Natalie Gulbis recently appeared in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and in a golf instruction video with supermodel Julie Henderson.
Apichart Weerawong / AP
By Gary Van Sickle
Wednesday, February 22, 2012

You've now had ample opportunity to spend some quality time with Natalie Gulbis's body painting shoot for the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, and to watch Gulbis give SI model Julie Henderson a golf lesson. Now you have a chance to spend some quality time with Natalie and Julie in person. Enter here for a chance to play in a fantasy foursome with Gulbis and Henderson and attend a TaylorMade pool party during U.S. Open week in San Francisco.

But June is a long way off, so SI's Gary Van Sickle is here to bring you even more behind-the-scenes reporting form Gulbis on her recent modeling adventure. He recently chatted with her about teaching Henderson, the U.S. Open contest, her Latvian roots, reality TV and more.

Van Sickle: So what was harder, posing for the SI Swimsuit Issue or teaching Julie to hit a high cut with a 3-iron?
Gulbis: Oh, Julie was great. We were just trying to make contact, not hit a high cut 3-iron. She's pretty athletic, she hit some good shots. She was excited to play and get better. She wanted to practice. TaylorMade made her a set of new clubs and gave her a staff bag with her name on it. She was really excited to see her name on a staff bag.

Are you a pretty good teacher?
Gulbis: No, I'm not. (Laughing) I only can repeat whatever Butch Harmon told me in the past, and I cannot fix my friends' swings. I am not a good teacher at all. I can coach, I'm very positive. I've got a good attitude. But it's a hard game. I cannot teach.

What was best part of Julie's game after you finished schooling her?
Gulbis: Her putting. We did some lag putting at the end; she had really good feel. They weren't easy putts, they were 50- and 60-footers. Also, her celebrating. She jumped up and down after every putt she connected. She's definitely got the celebration down.

Since you helped Julie with golf, did any SI models give you tips on posing for the magazine?
Gulbis: No, you do the photo shoot by yourself. SI keeps it all very confidential. You don't know who the other models are or who else is going to be in the issue. SI kept it all close to the chest.

You've already done your own swimsuit calendar. Was this any more intimidating?
Gulbis: Yes! In my swimsuit calendar, I was in swimsuits. This was just body paint. It was significantly different. What made it better was that it was in SI. They made the shoot so fun, they were so professional.

Did any of my SI colleagues warn you that the body paint doesn't wash off for, like, a year?
Gulbis: (Laughing) No!! That would've been funny. It took about 13 hours to paint the suit on. Julie told me she had one that took 16 hours to paint on, and about five minutes to get off.

Have you considered doing a Golf Channel reality show with you giving golf lessons to SI swimsuit models? Or maybe the Rockettes?
Gulbis: I don't know, do you think SI would sponsor that? I could try that. Do you think it would sell?

It might. Speaking of fantasies, tell me about the upcoming fantasy foursome raffle.
Gulbis: During the week of the men's U.S. Open at Olympic Club, Julie and I will play golf with two raffle winners somewhere in San Francisco. And then we're hosting a pool party later.

So whoever wins the raffle, do you promise to push them in the pool at the party?
Gulbis: Probably, yes. With Lexus, four winners played a round of golf with me after the Women's U.S. Open on the same course with the same pin positions. We did it at Oakmont, and you know how difficult Oakmont was at the Open.

After four days at Oakmont, I bet you were just dying to play a fifth round there.
Gulbis: Not so much. Those greens exhausted me. But Oakmont is one of my favorite courses, and any opportunity to play there is good. The winners were really excited to play so we had a good day.

Cool. Well, I've prepared a special quiz just for you, stuff you probably should know. Are you ready?
Gulbis: Uh-oh!

Trust me, it's not hard. Let's start with Mikhail Baryshnikov, the famous ballet dancer. What country is he from?
Gulbis: No idea.

The answer is Latvia. I read that your family is of Latvian descent.
Gulbis: Oh, that's even worse that I didn't get that. Barishnikov? Really? That is a fun fact, though.

Do you know the capital of Latvia?
Gulbis: Riga.

Very good. Now, what California high school produced these athletes: former Falcons receiver Adam Jennings, former Redskins linebacker Dallas Sartz and U.S. national swim team members Alyssa and Haley Anderson?
Gulbis: Umm… gosh. It could be anywhere…

Natalie, what high school did you go to?
Gulbis: Ohhh! Did they all go to Granite Bay, too?

That's right.
Gulbis: These are brutal. (Laughing) I thought these were actually going to be difficult.

You're catching on. So Natalie, which actress was married twice to actor Robert Wagner before she accidentally drowned at age 43?
Gulbis: Natalie Wood.

That's correct.
Gulbis: So I'm like three for four. I'm keeping score in my head.

All right, Natalie, which actress won last year's Academy Award?
Gulbis: Best actress? Oh-Natalie Portman.

Excellent. This is the highest score anyone's every gotten on one of my quizzes. So, who recorded a song with her father that became the only father-daughter duet to reach No. 1 on the record charts in America, Natalie?
Gulbis: Natalie and Nat King Cole?

Excellent guess. But the answer is Nancy and Frank Sinatra. I set you up to trick you with two straight questions about girls named Natalie.
Gulbis: What was the Sinatra song?

It was "Something Stupid" in the late '60s. Next up, what was the lowest-rated reality show that ever appeared on Golf Channel?
Gulbis: (Laughing) Please don't be my show! (More laughing) In the history of the Golf Channel?

That's right.
Gulbis: I'll say the last season of John Daly's second show.

I don't actually know the answer. I just wanted to see if you'd dare guess your own show.
Gulbis: No! You don't have the answer? Well, now I'm curious.

You appeared on the second season of Celebrity Apprentice. Who won the first season?
Gulbis: (long silence)

I see you watched that show as much as I did.
Gulbis: Was it Trace Adkins?

No, but you were so close. Trace lost to Piers Morgan in the final. I'm very impressed you came up with Trace Adkins, wow.
Gulbis: Actually, I did watch it and I wanted Trace to win because he had that great song that he wrote for the show. It was unbelievable. That's right, Piers won, and he's been uber-successful since then.

What is Donald Trump's middle name?
Gulbis: Something with a J.

Correct. It's John. Who was the first player in LPGA history to win $1 million in a season without winning a tournament?
Gulbis: Me. I was the first. (Laughing) It was a pretty crazy stat to win $1 million and not win.

You have to play well to do it, that's for sure. You can't do it by finishing 25th every week. One last thing: since you won the Evian Masters in 2007, and it's just been designated as the LPGA's fifth major, do you count it as a major?
Gulbis: I'm trying. I'm going to see if it'll get me extra status.

Are you going tell people you've won a major now?
Gulbis: No. But we've always considered the Evian as our fifth major. It's a premier event, and it has the largest purse on tour. It's sort of like our Masters.

If I were you, I'd count it as a major.
Gulbis: Sounds good.

Thanks for being a good sport about the quiz. You did well, but apparently you need to brush up on Latvia.
Gulbis: Yes, apparently, I do. Thank you!

 

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