STARRING KARRIE WEBB as Herself
ROB WEBB as Her Father
EVELYN WEBB as Her Mother
KELVIN HALLER as Her Coach
TODD HALLER as Her Former Fianc�
ANNIKA SORENSTAM as Her Rival
A SUGARCANE FIELD-DAY: The cane ripples in the wind, like swells at sea, stretching eight, 10, 12 feet toward a blinding sun. The camera pulls back to reveal a tiny island of activity amidst the endless fields, the small hamlet of Ayr, in north Queensland, Australia. We pan down the town's main drag, Queen Street. From the look of the cars, it is clearly the late 1950s. It is a Sunday afternoon, the one day of the week when the farmers come to town, and a crowd is growing in front of the Delta Theatre. The marquee is understated. Only the ornate carvings in the beams framing the silver screen hint at any sort of Hollywood grandeur. Standing in the ticket line, clutching his mother's hand, is young ROB WEBB, turned out in his Sunday best. From the look on his face, he is delighted to be making his weekly pilgrimage to the movies. Rob pays no attention to the little girl in line behind him, EVELYN COLLINSON, who also squeezes a mother's hand. In a town like Ayr, dreams are hard to come by. That's what the movies are for.
DISSOLVE TO: The familiar silhouette of the Delta's facade looks down upon Queen Street, though the marquee has been replaced by sheets of rusting corrugated metal adorned with the faded lettering of a Chinese restaurant and a clothing store, both long gone. The former expanse of the Delta's lobby has been carved into two vacant storefronts. Splashed across a grungy window is a banner: PUBLIC AUCTION DEC. 17, 1999.
CUT TO THE ABANDONED CHINESE RESTAURANT—DAY: Rob and Evelyn Webb, 27 years into their marriage, sit impassively, holding hands. Rob has the callused paws and meaty forearms of a carpenter. Evelyn is hardly dainty, a swimmer and crackerjack water-skier. Around them the room is abuzz with the anticipation of the impending auction. Evelyn holds a cell phone to her ear. On the other end of the connection is her daughter KARRIE, 25, calling from her home in Boynton Beach, Fla. She is coming off one of the greatest seasons in LPGA history, during which she won a record $1,591,959. Her parents are representing her in the bidding. The auction begins, and with one other serious bidder present, the price on the 15,952-square-foot lot quickly zooms upward—200,000, 250,000, 300,000 Australian dollars (one Australian dollar equals .61 U.S. dollars). Evelyn talks a mile a minute into the phone. At $330,000 she gingerly raises her hand. The other bidder pushes the price to $340,000. Karrie chimes in from the other side of the world. Evelyn pushes the bid to $350,000. The room freezes, the gavel slams. The Webbs' real estate agent, Harry Burbidge, jumps to embrace them.
BURBIDGE (VOICE-OVER): "Karrie has always been the favorite daughter of Ayr. When she comes home, she's just Karrie. She is a private person, and that's respected by one and all, but everyone in town is so excited about her plans to restore the old Delta Theatre. It's really the first time she has reached out to the community. I can tell you, the refurbishment of the theater is going to be very good for the local economy. It's thought to be a $1.2 million ( U.S.) project. From what I understand there are going to be state-of-the-art systems for sound and projection. It might not sound like an exciting development to the outside world, but it is here in Ayr, where the nearest movie theater is an hour away. Without a good movie theater, the only excitement in these parts is waiting for Karrie to win another tournament."
CUT TO: A DRIVE-IN MOVIE COMPLEX CIRCA 1989—DAY: A tight shot of the blinding-white plywood screen, then the camera pulls back to reveal an expansive parking lot, empty save for the rusted poles on which idle speakers hang. The silence is broken by the sound of a golf ball skipping across the baked pavement, pinballing off the poles. The camera pulls back farther to reveal a young golfer at the far end of the lot hitting from a patch of turf, and her coach, KELVIN HALLER, looking on. The grass is an extension of Haller's backyard, which borders the drive-in. Haller is in his mid 30s, the greenkeeper at Ayr Golf Club and one of the area's best players. In a couple of years he will suffer a stroke while playing the course's 4th hole, confining him to a wheelchair. For now, he stands behind young Karrie, a little pixie who's all blonde ponytail and dogged concentration. We watch as she sends ball after ball screaming into the parking lot.
HALLER (VOICE-OVER): "My parents ran a news agency on Queen Street. I worked there some growing up and spent most of the time reading the golf magazines. Next door was a toy shop owned by Karrie's grandparents, MICK and JOY COLLINSON. The families were friendly. When Karrie became interested in golf, someone suggested I teach her the game. She was my first student. I knew pretty quick she was special. She was an athletic girl, strong for her size. But what made her special was determination, determination, determination. She could hit balls all day, even in that sun. Of course, it wasn't just hitting balls. It was picking 'em up, too."
CUT TO THE AYR GOLF CLUB—DUSK: The modest white clubhouse looms over Edwards Street, just outside the center of town. Ayr State High ("Preparing responsible, informed and valued citizens") is down the road, separated only by an expansive athletic field. The house that Karrie grew up in, a modest green-and-yellow five-bedroom Queenslander at 85 Norham Road, is two blocks away.
The camera wanders across the gently rolling course until it finds Webb, playing with her favorite adversaries, Haller's nephews, RYAN and TODD HALLER. Webb is still in her teens, but already she will play only with the best male golfers and only from the back tees, from which the course measures 6,452 yards and plays to a par of 71. Ryan is on the way to a career, albeit a middling one, as a touring pro, but it is Todd who seems to have captured Karrie's fancy. Between brilliant shotmaking (Todd plays off a three handicap) they flirt like mad. By the time Karrie turns pro in October 1994, they will be engaged. For now they play on into the sunset.