Why are South Koreans on the LPGA Tour held to higher 'personality' standard?
While the golf world remains abuzz at the fact that they can now shamelessly swim in the waters of Natalie Gulbis bikini photos - hell, Golf.com officially has become FHM for the week - there is one other interesting issue that came from Ms. Gulbis’ victory at the Evian Masters.
It was - and remains - my contention that the influx of South Korean golfers on the LPGA Tour has actually helped the game. My thinking is thus: While players like Jeong Jang are not crowd favorites in the U.S., the South Koreans in the LPGA have, and continue to up the ante in the game with their hard work and ability. More than ever in the LPGA, victories are truly earned, and someone like Annika Sorenstam or Lorena Ochoa won’t be winning tournaments just by showing up. They need to bring their “A” Game as it were.
I wrote about just this line of thinking for WorldGolf.com Magazine. And the comments that came in were expected, but something did occur to me - a great deal of them are just plain using false rhetoric.
In sports, particularly in sports in the U.S., winning matters. For some reason, however, when it comes to South Koreans on the LPGA Tour, personality is what’s really important, if you listen to many WorldGolf.com readers and others. Just being good is not enough, they need to speak the language fluently and have “personality.” The overall contention then is that South Korean golfers are bad for the LPGA because they aren’t exciting enough for American viewers.
I call BS.
I won’t go so far as calling racism, but I understand why others would. Because the fact is this - South Koreans are unappreciated and unpopular on the LPGA Tour to some because they’re different. They look different. They are from a completely different culture, and they speak a completely different language. It has very little to do with personality or speaking skills.
Think about it. How exciting is Phil Mickelson off the course? Or Jim Furyk? How exciting is Morgan Pressel, Sorenstam or Ochoa? Winning and contending is what makes them exciting. Look at the British Open, Andres Romero was as exciting a golfer that existed on the planet that final Sunday. How’s his English?
Say what you will, but the whole “South Korean Golfers don’t have enough personality” meme has become an urban legend. All other athletes in the U.S. are judged on wins and losses, but for some reason, the women from South Korea need to be able to juggle and do stand-up routines as well as contend and win.
Maybe in the end, the influx of South Koreans will really hurt the LPGA. But it hasn’t happened yet. And if it does, it won’t be because they don’t have enough personality. It will be much deeper than that.
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girls are far more popular than the foreigners playing
on the ladies tour in Korea.
It's only natural. Your communism isn't.
Oh, Wolfrun's a communist for asking why American fans haven't warmed up to Korean golfers? Not everyone should be as big a fan as your average Seoul Sisters addict, I admit, but Se Ri Pak, Mi Hyun Kim, Shi Hyun Ahn, Seon-Hwa Lee, Jee Young Lee, and the other top ROK players should at least be respected for their hard work and great talent. You'd think that many of them are Christians would be a bridge for some American fans to make a connection--communism isn't the only internationalism out there, after all.
And no, extreme nationalism isn't natural.
Here's a suggestion, though, Lets stop talking about "the Koreans" en masse. Why don't you dig up some good backstories on some individual players, Wolfrun, and put them out there?
Very well put. Wolfrum should be ashamed of himself for playing the race card; it's not only lazy and cheap, it's also small-minded and indicative of philosophical bankruptcy. Unfortunately, though, it's the way liberals have been trained to think; their explanations for what they perceive to be problems (which often are figments of their imaginations anyway or aren't really problems) never go beyond ideological cliches.
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