27 August 2008

Do LPGA golfers need to go to hagwon?

The LPGA recently announced that all member golfers must pass an English proficiency exam or face suspension. Yes, I think they're talking to you, Korean lady golfers. People are definitely going to spin this as a means to trim down on some of the Korean LPGA golfers, though it sounds like the LPGA has legitimate concerns about the ability of non-native English speakers to fulfill their professional responsibilities. I bet my mom and eemo are happy about the new policy. They're always bemoaning the behavior and appearance of Korean players on the green. "Those women can't even speak English," they'd comment in Korean. Mom 'n' eemo especially dislike this one woman (I forget her name)who wears "loud" colors, tight shorts, and gaudy earrings (They're not talking about Michelle Wie). I think our mothers are also extra critical because the woman is a plus size. Unfortunately, Korean moms don't appreciate any healthy chunkiness.

Other than the fact that the LPGA is the girl version of the PGA, I don't really know anything about the LPGA (or golf in general), so I have no intelligent thoughts on this new rule. I'm not sure what level of proficiency is expected, but I would imagine that it is appropriate to expect English proficiency amongst members.

Maybe some of these golf ladies need to spend the off-season (does golf have an off-season?) attending hagwon.


Richard said...

What in the sport of golf requires a player to speak English? Can they not hit the ball as well or as accurately or as quickly into the pin if they don't speak English? Do they need to be able to communicate to teammates to remain competitive? Golf is a sport where you play against yourself. I don't see any other professional sport requiring English speaking. If a basketball team hired a giant from China, Im sure they would teach the player basic English, but the NBA doesnt require him to have a certain level of English proficiency.

When I watch professional athletes I want to see the best. I don't care if they can speak English. I want to see the player with the sweetest stroke or the best putting.

I agree the LPGA is being dominated by Asian golfers, in particular the by the Koreans and this new rule would exclude several of them. Is this a way the LPGA thinks they will thin this group out? I certainly hope not.

Anonymous said...

Read why they are instituting this rule, first before commenting. The new policy is rather strict, yet seems to be brought about by the tournament sponsors. Sponsors who pay the players lots of money. They should give current players more time to adjust to the new rule. New LPGA players have two years to improve their English.

InMySeoul.com said...

I think my argument still holds true. This rule has no bearings on a player's ability to play golf.

Tournament sponsors are paying for commercial time and to have their trademarks on the golf course and the final big check that is given out to the winners. Does the fact that the players don't speak English affect any of that? Golfers have very little televised speaking opportunities and when they do, its usually with a golf cap of their personal sponsors.

I would think that this rule would more affect the personal sponsors of each golfer. In which case those sponsors have a choice on who they sponsor and who they dont, and they can sponsor English speaking golfers if they want or they could sponsor the best golfers, depending on whats more important to them.