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No Dry Eyes: Webb Wins At Last

Webb stopped worrying about results and refocused on her performance at the end of 2008.

Some recent stresses in Webb’s life literally include bricks — a poolroom that Webb and Thornfeldt are developing in Villa Rica, Ga., just west of Atlanta. The inevitable delays in approvals and construction had distracted Webb in the last year, and her ranking had slipped from No. 6 to No. 10. But more troublesome was the depression she found herself slipping into in 2007 regarding her game.

“I started getting down on myself,” she said. “Before last year, if I would get third place or whatever, within six hours I was ready to get home and start practicing again. But last year I got kind of depressed over it.

“But it only lasted a little while. I’m not a depressed person. I love the game too much. I said to myself, ‘I’m going to quit focusing on results. Don’t care what the interviewers ask me. If I’m labeled the last person who hasn’t won a tournament, then whatever.’ … That’s the attitude that I took going into the last two tournaments. And I think it worked.”

With the new mindset, Webb returned to third place at the Pacific Coast Classic in October, losing to Vivian Villarreal in the semifinals, 7-4. But despite Webb’s return to form, most of the attention at November’s Tour Championships focused on Fisher and her all-but-inevitable run at securing the No. 1 ranking and the tour’s Player of the Year honors at the season-ending event.

The former world champion in snooker had joined the Classic Tour in 2005 and quickly took up residence in the top 5.

“I always had the goal to be No. 1,” Fisher said. “When I first came over, I had a five-year goal to be No. 1, but, realistically, when I realized how tough it was here, I kind of just kept striving for it and never thought of a time frame.”

She actually beat her initial five-year goal by finally seizing the No. 1 spot after her title win at the U.S. Open in August 2008. Her ascension resulted from a confluence of factors.

The first, of course, was that Fisher had polished her game to a new brilliance, shoring up the last few weaknesses in her breaking, safety play and pace. Second, longtime No. 1 Allison Fisher lost her first two matches at the U.S. Open to post an unimaginable 49th-place finish and essentially drop out of contention for the No. 1 spot. Factor No. 3 — that the WPBA had changed its ranking system in 2008 to include only one season’s events (instead of a continual 10-tournament cycle) — gave red-hot Kelly Fisher a commanding lead on the points list heading into the Tour Championships.


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