m very familiar with all the players who are likely to be in contention to play in Paris and in some cases, they are close friends of mine.

“I’m rapt to see that golf is in the Olympics as I think it has the potential to help grow our game globally as well as in Australia. Our best Australian players continue to fly our flag so well internationally and I know they will do so in
Paris 2024 hopefully coming away with a medal or two. That’s what I’d love to see.”

Golf Australia CEO James Sutherland said both his organisation and the PGA of Australia, which assists with Olympic campaign funding, were grateful to Baker-Finch for his efforts in pulling together two Olympic campaigns.

“While we’ve fallen just short of medals in those two Olympic Games, a lot’s been gained,” Sutherland said. “Ian Baker-Finch has been a big part of that because he’s fostered a camaraderie and a spirit that was very evident. Australian golfers have represented their country at the last two Olympics with great pride and, of course, skill.

“We’re thankful to Ian for his work and the foundations that he has built, and we’re delighted that the baton can be passed from one great Australian golfer to another.  

“Karrie Webb is eminently qualified for this role. Her playing record is quite remarkable but it’s not just that with Karrie. Her contribution to our sport and Australian golf has been enormous – and she has always embraced opportunities to become a mentor and friend to so many young stars of our game.

“Karrie is a hugely classy person and has always given back to golf.  It makes her an obvious choice to fill this role for Paris and hopefully beyond.”

The Olympic Games golf competition is an individual stroke event played over four rounds. Golf was first played in the summer Olympics of 1900 and again in 1904 before it was taken off the program for more than a century. 

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