Rancho Mirage, CA, United States (4E Sports) – Some of the LPGA’s biggest stars expressed disappointment over Paulina Gretzky’s presence in an alluring pose on the cover of an upcoming Golf Digest issue.
Gretzky, the daughter of former NHL great Wayne Gretzky and fiancee of PGA Tour pro Dustin Johnson, is featured donning a white bikini top and matching leggings on the cover of Golf Digest’s fitness issue.
“It’s frustrating for female golfers,” Stacy Lewis, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, told reporters at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. “It’s the state of where we’ve always been. We don’t get the respect for being the golfers we are.”
“Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines, but at the same time you like to see a little respect for the women’s game,” she added.
Other players, including LPGA icon Juli Inkster, agreed with Lewis.
“It’s Golf Digest, it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Inkster said. “I think they should maybe recognize some of the great women golfers that we have. It’s like, 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.”
Top-ranked player Inbee Park said the cover could affect the LPGA’s ability to gain on the men’s tour in popularity.
“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years,” Park said. “We are trying to get closer to the guys, but obviously we are never going to get there. That’s for sure. The LPGA is getting better and better.”
Angela Stanford, for her part, wasn’t surprised to hear of the magazine’s choice to put Gretzky on its cover.
“The LPGA has some attractive women and very fit women, so why not use them? I’m just baffled by it,” Stanford said.
The magazine defended its use of Gretzky, saying in the online preview that she “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.”
The last two women Golf Digest featured on its cover were Golf Channel anchor Holly Sonders last May and model Kate Upton, who was shot with Arnold Palmer for the December issue. Lorena Ochoa was the last female player to be featured, in 2008.