Maybe he’s trying to establish himself as the biggest idiot in the game. If that’s the case, today, he can bask in his own success. (And Heaven knows, he needs a “W” after his efforts on national TV with Charles Barkley exposed his ineptitude as a swing instructor.)
In case you missed it – which seems as impossible as Haney hosting a sensitivity seminar – the nationally known teaching professional lit up social media last Wednesday with remarks made during his weekly show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. When co-host Steve Johnson turned the subject of the on-air lip-flap to the U.S. Women’s Open on the eve of first round of the 74th playing of the most prestigious event in women’s golf, Haney callously jumped in with “I’m gonna predict a Korean.”
Whether he was trying to cover for Haney’s gaff or was simply trying to steer his sidekick into safer waters before Haney plunged farther into cultural bigotry is unknown, but Johnson laughed and replied, “OK, that’s a pretty safe bet.”
But Haney didn’t catch the hint and with his toes already at the end of the diving board, the man who once unabashedly marketed himself as Tiger Woods’ teaching professional – how’d that go, Tiger? – dived head-first into a rant that showed he not only doesn’t know anything about women’s golf… but that he also doesn’t care.
“I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour,” Haney admitted, almost with a pride of authorship in his voice. “Maybe I could. Well … I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”
Yes, you would, Hank. There are plenty of Lees on the LPGA Tour, and a number of them are from South Korea. It’s a very popular name in the ROK, just as are Kim, Park and Choi. Just as the names Brown, Johnson and Smith are in this country, by the way.
There were six Lees playing in last week’s Women’s Open. But in case you missed it, Hank, Minjee is from Australia and Andrea is from the US of A.
But that probably didn’t enter into the narrow mind of the former radio talk show co-host.
That’s right, former. Haney’s insensitive comments about an extremely talented group of golfers based solely on their country of birth, not to mention his slam to women’s golf in general – did we mention that Haney didn’t even know the U.S. Women’s Open was being playing last week, much less where? – earned him an immediate pink slip from SiriusXM Radio. The broadcasting company veiled its firing by calling it a “suspension,” but does anyone ‘Siriusly’ think Haney will ever be given a microphone again?
Haney’s former pupil, Tiger Woods, even opined that Haney deserved the punishment he got.
Haney issued the stereotypical apology for his Wednesday comments, but was he sincere?
The answer is a resounding “No,” as Haney obviously hasn’t learned the slightest lesson in either humility or social acceptance. That fact was made crystal clear when Haney took to social media again but this time with an overt arrogance evidenced in an I-told-you-so argument he made to justify his anti-Asian bias from five days earlier. His Sunday night tweet:
Congratulations to Jeougean Lee6 on your great win at the US Women’s Open. Who’s The Great Predictor now Steve Johnson @steveyrayj I knew a Lee would win.
You may have gotten one lucky prediction right, @HankHaney. But your spelling needs work.
Later he did correct Jeongeun’s first name. But the bigger point here is, he still thinks he’s right.
If Haney would take the time to go to an LPGA event – he’d have to find out when and where they’re playing first – he would see what thousands of golf fans saw last week in Charleston. The ladies of professional golf are not only talented and dedicated athletes, but they are wonderful and warm human beings.
And let’s forget about slapping labels on individuals or groups based on nationality. At the latest Women’s Open, there were 12 different flags represented just within the top 30 players.
Hank, it’s the Ladies Professional Golf Association, not the United States Ladies Professional Golf Association. You and all the others who criticize the LPGA because of the number of Asian players among its ranks must not appreciate good golf.
Make that great golf. With Lee6’s win on Sunday, South Koreans have won eight of the last 12 U.S. Women’s Opens and exactly half of the last 36 major championships in women’s golf. They’ve won seven of the 13 events this year, while America has but one win, that being a victory by Nelly Korda (photo) at the ISPS Handa Australian Open in February.
By the way, players from France, Japan, Canada, Australia and England have one win each on the premier ladies tour, as well. Maybe we should start hating those girls for taking spots away from Americans. Heck, maybe you can find a reason to slam Nelly for not winning her title in this country.
The fact is, the LPGA is the showcase for the best female players in the world, regardless of their repective homelands. Yes, a significant number of today’s Tour players are from South Korea. But do you want to see ALL the best players, or do you want to only see the best from your own backyard?
And if you’ll take time to get to know players like 2011 U.S. Open champion So Yeon Ryu, one of the most delightful, outgoing, even bubbly personalities in all of sports; or 2015 champion In Gee Chun, a player with a smile that can light up the darkest room; or last week’s champion Jeongeun Lee6, the number assigned to her by the Korean LPGA where there are five others with the same name, well …
Did you know that Jeongeun is the first player in her family to take up golf? Or that she began playing the game so she could support her parents, her father being paralyzed following an accident he suffered as a truck driver? Or that she’s taking English lessons on-line so that she can better engage golf fans and media in a country that has embraced her and given her opportunity to pursue her dreams, even if a few rednecks are ticked off about it?
Hank, if you’re upset about the number of South Korean players on the LPGA Tour, teach some of your American students to play better. Oh, that’s right. The Charles Barkley thing again. You really helped him.
(Jongeun Lee6: AP Photo/Steve Helber)
(Nelly Korda: AP Photo/David Mariuz)