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Gulbis Could Alter Schedule

Natalie Gulbis, who won the Evian Masters in France Sunday to notch her first LPGA victory, played her first round at the Old Course Tuesday at St. Andrews.
Afterward she promptly hired a local caddie to help tutor her regular caddie, Greg Sheridan, during her final practice round Wednesday. This guys been caddying here for about 20 years, Gulbis said. Were going to pick his brain.
The Ricoh Womens British Open begins Thursday on the Old Course. Its the final professional major of the year for women. But for now, Gulbis is the biggest story in womens golf.
The reaction to her victory by her peers, Gulbis said, has been special. Players have been running up to me to congratulate me, she said. People that Ive looked up to were happy for me. It was an amazing feeling.
Gulbis has spent much of the year nursing a sore back. She has been healing structurally but the pain was still acute when she arrived in France for the Evian event.
According to sources in the Gulbis camp she was hitting the ball great prior to the start of the tournament and begged doctors on site to do something to get her out onto the golf course. Eventually they settled on Motrin, an anti-inflammatory.
Gulbis wont return to the States until next week. At that time her team will implement a plan thats been in place for some time contingent on her winning her first LPGA tournament.
Expect her to make the rounds of national television talk shows. There is the matter of her 2008 swimsuit calendar to complete. And there will be more emphasis on getting the back to 100 percent. That could mean Gulbis will have to cut back on her schedule for the rest of the year. But getting Gulbis to stop playing golf, her people say, will be difficult.
The news has been less encouraging from the Fred Couples camp. Couples, like Gulbis, has been bothered by back problems much of the year.
Couples hasnt played since The Masters in April when he finished tied for 30th. Prior to that he missed the cut at the FBR Open and withdrew at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.
Fred still hopes to return to play in the fall, said Lynn Roach Jr., Couples agent. But every time hes played recently the back has reacted badly and its back to square one.
Meanwhile, what ever happened to Jonathan Kaye?
When last seen on a golf course Kaye was finishing tied for 29th at Q-School at the end of last year. The two-time PGA TOUR winner limped through much of that week with a foot injury and underwent surgery soon afterward.
The next tournament he plays in 2007 will be his first.
The injury is located in the area of his big toe and has troubled him for years. Its similar to turf toe that besets a lot of NFL players.
The surgery was to repair a bone spur that had grown into a nerve. At first doctors thought the recovery would take only a few months. But despite rehabbing four times a week, Kaye is still unable to walk 18 holes.
Kayes wife, Jennifer, recently gave birth to the couples second child, Breeze Harper Kaye. A spokesman for Kaye said as soon doctors give him the green light, he will return to playing on the PGA TOUR.
Just how historic is the Old Course at St. Andrews?
So much so that 84-year-old Hall of Famer Louise Suggs has traveled to Scotland for the event. Gone, at least for now, is the sign outside the clubhouse that said, No Dogs Or Women Allowed.
Suggs told the New York Times that she will camp out and watch the women play the famous Road Hole 17th which the women will play as a par-5.
That brings to mind the famous quote uttered by Ben Crenshaw when asked why the 17th was such a great par-4 for the men. Because, Crenshaw tongue-in-cheeked, its a par-4.

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