LPGA U-Turn: Where next?

Published 08/09/2008 21:05:48

The LPGA last week made an embarrassing U-turn on it's controversial plans to ban players who could not pass an English exam. LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens has admitted a punishment-free policy will be used in place of proposed regulations:


"The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy,"

"We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions."


The proposals were drawn up in response to an increasing number of international players on the LPGA tour, 45 of which are Korean - believed to be the main targets of this scheme. Let's face it, you'd be a fool to think it was anyone other than the Koreans.


Although this can surely be deemed the correct decision, you have to question how the LPGA came to this conclusion in the first place. How could such an organisation be so ill-advised in this matter? From a legal standpoint alone, there was no way these plans could have ever come to fruition.


There is no doubt all players on the tour should be able to communicate with course officials and for sponsorship obligations. After all, what feeds the game if it's not sponsorship? However those players who cannot speak English will now feel alientated. Driving these players away would decrease sponsorship rather than have a positive effect. These players could even argue the reason they dominate the womens game is because they spend more time on the range than with their English tutor - and who can blame them?


Where next?


The real problem with this whole PR mess however is the nature of the climbdown by the LPGA. They made a decision that could be argued either way - personally I feel players should be able to communicate properly and this wasn't a racist matter at all. However in backtracking, the LPGA, and Bivens in particular, have been made to look weak and ineffectual. They made the decision knowing that a backlash was coming but couldn't carry it through. We are in little doubt as to why - sponsorship revenue.


Where next for the LPGA? They could start by firing the legal eagles who let such an idea get past the drawing board. Then move on to the PR men who thought this bullet could be dodged. The LPGA is struggling for credibility as it is - such events only weaken their position in golf and global sport .



1.  The LPGA approached this in completely the wrong way and then had to clean up their mess.

comment by Michelle Wii - 15/09/2008 11:53

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