LPGA backs down will not suspend players

By Associated PressSeptember 5, 2008, 4:00 pm
LPGA Tour _newThe LPGA's mea culpa didnt need much translation.
 
Facing anger from lawmakers and bewilderment from sponsors, the LPGA 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.
 
The policy has generated a storm of bad publicity since it was announced last month.
 
LPGA commissioner Carolyn 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.
 
We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions, Bivens said in a statement. 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.
 
Bivens disclosed the tours original plan in a meeting with South Korean players two weeks ago at the Safeway Classic in Portland, Ore., <.i>Golfweek magazine reported. The policy, which had not been written, was widely criticized as discriminatory, particularly against Asian players.
 
The LPGA membership includes 121 international players from 26 countries, including 45 from South Korea. Asians won three of the four majors this year.
 
The reversal was quickly hailed by two California lawmakers who challenged the original policy.
 
State Sen. Leland Yee, a Democrat from San Francisco, had asked the Legislatures legal office to determine whether the English policy violated state or federal anti-discrimination laws. If it was deemed legal, Yee said he would have pushed for legislation banning such policies in California.
 
The LPGA plays three events in California, including its first major championship.
 
Im very pleased that the LPGA saw the wisdom of the concerns that we raised, Yee said. Its a no-brainer for those of us who have been the recipient of these kinds of discriminatory acts.
 
State Assemblyman Ted Lieu, a Democrat from the Los Angeles area, said he would target corporate sponsors if the LPGA persisted with its English requirement.
 
Im pleased they have come to their senses, he said.
 
Bivens announcement came two hours before the Asian Pacific American Legal Center planned a news conference in Los Angeles to demand the LPGA overturn its policy.
 
Until they completely retract it, issue an apology to the players and the fans, I think well remain very concerned and interested in what happens, said Gerald D. Kim, a senior staff attorney for the center. The LPGA has gone about this totally the wrong way.
 
One of the tours title sponsors, State Farm, said it was perplexed by the original policy. State Farm spokesman Phil Supple said earlier Friday the company asked the tour to review its decision.
 
Contacted via e-mail when the policy was rescinded, Supple said: Were encouraged the LPGA is looking at other alternatives on this issue.
 
Bivens said the tour will continue to help international players through a cultural program that has been in place for three years and offers tutors and translators.
 
Earlier this week, Bivens sent a 1,200-word memo to the LPGA membership to outline the goal behind the new policy. She said players would never be required to be fluent or even proficient in English, but rather would be asked to get by with the basics of the language.
 
She argued that international players who could communicate effectively in English would improve the pro-am experience, sponsor relations and could help land endorsements for the players.
 
We do not, nor will we ever, demand English fluency, or even proficiency, from our international players, she wrote. To the contrary, we are asking that they demonstrate a basic level of communication in English at tournaments in the United States in situations that are essential to their job as a member of the LPGA Tour.
 
Yee said he understood the tours goal of boosting financial support, but disagreed with the method.
 
In 2008, I didnt think an international group like the LPGA would come up with a policy like that, Yee said. But at the end of the rainbow, the LPGA did understand the harm that they did.
 
The lawmaker said he will continue with his request to the Legislative Counsels Office, as a way to prevent similar policies in the future.
 
Grace E. Yoo, executive director of the Korean American Coalition in Los Angeles, said corporate sponsors are not only American but from around the world, yet players dont learn the languages of the countries where they are headquartered. The LPGA plays in such places as Singapore, China, Thailand, South Korea, France and Japan.
 
We have a long fight ahead of us, Yoo said. This is not over.
 
Related Links:
  • California lawmakers question policy
  • Ochoa calls mandate 'a little drastic'
  • Getty Images

    Next up for Koepka: Buddies and a bachelor party

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:46 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – Coming off a successful title defense at the U.S. Open, Brooks Koepka arrived at the Travelers Championship in need of a nap. It appears he won’t be getting one anytime soon.

    Koepka normally wakes up by 6 a.m. without using an alarm, but without much down time since his victory at Shinnecock Hills he slept in until 8:20 a.m. Sunday morning, prior to his 10:40 a.m. tee time. Any impact to his pre-round routine appeared negligible, as Koepka fired a 5-under 65 that included seven birdies over his first 13 holes.

    “I felt like today was kind of the first day I got everything back,” Koepka said. “I was definitely running behind, but it was nice to catch up on some sleep.”

    Koepka became the first U.S. Open winner to play the week after since Justin Rose in 2013, and he finished the Travelers at 9 under with four straight sub-par rounds. While he’s got some free time in the coming days, it won’t exactly be restful.


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    “We’ve got 11 guys that I’m pretty close with, so I’m looking forward to hanging out with them in Boston for a few days and then [getting] back down to West Palm for a night, and then we’re off to my best friend’s bachelor party,” Koepka said. “I was really hoping to get some rest, but I don’t know how much that will happen.”

    Last year, Koepka took a month off following his U.S. Open win at Erin Hills, only touched a club once, and still finished T-6 at The Open at Royal Birkdale. While this will be his final competitive start before Carnoustie, he expects to make a strong run toward a third major title next month in Scotland.

