The LPGA Tour backed off a plan to require players to speak English or face suspensions, with LPGA commissioner Carolyn Bivens saying on Friday that a punishment-free program would be adopted.
The LPGA, which has 45 South Koreans among its 121 non-US players, sparked fury three days earlier when news of the plan to require English by next year came out, some dubbing it discrimination.
The LPGA agreed on Friday that there would be better ways to achieve the goals it sought without inflicting punishment.
“The LPGA has received valuable feedback from a variety of constituents regarding the recently announced penalties attached to our effective communications policy,” Bivens said. “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,” she said. “The LPGA will announce a revised approach, absent playing penalties, by the end of 2008.”
The LPGA will continue a program started in 2005 to provide all LPGA players with language training, tutors, translators and language learning schemes.
The idea behind the plan was to ensure players could join tournament sponsors in helping support their events.