Friday, August 29, 2008 this really necessary?

Instead of getting up and actually doing something like cleaning or laundry this Saturday morning, I'm procrastinating by reading. I saw this story title on MediaBistro's PRNewser blog: LPGA: Speak English or Get Out
Since the LPGA is pretty much dominated by South Korean talent, I had a feeling what this might say. Sure enough, it does.

The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) seems to have gotten itself into a little PR mess.

Reports Newsday:

The LPGA, worried about losing interest among fans and sponsors, said it will suspend players who can't pass an English oral exam after two years on tour.

This appears aimed directly at South Koreans, who represent 45 of the 121 international players on the tour and who - British Women's Open champion Ji-Yai Shin and U.S. Women's Open champion Inbee Park, to name two - are dominating.

The issue also seems to be with the way the news was made public, not via press conference or public announcement, but rather through a leaked story on Golfweek magazine's website. However, Newsday's Mark Hermann reminds us that despite this news, "...the organization is generally open- minded and forward thinking." Nonetheless, with the sport losing sponsors and needing to drum up business, this is an unnecessary ruffle in the proverbial feathers. What would you have done?

I think I'd want my best players focusing on maintaining their fitness and improving their game rather than stressing out about an LPGA inspired version of the TOEIC exam. Of course, all players should make themselves available for press interviews, but the LPGA hasn't heard of translators? I just think that if it were a bunch of European women dominating the tour, they'd just think it was charming they didn't speak English well and cough up the money for translators to be in the press rooms during the tour.

Since they're Asian, the gauntlet comes down. Sure, maybe it's fair to expect some improvement in their English skill after being on the tour for awhile. However, to make it a formal rule where players will get kicked out seems, to me, to be both short-sighted and tinged with a bit of ethnic bigotry. Or, is the LPGA fan so prone to linguistic bigotry that Korean players not speaking English actually does impact the LPGA's profit margin?...I wonder.

Also, let's admit it, even though Koreans think they're "nice and kind", the perception they can leave with foreigners is they're anything but. So some of this might simply be borne out of hostility that comes up due to culture clashes.

It just seems a bit heavy handed. Even LPGA player, Lorena Ochoa agrees (see below).

More buzz: Ochoa criticizes 'drastic' LPGA English rule News: Ochoa: LPGA English-only rule 'a little drastic' LPGA's English-only policy draws criticism

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