    “I’m shutting it down for a while. I don’t feel like I need to play,” Koepka said. “I feel like my game’s in a good spot, played really well this week. Just some stupid mistakes and mental errors. That’s all it was, lack of focus and low energy. To be honest with you, I’m not surprised. I did play well though, I putted well, and I’m somewhat pleased.”

    Getty Images

    Spieth ends busy stretch without top-10 finish

    By Will GrayJune 24, 2018, 7:39 pm

    CROMWELL, Conn. – There were no final-round heroics this time around for Jordan Spieth at the Travelers Championship.

    After taking the title last year with perhaps the most memorable shot of the year, Spieth appeared poised to make a robust defense of his title after an opening-round 63 gave him a share of the lead. But that proved to be as good as it would get, as he played the next three rounds in a combined 3 over to drop outside the top 40 on the final leaderboard.

    It marked the end of a pedestrian run of six events in seven weeks for Spieth, during which his best finish was a tie for 21st at the AT&T Byron Nelson.

    “A lot of cut-line golf, which is somewhat unusual historically for me, fortunately,” Spieth said after closing with a 1-under 69. “Kind of a grind, but I made actually a lot of progress where I needed to within the last few weeks.”


    Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

    Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


    Spieth has struggled to get on track on the greens this year, but he has started to turn a corner in recent weeks, specifically during a missed cut at the Memorial Tournament, and he picked up more than three shots on the field this week in strokes gained: putting.

    “My putting’s right on point where it needs to be. It’s getting better every single week,” Spieth said. “It’s the best it’s been in a couple years.”

    Unfortunately for Spieth, a slight uptick in putting has coincided with some regression from his normally reliable ball-striking. Of the 74 players who made the cut at TPC River Highlands, he ranked 61st in strokes gained: tee-to-green.

    “I’ve just got to kind of get my alignment back in order on the full swing. It’s tough when you swing and you think you hit a good shot, and you look up and the ball’s, it could be 15 yards right or 15 yards left, and it’s all because of alignment,” Spieth said. “It’s literally the same thing I went through with the putting. I’ve just got to find a way to get it back on track with the full swing.”

    Having concluded a busy stretch, Spieth noted that he now has “a few weeks off.” But still in search of his first quality chance to contend heading into a final round this year, he didn’t rule out the notion of adding a start before defending his title at Carnoustie next month.

    Spieth is not in the field for next week’s Quicken Loans National, but he won the John Deere Classic in both 2013 and 2015, which will be played the week before The Open.

    “As far as leading into The Open, we’ll see,” Spieth said. “Last year I went in after three weeks off and it didn’t hurt me. So I believe I can get the work in whether I’m playing or not, to get the repetitions.”

    Getty Images

    Chamblee comments on Choi's unique step-through swing

    By Golf Channel DigitalJune 24, 2018, 3:55 pm

    The golf world found itself enamored with a largely unknown journeyman this weekend.

    Ho-sung Choi went from 554th in the world to No. 1 in the hearts of all those who swing the golf club just a little bit differently thanks to his run at the Korean Open.

    The 44-year-old with the exaggerated step through impact found himself two off the pace through 54 holes and in contention for one of two available invitations to this year's Open Championship at Carnoustie.

    Choi fell out of the hunt for tournament title and the Open exemption with a final-round 74, but nonetheless left an impression with his tie for fifth.



    Asked about Choi's swing Saturday night, Golf Channel analyst Brandel Chamblee offered the following:

    "If Chi Chi Rodriguez and Gary Player had a golf school, what would their first professional golfer swing like? Voila," Chamblee said.

    "Both those legends had walk through finishes, but Ho Sung has taken this move to a new level with a borderline pirouette to keep from hanging back.

    "In an era when professional golfers get accused of having golf swings that all look alike, I’ve never seen anyone swing quite like Ho Sung Choi.

    "I can’t wait to try this on the range tomorrow."

    Getty Images

    Wallace holds off charges to win BMW International

    By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 3:43 pm

    PULHEIM, Germany - England's Matt Wallace shot a 7-under 65 to hold off a record-breaking charge from Thorbjorn Olesen and win the BMW International Open on Sunday.

    Wallace finished on 10-under 278 - just ahead of Olesen, Mikko Korhonen and 2008 winner Martin Kaymer, whose chances took a blow with a bogey on the 17th hole.

    ''I want to keep building on this,'' Wallace said after his third European Tour win. ''Obviously this gives me a lot of confidence to go on and play well and I want to kick on and hopefully do this in the bigger events from now on.''


    Full-field scores from the BMW International Open


    Olesen had played himself into contention with the lowest round in tournament history, with nine birdies and an eagle for an 11-under 61. It was the lowest round of his European Tour career and it gave the Dane a three-shot lead before the final group had even teed off.

    ''I was just trying today to go out there and build on my game, see if I could shoot a low score,'' Olesen said. ''Obviously as the round progressed I kept on thinking birdies and trying to make the round better. Finishing with four birdies was pretty nice.''

    Wallace turned in 34 but then made five birdies in seven holes from the turn to edge a shot past Olesen. He waited as Kaymer and Korhonen went close with rounds of 68 and 67, respectively.

    England's Aaron Rai and Denmark's Lucas Bjerregaard finished joint-fifth with rounds of 69.