Natalie Gulbis forced to withdraw from LPGA event with malaria

Professional golfer Natalie Gulbis was forced to withdraw from the LPGA tour's RR Donnelley LPGA Founders Cup in Phoenix because of malaria contracted while she was in Asia.

Gulbis, who also withdrew after the first round of the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore two weeks ago, originally was reported to be suffering from flu-like symptoms and was not diagnosed with malaria. She was treated and cleared to fly home, USA Today reports.

The illness, however, continued, with IMG, Gulbis' management team, in a joint statement with the LPGA, confirming the she has malaria. She is taking appropriate medication and resting after consulting with her doctors and LPGA doctors.

"Natalie originally became ill in Singapore and she was treated and medically cleared to fly home," according to the statement, USA Today reports. "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."

Gulbis hopes to return to the tour in time for the Kraft Nabisco Championship that begins in April.