Last year, actress Margot Robbie earned broad acclaim — including an Oscar nomination — for her role as figure skater Tonya Harding. She could soon be playing another well-known athlete.
As an LPGA Tour player in the 1980s, Jan Stephenson won three majors and 16 LPGA events as part of 41 worldwide victories. The Australian star also garnered attention for embracing and championing her appearance in marketing the tour. Stephenson’s imprint on the game went far beyond her on-course performance. She helped found the Women’s Senior Tour, where she played for several years, and dived into the course design business as well. She also produced a series of workout videos.
The World Golf Hall of Fame announced last week that Stephenson would be among its 2019 class of inductees. She spoke with Golf Australia’s Inside the Ropes podcast about the honor and about her career.
“We’ve talked about doing a movie,” Stephenson said in the interview. “Margot Robbie wants to play me.”
Robbie, 28, also hails from Australia. She is best known for her roles in The Wolf of Wall, Suicide Squad and I, Tonya, where she played the controversial Harding.
Robbie has spoken in the past about playing roles that highlight female empowerment.
Upon her induction, GOLF’s Michael Bamberger wrote this about Stephenson:
“Stephenson, who is 66, was, unabashedly, the first woman professional golfer to use her sexuality in a bold marketing effort. Coming of age in golf in the mid-1970s, when millions of American men were obsessing about a certain poster of the TV star Farrah Fawcett, Stephenson produced what was, then, a provocative calendar, including a famous photo of her in a bathtub covered by Maxfli golf balls.
“Her various marketing efforts worked for two primary reasons: the camera loved her, and she could play. She’s getting into the Hall of Fame, deservedly, on the basis of her play. Her 16 LPGA wins include the 1982 LPGA Championship and the 1983 U.S. Open, where she finished a shot ahead of two future Hall of Famers, Patty Sheehan and JoAnne Carner. She also won in Europe, Japan, Australia, as a senior golfer and, notably, in the 1983 JCPenney Mixed Team Classic, with Fred Couples. Couples is in the Hall of Fame. Stephenson has done more in women’s golf than Couples did in the men’s game.”