I knew she was more than a pin-up girl. I was certain she was not doomed to Anna Kournikova status. If you let Natalie’s charming smile and on-course strut fool you into thinking there wasn’t a fierce competitor under there, you probably didn’t bet on her like I recommended.
Okay, it wasn’t a prediction to literally bet on her in the Evian Masters this year, just a general “Natalie’s not just a bikini model” type of statement. Buy her calendars, look for those sexy upskirt shots during play and wish to be her bicycle seat all you want, just don’t count her out of competitions. She has a competitive spirit and a winning attitude in addition to a relentless marketing team and now she has a trophy to prove it.
So congratulations, Natalie. You’re a champion.
I just wish I could have seen the playoff. When I got home late last night after avoiding seeing the results of the tournament, I watched the coverage on TiVo. But I’m an idiot and didn’t set it to record beyond the allocated time slot. Natalie was in the clubhouse preparing for a possible playoff with Juli Inkster or Jeong Jang, who both needed to birdie 18 to force the playoff and were both in the middle of the fairway. Ding! Delete now? Damnit! I had to look it up to find out Inkster three-putted for bogey and Jang chipped up for a tap-in birdie. The sudden death playoff started on 18, where Jang had birdied all four days and Gulbis had only birdied twice. But the playoff went no further. Jang made par and Gulbis sank the victorious birdie putt. I’m sorry I missed it, Natalie. I would have loved to watch you win.