After weeks of drama, intrigue and speculation, the "Body Issue"Â of ESPN The Magazine, featuring an image of LPGA players Christina Kim, Anna Grzebien and Sandra Gal in nothing but their birthday suits, is finally here. And I can't for the life of me understand what all the pre-publication fuss was about.
Bloggers, writers and pundits across the nation have debated ad nauseum whether exposure of this kind would be good or bad for the LPGA Tour. What message might it send to young people? Do women golfers really need to take their clothes off to draw attention to themselves? What will the sponsors say?Â
The truth is, ESPN The Magazine has accomplished something pretty spectacular with this issue. It's chock-full of beautiful, interesting, funny and sometimes disturbing images of world-class athletes of all kinds in various stages of undress, as they either show off battle wounds or perform their individual sports. It's not sensationalism, it's not porn, it's not even remotely uncomfortable -- or, I might add, titillating -- to look at (some of the images, like that of surfer Laird Hamilton's cracked heel, are pure turn-offs). It's a study of the human physical form at work, in different extremes. And contrary to the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, which offers nothing but a series of centerfolds thinly veiled as "fashion" stories, this magazine has some real meaning from an athletic perspective.
Golf as a sport should be proud to be included, and the three players pictured thanked for their participation.Â