Hank Haney, the former swing coach of Tiger Woods, is suing the PGA for damages after they cancelled his radio show Sirius XM, following his racially-charged comments towards the LPGA.
In May, Haney was asked by Sirius XM cohost Steve Johnson who he thought would win the US Women's Open.
“I’m gonna predict a Korean," said Haney. "That’s gonna be my prediction. I couldn’t name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour. Nah, 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.”
Haney's comments sent social media spiralling and he was quick to apologise, but he was suspended by the radio show before it was later discontinued.
The press release regarding the suit reads:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 12/18/19
HANK HANEY TAKES ON THE PGA
Hank Haney has spent decades devoted to the profession of golf, as one of the game’s most accomplished instructors, media experts and authors. Having instructed over 200 touring professionals throughout his career, Hank today is providing to the entire golf world a lesson about pushing back against the PGA TOUR’s near-total domination and control of the industry.
Following six years of guiding Tiger Woods’ game, Hank began a meteoric rise as an on-air expert and storyteller, providing unique insights into the golf world. The only obstacle he faced was a PGA TOUR bent on seeking revenge for Haney’s 2012 truth-telling book about his six years instructing Woods, The Big Miss. As alleged in the Complaint filed today in federal court in the Southern District of Florida, the PGA TOUR forced its Superstores and Shops to cancel orders for Hank’s book, directed the Golf Channel in 2013 to discontinue Hank’s unquestionably successful television show, the “Haney Project,” and, a couple of years later, induced large sponsors to discontinue business relationships with Hank.
This past year, the PGA TOUR continued its effort to censor and control the golf media by forcing Sirius XM to cancel the “Hank Haney Golf Radio” show. Sirius XM, in announcing discipline against Hank, made it clear on May 30, 2019, that it was acting at the PGA TOUR’s insistence: “At the PGA TOUR’s instruction Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio channel.”
The transgression: immediately before the LPGA U.S. Open, Hank admitted he did not follow women’s golf and, when pushed to forecast a winner, said he could only guess that the winner would have the surname “Lee,” the surname of six golfers in the tournament, all ranked in the top 100. Indeed, the eventual winner was Jeongeun Lee.
Concerned, however, that he had been too flippant, Hank issued an apology while still on the air, explaining:
“This morning I made some comments about women’s professional golf and its players that were insensitive and that I regret. In an effort to make a point about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour I offended people and I am sorry. I have the highest respect for the women who have worked so hard to reach the pinnacle of their sport and I never meant to take away from their abilities and accomplishments. I’ve worked in this game with men and women players from many different cultures and I look forward to continuing to do so.”
But the PGA TOUR saw its opening and orchestrated Hank’s termination at Sirius XM.
Reinvigorated with a new podcast on iHeart Radio, Hank is continuing to provide insights into the world of golf while he steps into a new role, adding his voice to a growing chorus of golf devotees who no longer will tolerate the PGA TOUR’s arbitrary domination of the world of golf.