Yao Ming and Ichiro know: Mocking K.J. Choi's English at FedEx Cup shameful and inaccurate
HARRISON, N.Y. (Aug. 27, 2007) No one enjoys a good tweak of the largely pampered millionaires in pro golf more than myself. But taking shots at PGA Tour player K.J. Choi’s English as some did - including WorldGolf.com’s own PGA Punter who’s blog and stat insights I usually enjoy - are out of line and near disgraceful.
Choi came to the U.S. late in his life, learned the language while trying to make a living in pro golf and make sure his family adjusted to a new country. Unlike many foreign athletes who know English perfectly and still hide behind an interpreter because it’s easier to dodge media questions that way - see Ichiro and for years Yao Ming - Choi will do interviews in English. Which gives the fans much more truthful answers and a much better feel for the real guy behind the golfer.
And Choi speaks fine English. He’s engaging and insightful - see his story on using that $49 infomercial putter grip in Tour competition. He’s actually one of the better interviews on Tour. He even tells a good joke.
To pretend that you know what went on at an event by looking at a few quote sheets - as the PGA Punter did in his first Choi English blast - is laughable. All those ASAP interview transcripts - and calling it a transcript is often using the word very loosely - are not created equal. The one The Punter referenced in his blog from the third round came off a TV interview that a PGA Tour PR person took notes on and had those typed on a quote sheet. It wasn’t one of the ones with one of those court stenographer types pecking on the funny keyboard in the interview room.
It was also a bad TV interview.
Choi gave plenty of time to writers who wanted to talk to him 1-on-1 or in small groups afterwards and made as much sense as Phil Mickelson often does. Like usual.
On Sunday, the day after the Punter’s blog, Choi went back to using an interpreter in the main interview room. And that’s a sad turn. Everyone wants athletes to be open and truthful, to give more than the usual canned answers. And then they rip on a guy who’s trying to do that in a late-learned second language?
Choi is one of the more interesting personalities on the Tour - a guy capable of dropping in a 50-foot putt in the final round of an event with a near majors field. Let’s let him talk.
We don’t need another Shaq or Rosie O’Donnell making bad jokes about foreign speakers.
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pot-shots at Choi were lame. Heck, no one
in the media even says his name correctly.
Kam-sah-hamnidah (Thank you) from Mr. Choi,
and at least one other reader who's lived
in a non-English speaking country and knows
it takes a lot of work to master another
language as an adult.
The problem is not unique to Choi. I have to work with someone who speaks like a machinegun and I can't understand them either - and they are Irish! I think Choi's "problem" is similar - he tries to speak too quickly (a bit like his swing trouble at the start of Sunday). so we don't get the opportunity to work out from the words he is using what he is saying. And I genuinely want to know what he is saying.
But to suggest that a bit of mild ribbing about it is beyond the pale - boy, I know we're in the grips of political correctness but I didn't realise it had gone this far. We won't be able to have a pop at our mothers-in-law next!
are frustrated for not understanding what he was saying is a biggest bs i've heard...
You were clearly mocking him... Deny it and continue to lie, but readers are not as dumb as you think Mr. Urgqqqqq..
if you don't want to apologize for mocking Choi for his poor English and if you really believe that you were merely trying to understand him, then just apologize and admit the fact that your choice of words in your column was wrong. "choi makes sense on the course at least"-- you can't tell me or anyone that you had no intention of mocking him... Be serious dude.
And it's people like you Urq that's going to question "why is s/he still using interpreter after all these years playing here?"
And I'm sure you wouldn't publicly bs about player's English if s/he were a European.
Thank you for speaking out on this. It means a lot to people who come to this country and try and try and try...(just as KJ is)...to just fit in and be respected regardless of race, class, or creed.
This is not about being politically correct. It's about being American.
I wrote on Mr. Urguhart's site. And he responded by basically saying, "Dude, chill out."
I don't think he's a complete ass. I just think he got lazy with that article and let personal views get in the way with his usually spot on critique on the game.
sigh...whattayou gonna do?
All the best,
Are you fluent in any other languages?
Note to JAY: Mr Urqhart is English, not American...so your post's first paragraph makes NO sense! ;)
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