Showbiz kid Emily Tubert looking for her big break at LA Open

Hannah Peters/Getty Images

Showbiz kid Emily Tubert looking for her big break at LA Open

LPGA Tour

Showbiz kid Emily Tubert looking for her big break at LA Open

LOS ANGELES – Emily Tubert grew up on the back side of the Hollywood sign in Burbank, Calif. Earlier this week her show biz dad, Marcelo, was filming at Paramount Studios a couple of blocks from Wilshire Country Club while Emily prepped for the closest home game of her career. Tubert’s 92-year-old grandfather, Maurice, was a member at Wilshire for 25 years. Still gets his hair cut here.

When 25-year-old Tubert successfully Monday-qualified for the inaugural HUGEL-JTBC L.A. Open in a playoff, well, let’s just say there were 40 tickets under Tubert’s name immediately placed at will call. Grandpa wouldn’t have missed her 7:22 a.m. tee time. 

“I’m pretty sure he shed some tears on the first tee when they announced my name,” Tubert said. 

This week is a full-circle moment for the exuberant Tubert, who came out to watch the LPGA at Wilshire in 2001 before she even played golf. Tubert recalls trying to convince her father to ask eventual winner Annika Sorenstam to sign her shirt in the middle of the round. 

“I knew nothing about golf,” she admitted.

Tubert took up the game at age 13 and quickly won the junior club championship at Wilshire. Her name, however, isn’t on the trophy because her dad wasn’t a member. Neither is the kid’s who finished second, the son of the head pro. 

“It’s the kid that came in third,” said Tubert, who still has the take-home trophy from 2006.

Maurice emigrated to the U.S. from Argentina 63 years ago and was introduced to the game at a Par 3 course. A longtime resident of Hancock Park, he joined Wilshire Country Club 33 years ago and got down to a 10 handicap.

When asked when he knew that Emily was a good player, Maurice laughed and told the story of a business card his granddaughter once gave him that said best golfer, best hugger, best personality and best grandpa in the world. She later gave him a revamped card that had dropped the “best golfer” bit.

From left to right: Maurice, Myriam and Emily Tubert.

Tubert rose to the top of the amateur game on the strength of her length and touch on the greens. The 2010 U.S. Women’s Amateur Public Links champion would often go fly fishing with her father during tournaments. Emily appeared in a Pacific Air commercial at age 2, feeding ducks by a pond, but sports were her passion. 

“My mom always says golf is show business,” Tubert said. “You’re trying to get eyes on a TV, entertainment, engaging a crowd.” 

Marcelo will appear in an episode of N.C.I.S. Los Angeles in the coming weeks. He does voiceovers so often that Emily never knows when she’ll hear his voice coming through her hotel TV. He’s had small parts in many popular TV shows, including “ER,” “The West Wing” and “Seinfeld.” 

Emily has a strong appreciation for where she comes from. She knows there are people who spend their entire lives trying to get to the place that she calls home. 

“As I travel the country and drive through some of these small towns, I think, somebody sits in their house and gets so excited every Thursday night because a new episode of whatever their favorite show is (comes on) and there’s a chance I’ve been on that set,” said Tubert. “We’re inside a TV. This is the place of dreams and opportunities.” 

Tubert’s mother, a retired actress, is currently writing a movie script on the life of youngest daughter Sarah, who at age 3 lost her hearing and her smile when a surgeon severed a facial nerve in an operation that she didn’t need. 

“My mom is incredible,” Emily said, “and she goes ‘Sarah, look, I don’t know why you have a crooked smile and you can’t hear but that’s your gift, and you can sit around feeling sorry for yourself or you can go live your life. So let’s see what we can do with it.’ ” 

Sarah was a standout goalie in water polo – playing without her hearing aids – in high school and currently captains the National Deaf Olympic Volleyball team. She’s an inspiration to Emily, who can look to her sister for perspective and motivation after experiencing a maddening drought in her own game. 

From left to right: Emily, Myriam, Maurice and Sarah Tubert.

In the past year, Emily has been through 10 different swing coaches. Four weeks ago she played a round of golf with instructor Jenny Lee and over dinner, had a lightbulb moment that has shifted her mojo. 

“The biggest source of insecurity as a pro has been my ball-striking,” said Emily. 

But the player who executed on Monday in a playoff under a great deal of self-imposed pressure – she really wanted to compete at Wilshire – was a different person. Better than the player who won a USGA title and competed on the U.S. Curtis Cup team. 

“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve almost walked away from this game,” said Tubert. 

Maybe one day she’ll look back on this week at Wilshire as, in Hollywood terms, a much-needed big break.

Latest

More Golfweek
Home