Gulbis: Golfers’ Appearance on CSI Testament to Golf’s Growing Relevance
By Stephanie Wei under General

Professional golfers Natalie Gulbis, Rocco Mediate and Duffy Waldorf will play themselves on this Thursday’s episode of “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation.” CBS’s favorite funnymen David Feherty and Gary McCord will also make cameos.

The episode, titled “Long Ball,” revolves around a “legendary” golfer who is murdered at a “high-profile tournament.”

Gulbis blogged about her experience and posted the above photo of herself on the set with — I’m assuming — other cast members at LPGA.com:

I am a huge fan of CSI and have been watching the show for many years. I was thrilled when recently asked to make a guest appearance! I especially enjoyed having the opportunity to experience the process of how an episode of a show comes together. I was able to watch firsthand beginning with the first time I read the script, to then being on site of the episode watching the crew film. It was an incredibly unique experience. I can’t wait to see how it comes together when the show is edited and airs. I feel that the fact that CSI asked professional golfers to make guest appearances is a testament to how much the sport is growing in popularity in the US.

Now I’m not sure if I entirely agree with that last statement and I believe Jim Frank would challenge it. Apparently while TV viewership and corporate sponsorships have increased in the past decade, participation in the sport hasn’t.

But considering the LPGA schedule features only 24 events, down from 27 last year and 34 in ‘08, any publicity is a positive. Gulbis is a great representative given her tremendous popularity among male fans for her cheery personality and swimsuit calendar. But will this generate a larger LPGA following? A small percentage might be enticed to ogle at the ladies playing good golf, but not enough to move the bar — every little bit helps, though.

As for Mediate and Waldorf, it appears the script was written to cast middle-aged, doughy golfers — you know, the stereotype of professional golfers — to reinforce that outdated image. Too bad it didn’t call for younger, more entertaining guys, such as Anthony Kim, Camilo Villegas, Adam Scott, Sergio Garcia or even Sean O’Hair, who I suppose wouldn’t have been relatable to the show’s target demographic.

Oh well, I’ll still watch. /Setting DVR for CSI, 9PM on Thursday.

[Photo via LPGA.com]