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Gulbis ready for LPGA season

The Man Out Front was surprised to see Natalie Gulbis missing from the field in Australia last week. Turns out Gulbis – aka Mrs. Rodarmel – won’t be teeing it up again until mid-March when the LPGA heads to Phoenix.

The newlywed finished 63rd on last year’s money list, which did not qualify her for limited-field events in Thailand and Singapore. And she didn’t receive any invites, either. Gulbis said it wasn’t worth traveling to Australia for one event.

“I’ve got plenty to focus on and get excited for,” Gulbis told The Forecaddie.

Because she has been injured for more than half of her professional career, a healthy Gulbis said this is the first time she has been able to work on a significant change, such as weakening her grip. Most offseasons have been spent rehabbing or resting her back. And don’t forget last year’s malaria setback (which she contracted during the Asian Swing).

With a busy offseason that included a beachside wedding (to Josh Rodarmel), Gulbis opened her 13th LPGA season in the Bahamas last month and then planned to take advantage of a seven-week break before resuming play.

“You appreciate it differently at this point in your career after being injured and sick,” said Gulbis, who legally changed her name to Rodarmel but will stick with her maiden name for work. “I’m grateful I’m still able to play.”

Editor’s note: This story originally appeared in the Feb. 21 issue of Golfweek magazine; click here to subscribe.

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