The English Patience

By Brian HewittAugust 29, 2008, 4:00 pm
The Comebacker this week is all about the LPGAs controversial decision to require its members to pass English evaluation tests by the end of 2009.
 
Without further ado:
 
Chuck writes: I think this is the best thing to happen to the LPGA. The sponsors are CORRECT. If I'm going to sponsor a ladies golf tournament in AMERICA then the ladies should be able to speak ENGLISH and also my thoughts are that the MEN on the PGA in AMERICA should speak ENGLISH as that is where they are making the majority of their living. When I go into another country, I try to speak enough of the language to get by and I'm not there to make a living from their MONEY. ENGLISH should be the language in all AMERICAN SPORTS.
 
The Comebacker Right now money is the language in all American sports. And by the way, Chuck, I can see by all the upper case letters that clearly you are a capitalist.
 

Chris writes: I speak English and I know that the number of phrases and words used during a round of golf with a bunch of guys is pretty limited and for the female golfers even more limited because they wouldn't be expected to comment on the beer cart girl or tell bad/really old jokes. Phrases like That sucked, Does your wife know your playing with her clubs? Are you going to play or just talk? No I still have the honor and Looks like you're still away, shouldn't take these golfers longer than two weeks to learn.
 
The Comebacker You might be surprised at a few of the phrases that Helen Alfredsson and Suzann Pettersen know.
 

Brian writes: I am appalled with the LPGA's new language policy. It is blatantly discriminatory. Are they going to have the same approach toward players who have personalities not conducive to courting sponsors? The policy poses a legal nightmare in implementation.
 
The Comebacker God forbid that lawyers should be the ones to make money off this whole situation.
 

 
Ronald writes: I can understand why potential pro-am partners would not want to pay the high fee to play with a pro who can't communicate with them while playing a round of golf. It would also concern me more as a sponsor if the player, wearing my logo, is not able to communicate with the press and their fellow players without using an interpreter.
 
The Comebacker I would be surprised if there were very many players, who dont speak English, getting paid to wear the logos of American-based companies.
 

Michael writes: I agree with the LPGAs new rule regarding the English policy. I have played in one of the pro-ams at Kingsmill in the past, though I have been paired with American ladies. I have heard complaints about those who cannot speak English. It did not make the round fun. I hope this change will be viewed as a positive one and sponsors will come back to the great game the ladies play. Go Paula Creamer.
 
The Comebacker Paulas English, by the way, for what its worth, is excellent.
 

 
Christine writes: This whole civil liberties infringement is garbage. These foreign players are welcome to play in their respective countries, on their respective professional tours, and no one would care. But they come to this country because the prize money is much, much better; accommodations are much, much better; and then (they) scream violation of their civil liberties because they have to speak English in the United States? Where do they think all that money comes from, the golf fairy? No, it's American sponsors, American TV, American patrons, who shell out millions to support this tour. I don't see many, if any, foreign companies advertising on the LPGA or sponsoring any LPGA tournaments, do you? Enough is enough. You don't like the LPGA Tour rules, go play someplace else.
 
The Comebacker Question for Christine: Do you think wed all be having this conversation if the four womens majors this year had been won by four Americans instead of three Asian Americans and a Mexican? Just asking.
 

John writes: OK! I've heard some rather unique takes on how people should communicate with each other. Requiring someone to speak the native language competing on a professional tour event is ridiculous. Golf is a sport which perhaps recognizes the most diversity amongst its athletes. In turn the majority have mastered the English language, far beyond most Americans. I only wish more people, here in the U.S. could converse in a language other than English (and lose, where are you at?). If the LPGA invokes this policy, I will quit watching all LPGA Tour events. Having already ruled out the numskulls of the NBA, NFL and NHL, this leaves curling and maybe ping pong. I guess the policy should be: think before you speak. The only reason these events are successful is because the athletes provide the entertainment and ratings. Not the commissioners and Congress.
 
The Comebacker John, youre a little bit all over the map here but you do provoke a few thoughts and hit a few hot buttons. Meanwhile, have you ever thought about synchronized swimming?
 

Anthony writes: This whole story stinks. I understand the LPGA's problem, but to try to suspend someone for not learning to speak the language is ridiculous. If they go through with it there has to be a lawsuit and hopefully they will actually lose sponsors, but I don't think that will be the case. A more disturbing part to the story is seeing the GOLF CHANNEL poll which shows how many people are in favor of the LPGA's ruling. I think it just brings out the old stereotypes about the game being full of snobs and racists. It does seem that the Korean ladies have been targeted. What a way to grow the game.
 
