Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : November 28th 2013 Contents A57
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NAPLES---Ryu So-Yeon talks easily
about her favourite crime show and
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hyun-
Jin Ryu. Choi Na-Yeon no longer
worries about having to point at
the menu in restaurants.
South Koreans are playing as well
as ever on the US LPGA Tour. Now
their English skills are catching up
with their games.
Choi, a US Women s Open cham-
pion who describes herself as shy,
can t stop talking---in English, of
course---about how far she has come
in six years on the US women s tour.
She recalls her rookie season when
she could speak only enough English
"to order McDonald s."
"When I travelled with my par-
ents, we couldn t go to any restau-
rants by ourselves. We had to go
with somebody," she said. "There
are so many questions. One day we
went to an American restaurant and
just pointed at the food. Even then
they were like, You want appetiser
first, or soup? It was a very hard
Choi spent a year travelling 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.
And when her parents are in town?
"I can go wherever I want," she
said with a smile.
It s harder to find a South Korean
who doesn t speak English with great
proficiency---in pro-ams, in inter-
views, speeches, even with other
players. That so-called problem of
the tour being taken over by South
Koreans sure doesn t seem like one
"In sports, your reputation today
is a three-to five-year lag of what
was reality back then," tour com-
missioner Mike Whan said. "I think
that s our case. I hear it all the time.
Nobody speaks the language. They
don t talk to anybody. They keep
their head down. That s 100 per cent
not true. I hope our reputation in
three years is our reputation from
today. Because our reputation today
is pretty damn good."
Whan said he couldn t walk onto
the practice range without seeing
half a dozen translators when he
started in 2010. Now that s rare.
Se-Ri Pak, the pioneer of women s
golf in South Korea, tried to speak
English from her rookie season
("crowd make big loud") and even-
tually was good enough. As more
South Koreans began to arrive on
tour, Pak urged them to learn English
for their own sake. The more com-
fortable they were in a new culture,
the better they would perform. For
years, though, translators were nec-
essary. That s changing.
"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 gen-
eration of Korean girls is trying to
learn English before coming here."
Park moved to America at age 11.
Even so, it hasn t always been easy.
She faced enormous scrutiny this
year after winning three straight
majors, and while Park handled every
interview magnificently, she revealed
last Friday during an awards banquet
how hard it really was.
Juli Inkster has been on the tour
for 30 years and has seen the trans-
formation of the first truly global
tour in golf. Lately, she has embraced
it. Ask just about any South Korean
for a list of their favourite Americans
and Inkster s name will be some-
where near the top. For Choi, one
of her best memories is the day
Inkster walked up to her and asked
to play a practice round.
"I ve gone out of my way to get
to know them, get to know what
makes them tick," Inkster said.
"What we need is to get this across
on TV more, to get more of our
fans---American fans---to get to know
these girls. There s a lot of great per-
sonalities. Some of them are my
good friends. They re funny. And
they re very good."
Ryu, another US Women s Open
champion, has been the most
impressive picking up the language,
and it shows. There is a comfort
level with Ryu that s obvious as she
walks down the range, through an
autograph line, in front of a camera.
The smile rarely leaves her.
One time, Ryu was chatting on
the putting green when the topic of
her name came up. The tour makes
sure everyone pronounces it correctly
as "Yoo." So why is it some American
baseball commentators refer to
Hyun-Jin Ryu as "REE-yoo?"
"Oh, the Dodgers pitcher? He s
a really good guy," she said. "Maybe
that can be a nickname for him."
"No," she replied with a laugh.
"Ryu is a pretty common name in
Korea. But we re good friends."
So you re a baseball fan?
"Oh, yeah. I love the Dodgers,"
NYON---UEFA charged Celtic on
yesterday with a breach of its rules on
political messages after fans displayed a
series of banners before a Champions
League game against AC Milan.
UEFA, which prohibits political
statements at matches, says the case
was "an incident of a non-sporting nature
(illicit banner)." It will be judged on
Celtic fans held up images Tuesday of
Scottish historical figure William
"Braveheart" Wallace and Irish republican
icon Bobby Sands, who died on hunger
strike in prison in 1981.
Further banners included slogans
reading: "The terrorist or the dreamer?
The savage or the brave?"
"Last night was nothing more than
clear disrespect for the club and our
supporters who now face another UEFA
charge," Celtic chief executive Peter
Lawwell said. "There have now been a
number of UEFA charges made against
the club during the last three years,
relating to behaviour, displays and
pyrotechnics, it cannot go on any further."
UEFA charges Celtic for fans' political banners
South Koreans make statement
...golf, English make life breezy
South Korea's Inbee Park watches as China's Lin Xiyu, left, shakes hands with South Korea's Na Yeon Choi after they finished the 18th green during the
third round of the Reignwood LPGA Classic golf tournament at Pine Valley Golf Club on the outskirts of Beijing, China. It's hard to find a South Korean who
doesn't speak English with great proficiency---in pro-ams, in interviews, speeches, even with other players. That so-called problem of the LPGA Tour being
taken over by South Koreans sure doesn't seem like one anymore. AP PHOTO
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