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Lorena Ochoa criticizes LPGA English rule

Photo: Al Tielemans/SI

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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Lorena Ochoa of Mexico says a new LPGA Tour policy requiring players to be effective in English starting in 2009 is a "little drastic."

Ochoa, the No. 1 player in women's golf, says golfers are better judged by their performance.

She was asked at a charity event in her hometown of Guadalajara on Tuesday if she thought the new policy discriminated against international players.

"That is a very strong word. I wouldn't want to use it," said Ochoa, who speaks English. "But I do think it is a little drastic."

There are 121 international players from 26 countries on the LPGA Tour, including 45 players from South Korea.

While some thought the rule might be aimed at the Koreans, Ochoa said, "I think they are making an effort and they are trying to communicate more with the players, I think they are doing enough."

The LPGA will require players to speak English during pro-ams, trophy presentations and media interviews starting in 2009, with players who have been LPGA members for two years facing suspension if they can't pass an oral evaluation of English skills. The rule is effective immediately for new players.

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