LPGA Commissioner on Paulina Gretzky Cover: “We’re Disappointed and Frustrated”

LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan

LPGA Tour Commissioner Mike Whan

The latest Golf Digest cover stirred some controversy with Dustin Johnson’s fiance Paulina Gretzky rocking the cover posing with a golf club in yoga pants. Gretzky is also the daughter of hockey legend Wayne Gretzky and came to fame when she started taking selfies of herself on Twitter although she was apparently already doing some modeling. There were angered LPGA Tour players that showed their disgust about the cover.

Yeah, this cover!

Yeah, this cover!

two time major winner and former world no.1 Stacy Lewis on the cover according to Karen Krause of the New York times: “It’s frustrating for female golfers. 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.”

Hall of fame Juli Inkster on the cover also according to Karen Krause: “It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest; it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” Inkster said, adding: “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.”

Even Inbee Park who I have mad respect for and is one of my favorite players now after she absolutely terrorized, destroyed and back-handed the golf world last season after nearly becoming the first golf ever to win all four majors in a year. She ended up with three. She simply said when asked about the cover, “Who’s that”? according to Karen Krause. “That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years.” Inbee said shrugging.

And now, even the LPGA Commisoner stepped up and made a statement about the cover. This, from LPGA.com:

“Obviously we’re disappointed and frustrated by the editorial direction (and timing) Golf Digest has chosen with the announcement of its most recent magazine cover.

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.

Inbee Park wins 3-straight major championships in 2013. Stacy Lewis, in 2012, becomes the first American to win Rolex Player of the Year since 1994. Lexi Thompson and Lydia Ko set historical benchmarks while blossoming as the Tour’s youngest ever champions. And evidently, not one has been “cover worthy” for Golf Digest. “Growing the game” means a need for more role models and in these exciting times for women’s golf, the LPGA is overflowing with them.

At this point, I’m done talking about it and I hope the attention of the media and fans will shift in the proper direction. The true stars representing women’s golf have a grand stage this weekend at the Kraft Nabisco Championship. I’m confident that the year’s first major championship will result in another compelling champion and the traditional Sunday leap into Poppie’s Pond will grab the media spotlight it so deserves.”

Those were the words of LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan.

So, what’s your thoughts on the commish’ statement? Do you agree? Disagree? In my opinion, I could agree with it but at the same time, Kate Upton was on a recent cover of Golf Digest too (She fine yo) although she was with Arnold Palmer. Also, like Inbee said, stuff like this has been going for years so why complain about it now? It can go either way at this point but in general, I definitely think the LPGA needs some more love because it’s a great tour with great players but that’s just a general statement. Leave your thoughts on this controversial story below! This should be fun.

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Colin GP Mieczkowski

Colin Mieczkowski is the Editor-in-chief of the award winning GP Golf Report. He hails from Chicago,IL and is a big Chicago sports fan (Except the Cubs, sorry. Chi Sox baby). His writing journey began when he used to write in his notebook and write free verse poems. Later, he created a blog that covered Chicago sports, golf and video games (Weird combination) but decided to just focus on his main passion of golf. That's when the GP Golf Report was born and since its humble beginnings, the blog has reached well over 100,000 unique visitors and continues to grow. He also has built a love for golf course design and is a lover of "Street Golf" which is practically how he picked up the game. Colin is also a video game YouTuber as well. He goes by the name "GhostPanda" on there. You can click the YouTube symbol to check him out. Follow him on Twitter @ChiGolfRadio and add him as a friend on Facebook!

Posted in News, Rumors and tagged , , , , , , , , by with 5 comments.

Certainly a thought provoking cover -- though thoughts may vary based upon one's chromosomes.  I have a lot of empathy for the LPGA's, Juli Inkster's, Park Inbee's and Mike Whan's concerns that are all points well taken.  I also know that Jerry Tarde is one of the most dedicated people to the game that I've ever met -- and the print magazine biz is a tough racket these days.   Knowing all the folks involved, I sure hope that we in the business of golf can all work together as we must to grow the game we all love!  Everyone is right including Golf Digest.  Okay Jerry, a great cover!  Now please listen closely to Juli and others.  Like Jules says, "What do you have to do to get a little respect?"  Best regards to all,  Jim Prusa (an ink and grass stained wretch), SKY72 Golf Resorts, South Korea


I admit that I don't know some of the particulars. Is Golf Digest the official journal of the LPGA, or is it a "general" golf magazine? From the reaction, I'm understanding that the LPGA players are taking the position that ANY woman who appears on the cover should be a pro golfer. Again admitting that this isn't an area that I'm really familiar with, has this been consistently true for the recent past, say 5 or so years? If so, and this cover is a marked exception rather than the rule, then the reaction seems overblown. If, on the other hand, the magazine never (or rarely) features women who are "known" golfers despite the rise of the players noted, then it seems more likely that there is a problem. 

