The Perils of Pauline – What is Golf Digest Thinking?
I’ve been following the Golf Digest scandal for a little while now, with the edition containing the Pauline Gretzky cover coming out. Until now, my interest was peripheral, but I began to wonder exactly what it is that Pauline Gretzky does for a living that would land her on the cover of a prestigious golf magazine that habitually short-changes the stars of the women’s tour.
Mike Whan, Commissioner of the LPGA says that he is “frustrated and disappointed” with the magazine, which he says “steers away from true superstars,” the women who have not only made the game what it is but continue to provide its growth through their excellence on the course (Ko, Lewis, etc.). I’m not sure that “excellence on the course” is what Pauline Gretzky is all about, although I have no idea what her handicap would be.
The last LPGA star to be featured on the cover was Lorena Ochoa, about seven years ago. Ochoa is a slam dunk, a given, a no-brainer of a choice. Even Golf Digest could not have missed it, but the next woman to make it onto the cover was model Kate Upton, posing with Arnold Palmer. All right, that’s fun, being surrounded by beautiful people, so congrats, Arnie, but I don’t know if Kate Upton’s skill on the golf course is any better than Pauline Gretzky’s.
So far, I know that Gretzky is a famous hockey player’s daughter, and is the partner of Dustin Johnson of the PGA. Aha! I knew there was a golf connection there somewhere. Other than that, she is, according to Wikipedia, “a model, pop singer, celebutante.” I’m pretty sure that all those lines of work have magazines that would love to be represented by one such as Gretzky.
Jerry Tarde, editor of Golf Digest, argues that Pauline Gretzky “has a compelling story to tell.” I’ve never met a person who doesn’t, actually, and I wouldn’t feature ninety-nine percent of them on the cover of Golf Digest, just on the association with one who plays. By this logic, we should feature Tom Brady’s junior high math teacher on the cover of Sports Illustrated for winning the Super Bowl, and we’ll need a surrogate photo for Serena Williams at her next major.
The fact that there are a hundred or more female golfers in the LPGA that don’t have handicaps, and prove it week in and week out has escaped Golf Digest. Tarde, translated to the Italian, and using the feminine ending, comes from “tardare” and “tardi,” which means “late” – flat-out “late,” and for our purposes, “clueless.” Using the playboy model, and assuming that no man between the age of fifteen and sixty-five is interested in a female who plays golf for a living, Tarde hopes to sell magazines using other inducements, and again slapping the LPGA in the face. If he’s going to use PGA wives, why not some of the ones who have demonstrated courage in their life stories? There’s a lot of nobility to be told there, but those play the game better than anyone else are still the story for many of us, and we want to see them.
More than that, we want to see the LPGA receive the respect that it is due. Women are fighting to make their livings there, and fighting to reach the top of the golf world. Pauline Gretzky is not, and neither is Kate Upton. I forgot to ask if this month’s Golf Digest has a centerfold, but it doesn’t really matter. I’m not buying it, and I’m not feeling compelled by Jerry Tarde’s moronic attempt at spinning the issue by lumping all men into the same gutter.