Friday, September 5, 2008

Yay for the LPGA!

They've announced that they're not going to make playing privileges dependent on language acquisition skills. Here's a statement attributed to Commissioner Bivens:

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Sept. 5, 2008 -- The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy. We have decided to rescind those penalty provisions.

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. In that spirit, we will continue communicating with our diverse Tour players to develop a better alternative. The LPGA will announce a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008.

During that time we will continue to provide support under the three-year-old Kolon-LPGA Cross Cultural Program. This popular program provides all LPGA members with the best cross-cultural training in the form of tutors, translators, Rosetta Stone®, the official language-learning system of the LPGA, as well as assistance from LPGA staff and consultants.

Ryan Ballengee has more good news on the old Safeway International in Phoenix.

[Update 1 (4:16 pm): Always fun to see how Hound Dog, Brent Kelley, Ryan Ballengee, Geoff Shackelford, and the Seoul crew react to the news.]

[Update 2 (9/6/08, 12:36 am): More interesting feedback from Bill Jempty, Average Golfer, Golf Girl, Ron Sirak, and Eric Adelson.]

[Update 3 (2:41 am): Ken Carpenter proposes hiring players like the FT's Sarah-Jane Kenyon (who's put herself in great position to earn her '09 LPGA card with a 1st-round 64 in Albany, NY) to act as the "corporate face" of the LPGA at pro-ams. To me, setting up a two-way cross-cultural mentoring program on the model of the Ayako Okamoto-Patti Rizzo friendship, letting the buddies play together in pro-ams, and filling out the fields by inviting alternates and failed Monday qualifiers in the program to stick around for an extra couple of days is a better solution.]

[Update 4 (2:52 am): The Agon wonders what caused the LPGA's reversal. And what it suggests.]

[Update 5 (9/8/08, 2:28 am): Brian Hewitt handles the post-mortem.]

[Update 6 (10:32 am): Uh oh! Bill Jempty has come out of heart surgery fighting. Guess who was his Knucklehead of the Day yesterday?]

[Update 7 (10/5/08, 9:14 am): Anyone who doubts the wisdom of the LPGA's decision to rethink the penalty portion of their evolving language policy should read Gwen Knapp's story on an encounter with Eun-Hee Ji at the putting green in the Samsung World Championship and its larger implications.]

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