Golf’s Glamour Girl hopes something special is in store
I'M told that Natalie Gulbis is quite the hot babe, and, though I am a married man and respect her too much as an athlete to have noticed this, I have seen the TV commercial in which John Daly and some other fat guy suck in their stomachs in her presence. So I am willing to accept it as fact.
Ask anyone, it seems it's true. Her unofficial title is that of golf's Glamour Girl. And I think there may be a move to make it official, probably any day.
And with this comes all sorts of things. She's quite popular. You'll soon be able to get your own Natalie Gulbis Gift Mastercard, should you so choose. She was the grand marshall of the Fiesta Bowl. She has her own reality TV show, which I haven't seen, but, based on the summaries provided on her Web site, seems to often revolve around the adventure of Natalie going to a lot of photo shoots.
"It's fun stuff," she said yesterday, while having to speak to reporters despite being tied for fourth after the opening round of the SBS Open. (Presumably, eye-rolling LPGA officials were thinking, because said reporters were asking to talk to the tour's designated hot babe.)
"I consider it opportunities," she said of all that fun stuff. She loves it.
She even has her own calendar, in which, as worldgolf.com puts it, "she shows off her brilliant abs and hatred of clothes in multiple photos."
But even better, she reminded us yesterday, she is a tough, determined athlete. A golfer. She's always there.
Natalie Gulbis acknowledged the gallery after birdieing the ninth hole yesterday in the SBS Open at Turtle Bay. Gulbis shot a 4-under 68 in the first round, leaving her a stroke behind a trio of leaders as she pursues her first win in 136 career LPGA starts.
In 2005 she was the first player in LPGA history to earn $1 million in a season without a tournament crown in there to boost the purse.
Now she wants that, too. Her goal? "Win a tournament," she said, biting into the question almost before it was finished being asked. She knows the topic, knows her record, knows that besides talking about calendars and her popularity and sides talking about calendars and her popularity and photo shoots, there will always be a question about her not having won an LPGA tournament in 135 tries.
"Every single week," she said, "I try to take it week by week, but my first goal is to win an event."
And as she said it, the beautiful cover girl was wearing a game face.
Good. Golf could use a Gulbis win. This tournament could, too.
This SBS Open could use a breakout win by golf's Glamour Girl.
Michelle Wie injured herself while running. (And just when I was going to start exercising, but no way now -- see what can happen?) And she may or may not have entered this tournament anyway.
Annika isn't here.
Paula Creamer is only 20, but she's been a pro for so long she's already speaking in athlete-ese.
J-Ro is tied for 129th.
Yes, this tournament could use a little glamour.
True, co-leader Sherri Steinhauer's striped pants are a good start, in that department, I love the pants, but it's not quite enough.
"I like them!" Steinhauer said.
I know, me too.
But this would be a great time for Gulbis to finally break through, to give us some sizzle (and to finally taste some steak), to break that photo-shoot ceiling, to get her first LPGA win.
She was just one stroke out of the lead, last night. She shot 4 under yesterday to open the tournament.
She's right there. She's photo-shoot beautiful, she lives a reality-show life, she makes fat guys suck in their guts. But with a club in her hands, she's tough.
"I really like this (Arnold Palmer) golf course," she said. "And I really like it even more when the elements come up."
But all of this "fun stuff," the photo shoots and the TV shows and the calendars and the Glamour Girl celebrity life, does that distract from golf? Does that make it harder to succeed?
"No," she said. "Golf is already tough by itself."
So it is. Turns out so is she. This tournament has a history of its champions getting their first wins here. Gulbis brightens at the prospect.
"I'll take all the positives," she said. She wants to win.
That would be, well ... beautiful.