It was December, and I was playing golf at The Grove XXIII, Michael Jordan’s new course in Hobe Sound, Florida. As I was walking up to one of the tee boxes, I looked back at the green on the hole behind me and saw two familiar faces—Wayne Gretzky and Janet Jones.
I’m sure you know their names. Wayne is widely regarded as the best hockey player to ever skate, a man who holds too many NHL records to list, including most goals, most assists and most points. Janet is an actress who appeared in The Flamingo Kid and A League of Their Own, among other movies.
I hadn’t seen them in awhile, so I went over and said hello (in the socially distant way we are all getting used to). “I have a great idea,” said Wayne, who was enjoying a cigar while playing. “The only couple you’ve ever had on the cover is us—how about Dustin and Paulina?”
Dustin, as in Dustin Johnson, the world’s No. 1 golfer, and Paulina, as in Paulina Gretzky, the daughter of Wayne and Janet and Dustin’s fiancée. Johnson had won the 2020 Masters only about one month before I saw Wayne and Janet. He’s a superstar, an amazing talent who hits the ball a mile and also keeps it straight. Wayne was right about the couple concept—he and
Janet appeared together on our March/April 1997 cover.
What a great idea, I thought.
“Can you make it happen?” I asked. “Absolutely,” Wayne said. I told him I would get right back to him, and once I finished my round I called my executive editor, David Savona, who loved the idea too. The next day I called back Wayne, and the ball was in motion.
Flash forward about a month, and I was smoking a cigar while watching Dustin and Paulina pose for our cameras. The best part? They were happily posing with cigars.
So here we are, 24 years to the month from when Wayne and Janet became the first couple to be on our cover. Say hello to Dustin and Paulina. Our story on Dustin begins on page 44.