Golfer Natalie Gulbis is battling malaria, an illness she contracted during a recent visit to Asia.
On Tuesday evening, Natalie Gulbis withdrew from the LPGA tour’s RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix to continue her recovery. The professional golfer is currently recovering from a confirmed case of malaria, according to a joint statement released by Gulbis’ management and the LPGA.
Natalie Gulbis reportedly contracted the illness a few weeks ago while visiting Singapore. Gulbis was in the area to participate in the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament but was forced to withdraw after the first round due to illness.
Gulbis originally began to suffer from flu-like symptoms and sought medical treatment in Singapore. According to the joint statement, Gulbis was medically cleared to return to the United States.
Following her withdrawal from the remainder of the HSBC Women’s Champions tournament, media sources reported that Gulbis’ illness was not attributed to malaria.
Fellow golfer Pak Se Ri also withdrew from the tournament due to an unspecified illness.
Rumors of a malaria outbreak began to circulate after Butch Harmon, a high-profile golf coach, reportedly tweeted that both golfers were being treated for the infectious disease at a Singapore hospital.
Tuesday’s official statement confirmed that malaria is the cause of Gulbis’ illness and the reason she is withdrawing from the RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup. She is reportedly receiving continued medical treatment while recovering at her home in Las Vegas.
The joint statement from IMG and the LPGA reads in part:
“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.”
Natalie Gulbis is reportedly expected to make a full recovery from her bout with malaria. The professional golfer expects to make her return to the LPGA tour at the Kraft Nabisco Championship, held during the first week of April.