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Natalie Gulbis on the health hazards of traveling the world

April 03, 2013|By Diane Pucin
  • Natalie Gulbis addresses reporters during a news conference for the LPGA Kraft Nabisco Championship, which begins Thursday in Rancho Mirage.
Natalie Gulbis addresses reporters during a news conference for the LPGA… (Chris Carlson / Associated…)

RANCHO MIRAGE -- Natalie Gulbis, the LPGA golfer who once dated Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, says she feels ready to play Thursday when the season's first women's golf major, the Kraft Nabisco Championship at Mission Hills Country Club, begins. That wasn't so certain a month ago.

When the tour was in Thailand, Gulbis was bitten by a mosquito and acquired malaria. Even as recently as the Kia Classic in Carlsbad two weeks ago, Gulbis had to withdraw because of fatigue.

"I got bitten in Thailand and got really sick," Gulbis said Wednesday. "The first couple of days they, fortunately or unfortunately, know exactly how to treat it because there have been cases before. They told me right away I'd be out about a month. I thought, for an athlete, that meant two weeks and I would be back.

"It definitely took longer and I'm grateful I had good doctors that knew how to treat me and I'm sitting here with a chance to play this week."

Gulbis was hospitalized for several days and said, "I think I was just glad there was a clear understanding of what I had. I've traveled a lot and had injuries and I think the scary thing when you're a patient is not knowing exactly what's wrong. They knew exactly what to give me and what I needed to do. Whether or not I listened perfectly or not is neither here nor there.

"They told me it was going to be four to six weeks, if I was lucky, to be able to come out and play again. Now I'm at four weeks. I did IV therapy last week but hopefully, knock on wood, I'm good and I'm going to continue going forward."

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