Sunday, November 18, 2007


The winner of this year's Evian Masters in France, Natalie Gulbis is the latest headline name to sign up for the Dubai Ladies Masters, the Ladies European Tour's season finale which takes place at the Emirates Golf Club from December 13-16, 2007.

Gulbis, who will make her first appearance in the Middle East, will join Annika Sorenstam and Laura Davies among others in a strong field with a major feel and a euro 500,000 purse up for grabs. The event is being promoted and organised by golf in DUBAI.

The attractive 24-year old Californian Natalie Gulbis has become a corporate world dream girl in recent years, and is currently among the highest paid female golfers in the world, reportedly amassing 2-3 million dollars in annual endorsements, and gracing magazine covers left, right and centre.

However, Gulbis is slowly but surely becoming more well known in the winner's circle, though it took the Californian blonde a good six years on the LPGA Tour to register her first victory — and silence her critics who often dubbed her as the Anna Kournikova of women's golf.

"There had been a lot of hype in America with people asking if I was ever going to win," said Gulbis, after her victory in the Evian Masters this summer, which got the tag of "best player not to have won" off her back and brought with it a very attractive euro 380,000 winners cheque to rival her

[edit] Golf career
She started finding interest in the game at the early age of 4. By the time she was 7 years old she had won her first tournament. In three years when she was only 10 years old, she started breaking par. She is of Latvian descent and was born in Sacramento, California, and played in her first LPGA tour event as an amateur at the age of 14. She attended Granite Bay High School and graduated when she was 16. She turned professional at age 18 after playing for one season on the women's golf team at the University of Arizona.

She did not win a tournament in the first five years of her professional career but still finished sixth on the LPGA money list in 2005 with over $1 million (U.S.) in earnings and played on the winning United States Solheim Cup team. She placed in the top-10 in four consecutive major championships from the 2005 LPGA Championship to the 2006 Kraft Nabisco Championship.

Her first professional win came in 2007 at the Evian Masters where she defeated Jeong Jang in a playoff to claim the winner's share of the $3,000,000 purse.

[edit] Personal life, business and media
Gulbis is considered to be a sex symbol in the LPGA. When she released a calendar for 2005 just before the 2004 U.S. Women's Open, which featured her in different pictures showing her playing golf, in addition to striking poses in swimwear, the United States Golf Association (USGA) barred it from being sold at the event, deeming it inappropriate. The calendar was sold very openly at Golf Canada. The USGA was criticized for overreacting. Gulbis also posed for the November 2004 issue of the magazine FHM, an issue that also gave away a chance to play golf with her at her home course, the Lake Las Vegas Resort, where her calendar photo shoot took place. Gulbis has said that she likes the attention she gets, even if it is for her appearance; she has endorsement deals with TaylorMade Golf, Adidas, Canon, Amstel Light, Payment Data Systems, MasterCard, Winn Golf Grips and Lake Las Vegas Resort.

In 2006, Gulbis began writing a monthly golf advice column in FHM. In November 2005, a reality television show, The Natalie Gulbis Show, made its debut on The Golf Channel. The show had its second season premiere on October 18, 2006. Gulbis has also appeared on the 2007 version of Tiger Woods PGA Tour by EA Sports along with fellow professionals Annika Sörenstam, Ian Poulter and Luke Donald, among others. Ironically, in August 2007 Gulbis appeared on the August/September cover of Sactown Magazine in an article that profiled the risings star's busy life of product endorsements and photo shoots, though frustratingly enough, no pro win. Gil Ozir, Vice President of Marketing for Raymond Weil (a luxury watchmaker and one of Gulbis' many endorsement deals) was quoted as saying, "Once she starts winning, she's going to be a megastar." Mere days later, Gulbis won the Evian Masters, her first professional LPGA title.


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