LPGA backs down from English-only penalties

Sometimes, even a community like ours — Asian Americans who are normally imbued with deep-rooted cultural values that keep us from speaking out against slights and injustices — can get so riled up we have to express our outrage. Such was the case over the LPGA’s decision to enact harsh penalties on golfers on the circuit who don’t speak fluent English.

The requirement to pass a language proficiency test, or else face suspensions or even getting the boot from the tour, seemed to be aimed at the emergence of a generation of Asian women golfers — specifically Koreans — who are terrific athletes but don’t speak English. That never seemed to be a problem with athletes in other sports, like baseball, where translators shadowing Japanese superstars is a common sight. But it apparently bothered the LPGA.

But the Asian American Pacific Islander community banded together and let the LPGA know it was a stupid idea. faced with a tsunami of protests from the media and lawmakers, the LPGA has backed down… sort of.

And though they still want golfers to be able to speak English in interviews and acceptance speeches, they will re-think their penalties.

“After hearing the concerns, we believe there are other ways to achieve our shared objective of supporting and enhancing the business opportunities for every tour player,” said PGA Tour commissioner Carolyn Bivens to the media.

We’ll all be wathing to see how they ultimately try to achieve that objective.

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