Wait a minute, Golf Digest has a woman on the cover who makes her living . . . playing golf?
Yes, we're well aware of the frenzy that accompanied Golf Digest putting Paulina Gretzky, a beginning golfer who is engaged to PGA Tour star Dustin Johnson, on our May cover. Embraced by some, rejected by plenty of others, we like to think that cover was one way to showcase the broadening scope of golf. So was Jimmy Fallon on the cover the next month, or even Jason Dufner two months after that. And no question it's a thinking that applies to our latest cover subject, Michelle Wie.
When Wie, 24, won the U.S. Women's Open in June for her first career major title, the reverberations were felt well beyond the usual golf circles. Final-round ratings were up 92 percent over the year before. Wie did a whirlwind media tour two days later that featured appearances on national talk shows and a photo shoot at the top of the Empire State Building. All spoke to the profound interest in the player's journey from prodigy to flameout to champion.
Now comes her appearance on the cover of Golf Digest. It's been a rarity for LPGA pros to appear on the covers of national sports magazines: the last to appear as the main image on Golf Digest was Lorena Ochoa in 2008; the last to appear on Golf Magazine was Annika Sorenstam in 2003 and the last to appear on Sports Illustrated was Nancy Lopez in 1978.
"Believe it or not, our interest in women's golf extends well beyond celebrities in sports bras," Golf Digest Editor-in-Chief Jerry Tarde said. "Golf Digest has always been about celebrating the best in the game, and right now, there are few golfers -- men or women -- who shine brighter than Michelle Wie."
In the October cover story, Wie, who returns to action this week in the Evian Championsip, points to five reasons she's enjoyed a career renaissance in 2014. The October issue of Golf Digest is available on tablet today and will be on newsstands Sept. 16.