Jeep­ers Creep­ers

The LPGA Tour goes to great lengths to keep us safe

Golf Digest (South Africa) - - Close Out -

H, it can get strange out here. We’re fe­male ath­letes per­form­ing for an au­di­ence that’s at times largely male and older.We get some creep­ers, and I sup­pose we al­ways will, which is sad, but the fact is we prob­a­bly don’t know one-tenth of all that goes on.The LPGA Tour does a fan­tas­tic job of mak­ing us feel safe. If a fan says or does some­thing that makes me feel threat­ened or un­com­fort­able, some teeny provo­ca­tion, I no­tify an of­fi­cial and it’s han­dled right away. Our se­cu­rity team is amaz­ing. One guy headed the de­tail on two pres­i­den­tial­elec­tion cam­paigns. Ob­vi­ously the tour has it digi-

Otised, but there ex­ists – I’ve seen it – a gi­ant three-ring binder full of pho­to­graphs of all the af­flicted souls who have been es­corted off tour­na­ment premises.To look at it is to take a weird walk down hu­man­ity, es­pe­cially if you know some of the sto­ries.

Natalie Gul­bis, no sur­prise, has had to put up with more than any­one can imag­ine: the same guy or even guys, pop­ping up in the gallery on ev­ery con­ti­nent, fol­low­ing her into restau­rants, wait­ing in ho­tel lob­bies and park­ing lots. I don’t know what to say about th­ese peo­ple, other than they’re delu­sional and have for­got­ten how to be­have in so­ci­ety.And by the way, say what­ever you want about Natalie. A lot of ig­no­rant and jeal­ous women be­grudge the fame and suc­cess she’s had with an av­er­age play­ing record. So what if she’s amaz­ingly beau­ti­ful and smart and takes ad­van­tage of it? With her pinky fin­ger, she’s done more to ad­vance women’s golf than just about any­one in the locker room here to­day.

What’s hard is iden­ti­fy­ing the line be­tween stalker and en­thu­si­as­tic fan. I of­ten feel guilty when a sus­pi­cious thought crosses my mind. If a man chooses to paint my name on his fore­head and/or wear a T-shirt with my im­age, my first in­stinct should be grat­i­tude. All in, LPGA Tour supporters are among the most fun and knowl­edge­able in golf. Some of my best friends, peo­ple with whom I keep in touch reg­u­larly, are men I’ve met play­ing in our pro-ams. Maybe my prob­lem is, I read too many cheap crime nov­els.

Here’s an episode we had this year lead­ing up to a tour-

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