A woman with no professional golf experience, whose main connection to the sport is that she is engaged to a PGA Tour star, appears on the cover of May's Golf Digest, and some LPGA pros aren't happy.
Sure, that woman happens to be the supremely attractive Paulina Gretzky, daughter of former NHL star Wayne, but that doesn't help much for the female golfers who are continually passed over.
As Karen Crouse of the New York Times reports, Gretzky is just the 11th woman to appear alone on the cover of the magazine. Meanwhile Inbee Park, the world's No. 1 who won three consecutive majors in 2013, has never been on the magazine's cover.
“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years," she told Crouse.
Gretzky, 25, is engaged to PGA star Dustin Johnson and has taken turns as a model, actress and singer. The cover image features her in yoga pants and a sports bra.
Perhaps anticipating backlash, Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde discussed why he and others chose Gretzky for the cover.
"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."
Stacy Lewis, a former No. 1 who won last year's Vare Trophy for the tour's lowest scoring average, says she understands why Gretzky is on the cover but she's not happy about it.
“It’s frustrating for female golfers," Lewis told Crouse. "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.”