Focus on promoting game, not Golf Digest's covers

Our Tim McKay says the LPGA should focus on promoting its players rather than denouncing magazine...

Our Tim McKay says the LPGA should focus on promoting its players rather than denouncing magazine covers.

TIM MCKAY, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 6:40 PM ET

LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan issued a statement and some of the players also expressed their displeasure over a Golf Digest cover that featured a sexed-up Paulina Gretzky.

The complaint seems to be centred around the fact that Gretzky, fiancée of PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson, isn’t a golfer and is just there as eye-candy for the men who buy the magazine.

“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,” Whan said in his statement, pointing out that the cover came out just in time for the LPGA’s first major of the season, the Kraft-Nabisco Championship.

“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.”

Obviously, Whan has a point. The last three women to appear on Golf Digest’s cover have been Gretzky, model Kate Upton and Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders. None of them LPGA players, all of them buxom. This in a time when young stars are emerging and the game is the most global of the major tours.

“Inbee Park wins three 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,” Whan points out. “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. “

But here’s the rub: While all of what Whan says is true, it’s also an indictment of him and the LPGA Tour.

What the players should be outraged over is the fact that Whan and the LPGA has yet to find a way to effectively market them or their tour.

The LPGA is stuck in the middle on selling sex – the TV lead-in to the second round of the Kraft-Nabisco featured an awkward montage of LPGA players getting mall-glamour-shot-calibre makeovers.

Sure, it was more tasteful than the Gretzky cover, but what were they trying to accomplish with it? Was that about golf?

And the fact that the LPGA Tour was so outraged that its commissioner felt he had to make a statement about a magazine cover during what was one heck of a tournament only brought more attention to it, and less to the tournament. He should have ignored it.

It’s up to Golf Digest to sell magazines. Clearly, the Gretzky cover has accomplished that.

It’s up to the LPGA Tour to sell its game. Clearly, it needs to do a better job of it.


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