Natalie Gulbis could teach Rory McIlroy a thing or two about the type of ailments that legitimately prevent someone from competing in a golf tournament. Gulbis has been forced to withdraw from this week’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup event because she has apparently been stricken with a nasty case of malaria (I’m not sure that malaria comes in a “mild” form).
It seems as if Gulbis came down with the illness two weeks ago when she was participating in the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament in Asia. She was forced to bow out after the first round of that particular event. Speculative diagnoses bounced back and forth between malaria and flu-like symptoms.
Earlier in the month, Gulbis’s coach, Butch Harmon tweeted that she did, in fact, have malaria but the tour was trying to keep in under wraps. The most recent statement from the LPGA reads:
Natalie originally became ill in Singapore and she was treated and medically cleared to fly home. Natalie continues to be treated at home and is expected to be at full strength in three weeks.
Natalie’s well-being is a top priority for both the LPGA and IMG, and steps continue to be taken to ensure the well-being of Natalie and all the players on the LPGA Tour now and for future events. LPGA doctors have been consulted and believe she is on appropriate medications, under great care, and her prognosis is excellent.
The LPGA is offering free malaria screenings to players, caddies and family members this week in Phoenix. Hopefully this ailment doesn’t sideline Gulbis for too long and she can come back without missing a beat. As of right now, she is still slated to participate in the Kraft Nabisco Championship in April.