Juli Inkster has fond memories of the DuPont Country Club. The 22-time LPGA champion won the McDonald's LPGA Championship there a year ago, becoming just the fourth player in LPGA history to complete the career Grand Slam by winning all four designated major championships.
But this year, the only player who can reach the Grand Slam, winning all four tournaments (and in one year) is the incomparable Karrie Webb.
The Quirky Queenslander with a silky smooth swing has already won the first LPGA Major of the year, the 2000 Nabisco Championship and she will make her first attempt at the Nabisco Grand Slam Challenge, the richest bonus pool in professional golf.
If Webb wins the McDonald's LPGA Championship this week, she will earn a $250,000 bonus from Nabisco. If she then goes on to win a third major championship in 2000, the bonus increases to $1 million. If Webb sweeps all four LPGA majors, she will win a whopping $2.5 million bonus.
Other 2000 tournament champions competing in the 72-hole event are three-time champion Annika Sorenstam; two-time champions Laura Davies and LPGA Tour Hall of Famer Betsy King; and Sophie Gustafson, Pat Hurst, Meg Mallon, Grace Park, Nancy Scranton and Charlotta Sorenstam. But they will all be chasing Karrie Webb.
"My goal each week is to put myself in contention to win, and that's where my thoughts will be at McDonald's," Webb said. "The Nabisco Grand Slam Challenge is a great program. If I am fortunate enough to win, it will make hoisting up my second major championship trophy of the season that much sweeter."
A win at the McDonald's LPGA Championship would be Webb's third straight major victory - dating back to her victory at the du Maurier Classic in 1999 and followed by her win at The Nabisco Championship. Webb has won three other LPGA Tour events this year and finished second in two others.
"The way Karrie's playing, she obviously has an excellent shot at winning the McDonald's LPGA Championship," said John F. Manfredi, chairman of The Nabisco Championship and executive vice president of Nabisco. "We'd love to have Karrie win the $250,000 in bonus money. And we'd be thrilled if she were to win all four majors this year and we could give her $2.5 million. We'd consider it a great honor to be a part of one of the most memorable moments in sports history."
Over the years, LPGA Hall of Famer Pat Bradley has come the closest to winning the women's grand slam, winning three of the four modern majors in 1986 (falling short only at the Women's U.S. Open, where she tied for fifth).
Since joining the LPGA in 1996, Webb has won 20 events, two majors, Rookie of the Year honours in '96, Player of the Year honours last year and the 1999 Vare Trophy for best scoring average on Tour.
So far in 2000, she has defended her title at The Office Depot in Palm Beach, Fla., (the first event on the LPGA Tour schedule), defended her title at the Australian Ladies Masters in her homeland, won the LPGA Takefuji Classic in Kona, Hawaii, and won the first major of the year at The Nabisco Championship. Webb has been the fastest to cross the $3 million and $4 million career earnings plateau. Her prize money of $1,591,959 last year set a single-season LPGA record.
Remarkably, a victory at the McDonald's LPGA Championship will put Webb past the $5 million career earnings mark - the fastest again to reach that level. Is she the Tiger of Women's golf?