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My Shot To attract new fans, the LPGA should take a lesson from our past and sell sex appeal

Sept. 03, 2001
Sept. 03, 2001

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Sept. 3, 2001

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My Shot To attract new fans, the LPGA should take a lesson from our past and sell sex appeal

A few weeks ago a reporter asked me how the LPGA should market
itself, and I told him what I've believed since I joined the
tour, in 1999: "We should market sex," I said. "Sex sells." My
comments created quite a stir, and virtually all the feedback
I've received from the other players--from Hall of Famers to
rookies--has been positive. The LPGA already has a core group of
golf fans, but to really grow, it needs to win over the general
sports fan, and a great way to do that is to promote our sex
appeal.

This is an article from the Sept. 3, 2001 issue

Laura Baugh and Jan Stephenson went down that road in the 1970s
and '80s, and they created a lot of interest in the LPGA. Laura
never won a tournament, but her good looks garnered tons of
exposure for herself and the tour. Laura did so many endorsements
that in 1976 she made $300,000--less than 10% of which was
tournament winnings. Jan, who won 16 events, including three
majors, posed for an LPGA-produced magazine that showed her in a
Marilyn Monroe-like pinup photo and appeared seductively on a
self-published poster bearing the suggestive line, PLAY A ROUND
WITH ME!!

I don't think the LPGA should be as provocative as Jan was, but
sex appeal can be promoted tastefully. The new campaign for a
popular deodorant does just that. The commercials show a bunch of
women marching in army boots and camouflage-style short shorts
and short tops. The ads make the point that women can sweat and
be tough but still be feminine.

The LPGA needs to acknowledge that a lot of people watch women's
sports more for the women than for the sports. Why else would
Anna Kournikova, who has never won a singles title, be the most
popular player in women's tennis? We have quite a few attractive
women, and we should use our looks to our advantage. After all,
what's so wrong with seeing an occasional belly button?

Laura Diaz, 26, is eighth on the 2001 money list with $659,123.

COLOR PHOTO: GREG FOSTER