Gretzky, who is engaged to professional golfer Dustin Johnson, did an extensive photo shoot for the magazine and will appear on the cover of May’s upcoming issue.
Among those voicing their displeasure of Golf Digest’s choice was Stacy Lewis, who’s currently the top-ranked American player on the LPGA circuit.
“It’s frustrating for female golfers,” Lewis told the Golf Channel’s ‘Golf Central.’ “It’s the state of where we’ve always been. We don’t get the respect for being the golfers we are. Obviously, Golf Digest is trying to sell magazines, but at the same time, you like to see a little respect for the women’s game.”
Gretzky isn’t the first young female star to grace the cover of Golf Digest. In December 2013, Sports Illustrated Swimsuit cover girl Kate Upton appeared on the magazine’s cover with golf legend Arnold Palmer.
“That’s just been the way it is for over 20, 30 years,” said Inbee Park, who won the first three LPGA majors in 2013. “We are trying to get closer to the guys (in popularity), but obviously we are never going to get there. That’s for sure. The LPGA is getting better and better.”