For all the fuss over LPGA players who can't communicate well during pro-ams, Juli Inkster believes the issue goes far beyond language, particularly with Asian players.
The LPGA contemplated a policy demanding English efficiency from its players until it backed down under public criticism. There's still plenty of discussion, though, and Inkster said this month that it was more about culture. "The Asian players ... it's kind of a respect thing, a pecking order thing," she said. "They are brought up to really honor their roots and their grandparents, and the people before them, and the higher-ups. So all of a sudden, you put an 18- or 19-year-old girl that's maybe not really comfortable with her English. Playing with four CEOs - men or women - she is not going to feel comfortable going up there and making small talk."
Her solution? Have them accompany a veteran who makes everyone comfortable in pro-ams - and there's no shortage of those, whether it's Inkster, Meg Mallon or Lorena Ochoa.
"Count that as their pro-am, just so they can learn," Inkster said. "It's teaching these girls how to play a pro-am more than teaching them English. If I get four Korean men in this pro-am, even though I don't speak their language, I'm going to make it fun for them."
Tiger on the Rays
Transplanted Floridian Tiger Woods talked about the Rays and their improbable run to the World Series with ESPN.com's Jason Sobel:"What they've done is absolutely incredible. Being that young. Obviously, when you finish in last place, you get all the No. 1 draft picks, but they've built it up from that, which is incredible. They haven't bought players. One big trade and that was about it. The rest have been their picks and they brought them up through the farm system.''
This week and next mark the first round of qualifying school, the grueling test nonexempt pros must go through to earn playing cards for either the PGA or Nationwide tours. There are 11 sites for the first round of qualifying, and generally the low 19-21 players and ties advance to six courses for the second round. One of those second-round sites is Southern Hills Plantation in Brooksville. The qualifier is scheduled for Nov. 12-15. Another predetermined amount of qualifiers, likely the top 20 and ties, advance to the final round Dec. 3-8 at PGA West in La Quinta, Calif. There, the top 25 and ties earn their PGA Tour cards, while the others in the field receive some sort of status on the Nationwide Tour.
Watch that tongue
U.S. Amateur winner Danny Lee was detained by airport authorities for making an "inappropriate comment" while checking in for an international flight at Auckland. Lee, the No. 1-ranked amateur, could be charged for his actions 10 days ago, New Zealand Golf said Thursday. He was with the New Zealand team that was boarding a flight to Adelaide, Australia, to play in the Eisenhower Trophy world team championship. "It was a throwaway comment, but it was said in the wrong place," New Zealand Golf chief executive Bill MacGowan said. "They talked to him at the airport. They had a conversation with him about it and it is still being dealt with." Lee was allowed to board the flight.
Tampa's David Branshaw, right,sits squarely on the Nationwide Tour's bubble with two tournaments left. Branshaw is 25th on the money list heading into today's Miccosukee Championship in Miami. The top 25 after the Nov. 6-9 Nationwide Tour Championship earn PGA Tour cards for 2009. There is $644 separating Branshaw, 39, and 26th-place Ryan Hietala, 34, of Boise, Idaho.
Number of the day
95 Eagles made during last week's PGA tournament in Las Vegas, and 14 came on par 4s. To put that in perspective, 69 eagles were recorded at all four majors this season combined.
Quote of the day
Annika Sorenstam, who retires at year's end, has cracked the top 10 only once in her past eight tournaments. "Yeah, it's been very different since I announced my stepping away," Sorenstam, 38, said in a conference call last week. "I have not played as well. I don't know if it's because I've been very busy just getting involved with tournaments and saying goodbye and engaging with fans and sponsors, or just maybe unconsciously knowing that I've made the decision and I'm having a hard time focusing.''