Golf Digest cover sparks controversy

By Kyra Louie, Staff Writer
@beammeupkyra

Paulina Gretzky, fiancée to Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA) tour winner Dustin Johnson and daughter of a hockey superstar, has landed a solo spot on the cover of this month’s Golf Digest. The American model and pop singer surely fits the criteria for the cover, right?

Wrong.

May’s cover of Golf Digest portrays Paulina Gretzky in tight capris and a revealing sports bra holding an iron. In the article, Gretzky recounts how she once missed a ball in front of 30 people while playing in her dad’s tournament. It also features different exercises to improve one’s golf game.

Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) golfers have only appeared solo on Golf Digest’s covers 11 times since 1969. The most recent LPGA player to land the cover was Lorena Ochoa in August 2008.

“If a magazine called Golf Digest is interested in showcasing females in the game, yet consistently steers away from the true superstars who’ve made history over the last few years, something is clearly wrong,” said Mike Whan, the LPGA Tour Commissioner. “’Growing the game’ means a need for more role models and in these exciting times for women’s golf, the LPGA is overflowing with them.”

It’s time to give credit where credit is due. Yet the last issue featuring an LPGA Tour winner was six years ago, and in total the LPGA has only had 11 covers in the past 45 years.

“It’s frustrating for female golfers,” third-ranked player Stacy Lewis said in an interview with the New York Times. “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.”

Last time I checked, the Waspy stereotype that golf still holds would never allow someone in Gretzky’s outfit anywhere near the clubhouse, let alone the course. There is no reason for this to be the face of Golf Digest if the figure isn’t wearing something that would be deemed appropriate, not to mention she has nothing to do with the game.

Juli Inkster, a seven-time winner and a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame, as well as one of the 11 women to appear alone on Golf Digest’s covers, doesn’t appreciate the magazine’s choice in Gretzky either.

“What do you have to do to get a little respect? I’m guaranteeing you right now, it was not a woman editor who chose that cover,” said Inkster in an interview with the New York Times.

She’s probably right. Golf Digest’s editor in chief, Jerry Tarde, released a statement to the commotion surrounding this month’s cover.

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

As a golfer, this cover is a slap in the face. I went to the 2009 U.S. Women’s Open Golf Championship, and I remember getting my hat signed by almost every player I could find. These women pride themselves on integrity, honor, dignity and respect. All of which are not portrayed on this month’s cover. The women of the LPGA are my role models, on and off the course. We faced struggles left and right to gain our “equality” in this sport. And now that we have it, we’re still faced with the same prejudice as before. I can name 15 people off the top of my head that would be better suited in that cover spot, and they’re all members of the LPGA.

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