LPGA seems to have created public relations mess
August 27, 2008
It is hard to say which ideal gets trampled more by the LPGA’s new speak-English-or-you’re-out policy, the spirit of golf or the spirit of America. Either way, the women’s professional golf tour has turned a no-win situation into a big loss.
A little hint that this was going to be trouble was the way it came out. The LPGA didn’t hold a news conference. Instead, it leaked in a hard-hitting story on Golfweek magazine’s Web site. The gist is this: 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 rule is not mean-spirited, but it sure does head the tour down an awfully icy slope without brakes.