Ever since Natalie Gulbis joined the LPGA, the rap on her has been that she was the Anna Kournikova of golf -- all hot babe, no victories.
All that changed Sunday when Gulbis, in her sixth year on tour, won the Evian Masters in a play-off in France. Now, sudenly, male golf fans can oogle her without feeling guilty. They are, after all, studying the finer points of her golf swing.
Here are excerpts from Gulbis' post victory press conference:
Q. What does this mean to you in?
NATALIE GULBIS: What does it mean? How long do you have? This is my sixth year on Tour, and obviously the U.S. has been quite a bit of hype on if I would ever win a tournament. I was really close last year where I lost a playoff, and coincidently it was right after the match play. It was like déjà vu. There was a match play event in the United States. Lost in the first round. Worked really hard on my game. Came over here was hitting the ball well, and these two events I really wanted to play well in. I had been injured for a lot of the season and was way back on the Money List, like 44th, maybe 50th. Probably the lowest I'd ever gotten to. Just tried to stay positive, so that means a lot, that the hard work has paid off. So many great people supporting me in the U.S. from the media to my team to my fans. It's great.
Q. Was it special to have your mom here with you?
NATALIE GULBIS: Having my mom here is really, really special. The last time I was in a playoff she was not here and she was really mad. So this was great to have her over here this week. She's helped me so much throughout the week and throughout my career, I'm very happy that she was here to see it. She was way more nervous than me. Like I couldn't look at here because she was biting her nails and wouldn't drink water. So it was great.
Q. Would you say there was one thing that sort of turned your game around?
NATALIE GULBIS: Yeah: My back injury.
Q. Clarify that one.
NATALIE GULBIS: I got hurt two months ago. Had a lower back injury and had to take about a month off. I had to change my golf swing because of my injury. I had to work on my posture and I had to do all the things that I had been working on with my father for about four or five years. We had been working on these same things and they just weren't happening, and it took an injury. I was kind of thinking this might be a blessing in disguise with the injury, and I kept working on it and working on my posture and I kept hitting it further and all the things I wanted to happen on my golf swing started happening.