Go big on Asia? No Se Ri


 This is as good an explanation I’ve seen yet for the LPGA’s linguistic ultimatum. Unless you’ve been following the fortunes of Se Ri Pak and Karrie Webb, the tour’s financial challenges were probably not something you were aware of.

Still, as Robert Thompson concludes, dwindling interest and desperation are no excuse for discrimination. And given the obvious surge of interest in women’s golf taking place in Korea, you’d think the tour might move more of its eggs into the Asian basket rather than scrapping it out for what’s left of the U.S. sports market. Or forcing its Asian players to learn the lingua franca of American couch potatoes.

A quick perusal of the LPGA calendar shows one tournament per year in South Africa, France, the U.K., Canada, Japan and China. Two take place in Singapore. Mexico holds three. The vast majority—25—occur on U.S. soil. 

Number of events scheduled for South Korea? One.


Go big on Asia? No Se Ri

  1. Gilles,

    I note that this is the second posting on this topic today, but unlike Michael Friscolanti’s earlier posting, you did not tag it with “Skirts”. Rather, consistent with his blog, you have elected to use the word “discriminate”.

    You write: “Still, as Robert Thompson concludes, dwindling interest and desperation are no excuse for discrimination.”

    Now, as I also pointed out in the comments to the earlier blog, I’m not sure if people are using the word “discrimination” correctly, so I checked the Nat Post article that you paraphrased.

    The only reference to discimination lies in this sentence: ” It will affect their bank balances, a more important issue than the possible discrimination against some of the tour’s membership.”

    He doesn’t label it discrimination as you claim.

    In that context, I read his column differently -he is saying there are bigger business issues beyond whether some players speak English.

    Let’s not try to read more into this issue, or take words out of others’ mouths.

  2. The Oxford Canadian dictionary defines discrimination as: “make a distinction, esp. unjustly and on the basis of race, age, sex, etc.”
    Surely the LPGA’s new language policy fits that definition to a tee (pardon the golf pun).

  3. And that is why context is important, Michael.

    If you were not suggesting it was of the sexist variety, why post in “Skirts” or make all those other references to male athletes from a range of other nationalities and sports; or clearly sexist activities such as “topless back nine”.

    If you are claiming sexist discrimination, can you further explain to me how it is so? I don’t see it.

    This reminds me of the situation where a bunch of Canadian Ski Jumpers filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission claiming sexism when their sport was not included in the 2010 Olympics – a review of the facts would suggest other sports were not included also for exactly the same criteria.

  4. As much as I like golf, it is more recreation than sport. And the disparity of recognition and championship pots between the two is ludicrous, other than in the large fact that sponsors (and paying public) are willing to pay a lot more to have the Tiger Woods (or his generic replacement) carrying off the jacket than the top woman. Both play the exact same game and while their scores and skills may be slightly different, besides Tiger’s dominance, there is little separating them. A good putt or approach shot remains still that.
    A radical change I’d like to see, but likely will only be scoffed at for suggesting, is that there just be one Pro Golf tour, which will combine the top men and women. It may mean that two golf courses host the tournament, and on the final day you’d have a foursome that featured the two leading men and the two top females. In the end you’d crown both the men’s champion and the women’s champion at the same time, let them share the moment and the press. Definitely, due to sponsorships, the prize checks and/or perks may be different. But the sport still is lacking in any real base of equity, despite some appearances.

  5. To answer your questions, Dot:
    1) I posted the item in “Skirts” because “Skirts” is a blog about “women’s news.” And last time I tuned in, women play golf on the women’s professional tour.
    2) The LPGA’s new language policy is not sexist. It’s racist. Every year, more and more South Koreans join the circuit—and win tournaments. But rather than embrace that reality, Libba and her underlings are obsessed with making the Asians more “appealing” to fans and sponsors. The ultimatum is crystal clear: learn to speak our language, ladies, or see ya later. If that’s not racial discrimination, I don’t know what is.
    Which is why Yao Ming and Dice-K Matsuzaka are worth mentioning. Unlike Se Ri Pak, they’re under no pressure (at least not officially) to speak English. As long as they can dunk and throw strikes, they’re in the big leagues to stay…

  6. Ok, thanks for the explanation, though I don’t agree with the charge.

    Maybe a better graphic to illustrate your point would have been the photo of the Spanish Basketball Team collectively narrowing their eyes for a commercial photo shot; instead of a pink barbie etc.

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