LPGA Drawing Publicity, Can Bad Publicity Be Good?

Fallout from the LPGA’s language requirement continues to be mostly negative, but not unanimously. Yesterday, the first possible major repercussion arose, as SBJ reported that State Farm may reconsider it’s LPGA sponsorship as a result of the language requirement.

Wanting its players to speak English is fine, the LPGA went wrong by requiring them to speak English or face a suspension, and handling the communication poorly. The organization exposed itself to negative criticism by not holding a press conference, not addressing the situation directly. Instead, the press roamed, players reacted differently, and the entire tour came off looking like a disjointed family.

One positive, people are talking about the LPGA. It may be for bad reasons, but at least they know its there. It may actually rally support for some of the South Korean players. First, the LPGA needs to rectify its mistake, and make up for it by promoting globalization rather than stomping on it. Without foreign players the product would be in much worse shape than it already is. They should find ways to exploit the diversity rather than stop it.

While it’s still fresh and the tour is still in the spotlight, they need to rectify the mistake. Instead of requiring players to speak English, require them to take an English class. Provide a teacher or tutor to travel on the tour teaching English as a Second Language to foreign players. The only requirement should be that they try to learn, not let it have implications on the game. In conjunction, provide media training for these young players.

Down the road, they can become role models in the various communities the tour travels to for young internationals living in the States, opening golf to a new segment of the population. The tour can also open the door for more educational or social-based sponsors.

Right now, they need to make this right before it gets worse. PR is bad, some sponsors will eventually pull out, down the road players may start going elsewhere to play. Most importantly, the few fans it has may pull away. The LPGA has a chance to make the publicity good if it rectifies the situation soon.

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One Response

  1. I think that the LPGA’s decision smacks of xenophobia.

    At least the Beijing Olympics appointed an Esperanto translator, and CRI broadcast daily, about the Games, in this language.

    If you doubt this you can check http://esperanto.cri.cn

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