Paulina Gretzky is the fiancée of pro golfer Dustin Johnson, but the 25-year-old daughter of Wayne Gretzky's relationship with golf essentially ends there.
So when the singer/actress/model was chosen for the cover of Golf Digest's May fitness edition, some of the LPGA's best players weren't pleased.
"It's frustrating for female golfers," Stacy Lewis, the No. 3-ranked player in the world, told reporters at the Kraft Nabisco Championship on Thursday, according to Steve DiMeglio of USA Today. "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."
In the issue, which hits newsstands on April 15, Gretzky demonstrates six golf-improvement exercises and talks about her connections to the sports world, DiMeglio reports.
"The question is who are they trying to sell to?" LPGA player Angela Stanford said. "If the answer is men 25 years old through 45 years old, then I guess that's what they have to do. You know the old saying, sex sells. And nobody can argue with that. It's just the way it is. But the LPGA has some attractive women and very fit women, so why not use them? I'm just baffled by it."
The last three women to appear on the cover of the magazine have been Golf Channel anchor Holly Sonders (May 2013), model Kate Upton (with Arnold Palmer, December 2013), and Gretzky. The last women's player was Lorena Ochoa in 2008.
"That's just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years," world No. 1 Inbee Park said after her round on Thursday. "We are trying to get closer to the guys [in popularity], but obviously we are never going to get there. That's for sure. The LPGA is getting better and better."
Added Juli Inkster, seven-time LPGA major champion, to The New York Times: "It's Golf Digest, it's not Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue. 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."
The magazine said in an online preview of the issue that Gretzky "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." SI WIRE: Tiger Woods to miss Masters after undergoing back surgery