It's Shakespearean on the Women's Golf Tour, even for the South Koreans;
Na Yeon Choi, a U.S. Women's Open champion who describes herself as shy, can't stop talking — in English, of course — about how far she has come in six years on the LPGA. She recalls her rookie season when she could speak only enough English "to order McDonald's."
"When I traveled with my parents, we couldn't go to any restaurants by ourselves. We had to go with somebody," she said. "There are so many questions. One day we went to American restaurant and just pointed at the food. Even then they were like, 'You want appetizer first, or soup?' It was a very hard time."
Choi spent a year traveling with Greg Morrison, a Canadian tutor living in Seoul, practicing English an hour a day without fail. She is comfortable enough now that she made a studio appearance last year on Golf Channel's "Morning Drive."Unlike, say, Major League Baseball, there are no multi-million dollar contracts in women's golf, so it's cheaper to learn English than hire a full-time translator.
"Everybody is trying so hard to speak English better," Inbee Park said. "They know that's the problem we've had out there. Getting used to the tour, the language has been the most important thing. This younger generation of Korean girls is trying to learn English before coming here."'Because that's where the money is.' Incentives matter. For that, give thanks.