Lorie Kane believes members of the LPGA Tour already have a universal language - golf.
But the LPGA thinks differently. It will require golfers to speak English starting in 2009, with players who have been members for two years facing suspension if they can't pass an oral evaluation of English skills.
"I am of a strong belief that, yes, we need to learn to communicate," Kane, a 12-year tour veteran, told The Canadian Press on Tuesday. "But whether or not you can communicate shouldn't determine whether or not you have a card on the LPGA Tour."
The tour held a mandatory meeting with South Koreans at the Safeway Classic last Wednesday to inform them of the new policy, which will be finalized with a detailed criteria by season's end.
There are 121 international players from 26 countries on the LPGA Tour, including 45 players from South Korea. With such diversity, the tour sees the policy as a necessary step for its players.
"Why now? Athletes now have more responsibilities and we want to help their professional development," deputy commissioner Libba Galloway told The Associated Press. "There are more fans, more media and more sponsors. We want to help our athletes as best we can succeed off the golf course as well as on it."
The international players have had no shortage of success on the course.
Sixteen of the top-20 current money earners were born outside of the United States. Eight of those women are South Korean followed by two Swedes, two Australians, a Mexican, a Norwegian, a Brazilian and a Taiwanese.
Friday, August 29, 2008
LPGA institutes English-only rule