Suzann bares all for 'Body Issue'
The LPGA Tour has changed it's tune, it seems. Sex appeal is no longer a no, no.
The the US-based LPGA, fighting to end the shrinkage in Tour events that has accompanied the down-turn in the world economy, has changed it's tune, it seems.
Not too many year's ago it discouraged it's members from wearing sexy outfits on the course and preferred that their prowess with their golf clubs be played up by the media, but later today one of their major stars, the striking Norwegian blond, Suzann Pettersen, will be appearing nude in the latest addition of ESPN Magazine's annual 'Body Issue'.
And you are not likely to hear any official criticism.
It's more likely Pettersen will get a subtle pat on the back and a quite word of thanks.
Her nude shot won't be the kind of full-frontal stuff you'll find in Playboy, of course, but the 5ft 9in, World No 6 will bravely have bared all when she is pictured reclining on what looks like a yacht basin dockside.
The Norwegian, whose daring picture will be one of 29 high-profile sports stars of both genders who will feature in the latest 'Body Issue', is not the first woman golf star to strip down
Previously prominent LPGA golfers who have barred all for 'Body Issue' are Sandra Gal, Anna Grzebien, Christina Kim and Belen Mozo while earlier this year LPGA pin-up girl Natalie Gulbis, appeared in the Sports Illustrated magazine's swimsuit issue wearing no more than body paint.
Pettersen is reputed to be one of the LPGA Tour's most dedicated athletes and in 2010, was reported to have built a $40,000 gymnasium in the basement of her Orlando, Florida, home so that she could keep her body in tip-top shape all year-round.
So when ESPN Magazine decided to recognize her hard work in this area of her life and offered her the chance to showcase her physique in this week's "Body Issue", she was not slow to accept.
"A lot of the best athletes in the world have done it, and I thought it was great to be asked," Pettersen is reported to have told USA Today.
"I thought about it, being naked and all, but I never really considered not doing it," .
"I just had to make sure that I was comfortable in doing it and found that it would be as natural as it gets. It's health at its peak."
Pettersen admits that taking off all her clothes and being photographed wasn't anything like as easy as smashing a drive down the fairway or rolling home a putt from 20 feet out, but she did manage to get through her photographic session without too much embarrassment.
"There was a big crowd, we'll say, for the shoot. But they were professional, and I was probably the only one there who felt a little awkward," she explained to USA Today.
"The photographer asked me if I felt comfortable being naked in front of a camera, and I went, 'Well, here I am.' You kind of get used to it. It's like a role game. You do what they ask and that's it.
"This was a great opportunity for me. If they present the photos in the right way, which I'm sure they will do, there's not going to be anything to criticize and be embarrassed about."
Not everyone will agree with me, but I say 'good on yer, Suzann'.
Right now the LPGA Tour needs all the publicity it can get and as long as men are men and enjoy watching attractive women making silky, feminine swings and reacting as only women can do to the ever-present trials and tribulations of playing one of sport's most frustrating games, good lookers like Pettersen, Gal and Gulbis will help to keep ladies golf alive and well.
If it's pure golfing skills that matter, there is more than enough of that in men's golf.
But if you looking for the bonus of watching an appealing women producing these skills, they come in all sizes, shades and colours on both sides of the Atlantic, playing on the LPGA or the Ladies European Tours and now too in Asia in countries like Japan and Korea.
There's something else.
Men still tend to dominate the committee who make the decisions to sponsor ladies golf tournaments and the majority of these same men find it much more appealing to play in the mid-week pro-ams that traditionally precede these tournaments with attractive, feminine women professionals rather than dowdy tomboys with nil sex-appeal.
It's human nature.