One of the standing criticisms I hear about the LPGA is that it has become dominated by the Korean players. It comes mostly from people who don’t really follow the LPGA and trades heavily in cultural stereotypes. The primary ones — you know what they are — are that they “don’t even bother to learn English,” and that they are stoics who don’t even interact with the fans.
This might have been the way it was when the phenomena began, but it’s certainly not true any more. I have personally spoken to World No. 1, Yani Tseng, No. 3, Na Yeon Choi and Japan’s, Ai Miyazato, World No.7.
Each of them are perfectly charming young women who speak idiomatic English, albeit sometimes with a pronounced Asian accent. They don’t look at you quizzically when you say something to them because they understand full well what you are saying.
Jiyai Shin is currently World No. 6, but she’s starting to get on a roll after two victories this year, the Kingsmill Championship and the Women’s British Open…which is a major on the LPGA Tour as well as the PGA Tour and the Champions Tour.
Anyway, to their credit, the LPGA is working hard to change golf fans’ perception. One of the ways that they do that is by doing features on LPGA players who are working hard to win the fans over. They have a weekly feature titled, “This Week is All About…” fill in the name of the player.
This week they are featuring Shin with a 4:30 video that does a good job of capturing her essence. It’s kind of fun to see this young Korean woman exhibiting the same behaviors that anyone would as they bask in the glow of their accomplishments…in perfect idiomatic English.
The other nice thing is that you wouldn’t expect that a little fireplug like Shin would have much of a swing. But there are a couple of real nice driver swings on the range at last week’s Sime Darby in Kuala Lumpur that are so perfectly balanced in such great tempo, the video is worth watching just to imprint that image in your mind.
Here’s a link to the LPGA page that contains the video.
On arrival, the static image on the video Start button is a very nice photo of seven of the LPGA’s stars. Since it’s uncaptioned, here’s who’s who (left to right):
- Suzann Petterson, Norway
- Stacy Lewis, U.S.
- Jiyai Shin, Korea
- Na Yeon Choi, Korea
- Yani Tseng, Taiwan
- Ai Miyazato, Japan
- Shanshan Feng, China
Pretty eclectic group. You know how the European Tour has cultivated an image of the camaraderie of the players who all travel the globe together, staying in the same places together, eating together and having a rollicking good time together? The same thing is going on with the LPGA as this photo suggests.
And I think the video does a good job of revealing Shin to us…and is still more evidence of the Asian players’ commitment to integrate themselves into American culture.