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  1. #1
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    Question ¿Qué? (LGPA to require players to speak english)

    LPGA to mandate Koreans and others speak English

    The LPGA Tour is going to force its burgeoning South Korean contingent of players to learn to speak English or risk losing their playing privileges.

    Starting next year, the Tour announced that players who have been on the tour for two years must pass a oral English test or face suspension.
    I understand there are a lot of Korean players in the tourney, but what gives? I can't think of a single reason how this would improve the sport...

    I thought about posting this in PPB but I figured this is more of wacky/dumb sports news than a public policy topic.

  2. #2
    In other news, Yao Ming will be assessed a technical if he uses a single word of Chinese, David Ortiz will be forced to stuff his mouth with sunflower seeds to assure that no one can tell what langague he is actully speaking, and Lou Dobbs will become the new commissioner of the NBA>

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by hc5duke View Post
    this is more of wacky/dumb sports news than a public policy topic.
    Definitely both of those. I'd like to think this is terrible for the LPGA's public image (it's certainly a big negative to the LPGA in my eyes) but unfortunately, I'm not sure that would be a true statement.
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  4. #4
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    I understand that some see this requirement as discriminatory against foreigners, I also understand the LPGA's motivation for this move as being a way to become more marketable in the English-speaking markets. Maybe it's becoming apparent to the LPGA that the skill of their golfers alone isn't going to sell tickets or ad sales. To increase popularity, their stars need to be more visible and appealing to the viewers. It's hard to promote their appeal if they don't speak the same language as the viewing public. Maybe not a perfect analogy, but it's like an advertising firm having employees that can create great ads but can't communicate effectively with the clients.

    And comparing this move to what might be similar in the NBA or MLB isn't fair, because those leagues have an easier time selling the sport itself. In addition, the stars are marketable (LeBron, Jordan, Jeter, etc.) For instance, I could see the popularity of major league baseball declining if the trend of spanish-speaking players in the league continues to grow enough that none of the major stars spoke English well.
    A nod's as good as a wink to a blind bat

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilBen02 View Post
    And comparing this move to what might be similar in the NBA or MLB isn't fair, because those leagues have an easier time selling the sport itself. In addition, the stars are marketable (LeBron, Jordan, Jeter, etc.) For instance, I could see the popularity of major league baseball declining if the trend of spanish-speaking players in the league continues to grow enough that none of the major stars spoke English well.
    Some of the most popular figures in baseball's recent history, on both a national and local level, don't speak English well - Sammy Sosa, David Ortiz, Vladimir Guerrero (easily the most popular Angel among Angels fans, and I'm pretty sure he still speaks exclusively through an interpreter), etc.
    Just be you. You is enough. - K, 4/5/10, 0:13.8 to play, 60-59 Duke.

    You're all jealous hypocrites. - Titus on Laettner

    You see those guys? Animals. They're animals. - SIU Coach Chris Lowery, on Duke

  6. #6
    I am not saying I agree with it, but I understand it. The LPGA is not marketing itself - it isnt like baseball or football where people are going to watch and sponsors are going to come out no matter what.

    A big revenue raiser for the LPGA tour are their sponsors. A benefit a lot of sponsors get is playing in pro ams with the player's on the Monday before a tournament. Apparently (and this is all heresay), the players who speak no English are not communicating with the sponsor's at all, making the pro-am round fairly useless in the eyes of those dishing out the bucks.

    So - if the LPGA sees that they are losing sponsorship money because sponsor's arent happy with the return on their investment, the player's should be jumping at opportunities to learn English. Once the sponsor's go, down come the paychecks.

