LPGA Tour Management: Brainiacs Or Bozos?

Tom S.Contributor IAugust 28, 2008

You can get five fouls in a basketball game before fouling out.

You have four "downs" in football, to get a first down.

You get three "strikes" in baseball (and as a felon, in some states)

   before you're out.

You can even have two "faults" in tennis before losing a point.

But, you apparently only have ONE chance as a foreign-born LPGA Tour player

   to pass an "oral evaluation of English skills" before you are suspended.


   It seems to me there are two major points here.

The first is the alleged "offense" itself, and the second is the punishment

proposed for the offense.

   As to the "offense",  specifically, it appears to be not speaking English

at all or not speaking it "well enough".  Well enough for who?

Carolyn Bivens (LPGA Tour commissioner)?  Tournament sponsors?

TV audiences?  Golf fans?  The "English skills" proficiency level of ANY

person is highly SUBJECTIVE!  For example, my tolerance level for obviously

poor English speaking skills is actually quite low, with some exceptions

(like maybe foreign-born persons just visiting or playing in the USA}.

But who am I to say what's "poor" or "not good enough", and who is

anybody else to say either?  Simply put, it's a SUBJECTIVE OPINION, period.

An argument could be made that "no English" or "very little English" (from a

quantitative viewpoint) is, in fact and simply, "not good enough".

However,from an overall perspective, such debate likely can't ever be fully resolved.

   Regarding the punishment proposed by the LPGA; it is, in a word, absurd.

(absurd - "so unreasonable as to be ridiculous"; from Webster's New World Dict.)

For the purpose of supporting this contention, I'm considering the LPGA Tour

to be a "workplace".  I am neither a labor law attorney nor a human resources

specialist.  But I do know that several states are called, I believe, "at will" states.

My limited understanding of the term is that employers can terminate a

person's employment "at will", that is, at their discretion.  Even so, I KNOW that

many employers (inc. some city govts. & "Fortune 500" cos. - I've worked for both)

have a GRADUAL, MULTI-STEP process for resolving any employee's alleged

"poor job performance".  Something like . . . oh, let's say . . . "not speaking

English well enough".  As part of that "process", I know for a fact that any

"suspension" is at least the THIRD step in that process, NEVER the first!

The only exception might be for a felony.  Last time I checked, "not speaking

English well enough" isn't against the law - so it's not even a misdemeanor,

much less a felony!  The prosecution (me) rests.  The defense (LPGA Tour mgmt.)

would be wise to pack up and go home.  They can't even begin to defend their

punishment here.  Apparently, they know it.  Before writing this, I went to their

website to be sure I understood the details, and possibly their reasoning.

I couldn't find either one.

   Someone once asked a very good question.  "Does the punishment

fit the crime"?  I've asked myself that, in this case. My answer is -

"NO! It's absurd!"  Just like "Websters" defined it for us, above.