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The Glamour Game
Frumpy? Women's golf? Never.
Or, at least, not if you are one of the modern generation of professionals desperate to cast off the dowdy image and are more than willing to smoulder along the fairways in much the same way as fashion models strut the catwalk.

Earlier this season, Playboy got in on the female golfing act when a poll was organised to elect the sexiest LPGA professional.
The blonde Swede Carin Koch - previously best know for holing the winning putt at the 2000 Solheim Cup at Loch Lomond - came out top.

The off-shoot was that she was offered the chance to pose suggestively (in other words, naked) in the magazine. With a touch of good humour, she politely turned it down.
However, runner-up Jill McGill, a tall, blonde American with a liking for make-up and fancy ribbons in her hair, did ponder the opportunity to reveal all.

To the surprise of some, Ty Votaw, the LPGA Commissioner, refused to condemn Playboy's interest in his charges. In fact, he almost seemed to welcome the notion, rightly pointing out that there are a lot of fit, healthy and good looking girls on the Tour.

Of course, he was also aware of the old adage that sex sells. And in this day and age, what sensible soul in charge of an organisation that needs all the publicity it can get turn down such an opportunity?
Votaw suggested that it was up to McGill herself if she went ahead with the centre page spread.

"She will, no doubt, ask a few questions before she makes her final decision," he suggested.

Jill probably did wonder whether it would be a sensible move. If she went ahead, would she always be known as the Playboy girl?
Would it be good for her career?
But, in the end, the most important question was "how much is it worth?".

A figure of $1M had been flying about but, when it came down to it, she was, apparently, only offered $750. And so she said "Nah, not enough."

In last week's Spanish Open on the Evian European Tour, the dress code issue raised its head with England's Wendy Dicks receiving a stern ticking off from officials over her choice of attire.

Always one for the short shorts, she went brief on top as well with a black sun top. The Essex girl thought it was just the thing for the baking heat, but the tour people thought otherwise.
Just as she signed a card that meant she missed the cut, she was handed another disappointment in the guise of an unofficial warning.

Golfing attire - for male and female - has always been a touchy subject. Clubs often have strict - some might say stuffy - rules.
And surely it would be much more attractive for youngsters coming into the game if they could be a little more fashion conscious on the course.

Fortunately, the new girls on Tour are beginning to become much more aware of the need to look good.
In fact, it was one of the core topics at the LPGA's innovative seminar held earlier this season. Votaw knows that attractive golfers can help accrue television coverage, media interest and turn it into sponsorship dollars.

As for the European Tour, it also needs all the help it can get in way of favourable media coverage, and a few more Wendy-type outfits might just do the trick.
Last summer, Swede Catrin Nilsmark and Spaniard Paula Marti hit the headlines, Nilsmark for her skimpy shorts and Marti for her sultry appearance in a photo-shoot for the News of the World.

They earned some very welcome column inches, and women's golf was suddenly thrust into the limelight.
Certainly for the professionals, it is not just an ability to play that counts. 'Play good, look good' should be the slogan.

True, the trendier, more daring look might not be the traditionalists' cup of tea. But I would think that, on balance, the sexy new look can only be good for the women's game.


©    6 - JUNE 2002



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