Rozner: Women's golf deserves better than Hank Haney

  • FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2007 file photo, Tiger Woods uses his putter to indicate a point of interest to coach Hank Haney, right, during a practice session for the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz. Swing coach Haney has been suspended on Thursday, May 30, 2019, from the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel because of saying on his show that a Korean would probably win the U.S. Women's Open and that he couldn't name six players on the LPGA Tour. Haney, who coached Woods for six of his majors from 2004 to 2010, apologized on Twitter.

    FILE - In this Feb. 20, 2007 file photo, Tiger Woods uses his putter to indicate a point of interest to coach Hank Haney, right, during a practice session for the World Golf Championships Accenture Match Play Championship in Marana, Ariz. Swing coach Haney has been suspended on Thursday, May 30, 2019, from the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel because of saying on his show that a Korean would probably win the U.S. Women's Open and that he couldn't name six players on the LPGA Tour. Haney, who coached Woods for six of his majors from 2004 to 2010, apologized on Twitter.

 
 
Updated 5/30/2019 11:51 PM

Hank Haney fancies himself one of the greatest golf coaches in history.

Many would argue that his reputation was mostly gained by having Tiger Woods in his prime as Haney's main client.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In any case, the man who insists a flat left wrist will smooth out your swing, opened up the club face, caught it off the hosel and shanked a big one Wednesday morning.

Haney hosts a show weekday mornings (9 to 11 a.m.) on SiriusXM PGA Tour radio, a relatively dull event most of the time because Haney doesn't seem to have much knowledge of the current players beyond the biggest stars.

Most days it seems obvious that he's not watching a ton of golf and it's often a quick button push, as you wonder why he's got a show beyond possessing a big name in the game.

But Wednesday morning he got himself in a spot of bother -- to borrow a phrase from Nick Faldo, and to put it quite mildly -- when he and his co-host briefly discussed the U.S. Women's Open, a conversation that quickly turned ugly.

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"I'm going to predict a Korean," Haney said.

"Pretty safe bet," laughed co-host Steve Johnson.

"That's going to be my prediction," Haney said. "I couldn't name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour.

"Maybe I could," Haney continued. "Well, I'd go with 'Lee' if I didn't have to name a first name. I'd get a bunch of them right.

"Honestly, Michelle Wie's hurt. I don't know anybody. Where are they playing, anyway?"

For starters, let's go ahead and wonder why someone who's supposed to be an expert doesn't know they're playing in South Carolina at the Country Club of Charleston, which has been around for 120 years and hosts the Azalea, an annual national amateur event held before the Masters.

And the U.S. Open is, after all, a major championship. Kind of a big deal.

As for Michelle Wie, she's ranked 47th in the world right now, and that's all you know about women's golf?

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Four of the Top 10 are from Korea, but No. 2 Minjee Lee is from Australia, and she's the only "Lee" in the Top 15. In fact, there's only two women with that name in the first 33 of the Rolex Rankings.

No. 4 Ariya Jutanugarn is from Thailand. No. 5 Nasa Hataoka is from Japan. No. 6 Brooke Henderson is from Canada. No. 8 Lexi Thompson? She's from the United States. No. 10 Carlota Ciganda is from Spain.

Seriously, you never heard of Henderson and Thompson? They are huge stars on the LPGA Tour.

The Korda sisters, 11th and 13th, are also from America, as is No. 16 Danielle Kang. She's already won a major, won the U.S. Women's Amateur twice, and she's dating Maverick McNealy, who plays on the Web.com Tour, is a Haskins Award winner and two years ago was the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world.

This is not a mystery to anyone who follows golf, and it certainly shouldn't be for anyone paid to talk about it.

The women's game is extraordinary right now and the fields are very deep, something Haney would know if he bothered watching any of it.

But the fact that he thinks it's funny to knock the women's game is disturbing, as is his take on Koreans in golf.

The outcry was sharp and swift.

"As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that (Haney) made disappoint and anger me on so many different levels," Wie tweeted. "Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank. Shame on you. I don't ever do this, but this must be called out."

Late in the show, Haney said, "I guess people are taking this as racially insensitive," and then apologized "if I offended anyone."

That's not an apology.

Later Wednesday, he issued an actual apology in a text to "Golf Digest," but by then he had been taken off the air for Thursday and Friday.

Now, he's officially suspended.

"Mr. Haney's comments on women's professional golf were insensitive and do not represent the views of the PGA Tour or SiriusXM," read a statement Thursday from the PGA Tour and SiriusXM. "The PGA Tour is committed to and proud of the increasingly diverse makeup of our fan base, not to mention the power and accomplishments of the game's world-class, global players -- both on the PGA Tour and LPGA, whom we are working with more closely than ever before.

"SiriusXM is reviewing his status on SiriusXM going forward."

In his attempt to mock their playing ability and star status, Haney has given women's golf more attention than it has received in a while, attention that's long overdue.

The game is really good and the women are supremely talented.

As for whether Haney ever returns to the air, the very simple question would be, why bother?

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