By Dan Miller
August 29, 2008
Starting immediately*, any new player wanting to be a part of Ladies Professional Golf Association must pass an oral evaluation of her English proficiency.
And starting in 2009, any player who's been an LPGA member for two years will face suspension if she can't pass the English exam.
The tour recently convened a mandatory meeting with South Korean golfers and informed them of the new policy.
I suppose it's purely coincidental that the South Koreans have been burning up the courses lately.
Goodness, doesn't the LPGA have enough problems already without stirring up stuff like this?
It makes me ponder several questions....
How many words in English will be enough to qualify?
Could the golfers be certified by simply learning a few phrases like, "Hello, I must get the ball in the hole to win"... or perhaps, "Thank you very much, golf has been very very good to me."?
Must the English spoken by the players be grammatically correct? (Let's hope not... I've heard a few Americans who might not qualify)
With lucrative LPGA tournaments being held in Mexico, France, China, Korea and Japan, will we somehow offend the people in those countries if the visiting U.S. golfers don't speak their language?
And mostly, this whole thing started me thinking about a young track star from Cuba named Suslaidis Giralt.
For awhile she was the best long jumper in the world among her peers.
She's obviously a gifted athlete.
She's also deaf and nonspeaking.
If she'd been a great golfer instead of a sprinter and long jumper, I wonder how the LPGA would justify their new requirement to her.
* On Friday, September 5th, under increasing criticism.... of which I'm proud to be a part.... the LPGA announced it was backing off plans to suspend players who couldn't speak English at its tournaments. Smart move, LPGA!