Today’s winner is LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens. She gets the award for announcing a policy directed towards the tour’s Korean players who don’t speak adequate English. Bivens doing this without consulting lawyers for possible threat of discrimination lawsuits, or giving enough consideration towards
1- What sponsors felt in regards towards to the new policy
2- The Tour’s largest revenue stream comes from selling television rights to Japan and South Korea. A move against Asian players was almost certain to result in a monetary backlash.
LPGA players should speak English but there were better ways of approaching this. Something like the relationship Patti Rizzo struck up with now LPGA Hall of Famer Ayako Okamoto in the 80’s. Patti was a mentor to Ayako in her early days on tour, helping the Japanese golfer learn English. Wouldn’t pairing up Korean players who needed English help with a LPGA pro been a better idea than threatening suspensions?
The fallout from the disastrous policy may not be totally felt for some time, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the people in Japan and South Korea who pay for LPGA television rights ask for Bivens head on a platter to serve as an apology to them. The LPGA if it don’t want to suffer serious financial reprucussions, is likely to have to do what is asked of them. In the meantime I name LPGA Commissioner Carolyn Bivens today’s Knucklehead of the Day.