The Comebacker
Still more hot buttons pressed.
 

 
Larry writes: You play in the USA you speak English. If I played in Portugal I would learn Portuguese. Learn it or leave.
 
The Comebacker If I played in Portugal, Id be on vacation. (Hey, I know this is a serious subject, but weve got to lighten up a little at some point.)
 

Paul writes: Considering the miserable condition of U.S. women's golf, instead of punishing the Korean women, why doesn't the LPGA support women's golf in the U.S.A. by hiring some Korean instructors to teach the U.S. up-and-coming players how to play better. Those instructors will need better English, but why put restrictions on the players to speak English ' that's ridiculous! How would English-speaking players on the European and Asian tours feel if those tours decided to force them to speak Japanese or German? I believe the LPGA has overstepped authority into an area it has no right to be in.
 
The Comebacker I think youre on to something here, Paul. But you might be surprised how many Korean women on the LPGA have American instructors.
 

Dave writes: Firstly, with no Scots on the Ryder Cup squad and an announcement that doesnt include the words Colin Montgomerie, Nick Faldo may be hard pressed to get out of Scotland alive on Sunday night. When was the last time there were no Scots on a Ryder Cup team? I truly think that Faldo will get a sick little kick out of making this announcement in our own back yard and thats why he did not ask for an extension. It was 703 years last Sunday since the English disposed of William Wallace by hanging, drawing and quartering him and they are still doing it to us today. Seriously though, as a longtime Monty fan I dont think that even his great Ryder Cup record merits his inclusion on the team. Darren Clarke and Lee Westwood will fulfill the leadership role and, Scots or no Scots. Europe will win. Now let the games begin. Secondly, I think that if they were to enforce the language law on the PGA TOUR, then Boo Weekly has a great deal of work to do.
 
The Comebacker We know Monty speaks English (it always seems to be better after he plays well). Does Faldo speak Scottish?
 

Email your thoughts to Brian Hewitt
Getty Images

Minjee Lee co-leads Walmart NW Arkansas Championship

By Associated PressJune 24, 2018, 12:25 am

ROGERS, Ark. - Minjee Lee wasn't all that concerned when she missed her first cut of the year this month at the ShopRite LPGA Classic.

The ninth-ranked Australian has certainly looked at ease and back in form at Pinnacle Country Club in her first event since then.

Lee and Japan's Nasa Hataoka each shot 6-under 65 on Saturday to share the second-round lead in the NW Arkansas Championship 13-under 129. Lee is chasing her fifth victory since turning pro three years ago. It's also an opportunity to put any lingering frustration over that missed cut two weeks ago behind her for good.

''I didn't particularly hit it bad, even though I missed the cut at ShopRite, I just didn't really hole any putts,'' Lee said. ''I'd been hitting it pretty solid going into that tournament and even into this tournament, too. Just to see a couple putts roll in has been nice.''

The 22-year-old Lee needed only 24 putts during her opening 64 on Friday, helping her to match the low round of her career. Despite needing 28 putts Saturday, she still briefly took the outright lead after reaching as low as 14 under after a birdie on the par-5 seventh.


Full-field scores from the Walmart Arkansas Championship


Lee missed the green on the par-4 ninth soon thereafter to lead to her only bogey of the day and a tie with the 19-year-old Hataoka, who is in pursuit of her first career win.

Hataoka birdied six of eight holes midway through her bogey-free round on Saturday. It was yet another stellar performance from the Japanese teenager, who has finished in the top 10 in four of her last five tournaments and will be a part of Sunday's final pairing.

''I try to make birdies and try to be under par, that's really the key for me to get a top ten,'' Hataoka said. ''Golf is just trying to be in the top 10 every single week, so that's the key.''

Third-ranked Lexi Thompson matched the low round of the day with a 64 to get to 11 under. She hit 17 of 18 fairways and shot a 5-under 30 on her opening nine, The American is in search of her first win since September in the Indy Women in Tech Championship.

Ariya Jutanugarn and Celine Boutier were 10 under.

First-round leader Gaby Lopez followed her opening 63 with a 75 to drop to 4 under. Fellow former Arkansas star Stacy Lewis also was 4 under after a 72.

