Thrilling news today from the hotbed, par 6, world of professional women's golf, as it is announced that all the players on the tour will have their membership suspended from 2009 if they cannot pass an oral English language exam. Ostensibly, this is for better - well, easier - relations with the media. Well, the big blubbery American media. Smacks of ingratitude, it fair does, it does, when one of the 45 Korean golfers on the tour wins a tour event in Korea and then gives their acceptance speech and media interviews in Korean! These people have to realise what side their bread is buttered on!
I anticipate the test will be akin to the bit at the end of The Great Escape when Richard Attenborough and co. are about to get on the bus. "Well done on your round today", someone will say in Korean. The golfer's guard temporarily down, the house of cards will tumble along with it. Aha! We caught you, just learning some English platitudes and gratitudes phonetically! We all heard you saying 'Fuck!' in Korean when you screwed your tee shot on the ninth into the de-militarised zone!
The LPGA are doing some important, pioneering work here. It's something I'd like to see expanded. Let's force anyone who ever speaks anywhere near a video camera, microphone, telephone or an English-speaker to pass an English oral exam. There's 1.3 billion Chinese for a start, and I can't understand a word of what they're on about.
Of course, when changes as major as this are being affected, it goes without saying that all languages other than English will be banned from sport, and the athletes forced to take stringent English examinations. The first casualty of this will undeniably be English football players.