    As an aside, I was trying to figure out if there is any legal recourse here. On one hand, this isn't government action as the LPGA is a private organization. On the other hand, I assume the LPGA has tax exempt status, meaning they can't discriminate as per the IRS.
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by DevilBen02 View Post
    For instance, I could see the popularity of major league baseball declining if the trend of spanish-speaking players in the league continues to grow enough that none of the major stars spoke English well.
    I know baseball is immensely more popular than the LPGA but Cubs fans have adopted Kosuke Fukudome like no other foreign athlete. He regularly speaks to the media thru an interpreter. If you see them play, notice how many fans are wearing headbands laden with japanese lettering, etc., to show their love for Fukudome.

    I think it's pure stupidity for the LPGA to create an artificial barrier for the world's best players. Real golf fans want to see the best golf possible and could probably care less what language the player speaks. Just another reason for people around the world to label the U.S. as arrogant... and rightfully so.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    I know baseball is immensely more popular than the LPGA but Cubs fans have adopted Kosuke Fukudome like no other foreign athlete. He regularly speaks to the media thru an interpreter. If you see them play, notice how many fans are wearing headbands laden with japanese lettering, etc., to show their love for Fukudome.
    To be honest I think the Cubs fans way of "welcoming" Fukudome is bordering on racism, and at best ignorance. Rice hats are plain stupid, and I can't imagine how anybody thought this was a good idea:


  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    I know baseball is immensely more popular than the LPGA but Cubs fans have adopted Kosuke Fukudome like no other foreign athlete. He regularly speaks to the media thru an interpreter. If you see them play, notice how many fans are wearing headbands laden with japanese lettering, etc., to show their love for Fukudome.

    I think it's pure stupidity for the LPGA to create an artificial barrier for the world's best players. Real golf fans want to see the best golf possible and could probably care less what language the player speaks. Just another reason for people around the world to label the U.S. as arrogant... and rightfully so.
    I dont think the LPGA will be able to pay the purses their players have come to expect solely on the dollars of "true golf fans." It has nothing to do with the tournaments themselves, and everything to do with the sponsors and retaining sponsorship dollars (and seeking out new sponsorship dollars).
    My Quick Smells Like French Toast.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by hc5duke View Post
    To be honest I think the Cubs fans way of "welcoming" Fukudome is bordering on racism, and at best ignorance. Rice hats are plain stupid, and I can't imagine how anybody thought this was a good idea:

    I wasn't referring to the morons that came up with that shirt or who wear the rice hats. That's just plain ridiculous. But the headband is actually representative of a warrior - a fitting tribute I think.

    Anyway, point is that as a country we should be able to embrace foreign athletes without forcing them to speak our language. And frankly, if I think about it, I'm pretty embarrassed sometimes by the incredibly poor speaking ability of many famous U.S. athletes. But no one is forcing them into grammar and public speaking classes.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by Dr. Rosenrosen View Post
    I know baseball is immensely more popular than the LPGA but Cubs fans have adopted Kosuke Fukudome like no other foreign athlete. He regularly speaks to the media thru an interpreter. If you see them play, notice how many fans are wearing headbands laden with japanese lettering, etc., to show their love for Fukudome.

    I think it's pure stupidity for the LPGA to create an artificial barrier for the world's best players. Real golf fans want to see the best golf possible and could probably care less what language the player speaks. Just another reason for people around the world to label the U.S. as arrogant... and rightfully so.
    Yes, American sports fans "COULD CARE LESS" [sic] than they already do about a two-bit sports league like the LPGA-- most American sports fans already ignore the LPGA, but even more may choose to do so, if it becomes filled with foreign players who haven't even bothered to learn how to speak to the people signing their paychecks. If you don't think it matters whether the fans can identify with the players, look at the difference in ratings popularity of the NBA vs. college basketball (and the huge difference in the broadcast rights fees paid by CBS for college basketball vs. what ABC pays for the NBA's broadcast rights)... fans can still somewhat identify with college players, but not many do with NBA players-- as a result, you regularly find people who are only fans of the college game, despite the obvious difference in the skill level of the players.

