Golf Digest in Hot Water Over Sexy Cover of Wayne Gretzky’s Daughter [Gallery]

The racy Golf Digest cover with Paulina Gretzky, the fiancé of PGA player Dustin Johnson, sparked outrage in the golf world.

  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest
  • Photo: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf DigestPhoto: Walter Iooss Jr./ Golf Digest

The daughter of the legendary NHL player, Paulina Gretzky, who is engaged to PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson, graces on the provocative cover of Golf Digest May issue wearing white yoga pants and a barely-there sports bra.

Gretzky is not a professional golfer, although she occupies a prominent part of the magazine’s homepage, as well as in the latest publication. Dedicated to fitness. However, the controversial choice has left some women in the sport frustrated as the magazine defends its position.

Golf Digest, which bills itself as “the authority on how to play, what to play and where to play,” has explained that as the fiancée of PGA Tour pro Dustin Johnson, Gretzky is a major celebrity in the golf world and thereby qualifies the recognition of a cover story.

“Sports figures, celebrities and models have appeared on Golf Digest covers since the magazine’s beginning,” the publication’s editor in chief, Jerry Tarde, says in a statement, defending the cover choice. “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.”

Gretzky’s appearance will be the 21st time a woman has appeared on the cover since the magazine started printing in 1950. The first women to appear on the cover were on an issue in 1969. The last LPGA golfer to appear on the cover was Lorena Ochoa in 2008, says USA Today.

Golf Channel personality Holly Sonders and model Kate Upton (posing with Arnold Palmer) both landed on the cover in 2013. That was the same year that world No. 1 Inbee Park won a record-tying three consecutive major championships.

Longtime LPGA player, World Golf Hall-of-Famer and former Golf Digest cover girl (Oct. 1992) Juli Inkster was displeased with the selection.

“It’s frustrating because it’s Golf Digest; it’s not Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue,” said Inkster. “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?”

Stacy Lewis, who has won two major LPGA titles, told The New York Times that she found the choice frustrating. “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.”

LPGA Tour commissioner Mike Whan said he was “disappointed” by the Gretzky cover.

“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 a statement released Friday. The tour’s first major of the season, the Kraft Nabisco Championship, began on Thursday at Mission Hills Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif.

Olympian Lolo Jones rushed to support her fellow female athletes on Saturday.

“Golf Digest pulled a page right off the Kim.k Vogue issue,” Jones tweeted in reference to the prominent fashion magazine’s heavily criticized decision to feature the reality star on the cover of its April issue.

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