Requiring Golfers to Speak English Brings Bad Publicity

By Mary Ann Zehr — September 08, 2008 1 min read
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The Ladies Professional Golf Association has backtracked on its policy that it would suspend golfers in the LPGA Tour who can’t speak English well enough to be understood in interviews and making acceptance speeches, according to a Sept. 6 article posted at (and another article published the same day in the Los Angeles Times). The tour commissioner says the policy will be revised by the end of the year. Fines for players unable to speak English could still be an option, however. (ImmigrationProf blog was on top of this before me.)

Critics viewed the policy as discriminatory against Asian players.

Hasn’t the golf tour ever heard of something called interpreters?

I, for one, was disappointed that coverage by NBC of the 2008 Olympics in Bejing avoided interviews with athletes who didn’t speak English. Of course, the coverage is intended primarily to tell U.S. viewers about their own athletes, and they do speak English, but it would have been nice to hear an interview now and then with one of the Chinese star athletes. In my view, having an interview translated by an interpreter from Chinese to English would have been just fine.

A version of this news article first appeared in the Learning the Language blog.