    Right now something like 45 of the 126 foreign players on the LPGA are Korean-- if they all didn't speak English, that'd be a big chunk of LPGA players not able to converse with fans and sponsors. The one Korean player I saw quoted on this readily agreed with the new rule, saying that it was important to be able to communicate with fans and sponsors on what is essentially an American tour. Get off your high horse and get realistic about how the entertainment world works.

    One anecdotal instance of American fans flocking to follow a non-English speaking player does not prove a case-- Yao Ming is also very popular, despite not speaking much English when he came over. However, if half of the NBA was Chinese players who didn't speak English, fan interest would decline well below its current low level. Americans were never much interested in watching a team of foreign soccer players play in the NASL, either. Canadians have been grudging in their acceptance of Europeans in the NHL-- if they don't identify with the players, they aren't going to be rabid supporters.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by steven52682 View Post
    I am not saying I agree with it, but I understand it. The LPGA is not marketing itself - it isnt like baseball or football where people are going to watch and sponsors are going to come out no matter what.


    As an aside, I was trying to figure out if there is any legal recourse here. On one hand, this isn't government action as the LPGA is a private organization. On the other hand, I assume the LPGA has tax exempt status, meaning they can't discriminate as per the IRS.
    The idea that there would be legal recourse on this issue should be (I'm not a lawyer) as ridiculous as the idea that the guy with a disability that made walking difficult should be able to ride a golf cart on the PGA tour-- but then, Casey whatzisname won his court case, so there you go.

    I'm not as fast as Usain Bolt, so I ought to be able to use a methanol-powered golfcart to race him in the Olympics, and I'm not as tall as Yao Ming, so I ought to be able to use broomsticks to poke rebounds away from him and to block his shot. I want to be an advertising copywriter for one of the big NYC firms, but I only can communicate in Mandarin (or Navajo or Swahili or whatever)-- well, somebody should translate for me. If you don't like the rules of employment (i.e.- you have to be able to communicate clearly with your employers and your co-workers), then don't work there, pal... and why do you think the LPGA has tax-exempt status, anyway?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by steven52682 View Post
    I dont think the LPGA will be able to pay the purses their players have come to expect solely on the dollars of "true golf fans." It has nothing to do with the tournaments themselves, and everything to do with the sponsors and retaining sponsorship dollars (and seeking out new sponsorship dollars).
    It's no secret the LPGA isn't among the most popular of spectator sports. Thus, I would guess that people who go to LPGA tournaments and watch them on tv are among the truest of golf fans.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by hc5duke View Post
    To be honest I think the Cubs fans way of "welcoming" Fukudome is bordering on racism, and at best ignorance. Rice hats are plain stupid, and I can't imagine how anybody thought this was a good idea:
    Wait a second. Are you telling me that's something real? And not like a joke that Asian people created to make fun of how stupid non-Asian people could be when welcoming an Asian baseball player to their team.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mudge View Post
    Yes, American sports fans "COULD CARE LESS" [sic] than they already do about a two-bit sports league like the LPGA-- most American sports fans already ignore the LPGA, but even more may choose to do so, if it becomes filled with foreign players who haven't even bothered to learn how to speak to the people signing their paychecks. If you don't think it matters whether the fans can identify with the players, look at the difference in ratings popularity of the NBA vs. college basketball (and the huge difference in the broadcast rights fees paid by CBS for college basketball vs. what ABC pays for the NBA's broadcast rights)... fans can still somewhat identify with college players, but not many do with NBA players-- as a result, you regularly find people who are only fans of the college game, despite the obvious difference in the skill level of the players.
    I hate to get off subject but I didn't say that it doesn't matter if fans can identify with players. And in reality people don't like the NBA b/c it's a poor quality product... one-on-one, pick-up style games with no defense.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudge View Post
    Right now something like 45 of the 126 foreign players on the LPGA are Korean-- if they all didn't speak English, that'd be a big chunk of LPGA players not able to converse with fans and sponsors. The one Korean player I saw quoted on this readily agreed with the new rule, saying that it was important to be able to communicate with fans and sponsors on what is essentially an American tour. Get off your high horse and get realistic about how the entertainment world works.
    I was offering an opinion which is what we do in a discussion. And if we want to get realistic about the LPGA as an entertainment venture, it's been struggling and losing sponsors for years despite having some of the game's all-time greatest players leading the charge (who incidentally speak english quite well). My point was that arbitrarily and publicly slapping down a rule like this makes little sense. Why not quietly work on the issue with the newer players that need help and in the meantime get some translators out there to facilitate discussions on and off the course. But don't issue a public ultimatum and threaten suspensions and think that it's going to fix the marketability of the LPGA and its players.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mudge View Post
    One anecdotal instance of American fans flocking to follow a non-English speaking player does not prove a case-- Yao Ming is also very popular, despite not speaking much English when he came over. However, if half of the NBA was Chinese players who didn't speak English, fan interest would decline well below its current low level. Americans were never much interested in watching a team of foreign soccer players play in the NASL, either. Canadians have been grudging in their acceptance of Europeans in the NHL-- if they don't identify with the players, they aren't going to be rabid supporters.
    I was giving an example, not trying to prove a case. But thank you for giving another one.

