1-time winner realized more commercial success than on-course achievements as a professional golfer
Announced: Her retirement at the end of the 2020 LPGA season, American Natalie Gulbis, she said in an interview with Golf.com. Gulbis, 37, has won one time in 19 LPGA seasons. She has undergone four back surgeries, which she said limit her practice time to three hours per day and keep her from competing on courses with deep rough and uneven lies. Despite her relative lack of on-course success, Gulbis has been a commercial hit in golf. The vast majority of her earnings have come from endorsement deals with more than a dozen Fortune 500 companies, and she has launched businesses dealing in cosmetics, apparel and handbags. Gulbis has attracted a wide following on social media, particularly through her Instagram account, and she generated crossover appeal with her appearance in Sports Illustrated’s 2012 Swimsuit Issue. At age 18, after one college season at Arizona, Gulbis turned professional and earned LPGA status at the tour’s 2001 Q-School. Her only LPGA victory was at the 2007 Evian Masters, before the event was considered to be a major championship. She competed on three victorious U.S. Solheim Cup teams, in 2005, 2007 and 2009, and amassed nearly $4.9 million in career prize money. She struggled last year, with five missed cuts and a withdrawal in six starts and has dropped to No. 1,102 in the Rolex Rankings. Gulbis has made only one cut in her past 31 starts, dating to mid-2015. She finished last in the recent Gainbridge LPGA at Boca Rio, shooting 81-78 to miss the cut by 14 shots.