Golf Digest WomanJanuary 17, 2012

Sandra Gal is crowned GolfDigest.com's Hottest Golfer

Drum roll, please: After two months of online voting and 16 head-to-head matches (peruse the full men's and women's brackets here), we finally have an overall winner in the GolfDigest.com Hottest Golfer competition. Twenty-six-year-old LPGA Tour player Sandra Gal from Germany, who triumphed in the women's bracket last week, didn't just defeat 23-year-old men's champ Rickie Fowler for the ultimate crown -- she annihilated him. Gal got a whopping 99.6 percent of the more than 80,000 votes cast. This may be an indication of the gender of our voters, but it also speaks volumes about the popularity of this former ballet dancer from Dÿsseldorf.

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Slideshow: Sandra Gal on and off the course

A four-year veteran of the LPGA Tour, Gal just completed her most successful season, which included a win at the Kia Classic in March and a second-place finish at the CME Titleholders in November. Golf Digest Woman recently caught up with Gal to talk about the year ahead. (For more of Sandra, check out the March issue of Golf Digest.)

GDW: Congrats on a great season. What are you going to do to top it in 2012?

__SG:__Thanks. I feel like I'm on the right track, but you really have to look at your weaknesses and your strengths, work hard during the off-season and then continue working throughout the year. One of the things I want to improve a lot is my fitness.

GDW: Your fitness? You're one of the fittest players out there!

SG:[Laughs.] Yeah, well, I'm not complaining about my body or anything, but I definitely want to get fitter, as in cardio. I sometimes get tired a little too quickly -- especially in the middle of the year, when we have all the majors. I kind of had a little slump there [last year]. So I just want to keep it up throughout the year, and lay a solid base in the off-season.

GDW: You have a lot of hobbies, such as painting and sailing. Do you believe that you can only be a great golfer if you're a well-rounded person?

__SG:__Definitely. I feel like I play better golf if I'm a happy person. It's kind of different than the men, isn't it? Like, they play good golf and they're happy but the women have to be happy before they can play good golf. I think you just need to have a balance in everything you do. I've only learned this recently but it works great for me: I play hard a few tournaments, then I take a week off and do a vacation and take my mind off everything, and then I go back and I'm really motivated to start working hard again. In the past I would kind of burn myself out, and at the end of the year I just couldn't see golf anymore. Now, I'm happy to have a vacation but I'm really excited for 2012. I'm not fed up with golf, because I did other things during the season and kind of kept a balance. I gave myself mind breaks. Another thing I did last year is, you know, we travel to so many great places and most of the time it's just kind of hotel, golf course, hotel, golf course, but I really tried to take time and see things at the places we were at. It's not always easy with all the stuff we have to do off the course, but it's been a lot of fun.

GDW: You've become one of the glamour girls of the LPGA Tour. You're known for your style and your beauty and your physique -- especially your legs. How did that come about? A happy accident or something you work hard on?

__SG:__My rookie year, I signed with a model agency called Wilhelmina. And I was with them until the end of '09. Through them, we did a few photo shoots, and those pictures kind of went around the world. So I think that's where this whole image started. I still do some of that. I'm going to do a photo shoot this week, kind of a fashion shoot for a big German magazine. It comes up once in a while, but it's not something I really work on or try to do. It is fun, I do enjoy it, but I don't do it very often. I always see myself as an athlete and someone who wants to perform at her best - [modeling] is not something I see as that important. I do like fashion, but I'm not hugely into it. I kind of just go with my intuition.

GDW: What do you do to stay in shape?

__SG:__I still like dancing. I'm not a hugely flexible person, so doing ballet really helped me to kind of get some sort of flexibility and have good posture. And it really helped me with my coordination and feel for movement. Nowadays, the last couple of years, I've been working with Dave Herman and he does a lot of work with bands -- they're called SuperFlex bands. That's really helped with my flexibility and strength and speed. You can just travel with them and work with them on the road, even if you don't have a gym. But that's just part of my workout. I do a lot of cardio, and I do a lot of core and weights.

GDW: You're a singer, too, is that right?

__SG:__Oh, well... it's a funny story. This British record company contacted me a couple of years ago and I think they just saw an article in a magazine and said, "Maybe she can sing too." [Laughs.] So they just asked me if I wanted to come by and record this one song. I've never really been singing. I mean, I have a good ear for music -- I hit the notes. But I don't have a big voice, you know, I've never trained. We just did this one song called "Dice." It's on my website, just for fun. I thought, if I have a chance to do it, why not? You probably don't get that many chances to record a song.

--Stina Sternberg

Did the voters get it right? Is Gal the worthy champ? Voice your opinion on our partner site, GolfWRX.com.

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