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Thursday
Sep042008

"This is our oxygen. It's that important."

I finally get the whole LPGA's learn-to-speak-English-or-you're-outta-here mess. The writing was on the wall and I missed it.

Carolyn Bivens is using it to distract us from the fact that anywhere from 6-9 events are in serious trouble or doomed. Check out what she told Christine Brennan of the USA Today, who supports the LPGA's policy plans:

"A pro-am is largely responsible for making LPGA events possible," Commissioner Carolyn Bivens said in a phone interview Wednesday. "It is the single largest source of revenue for a tournament. There are no domestic TV rights fees. This is our oxygen. It's that important. As recently as the past two weeks, I've had tournament directors tell me they are getting complaints (about international players who cannot speak enough English to talk to their pro-am partners). We have to be aware of that, because we've had sponsors who say they have had a bad time and might pull out because of it. That's our reality."

So the sponsors are fleeing not because the economy is in the toilet or because it's too expensive for them to support an event or they don't like their new date on the tour. They are fleeing because their pro-am experience isn't what they thought it would be.

Sure.

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Reader Comments (10)

Who ever said professional golf was not about money, raise your hand?
09.4.2008 | Unregistered CommenterCurmudgeon
The irony is that the Commish has now given sponsors who want to pull out for other reasons a "principled stand" they can take for face-saving purposes.

Hopefully, LG--which Ryan Ballengee notes has made English its corporate language--will step in to rescue the Biv.
Do pro-amers get to pick their pro? If not and it's so important, then let them pick their pro and they can pick ones who not only speak English but have a reputation for interacting with their partners. And ones who can read greens!
09.4.2008 | Unregistered CommenterWayne
Geoff,

I hvae played in two Futures Tour events. After having a great time in my first event, I convinced two guys at work to sponsor a foursome with me. All of us enjoyed the 2nd event and will be playing in the event next year.

In both events, the women I played with were personable and a pleasure to speak with. While probably not PC, I doubt it would have been fun to spend 4-5 hours with a pro who could not speak with any of us. As someone who's 2nd language was English, I do not see why asking players to learn to speak some English is racist.

As a sidenote, I noticed all the foreign players I met from Europe and Latin America could speak passable (if not outstanding) English. Although a few had accents, they were able to communicate and I would have been happy to play with any of them.
09.4.2008 | Unregistered CommenterBrad Ford
Fuck you brad sorry about the french do you understand?
09.5.2008 | Unregistered CommenterWun Kim
the problem with the lpga policy is not that they are trying to encourage foreign players to speak passable english. and so all the arguments about how it is just good business and brand-building for players to be able to schmooze sponsors and pro-am partners is completely beside the point.


as with most things, the devil is in the details, and the problem with the lpga's 'encouragement' is the part where they penalize non-english speaking players for failing to meet an lpga-mandated proficiency standard. until a court passes judgment on the policy, whether this is truly racist and/or discriminatory is largely in the eye of the beholder, but it is a certainty that no native-born lpga member will suffer that penalty. to a lot of folks, this looks pretty suspicious.
09.5.2008 | Unregistered Commenterthusgone
Thusgone - how else do you propose they "encourage" them?

Has anyone actually seen the details regarding what would really happen to a player if they failed the test? Probation is what I heard, and who knows what that means? Why don't we wait until someone actually loses their playing privileges before everyone gets their panties in wad.
09.5.2008 | Unregistered CommenterCMA
i never had a language problem, and i attended plenty hooters sponsored events
09.5.2008 | Unregistered CommenterfrankD
who doesn't understand "me love you long time five dollars" ?
09.5.2008 | Unregistered CommenterfrankD
Now, it is determined that the biggest source of TV revenue comes from the Korean TV; second Japanese TV. Go ahead, implement the harsh penalty and see if you'll have ANY TV revenue, domestic or foreign. Then, the tournies in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, and China can join this nonsense. Samsung Invit. in CA can boycott as well. What do you have now? Morons.
09.6.2008 | Unregistered Commenterbill

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