LPGA's new must-speak-English policy reeks of racism from clueless Tour run by Carolyn Bivens
Just when you didn’t think the LPGA could make any news (except for killing off long-time tournaments), the worst-run organization in professional sports is at it again, making speaking English a requirement for holding a Tour card starting next season.
The LPGA apparently feels too many South Koreans are winning - clearly targeting them with a rule that makes absolutely no sense for a Tour that has long claimed it’s building its brand globally (or at least used that as the excuse for all its problems stateside) under Carolyn Bivens.
Is this the Ladies Professional Golf Association or Paranoid Americans Are Us?
The LPGA’s a sports league. Or at least it claims to be. What does speaking English have to do with your ability to hit a golf ball? In all the moves made under Bivens that have crippled any chances of future LPGA growth, this may be the very worst of all. It represents such minor-league, petty thinking.
Can you imagine Major League Baseball or the NBA ever coming up with a rule like this for its foreign-born players? Of course not. Ichiro still mostly only talks through a translator even though everyone in Seattle knows he can speak perfect English. Yao Ming only recently ditched using his translator in most U.S. press conferences - after having been an all-star for years. Not speaking more English sooner on the public stage really crippled Yao’s popularity in the states, huh?
The LPGA’s new rule, which actually puts in the possibility of a suspension punishment if any LPGA player who has held a Tour card for two years cannot pass an oral English exam, is not just amazingly offensive. And racist.
It reeks of complete desperation for a Tour that’s seeing itself all but completely fall off the sports map under Bivens.
You might argue that two years is plenty of time to learn English, but why should a golfer be forced to do something that has nothing to do with the sport to continue playing it? This is all too typical of a commissioner who tries to lord over every little thing as a Putin-like tyrant while completely missing out on the big picture. Most of the LPGA’s South Korean golfers already do their best to grasp the new language and speak it in press conferences.
It’s a completely unnecessary rule.
The fact that a few South Korean winners are using translators in press conferences is not what’s holding the LPGA back. Having almost no reporters attend those press conferences - in part because Bivens works to keep out writers she feels are too critical, which showcases her micromanaging panic yet again - is much more damaging to the LPGA.
The Bivens team is desperate. So it came up with an almost unfathomable, offensive rule.
How low can you go?
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"The fact that a few South Korean winners are using translators in press conferences are not what’s holding the LPGA back. Having almost no reporters attend those press conferences - in part because Bivens works to keep writers out that she feels are too critical, which showcases her micromanaging panic yet again - is much more damaging to the LPGA."
Spot on post, and I'm with you 100 percent. If they want the LPGA to be the best golf tour, they need to have the best golfers, even if they speak Latin. The extra pressure they're putting on the South Korean players is just plain BS.
If I'm involved with the Ladies European Tour, I pounce on this as an opportunity to try and get non-English speakers and try to use their International fame to boost sponsorships.
A very good post, Chris.
...And pathetically true is the comment about the LPGA and writers...even sympathetic writers.
It would have been nicer to ASK, however, instead of demand.
Many of the ladies on Tour who don't speak English are really into having a tutor by their side anyway. They know where they're bread is buttered.
Bivens is doing
___Better or ___Worse than Ty Votaw
It's been a long time since I've seen a peasant playing golf!
When ever there is a sponsor with it´s base outside the US players should be forced to speak the sponsors language, be it japanese, chinese or american, not just english.
Female players should pass the pretty test, who wants to see ugles.
Foreign players in the lead shoud be given a 2 strokes penalty.
Whoa! Maybe bloggers need to pass English grammar test.
Back to the topic...
What if the players has learning disability or mute? Would she get kicked off the tour for failure to learn a new language?
If this rule was in place 10 years ago, the great Se Ri Pak (who supports this new rule) would have a mediocre career before being kicked off the tour.
Who is responsible for PR in LPGA? That person deserves to be fired.
Maybe LPGA should be a judged sport moving forward.
Now, if the South Koreans simply learn English, they will be able to dominate the tour AND get nice sponsorships. If they don't, the tour will have to struggle by with the Lorenas and Paulas and the Morgans of the world. It just puts the onus on THEM to accede to the will of the moneybrokers (which is what the rest of America does every day).
explain it to me?
You don't seem very bright. The Olympics takes place twice every four years (summer and winter) and moves from country to country. Moreover, it is understood that it is an international event and is watched by people the world over. Thus, uncommunicative players don't impact negatively on its marketability.
On the other hand, the Korean players on the LPGA have decided to earn their living here and play in America full time. Additionally, the tour's primary viewership is English-speaking. And I'm sure you can understand how having full-time players who are bad for PR hurts the tour.
Oh, and anyone who throws around the word "racism" so haphazardly should be smacked in the head repeatedly until he sees the light.
They're a private club with entrance rules and restrictions (no matter what Michelle and BJ Wie say). If they decide that members need to speak conversational Swahili, that's their right. They trying to preserve the sponsors, who want/need English speaking players to get the maximum bang for their sponsorship dollars.
Well said. Many Americans have been inculcated with the insane idea that the whole world has a right to partake of whatever we have. They forget that other nations don't operate this way.
I like this option better: "Press one to be deported."
Carolyn Bivens is just confusing golf with 'professional' wrestling, which is all about glamour and talk. Real sporting talent is irrelevant! Isn't it?
Contrary to what some people seem to think on this blog, this isn't a totally out of the blue decision that has shocked every tour player out there. No - tour players have been complaining about this for years. It has been an issue for a while, and it is for this reason that I think Bivens' decision makes sense.
Walter, George Bush doesn't need a new career; he's got more money than he knows to do with :-)
My brother is a dentist who normally gets on well with people, but despite his best efforts the conversation was non-existent until hole 8 when it started to rain. The pro then complained that 'we pros don't really like playing in the rain' and he headed back to the clubhouse!
The solution, it seems to me, is for the American girls to raise their game to an international level - or LPGA tournaments will be no better than (as Bud has mentioned) the fake 'professional wrestling tournaments' we see on TV.
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