Paige Spiranac (26) reportedly sent the photo to someone who she was dating at the time. After they split up, the man made the unwise decision to share it with some of his friends. Predictably, the photo that was never meant for public eyes, went viral.
Spiranac addressed the experience recently on an episode of her podcast Playing-A-Round.
"It was horrible, just getting these random messages from people you don’t know, and they’ve seen you in such a vulnerable way," she said. "It was disgusting. When I finally confronted the guy and said, ‘I can’t believe you did this to me’, he said - and I’ll never forget this - ‘You are the sl*t who sent it to me, you deserve this.'
I would wake up every single day, I would check my phone and be like, ‘Am I going to be on TMZ today?" she added, "Am I going to be here, am I going to be there?’ That was the worst part. I was constantly stressed out that someone was going to see it, and someone was going to get it and that it was going to get out.
Spiranac admitted that though only one picture got out, the man might have more and if he does, he could release it again and again.
She played college golf at both the University of Arizona and San Diego State University, winning All-Mountain West Conference honors during the 2012–13 and 2013–14 seasons, and leading the Aztecs to their first Mountain West Conference Championship in 2015.
Spiranac played professionally in 2015, on the Cactus Tour and elsewhere, earning her first and only win at Scottsdale's Orange Tree Country Club. She was invited to play at Dubai in December 2016 for a second time. After missing the cut once again, she has not played professional golf since, instead concentrating on growing her brand.
After initially creating her social media accounts to post trick-shot videos, Spiranac had more than 2 million followers on Instagram by 2018. Spiranac's self-promotion has brought some criticism and raised the question of what she brings to golf.
Her appearance on the cover of Golf Digest sparked controversy. In its nearly seven decades of publication, the magazine only featured a woman on its cover 23 times, just eleven of them being professional female golfers. This raised the question of what she had actually accomplished on the golf course to warrant such attention.
Sports commentator Sarah Spain of ESPN argued the only reason Spiranac was chosen was her appearance and type of clothes she wore. On numerous occasions, Spiranac has mentioned that the criticisms have hurt her. However, she has used the exposure to promote her anti-bullying campaign and continue to fight for a woman's right to feel comfortable in her own skin.
Page Spiranac appeared in the summer Edition of Sports Illustrated in 2018, a while after the terrible experience. She feels that experience helped her to overcome the trauma of her photo leak. "At the time it was the best moment for me.
I felt so empowered and I was like, ‘OK, if I’m going to do this, I’m doing it on my terms' and I took it back, I took my body back. That was the moment I won, right there, when I did Sports Illustrated . . ”.