LPGA To Its Players: Speak English Or Get Out

If you were to take a look at the LPGA’s money list for the 2008 schedule, you’d see a lot of foreign-born players populating the top of the list. Korean women, in particular, seem to be taking the sport over. Nine of the top 20 women on the LPGA money list are Korean, while only five were born in the United States.

On the surface, this is a good thing for the LPGA. It means that the sport of women’s golf is growing around the world, which will in turn make the sport better. Still, there’s some downsides to having so many foreign-born players on the tour, and that’s that nobody can understand what anybody is saying. Which is why the LPGA has told it’s players that they better learn to speak English, or they can get off the tour.


For the past several years, the LPGA has impressed upon its membership the importance of communicating effectively in English. As the game’s dominance shifts to the East, the LPGA has strengthened its stance. Learning English no longer is a tour suggestion; it’s a requirement.

At a mandatory South Korean player meeting Aug. 20 at the Safeway Classic, the tour informed its largest international contingent that beginning in 2009, all players who have been on tour for two years must pass an oral evaluation of their English skills. Failure would result in a suspended membership.

Angela Park

“Me fail English? That’s unpossible!”

This may seem a little harsh at first, but I fully understand the LPGA’s thought process behind it. After all, while Korea may be the game’s biggest supplier of talented players, the United States’ is the game’s biggest supplier of advertising revenue. Selling advertising for events is something that’s become a problem for the LPGA in recent months.

It’s much easier to sell the sport in America if the folks watching it at home can understand the players they’re watching. I mean, I don’t want to base my tampon purchases off of what some girl speaking Korean tells me. Do you?