Stephenson Asians Killing Tour

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LPGA logo for LeaderboardsKAHUKU, Hawaii (AP) -- Jan Stephenson, who became the first woman to play on the Champions Tour on Friday, said Asians are 'killing' the LPGA Tour and their numbers should be limited.
 
Stephenson, who won 16 tournaments, including three majors, during her LPGA career, is playing in this weekend's Turtle Bay Championship. Her comments appear in an article in the November edition of 'Golf Magazine,' due out Tuesday.
 
'This is probably going to get me in trouble, but the Asians are killing our tour. Absolutely killing it,' she told the magazine. 'Their lack of emotion, their refusal to speak English when they can speak English. They rarely speak.
 
'We have two-day pro-ams where people are paying a lot of money to play with us, and they say, 'Hello and goodbye.' Our tour is predominantly international and the majority of them are Asian. They've taken it over.'
 
Four of the top nine players on the LPGA money list this year are of Asian descent including Se Ri Pak, Grace Park, Hee-Won Han and Candie Kung.
 
'If I were commissioner, I would have a quota on international players and that would include a quota on Asian players,' Stephenson told the magazine. 'As it is, they're taking American money. American sponsors are picking up the bill. There should be a qualifying school for Americans and a qualifying school for international players. I'm Australian, an international player, but I say America has to come first. Sixty percent of the tour should be American, 40 percent international.'
 
South Korean native Grace Park, playing in the Samsung World Championships in The Woodlands, Texas, took exception to the comments.
 
'She has her own opinion. I just don't like the fact she picked on Asians and I'm Asian,' Park said. 'She should come and play with me. I have great emotions. She made her points and if that's how she feels, well. ... Everybody has their own opinions and Jan stated her own and that's what was published.'
 
Pak said she doesn't think Stephenson meant what she said.
 
'There are a lot of talented players coming from all different kinds of countries,' Pak said. 'The LPGA is getting better. I think it's a better thing for the LPGA.'
 
Stephenson, 51, the LPGA's original glamour girl, said the women's tour needs a little sex appeal to help market the sport, just like the PGA Tour did with Tiger Woods.
 
'We have to promote sex appeal. It's a fact of life. The people who watch are predominantly male, and they won't keep watching if the girls aren't beautiful,' she told the magazine. 'That's not just the LPGA Tour, either. In Australia the highest-rated television event is the women's surf championship. Why is that?
 
'Everyone wants to skirt it, but it's true. You have Tiger and Phil and Adam Scott and Aaron Baddeley. They are gorgeous. Their clothes are beautiful; everything about them is exciting. So we have to catch up.
 
'The women are not the best players - the men are. The women are not the best athletes - the men are. Whether we like it or not, we have to promote sex, because sex sells. I think you have to shock.'
 
South African Bobby Lincoln, who shot a 71 in the opening round of the Turtle Bay event, said he experienced what Stephenson described about the Asian women with male players on the Asian Tour.
 
'I agree with her,' he said. 'It's a funny tour because the players play the round and off they go. No one ever goes to a function. No one talks even though they can speak a bit of English.
 
'She's quite right, off they go and they don't care too much.'
 
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