The Loop

The LPGA's English Policy

November 03, 2008

For the many of you who were interested in and commented upon LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens' controversial policy requiring foreign players to learn English, Karen Crouse's story in Sunday's New York Times is a must read.



Although language has become a primary talking point on the tour, the cultural gap may be wider than any English-speaking policy can bridge. Bivens has since strained relations more by indicating that her plan was also meant to help the South Korean players shake their omnipresent fathers. By singling out the South Koreans, Bivens has reduced them to one-dimensional stock characters, which is like reading no break in a putt on a contoured green.__

Walking the fairways of the L.P.G.A. Tour for two weeks, one finds that the South Korean players are an eclectic and varied lot who love their parents, Facebook and pumpkin pie. They are crazy about purses, texting and practicing, and manage to balance a lot of complex relationships, including their often confused feelings about golf.__

Crouse's piece gets far beyond language alone and sheds light, not heat, on a complicated cultural issue. For similarly balanced background on the issue, see Ron Sirak's commentary at the time.

--Bob Carney

(Photo: Getty Images)**