LPGA players weigh in on English-only policy

By Associated PressSeptember 10, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newMOBILE, Ala. ' South Koreas Se Ri Pak defended the LPGA in the wake of its short-lived plan to suspend players who dont speak English well enough to satisfy sponsors, saying Wednesday that learning the language can benefit rising international stars.
 
Others at the Bell Micro Classic in Mobile, the first LPGA tournament since the controversy surfaced, also supported the goal of improving international players English skills. But they disliked the idea of suspending non-English speakers ' which was proposed and then quickly shelved after a blast of criticism.
 
Stacy Lewis, an American trying to make the LPGA, said she feels for foreign players under pressure to make an acceptance speech in English.
 
I dont think you can really make a rule about it, she said. I dont think its fair because I think you should be out here based on your play, not what language you speak.
 
Pak, inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame last November, recalled her struggle to learn English when she started out 11 years ago. She said its important for young players who dont speak English to learn it so they can discuss their successes on the course.
 
Theyre like hiding behind a shadow because they just cant talk and cant really get attention for it, she said.
 
The LPGA membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea. Asians won three of the four majors this year.
 
LPGA spokeswoman Connie Wilson said Wednesday the language policy is still being written with input from players.
 
Golfweek reported last month that LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens disclosed the tours original plan in a meeting with South Korean players at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore. Critics quickly called it discriminatory, particularly against Asian players.
 
LPGA officials then backed off plans to suspend players who cannot speak English well enough to be understood at pro-ams, in interviews or in making acceptance speeches at tournaments in the United States. Bivens said she would have a revised plan by the end of the year that would not include suspensions, although fining non-English speakers remains an option.
 
Bivens also sent a memo to the membership outlining the goal behind the new policy. She said players would never be required to be fluent in English, just proficient enough to get by in a few situations.
 
Johanna Head of England said its important for players to communicate with the media.
 
When a player has won, they should be able to speak good English so they can communicate, she said.
 
Shirley Shin of Los Angeles, hired by the LPGA to tutor Korean players in English, said the tour was only trying to help players.
 
Its hard to please everyone ' sponsors and players, said Karin Sjodin of Sweden over lunch in the Magnolia Grove clubhouse. She said its hard to make the rule fair.
 
Alena Sharp of Canada said the policy isnt to single out players, and it was silly for the LPGA to backtrack on it, because people will doubt that it was a serious move.
 
Something needs to be done, she said, stepping off the driving range. I dont want to lose any more sponsors.
 
She said sponsors are unhappy when winners cannot give an acceptance speech in English. Some sponsors, however, said they were glad the LPGA Tour pulled back from its original plan.
 

Related Links:
  • LPGA backs down, will not suspend players
  • California lawmakers question policy
  • Ochoa calls mandate 'a little drastic'
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    Cabreras win PNC Father/Son Challenge

    By Associated PressDecember 17, 2017, 11:36 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. closed with a 12-under 60 for a three-shot victory in their debut at the PNC Father/Son Challenge.

    The Cabreras opened with a 59 at The Ritz-Carlton Golf Club and were challenged briefly by the defending champions, David Duval and Nick Karavites, in the scramble format Sunday. The Argentines went out in 30, and they had a two-shot lead with Cabrera's son came within an inch of chipping in for eagle on the final hole.

    They finished at 25-under 199 for a three-shot victory over Duval and Karavites, and Bernhard Langer and Jason Langer. The Langer team won in 2014.

    Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara tied for fourth at 21 under with Jerry Pate and Wesley Pate.

    Cabrera wasn't even in the field until two-time U.S. Open champion Curtis Strange and his son, Tom Strange, had to withdraw.

    Duval and his stepson went out in 28, but the Cabreras regained control by starting the back nine with back-to-back birdies, and then making birdies on the 13th, 14th and 16th. The final birdie allowed them to tie the tournament scoring record.

    ''This is certain my best week of the year,'' said Cabrera, the 2009 Masters champion and 2007 U.S. Open champion at Oakmont. ''To play alongside all the legends ... as well as playing alongside my son, has been the greatest week of the year.''

    The popular event is for players who have won a major championship or The Players Championship. It is a scramble format both days.

    In some cases, the major champions lean on the power of their sons for the distance. O'Meara said Saturday that his ''little man'' hit it 58 yards by him on the 18th. And on Sunday, Stewart Cink said son Reagan told him after outdriving him on the opening four holes, ''In this tournament I may be your son, but right now I'm your Daddy!''

    Jack Nicklaus played with his grandson, G.T. They closed with a 64 and tied for 15th in the field of 20 teams.

    Rose wins; Aphibarnrat earns Masters bid in Indonesia

    By Will GrayDecember 17, 2017, 1:59 pm

    Justin Rose continued his recent run of dominance in Indonesia, while Kiradech Aphibarnrat snagged a Masters invite with some 72nd-hole dramatics.

    Rose cruised to an eight-shot victory at the Indonesian Masters, carding bookend rounds of 10-under 62 that featured a brief run at a 59 during the final round. The Englishman was the highest-ranked player in the field and he led wire-to-wire, with Thailand's Phachara Khongwatmai finishing second.

    Rose closes out the year as perhaps the hottest player in the world, with top-10 finishes in each of his final 10 worldwide starts. That stretch includes three victories, as Rose also won the WGC-HSBC Champions and Turkish Airlines Open. He hasn't finished outside the top 10 in a tournament since missing the cut at the PGA Championship.

    Meanwhile, it took until the final hole of the final tournament of 2017 for Aphibarnrat to secure a return to the Masters. The Thai entered the week ranked No. 56 in the world, with the top 50 in the year-end world rankings earning invites to Augusta National. Needing an eagle on the 72nd hole, Aphibarnrat got just that to snag solo fifth place.

    It means that he is projected to end the year ranked No. 49, while Japan's Yusaku Miyazato - who started the week ranked No. 58 and finished alone in fourth - is projected to finish No. 50. Aphibarnrat finished T-15 in his Masters debut in 2016, while Miyazato will make his first appearance in the spring.

    The results in Indonesia mean that American Peter Uihlein and South Africa's Dylan Frittelli are projected to barely miss the year-end, top-50 cutoff. Their options for Masters qualification will include winning a full-point PGA Tour event in early 2018 or cracking the top 50 by the final March 25 cutoff.

    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

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    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.