RANCHO MIRAGE, Calif. – News that Paulina Gretzky will appear on the cover of Golf Digest frustrates some of the LPGA pros at the Kraft Nabisco Championship this week.
Gretzky, the daughter of hockey great Wayne Gretzky, is the fiancée of PGA Tour pro Dustin Johnson. She’s photographed in skimpy workout clothes on the cover of the May issue of Golf Digest, which is devoted to fitness. Paulina is fairly new to the game as a recreational player.
Stacy Lewis, the top-ranked American player in the world, has never been on the cover of Golf Digest. She was asked by a New York Times reporter after Thursday’s round what she thought of Golf Digest’s choice.
“It’s frustrating for female golfers,” Lewis said. “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.”
Rolex No. 1 Inbee Park, who won the first three women's majors last year, also has never graced the cover of Golf Digest. The last three women to appear on Golf Digest’s cover weren’t professional golfers. Golf Channel’s Holly Sonders was on the cover of Golf Digest’s fitness issue a year ago. Kate Upton was on the cover with Arnold Palmer in the December issue.
“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years,” Park said. “We are trying to get closer to the guys [in popularity], but obviously we are never going to get there. That’s for sure. The LPGA is getting better and better.”
Hall of Famer Juli Inkster was also disappointed.
“It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest, it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Inkster told the New York Times before she teed off Thursday afternoon. “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.”
Jerry Tarde, the editor in chief of Golf Digest, explained the magazine's choice of Gretzky in a story published on the magazine's website.
“Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning,” Tarde said. “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.”
- Randall Mell, Golf Channel