Getty Images

Henley will try to put heat on Casey in final round

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:55 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – While it will be a tall task for anyone to catch Paul Casey at the Travelers Championship, the man who will start the round most within reach of the Englishman is Russell Henley.

Henley was in the penultimate group at TPC River Highlands on Saturday, but he’ll now anchor things during the final round as he looks to overcome a four-shot deficit behind Casey. After a 3-under 67, Henley sits at 12 under through 54 holes and one shot clear of the three players tied for third.

Henley closed his third round with a run of five straight pars, then became the beneficiary of a pair of late bogeys from Brian Harman that left Henley alone in second place.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


“Could have made a couple more putts, but to end with two up-and-downs like that was nice,” Henley said. “I felt a little bit weird over the shots coming in, put me in some bad spots. But it was nice to have the short game to back me up.”

Henley has won three times on Tour, most recently at the 2017 Houston Open, and he cracked the top 25 at both the Masters and U.S. Open. But with Casey riding a wave of confidence and coming off an 8-under 62 that marked the best round of the week, he knows he’ll have his work cut out for him in order to nab trophy No. 4.

“I think I can shoot a low number on this course. You’ve got to make the putts,” Henley said. “I’m definitely hitting it well enough, and if I can get a couple putts to fall, that would be good. But I can’t control what he’s doing. I can just try to keep playing solid.”

Getty Images

Back from back injury, Casey eyeing another win

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:36 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Given his four-shot cushion at the Travelers Championship and his recent victory at the Valspar Championship, it’s easy to forget that Paul Casey hit the disabled list in between.

Casey had to withdraw from The Players Championship because of a bad back, becoming the only player in the top 50 in the world rankings to miss the PGA Tour’s flagship event. He flew back to England to get treatment, and Casey admitted that his T-20 finish at last month’s BMW PGA Championship came while he was still on the mend.

“I wasn’t 100 percent fit with the back injury, which was L-4, L-5, S-1 (vertebrae) all out of place,” Casey said. “Big inflammation, nerve pain down the leg and up the back. I didn’t know what was going on.”


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Thanks in large part to a combination of MRIs, back adjustments and anti-inflammatories, Casey finally turned the corner. His T-16 finish at last week’s U.S. Open was the first event for which he felt fully healthy since before the Players, and he’s on the cusp of a second title since March after successfully battling through the injury.

“We thought we were fixing it, but we weren’t. We were kind of hitting the effects rather than the cause,” Casey said. “Eventually we figured out the cause, which was structural.”

Casey started the third round at TPC River Highlands two shots off the lead, but he’s now four clear of Russell Henley after firing an 8-under 62 that marked the low round of the week.

Getty Images

Bubba thinks he'll need a Sunday 60 to scare Casey

By Will GrayJune 23, 2018, 11:15 pm

CROMWELL, Conn. – Perhaps moreso than at most PGA Tour venues, a low score is never really out of reach at TPC River Highlands. Positioned as a welcome change of pace after the U.S. Open, the Travelers Championship offers a lush layout that often pushes the balance much closer to reward than risk.

This is where Jim Furyk shot a 58 on the par-70 layout two years ago – and he didn’t even win that week. So even though Paul Casey enters the final round with a commanding four-shot lead, there’s still plenty of hope for the chase pack that something special could be in store.

Count Bubba Watson among the group who still believe the title is up for grabs – even if it might require a Herculean effort, even by his standards.


Full-field scores from the Travelers Championship

Travelers Championship: Articles, photos and videos


Watson has won the Travelers twice, including in a 2015 playoff over Casey. But starting the final round in a large tie for sixth at 10 under, six shots behind Casey, he estimates that he’ll need to flirt with golf’s magic number to give the Englishman something to worry about.

“My 7 under yesterday, I need to do better than that. I’m going to have to get to like 10 [under],” Watson said. “The only beauty is, getting out in front, you have a chance to put a number up and maybe scare them. But to scare them, you’re going to have to shoot 10 under at worst, where I’m at anyway.”

Watson started the third round three shots off the lead, and he made an early move with birdies on Nos. 1 and 2 en route to an outward 32. The southpaw couldn’t sustain that momentum, as bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 turned a potential 65 into a relatively disappointing 67.

“Bad decision on the par-3, and then a very tough tee shot for me on 17, and it just creeped into the bunker,” Watson said. “Just, that’s golf. You have mistakes every once in a while.”