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Requiring Golfers to Speak English Brings Bad Publicity


The Ladies Professional Golf Association has backtracked on its policy that it would suspend golfers in the LPGA Tour who can't speak English well enough to be understood in interviews and making acceptance speeches, according to a Sept. 6 article posted at globeandmail.com (and another article published the same day in the Los Angeles Times). The tour commissioner says the policy will be revised by the end of the year. Fines for players unable to speak English could still be an option, however. (ImmigrationProf blog was on top of this before me.)

Critics viewed the policy as discriminatory against Asian players.

Hasn't the golf tour ever heard of something called interpreters?

I, for one, was disappointed that coverage by NBC of the 2008 Olympics in Bejing avoided interviews with athletes who didn't speak English. Of course, the coverage is intended primarily to tell U.S. viewers about their own athletes, and they do speak English, but it would have been nice to hear an interview now and then with one of the Chinese star athletes. In my view, having an interview translated by an interpreter from Chinese to English would have been just fine.


There will be fines for not speaking English? I bet that is a way to chop down many of the Korean and other Asian players who have won recently. I'm willing to bet many of them know English pretty well but since many Asian countries don't teach speaking and listening, their accents and pronunciation are hard to understand. What about getting a translator or someone to clarify whom the winners are close to. It is disgraceful to fine someone for not speaking English well. Interesting that they are focusing on "ladies" also. Haven't we had enough misogony this year with the treatment of Hillary Clinton and Sarah Palin. Women seem to be fair game this year.

Mary Ann,

I know you were disappointed but I was and am angered and screaming mad about NBC's really assinine coverage.

As you rightly point out, it is just wrong to think everything revolves around America. I await the day America grows up and stops its navel gazing. This is one lesson the great nation in so many aspects hasn't learned and it related to the LPGA story also. That wasn't about women, it was about wanting the world to "be American", if only in language. Once more, not just a pity but a reason for Americans to scream. Until they do, this sad aspect will continue to play itself out ..... IMO.



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