We Interviewed Golf Goddess Paige Spiranac On Her Emergence As A Sex Symbol
Golf is a weird sport. It's a mixture of hockey, croquet, Snood (remember that?) and hiking. It's played by old people driving tiny electric cars. It's obscenely expensive. It's not considered a team sport yet everyone plays it in "groups." The people who play it used to dress like they were attending a used car salesman award ceremony; now they dress like off-duty CIA agents. The sport's most prolific tournament rewards its winner with an article of clothing -- as if it were some sort of summer camp competition. It's physically taxing yet not at all. You can be bad at it and still be pretty decent. You can be decent at it and still be pretty bad.
Golf is a lot to wrap your head around.
Oh ya, and it's also one of the most gender-exclusive sports on Earth. Don't forget that part.
Recent San Diego State University graduate Paige Spiranac knows this all too well. She's been around country clubs and golf tournaments her entire life, having spent the last four years as a member of her school's Division I women's golf team. (Last year they finished 25th in the nation.) Now she's looking to get her LPGA tour card and, you guessed it, people are doubting her because of how she looks (this is familiar territory for Paige).
(In case it isn't abundantly clear, she's a particularly attractive human being.)
"It's pretty funny," she told us when we spoke with her on Wednesday. "I'll be stretching or something before I'm about to hit golf balls and I've had guys come up to me and be like, 'Sweetie, do you need help?' and try to give me swing tips, then they see me hit that first golf ball."
"They never expect me to be good."
Not surprisingly, the prejudice doesn't end once she steps off the course. Paige sees critics scrutinizing her outfits on Instagram as if there's something fundamentally wrong with wearing comfortable clothing to play a sport.
"I workout in the morning and then I head straight to the golf course so I'll just throw on a skirt," she told us, noting that the course she practices at doesn't have a dress code. "They're quick to judge that I'm just doing it for attention but it's just me wearing what I'm comfortable in and it's a waste of time for me to go home and change."
This is indicative of how she views the game, generally. Paige treats golf like a sport -- running stairs in the morning, then lifting after a day of practicing -- and wishes golf did more to look and feel like one, too.
"I'd like to change the perception that [golf] is more of a sport now. I'd also like fans to be more interactive with the players...and make it like all the other sporting events because it's kind of boring just standing there and watching other people play."
When we asked her about her recent rise to internet stardom due in large part to the pictures she posts on social media, Paige made it clear that the focus on her appearance isn't any more a priority for her than it is for other athletes trying to make a career playing professional sports. There was no subtext -- she seems wholeheartedly invested in getting better at golf and has no discernable ego about her good looks.
We asked her how she felt about being viewed as a sex symbol rather than a professional golfer.
"I'm not trying to be a sex symbol," she said. "I like to wear makeup, that's just how I feel good about myself, I like to feel confident because I play better that way."
"I never understood why you have to be good at a sport or attractive."
You don't -- all you need is a good attitude (which she most certainly has).
You can watch our full interview, below:
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