Lexi Thompson poses topless on the cover of Golf Digest
By Stephanie Wei under LPGA


Well, at least this time Golf Digest picked a pro golfer for its “Fitness and Power” edition that should hit newsstands in a couple of weeks. 20-year-old Lexi Thompson, who is ranked no. 9 in the world, graces the cover of the magazine’s May issue with nothing on top except for a towel that covers her breasts. 

Last year’s “Fitness” installment featured Paulina Gretzky, whose main connection to golf is that she’s engaged to Dustin Johnson — and the mother of his child — which created an international incident as a result of the outrage expressed by what seemed like everyone, most significantly the LPGA and some of its players.

The year prior, Golf Digest featured Fox Sports reporter Holly Sonders in its inaugural “Fitness” issue — which was slightly controversial but didn’t cause the same enraged reaction as Gretzky’s cover did. After all, Sonders is a former collegiate golfer who now covers the sport.

Digest doesn’t disappoint with regard to generating controversy and discussion with its topless Thompson cover. My initial reaction to it? It was something like, “Whoa! Lexi is all grown-up. Feels like she was just this cute 16-year-old phenom the other day and now that she’s ‘legal’, they’re turning her into a sex-bot.”

I’m just not sure I would have felt as comfortable and confident at 20 to pose for the cover of a magazine like that. For parents, would you let your 20-year-old daughter appear virtually naked (though tasteful)?

This time, Golf Digest was prepared for any type of backlash that the Thompson cover would create and its chairman/editor-in-chief Jerry Tarde wrote a letter entitled “Mea Culpa, Ladies.”

We’ve come a long way from a year ago when the LPGA condemned our choice of Paulina Gretzky (and Holly Sonders in 2013) as the cover images for Golf Digest’s annual fitness issue. Mea culpa, ladies. You can have stunning beauty and the highest level of golf performance at the same time, as demonstrated this year by Lexi, Stacy Lewis, Cheyenne Woods and Michelle Wie (pictured): Have you ever seen anyone more fit in evening wear?

LPGA players not only outdrive the average guy by 20-plus yards, but they do it with the same clubhead speed we have. We can learn more from them not because they swing like us, but because we should swing like them. They don’t just muscle the ball and make up for swing flaws with strength.

Tarde points out that Rory McIlroy just appeared topless on last month’s cover, as well. He also divulges that Lexi’s mother, Judy, was on-hand for the photoshoot and when asked if she was OK with it, she responded, “I am, but her middle brother won’t be!”