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Weighing In: Paulina Gretzky on Golf Digest Cover?

So, here’s an interesting item in the world of golf.

The cover, not the girl. Not that the girl isn't attractive, I'm just say--shut up.

The cover, not the girl. Not that the girl isn’t attractive, I’m just say–shut up.

The well-known golf publication known for its many tips for amateur golfers has dipped its toe in the “sex sells” pool of media popularity. And for that, that pool hit a boiling point.

Golf Digest is in a mess of hot water, is what I’m trying to say.

The girl above, that will grace the upcoming issue of Golf Digest, is one Paulina Gretzky – daughter of Wayne Gretzky and click-worthy hottie of the internet. She is not known for her golf – in fact, she rarely ever plays the sport. So, then, why is she being featured on the cover of a golf magazine?

Well, apparently, she’s the fiancee of PGA Tour golfer Dustin Johnson, for one.

Oh, well, then, sure - that makes perfect sense.

Oh, well then, sure – that makes perfect sense.

But that’s not all. According to an official statement by Jerry Tarde, editor-in-chief of Golf Digest Magazine, there’s a perfectly good reason that Paulina Gretzky is donning the next issue’s cover.

Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning. 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.

While I’m interested in what golf-related story she has to tell – no sarcasm intended – it’s fairly, if not blatantly, obvious as to why there has been a subsequent fervor over the choice to feature Gretzky on the cover. Let’s see – we have some of the best female golfers playing today that don’t get featured on a Golf Digest cover, yet, what can only be simplified to an Instagram model with ties to professional golf, does?

Why don’t we ask former top-ranked golfer in the world, Stacy Lewis?

It’s frustrating for female golfers. 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.

Now, I understand the principle of “Sex sells” – it’s one of the oldest marketing principles in the book, and I’m not ignorant to it. But connecting Paulina Gretzky to the world of golf enough to justify putting her mug on the front cover of a golf magazine, in lieu of actual female golfers, sure does make one feel dirty.

And I’m not going to sit here and spout off on how demeaning this whole thing is to women; how it sends a bad message to young, aspiring and/or potential future female golfers everywhere – it doesn’t matter how good you are, only how good you look; that this is low-hanging fruit for the bros of the world to gawk at, simply to sell more magazines. I think we all get that.

Do I like that this is how things work? That we need to employ these kind of vapid tactics for clicks and views?

Hell no, I don’t.

But, at the same time, I know how this game works.

Hell, can’t you tell I’m playing that game right now?

Do tell.

Do tell.

Having said that, I’m still scratching my head as to why they just didn’t go out of their way to find attractive female golfers to don the cover of Golf Digest. If we’re gonna play dirty, at least play with an ounce of dignity.

Take Michelle Wie, for example. She’s gained respect over the years as one of the pretty faces of the LPGA, helping win the Solheim Cup in 2009 and keeping women’s golf relevant in Americana. Plus, she’s got pictures like these on the internets:

Well. There you go.

Well. There you go.

The same with Natalie Gulbis. While she’s only had one top 10 finish in majors in 2013, she has remained a mainstay on the LPGA Tour since 2001.

Then there are pictures like this. I think you're getting the idea.

Then there are pictures like this. I think you’re getting the idea.

Then there’s Paula Creamer, who has had 10 wins during her 9-year professional career. This includes third-place finishes at the Women’s British Open (2009, 2012) and the LPGA Championship (2005) and a 2010 victory at the U.S. Women’s Open. Fun fact: she’s a 49ers fan.

Niner Nation 4 Life!

Niner Nation 4 Life!

Look, my point is this: Would I like it if we could just focus on the skill of the golfer, rather than the look of her? Can’t we just appreciate the game, whether or not it’s a man or woman playing it (because, let’s face it – men never have to deal with this issue)?

Sure. But I also understand the nature of sexual politics. And as ugly as it can be sometimes, it is what it is. And until we, as a society, can make some leeway in terms of eradicating said sexual politics, we’re forced to play the rules of a game we didn’t create – the “Sex Sells” game.

And as for Paulina Gretzky? Well, the debate lines are drawn. Pick a side or stay out of it.

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