Lydia Ko has found herself in the centre of a row with allegations looks rather than ability are determining an athlete’s profile.
LPGA Hall of Famer Juli Inkster has hit out at respected magazine Golf Digest for featuring a cover shot of provocative player and social media sensation Paige Spiranic to headline an article on “futurists” which looks at the “innovators and influencers changing the game”.
Inkster believes Ko, New Zealand’s teenage world No 1, would have been a better cover choice to promote the women’s game.
The tall, blonde Spiranic has 670,000 Instagram followers, 84,500 Twitter followers and nearly 120,000 Facebook followers. She keeps them happy with a steady flow of photographs and videos. But she hasn’t produced a game to match her hype.
The Golf Channel noted that Spiranic had not ranked in the United States college system’s top 300 players when she played at San Diego State and a controversial sponsor’s exemption to play the Ladies European Tour’s Omega Dubai Masters last December saw her miss the cut, shooting 77 and 79.
Inkster believes the move by Golf Digest, which has been published since 1950, reflected society’s changing attitudes.
“You look at what Lydia Ko’s doing, and why isn’t she on the cover?” Inkster told the Golf Channel as Ko prepared to tee off at the Swinging Skirts Classic, seeking a hat-trick of titles at the San Francisco stop of the tour
“I know that stuff sells, and they are in the business of selling magazines, but I think people could learn more in an article about Lydia,” Inkster said.
“It’s kind of where our society is right now. I don’t agree with it, but it’s their magazine and they can do what they want.”
Even the covergirl seemed uncomfortable – in more ways than one.
“You can thank me @LydiaKo, those silver pants weren’t very comfortable! You’ll be much more comfortable for the cover shoot you deserve,” Spiranic tweeted