I’m not so sure I’m in disagreement with this new 2009 policy on all golfers requiring to speak English at all. Apparently there are many foreign players in the LPGA; it just happens that forty five of those are from South Korea.
Seon Hwa Lee was one of them, and there’s a great story in the article on how she drove back 300 miles from her home after finding out that her tournament was not a 54-hole tournament but rather a 72-hole tournament due to a language barrier issue. She is now working with an English tutor so that this doesn’t happen again. But it’s definitely an interesting story.
Here’s the thing: while sports is more about the talent of playing the sport than speaking the language, it is also a business. And unless you happen to have a PR person that can do translations and such, I don’t believe that people can get away without knowing English, especially a more public figure. We are, after all, in a country that speaks English. And it just won’t do if someone sponsors your players but need to create a commercial. In a language that players can’t speak.
Maybe it’s just me, but it’s definitely worthwhile to see if this is the beginning of the tide turning on the United States having an official national language or if professional sports will also adopt this policy.