Date: January 30, 2007
Author: Alistair Hogg

Gulbis good to go

By Alistair Hogg Like the MFS Women&aposs Australian Open, Natalie Gulbis is back in town and hungry for success! The 24-year old arrived in Sydney yesterday ahead of this week&aposs event that will showcase the world&aposs best female golfers. Facing a packed press conference, Gulbis said she was delighted to be back in Australia. “I had a great time when I was over here last time,” she said, reflecting on 2003 when she played the Women&aposs Australian Open and Ladies Masters. “The weather was good and this is really positive for me because I am coming off the off season which is only a couple of weeks, but it&aposs nice to have an event before the LPGA season starts.” “I just got a really good response when I was over here last time and I really enjoyed it – I&aposm excited to be back here this year.” Gulbis is one of the most watched players on tour and has a tremendous following both on and off the course. Her name stretches beyond the lush green fairways of the world with apparel deals, fashion shoots and even her own TV show. But the Californian takes it all in her stride with a strong belief that publicity can help boost the profile of women&aposs golf around the world. “I think the LPGA has definitely put more emphasis on fashion and style and it s good,” she said. “This is my sixth year on Tour and I ve seen a lot of very positive changes and new audiences that have been brought to the Tour, not only in sponsorships but in apparel companies to big companies that are happy to be investing their money in the LPGA.” Some have labelled the emphasis shift from golf performance to physical appearance as &apostacky&apos and &apostasteless&apos, however Gulbis revealed there is room for physical beauty in the modern game – if it brings more people to the course. “I think you have to have a combination of all of it,” she said. “You have to showcase the best players in the world and whatever you can do to market those players is positive. Anything we can do to bring out more fans to watch this week or to just tune into women&aposs golf in general throughout the season is good.” Despite being one of the Tour&aposs hottest properties, Gulbis is yet to win a tournament, so the comparisons that are often made between her and former tennis player Anna Kournikova remain true on a number of levels. But the world No. 21 is determined to stick at it until she tastes a tournament victory. “Every single week I go out to win and practice to win. That&aposs what sports is all about so I just keep on grinding or working harder until I get a whole bunch of them.”