  16. #16
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    Based on the numbers I've glanced at it looks like they should be teaching everyone to speak Korean!! LOL! I guess the country is not big enough...

    And if it's popularity they want, they'll need the following for me to become a fan...

    -A reality show with Tiger Woods personally taking a 12 year old Korean female under his wing and teaching her not only English but also fist pumps, proper celebrations, and a medusa look designed to instill fear in her teammates.

    -Cheerleaders or a dance squad of two-three females per hole would boost viewership by at least a million people. ("Annika at the tee. Good hit!", "Gimmie an 'A'!")

    -A Michelle Wie calendar.

    -No more complaining about Michelle Wie!

    -Style. Seriously. Do ANY of those women have ANY finesse? I mean tennis was smart enough to promote Kournakova and they do that sort of thing routinely. Why do females golfers have to be so uptight?

    -How about some females that smile while you're at it...

    -Where's the FUN? It just seems too dang-on serious for me. The men have all kinds of tourneys that are designed to showcase OTHER abilities.

    -Any mother-daughter or mother-son tourneys out there?

    I'm just saying. I don't do marketing but I get it. (for those of you hating on the NBA just remember that they are still successful enough to be able to offer millions of dollars to THIRD rate players...)

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by SupaDave View Post
    -Style. Seriously. Do ANY of those women have ANY finesse? I mean tennis was smart enough to promote Kournakova and they do that sort of thing routinely. Why do females golfers have to be so uptight?
    Umm, dude. You are clearly not familiar with the work of one Natalie Gulbis.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by billybreen View Post
    Umm, dude. You are clearly not familiar with the work of one Natalie Gulbis.
    Or before her, Laura Baugh and Jan Stephenson.

  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by billybreen View Post
    Umm, dude. You are clearly not familiar with the work of one Natalie Gulbis.
    Aw chihuaha!!! And yes - I blame this on the LPGA's marketing schemes...

    http://www.worldgolf.com/features/ne...-2006-1540.htm

    http://www.nataliegulbis.com/

    She's pretty dope. She wears shorts and listens to Jay-Z.

    Yeah Annika's winning but she has the personality of cardboard. This girl needs some TV time and a video game cover...

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Indoor66 View Post
    Or before her, Laura Baugh and Jan Stephenson.
    My dad played a pro-am round with Gulbis a few months ago. He got into the pro-am because he convinced Jan Stephenson to play in the tournament. He met Stephenson while following Rod Pampling at the TPC (my dad and Pampling have played together at the pro-am of the Heritage the last few years).

    In short, my dad is the most shameless PGA groupie ever, but it did get him a pro-am round with Natalie.

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