Are the LPGA right to expect their members to speak english?
The LPGA regulates women's golf in America and recently decreed that all players must pass an English proficiency test to play in their tournaments. The LGPA is dominated by South Korean players. Is this racism or a reasonable request given the need for players to mingle with sponsors?
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It will help members to integrate more easily within the team
It is always hard having to re adjust to a different way of life and to relocate. However if you are held back by a language barrier it must be even harder. It affects confidence, and can be frustrating in day to day living. Additionally it is hard for the other English speaking members of the team. However if non English speaking members are forced to learn English or if they know that there is a time in their chosen career that they will need to learn English it would save them embarrassment in the long term.
this has not been enforced as a form of discrimination but to help non English speaking members in the long term
Not only to communicate with other members, pro-am partners and sponsors but also to communicate with the media, and all other aspects of life that they will be plunged into in accordance with their new found success. This will make life easier for them when they are in situations where they need to speak or understand English.
the relationship between LGPA members and tournament sponsors is unique
Sponsors often have informal meetings with LGPA members (1). Spending time together on the golf course will involve friendly banter and that is reliant on the two being able to communicate and being able to speak the same language. If this isn’t possible then sponsorship may not be repeated for the next year. More importantly sponsorship is essential and the commercial aspects have to be taken into consideration. A business runs on communication (2) and it is partly down to LGPA members to keep relationships with sponsors sweet.
(1) Bruce Berlet (2008) ‘Award-Winning Writer Insightful on LPGA's 'English' Case’ http://blogs.courant.com/chip_shots/2008/08/awardwinning-writer-insightful.html#comments
surely isn’t it enough for them to have adequate golfing skills?
As long as members can prove that they have adequate skills to succeed and they can do it well then why should they have to be additionally assessed. It will create extra stress for them.
it seems like members are being penalised for not speaking English
The player faces suspension within 2 years if they do not learn English competently(3). Learning a new language is hard and it seems intense having to learn a new language in such a short space of time. Skilful people that have got where they are through hard work and determination could have their dreams taken off of them temporarily because they do not speak the correct language.
(3)Bruce Berlet (2008) ‘Award-Winning Writer Insightful on LPGA's 'English' Case’ [online] available;
it is a question of personal freedom
A member should be encouraged to learn English but ultimately it should be their own decision to learn. That decision should not be made for them. The LGPA could provide a recommendation that members should speak English instead of actually forcing them. Ultimately while living in an English speaking country members would pick up English informally at a standard and rate which is comfortable for them. They should be positively encouraged not made to feel like they are unsuccessful and ignorant if they cannot speak English.
What do you think?