There was an uproar among the Ladies Professional Golf Association last week following the decision of Golf Digest to use model and socialite Paulina Gretzky as their cover girl for its May issue.
Gretzky, the extremely attractive daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky, has almost no ties to golf besides the fact that she is engaged to PGA golfer Dustin Johnson.
It’s unconscionable. Reprehensible. And absolutely unheard of. A sports magazine using sex appeal to appeal to readers? This never happens. What in the world were they thinking?
Let me ease up on the sarcasm now. I know my opinion will only confirm why female golfers — and women, in general — are affronted by this cover, but, this is the way the world works. Only devoted golf fans knew that Golf Digest existed one week ago. Now everyone knows.
But I, as male in his mid-20s, am the exact target audience in which this magazine cover is trying to appeal to. So me saying “I have no problem with this” doesn’t really accomplish anything.
The detractors point to the fact that in its 45-year history, Golf Digest has only featured 11 female golfers on its cover. The last LPGA Tour winner to be on the cover was Lorena Ochoa in 2008. And female golfers are naturally unhappy with the lack of recognition.
The magazine defended its decision by saying that this specific issue was its fitness issue, and therefore not as entirely devoted to golf like it usually is, while arguing that Gretzky is a “subject of fascination” in the golf world right now, and “has a compelling story to tell.”
That’s all well and good, but I think most people’s examination of the magazine will not stretch much further than the photographs.
But Paulina Gretzky is a model. And what do models do for a living? They try to look as good as possible so that they can be used by companies to draw people towards their product. Especially when that product is about fitness. This was perfect utilization.
Click here to view the entire spread, by the way. It’s pretty good.
If Miley Cyrus happened to be the girlfriend of a professional golfer, and was on the cover of Golf Digest, then I think that would truly be a slap in the face to female golfers. But losing out to (again) a model, and the daughter of somebody who is actually referred to as “The Great One,” is nothing to be ashamed of.
And let’s give proper due to Dustin Johnson. I think Tiger Woods is the exception to the lack of magnetism that golfers draw to supermodels. I know they’re rich, and I’m sure the elite players have very attractive girlfriends and wives, but they don’t get the grade-A, international supermodel girlfriends like football, baseball and even tennis players do.
Golfers marry their high school sweethearts. They start families that are so cute they belong as the default photo inside a picture frame.
But Dustin Johnson defied the odds. He landed a trophy wife, and now she’s on display for the world to see.
On Golf Digest.
We can all only be so lucky.