LPGA Revises English-Only Policy for Players After Protests

California Was Looking Into Whether Policy Violated Laws

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The Ladies Professional Golf Association is taking a mulligan. The league, obviously feeling the mounting pressure from sponsors, its own players, fans, politicians and community groups, issued a statement today announcing that it was taking another shot at its English-proficiency policy issued earlier this week. The group has amended the policy by rescinding the penalty provisions.
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The statement, from Commissioner Carolyn F. Bivens, stated that the league has received "valuable feedback from a variety of constituents" and "decided to rescind those penalty provisions."

No 'future success' talk
The statement went on to say: "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 3-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."

Conspicuously absent from this statement is anything regarding the "future success" or "long-term business" success of the league. When the LPGA issued a statement earlier this week trying to explain its position and reasoning for the policy, the success of the league was mentioned a number of times, making the policy seem very self-serving.

The LPGA's language-policy provision drew fire from State Farm, a general sponsor of the league as well as of the State Farm Classic Tournament in Springfield, Ill.

"You can see what's intended," Kip Diggs, media-relations specialist at the insurer, had said of the statement. "There's no way I would allow one of my executives to make a statement like this or implement this policy."

Libba Galloway, deputy commissioner of the LPGA, told Ad Age she felt there was nothing wrong with the initial statement.

Light bulb has gone off
"I don't see any problems with it, and we have had a number of people respond to it, and now they say the light bulb has gone off," she said.

Yesterday, Sen. Leland Yee of the California State Senate said he was looking into a legal option to determine whether the LPGA Tour's language requirement for players violates state or federal law, the AP reported.

State Farm blasted the policy earlier in the week . Speaking to Ad Age, Mr. Diggs said: "It's something we are dumfounded by. We don't understand this and don't know why they have done it, and we have strongly encouraged them to take another look at this."

Apparently it has.
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