Jan Stephenson, the former LPGA Tour star who has often been referred to as the first real sex symbol in golf, is in the process of writing a book about her successful career and the range of experiences she had along the way, both good and bad.
Speaking to the Australian Associated Press, the Sydney native reflected on a variety of subjects, raising anticipation for her book with quips like: “If we had all the social media back in my day, I’d be Kim Kardashian.”
The 1974 LPGA Rookie of the Year certainly talks a big game, but she did win 16 times on the circuit, including three majors. Unfortunately for the now 63-year-old, she’s been remembered by many moreso for her comments off the course than what she was able to accomplish inside the ropes. Of particular consequence was a 2003 comment in a GOLF Magazine article about how Asians “are killing our Tour.” That did not go over well with members of the industry and has been commonly cited as the main reason why Stephenson has not been inducted into the LPGA Hall of Fame.
“It really devastated me that that’s what they remember me for,” Stephenson said. “It hurt me mentally. It certainly has hurt my image and it’s cost me a lot of money. I lost a lot of clothing contracts.
“People always think of me as the bathtub chick (a famous photograph of hers), which is fine, but there’s a lot of things I’ve done which people don’t know about. I want to tell my side of the story.”
During her playing days, Stephenson was also well known for the company she kept. Donald Trump was among the many companions she enjoyed time with.
“He promised to make me a star,” she told the AAP. “We played golf together all the time and we used to hang out at Regine’s and 21 Club in New York. Donald always made sure he could be seen with me as much as I wanted to be seen with him.”
For more revealing anecdotes, keep an eye out for Stephenson’s book.
“It’ll be a ripper,” she says.