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Golf Australia Express : Issue 3
Injuries and an unashamed focus on her business interests have played a large factor in Gulbis stalling on course. Her form in 2011 has been far from flattering, too. In 11 events she’s yet to register one top 10 finish, with her best result being tied for 15th at the LPGA State Farm Classic last month. And she sits 40th on the LPGA Money List, more than a whopping $1.2 million behind No.1 Yani Tseng. But that shouldn’t worry her too much—most of her coin comes from off the course. Gulbis is as TaylorMade/ adidas as Tiger is Nike, and like the former men’s world No.1, she too has a range of other lucrative endorsements in her cache: Canon, EA Sports, Winn Golf Grips, Michelob Ultra, SkyCaddie and MasterCard to name a handful. We know Tiger was such a dominant force on the course, so it’s easy to understand his endorsement deals. But why have so many companies chosen Natalie to spread their collective messages when she’s been anything but? Two words: Sex sells. Even in golf. If a current player has used sex appeal to sell a brand, Natalie is that player. Posing for a controversial (to the USGA, anyway) bikini-clad calendar before the 2005 US Women’s Open brought the then 22-year-old to the forefront of women’s golf. And she’s never looked back. The endorsements rolled in as her sexy image— and celebrity— flourished, thanks in part to appearances on The Celebrity Apprentice and The Price Is Right in the US. Add to that a fun nature and a willingness to laugh at herself, and it’s a pretty formidable marketing mix. She also gives back—her sense of charity is as large as her... bank balance. (See what we did, there?) Well known on Tour for her philanthropic pursuits, she runs the Natalie Gulbis Charity Classic annually. After all that giving, we reckon it’s about time she takes another win and returns to the winner’s circle at Evian this week. OTG “[IT] HAS ONE OF THE STRONGEST FIELDS ALL YEAR AND IS PLAYED ON THE MOST BEAUTIFUL COURSE WE PLAY ALL SEASON” —Nat Gulbis on the Evian Masters CLICK HERE TO SEE NATALIE’S 2011 LPGA TOUR STATS IF A CURRENT PLAYER HAS USED SEX APPEAL TO SELL A BRAND, NATALIE IS THAT PLAYER.