Golf Digest’s May issue has stirred up controversy because of who landed on the cover.
The magazine features 25-year-old Paulina Gretzky, fiancée of PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson and daughter of renowned hockey player Wayne Gretzky. Several LPGA stars are not pleased with the decision to use Gretzky, who's not a professional golfer, and said women pro golfers are getting overlooked.
“It’s frustrating for female golfers," Stacy Lewis, who is ranked No. 3 in the world, said when asked by 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 would like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”
In the Golf Digest article, Gretzky demonstrates six golf-improvement exercises and talks about her involvement in the sport. The photos used to promote the issue, which hits newsstands April 15, show her wearing fitted white pants and a white sports bra.
“It’s Golf Digest, it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Juli Inkster, LPGA star and a former cover girl of Golf Digest, told the Times of the spread. “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?”
Apart from Gretzky, the last two women featured on the cover have also not been players. Golf Channel anchor Holly Sonders graced the cover last May, and supermodel Kate Upton appeared alongside Arnold Palmer last December.
LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan condemned the move on Friday.
"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," he said in a statement.
Editor-in-Chief of the magazine, Jerry Tarde, defended the choice to feature Gretzky.
"Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine's beginning," Tarde said in a statement. "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."
— Golf Digest (@GolfDigestMag) April 3, 2014