Also, just out of curiosity, I noted that the commish of the LPGA is a guy. How unusual is that? Have they mostly been women, or is that a problem, too?

For myself, again as an outsider, the cover doesn't really relate to the women's golf game at all to me. To use a modern expression I generally don't like, It is what it is. I understand pretty clearly that she isn't a professional golfer and that her association with professional golf results from her relationship, and as such, just what she is there for...... to look attractive on the cover. Since someone mentioned Sports Illustrated, the outfit she is wearing is  WAY less revealing than those worn by the models in the swimsuit edition(s). 

I guess my biggest reaction is that this cover would have gone largely unnoticed with out the public controversy. The article mentions that Kate Upton was on an earlier cover, a fact I completely missed. Want to have an effect on Golf Digest? Refuse to appear in any sense, refuse all interviews and exclude them from LPGA tour events, and make it clear as to why this was done. The professional golfers of the LPGA have sponsors, I'm sure. They could ask these major companies to make their displeasure clear to Golf Digest.  Probably, they'll get the message.

GPDaPrince23 moderator

@JamesPrusa  I agree James! I have a ton of respect for the LPGA Tour and the likes of Inbee, Juli Inkster and Mike Whan and think Mike is doing a wonderful job with the tour. Jerry Tarde is a legend and icon in the golf journalism industry and has done a lot in terms of bringing the golf news to us and bringing us closer together as a golf community. However, I was not really surprised about the cover since she is Dustin Johnson's girl. I just didn't realize how rare it is for a female golfer to make the cover which led me to ask "Why on earth would they put Gretzky on the cover?". So now it's led a huge wave over the sports world. So, in the end, Golf Digest did get their wish as people are talking about the magazine thanks to the cover, however, unfortunately, GD might have lost some subscribers. Jerry definitely needs to listen to what these talented and lovely women have to say about the magazine. More LPGA players need to be on the cover period. Inbee absolutely destroyed the golf world last year and she didn't make the cover? Quite a situation James and I definitely think us as writers, broadcasters, course owners, PGA pro teachers, and other industry pros including the wonderful fans and community that show their strong support for this great sport will help grow this game to unbelievable heights!  Thanks so much for your comment sir! :) - Colin Mieczkowski 

GPDaPrince23 moderator

@plastic96  Hi Plastic, hope all is well bro! Golf Digest is a general golf magazine that covers all of the Tours and features A LOT of golf training and practice tips. 

It's also been at least 5 years since an LPGA Tour player has been on the cover which may stir the controversy considering Gretzky just got into golf but isn't a true golfer. She got into golf because of her fiance Dustin Johnson which also stirs controversy. 

There are a lot of beautiful women on Tour and people believe that they should have been featured which I can agree with. 

Yes, the LPGA commish is in fact a guy but I think he's gotten the respect of many of the women on Tour and this statement really got him a ton of respect from not only female golfers but females in general. I think it's been a mix of gender as far as past commissioners go. The last commish was in fact a woman. 

I also agree with you that yes, what Gretzky's wearing is much less revealing the the swimsuit issues, and that obviously yeah she's on the cover because of her looks (Although, I think she's too skinny) and her relationship with DJ. Sex sells. That's why she made it. 

Kate Upton was on the cover, but as I mentioned, she WAS on the cover with Arnold Palmer so at least she was on the cover with a golfer. Yeah, the LPGA golfers do have sponsors but I don't know if a sponsor will help them speak up to Golf Digest, if anything, sponsors get them paid more lol. They could refuse everything but then the LPGA will lose money likely which is bad news for the players. 

Thanks for the comment Plastic! - Colin

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