Angela Park speaks three languages. Because one of them in English, she can stay!
I’m really trying to get it. I really am.
But I can’t. I just can’t grasp the reasoning behind the LPGA’s new English-only rule requiring all Tour players to speak English, starting next year. Immediately for new players.
The key word here is requiring. Not requesting. Or suggesting. But requiring.
And if a player tries to learn the language but isn’t comfortable conversing to sponsors or reporters in English? Well, they’ll be suspended. That’s right. Booted off the tour, prevented from earning a living, if they can’t pass an oral test.
I’m sorry. I’m just not getting why this isn’t the dumbest rule in the history of sports. OK, not just dumb. But certainly jingoistic and, by almost any measure, racist.
Consider this: There are apparently 121 players from 26 nations currently playing on the tour. But, reportedly, the rule was specifically explained to one particular group of players – South Koreans, who represent 45 of the foreign-born players.
And the LPGA didn’t explain it well. Reportedly, the players came away from the meeting thinking they’d lose their tour card, not merely be suspended, for failing to learn Englsh.
So now it’s dumb getting dumber.
The LPGA apparently did not get the globalization memo.
It’s happening in nearly every aspect of sports and business and most entities are embracing it. The NBA is certainly capitalizing on the growing popularity of basketball around the world. The NHL is a veritable global smorgasbord. Baseball has watched it happen organically and yet is trying to form a smart strategy to make money on the rest of the world’s baseball jones. Even the NFL is sticking its toe in Canada and Latin America.
I can’t imagine David Stern requiring Yao Ming to speak English or risk the wrath of enforcement czar Stu Jackson, big fella. Or Bud Selig telling Latin players habla ingles or else!
But not the LPGA! The notion of the level playing field – or golf course – is apparently lost on these folks. And the people they’ve brainwashed.
Like Brazilian-born Angela Park (pictured), she of Korean heritage, but who was reared in the U.S. “A lot of Korean players think they are being targeted, but it’s just because there are so many of them,” Park told Golfweek, which originally broke the story.
LPGA deputy commish Libba Galloway told AP the LPGA is a “global tour and is not targeting any specific player or country.”
Yes, these are trying times. The housing crisis. Gas prices. The non-recession recession. Collectively, they are driving the economic tsunami that is driving business of all kinds to desperate means. The LPGA is no doubt losing sponsorship dollars but that’s no excuse for making a move that even fewer companies – companies that sell products to consumers around the world – might not want to be associated with.
Dumb move. Dumb reasons.
Check out this ditty from LPGA State Farm tournament director Kate Peters. “This is an American tour,” she also told AP. “It is important for sponsors to be able to interact with players and have a positive experience.”
No, Kate, it is a golf tour, and this swing is way out of bounds.