Paige Spiranac: Not just a pretty face

2016 11 Paige Spiranac2 Handed an invitation by Emirates Airlines, the tournament sponsor, Spiranac’s trip to Dubai was also the first time she’d ever been outside the USA.

A long way from home - almost 8,000 miles, to be exact - and playing in the fourth richest event on the LET in the company of some of the world’s top female professionals, it was no surprise that she struggled.

Rounds of 77 and 79 saw her miss the cut comfortably. At the time, she described the experience as ‘the hardest days of my life’.

They were made worse by the treatment she received from fellow players and abuse she was subjected to online.

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters - Day Two

The extent of the negativity aimed at her left her shaken and, understandably, very upset. Fellow pro Amy Boulden, in fact, told bunkered earlier this year that she had seen her ‘crying nearly every day’.
"It was tough to get all that criticism, especially from my peers"

“It was tough to get all that criticism, especially from my peers,” says Spiranac. “A lot of people that I looked up to said some things about me that I took pretty personally, as anybody would.

“I just didn’t expect my participation to cause so much controversy, so it was hard to sit and either listen to or read people saying some not very nice things about me.

“Golf’s hard enough without having thousands of people telling you to quit. It really shook my confidence.”

Omega Dubai Ladies Masters - Previews

Indeed, it shook it to the extent that Spiranac even considered turning her back on the game altogether.

Luckily, she had people who were able to talk her round, including her boyfriend Steven, a former Major League Baseball player for the Tampa Bay Rays.
"When I have a bad day, I’ll be like, 'I’m quitting!'"

“I think anyone who has played a sport to a high level has gone through that feeling of loving it so much that you end up hating it,” she explains. “You want so much out of it that it becomes frustrating when you don’t get that every time. He gets that.

“When I have a bad day, I’ll be like, “I’m quitting!” He’ll calm me down and say something like, “Okay, I know you’re not going to do that.” I’ve said I’m going to quit so many times but he understands that I’m only saying it because I love what I do so, so much that it hurts so bad when I don’t get the results that I want.”

LPGA Founders Cup - Portraits

LPGA star Natalie Gulbis (above) also reached out to Spiranac in the aftermath of her Dubai nightmare. Like Spiranac, Gulbis has had to endure negative press for flaunting her good looks.

“Natalie was great,” she explains. “We talked mostly about how to handle the media and all of the criticism that was being directed at me.
"She just said, ‘Make yourself happy'"

“She just said, ‘Make yourself happy. So long as you’re happy with what you’re posting, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks’.

“That was great advice. I now take the view that, as long as I can go to bed happy with myself, then that’s been a good day.”

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