Sexing up golf

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Gretzky has no reason to be on magazine cover

Not many women get to grace the cover of Golf Digest. In fact, only 11 women have appeared alone on the cover in 45 years.

However, for the May edition, Paulina Gretzky sexes up the cover of the magazine. Why would the daughter of the Great One be on the cover of a golf magazine? Did she leave behind her amateur singing roots to pick up the game of golf?


Her main connection to the game is that she is engaged to PGA Tour golfer Dustin Johnson.

The cover has Gretzky in white yoga pants and a matching sports bra with her leaning on a putter.

The cover states ‘Six moves to lower scores’ and it includes spread of her photoshoot inside is just awkward, including her working out with medicine balls, stretching with a club and some yoga poses. All the shots show her chiselled mid-section.

I’m not criticizing Gretzky, as she is clearly taking care of herself and is healthy. But this feels like it is purely a stunt to get more publicity – something that she seems to crave. Just take a look at her Instagram account or just Google her name.

However, I will outright criticize the person or persons that decided to put someone that has no impact on the game of golf on its magazine cover.

There are many women golfers in the game that are much more deserving than the fiancée of an eight-time winner.

In fact, there is the Kraft Nabisco Championship currently underway, which is a LPGA Tour event. Why isn’t Inbee Park, who is the world No. 1 golfer right now and defending champion of this event on the cover?

Park, from South Korea, is a nine-time winner on the LPGA Tour and won three consecutive majors last year – tying a record that was set in 1950 by Babe Didrikson Zaharias.

Park has never been on the cover of Golf Digest.

“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years,” Park told Karen Crouse of the New York Times.

Crouse did great work in bringing up others that could be more deserving including Juli Inkster, who made her 120th start at a major. She is also a seven-time major winner and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame.

Inkster has appeared on the cover of the magazine before. But only she, Marlene Hagge, Jane Blalock and Nancy Lopez have been alone on the cover.

If the editor wanted to have a fresh face or an up-and-coming golfer, why not American Stacy Lewis? She has two major wins, was briefly No.1 in the world and won the Vare Trophy for the lowest scoring average on tour.

Lewis told Crouse: “It’s frustrating for female golfers. It’s kind of the state of where we’ve always been. We don’t get respect for being the golfers that we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines, but at the same time, you’d like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”

I couldn’t agree more with Lewis and many others have sounded off on Twitter about the cover.

Since the backlash, Jerry Tarde, the editor-in-chief at Golf Digest – who approved the cover – said “Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning. Paulina ranks at the high end of the golf celebrity scene and she has a compelling story to tell. She also might get some new people interested in the game.”

If they are looking for males aged 25 to 45 years old, then they will make a lot of money off this magazine. This is probably the only thing in mind.

 Unfortunately, instead of using their product to get more girls and women into the sport, they continue to alienate them from the game and their product. 

Follow me on Twitter @katiebrickman.

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Recent comments

  • Ansley Buck
    April 04, 2014 - 23:31

    There are multiple issues/concerns with Paulina Gretzky on the cover. - She was placed on the cover because she is the fiancee of a PGA golfer. Not because of anything she has done or accomplished. Nice message to send out - your value is based on the person you're with instead of who yourself - Timing - Couldn't the Paulina cover have waited until AFTER the first LPGA major? Why not put one or more of the hot younger LPGA females if you want to promote sex appeal?