Lexi Thompson breaks new ground, and we don't mean divots, by posing topless on the cover of Golf Digest magazine. (Photo: Golf Digest)

Lexi Thompson breaks new ground, and we don’t mean divots, by posing topless on the cover of Golf Digest magazine. (Photo: Golf Digest)

Lexi Thompson, an LPGA golfer has just turned the gentlemen’s game on its head, or brought it into the 21st Century, by posing topless on the cover of Golf Digest magazine. The Golf Gods are scratching their heads. Is this good for the game?

In the end, it probably was only a matter of time given the rise of nudity in sports.

Click Here to See Lexi’s Full Cover

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue has been featuring more and more nudity every year. And, ESPN annually publishes a magazine featuring both male and female athletes nude.

But golf?

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It’s always been known as a gentlemen’s–or gentlewoman’s–game because of its rules, code of conduct and even dress code. Most golf courses require proper attire that includes collared shirts and on the tour slacks (no shorts allowed).

Sure Thompson, 20, has a towel wrapped around her neck. She holds it down across her breasts, strategically covering her private parts, but she is unquestionably topless.

Needless to say, golf traditionalists are up in arms.

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“I wasn’t sure if it was a Playboy ad, or if it was a Golf Digest ad,” PGA teaching pro Chance Scheffing told CBSNewYork.

“I just think that this is a detriment to women, because I’d like to be recognized by being a good golfer; not about how my body looks like in the front page of a magazine,” said golfer Morella Carta.

The point of the cover, according to the magazine is to emphasize fitness, not something that golf is known for. In fact it may be one of the most un-athletic pro sports around.

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Attend any pro tournament and you’re likely to see players routinely smoking cigarettes during play.

If it’s any consolation, the magazine last month featured Rory McIlroy on the cover shirtless.

For the record, the LPGA said players have the final say about how their personal images are used and compared it to ESPN’s magazine.

Call it a sign of the times.

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