Hank Haney suspended from PGA Tour Radio following controversial comments (UPDATE)
Hank Haney's radio show did not appear on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio's program schedule for Thursday and Friday, one day after the golf instructor's controversial comments towards women's golf.
"The Hank Haney Show" ordinarily runs weekdays from 10 a.m to noon. As of Wednesday, the program appeared on the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio schedule for this Thursday and Friday. A rerun of Michael Breed's "A New Breed of Golf" instead aired during Haney's Thursday slot, and now appears on the schedule to run on Friday as well. The SirusXM calendar does show Haney's program back on the scheduled on Monday, June 3.
On Wednesday, Haney and co-host Steve Johnson made remarks that were perceived as racist and sexist regarding the U.S. Women's Open. Haney mockingly predicted "a Korean" would win this week's event at Country Club of Charleston, adding he couldn't name six players on the LPGA Tour save for those with the last name "Lee."
Several LPGA voices responded to Haney's comments. "As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that @HankHaney made disappoint and anger me on so many different levels," Michelle Wie wrote on social media. "Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank....shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out."
LPGA Hall of Famer Annika Sorenstam described the conversation as "unacceptable," while seven-time major winner Karrie Webb called for the tour to boot Haney and Johnson from the air. The LPGA also released a statement on the matter. "We are proud of the many faces who represent the diverse and global nature of golf. We celebrate all our athletes for the people they are, the countries from which they come, and the unique stories that each of them have to tell. This game is for everyone."
Haney tried to clarify those comments later in the program, saying he couldn't remember what he said.
"I guess people are taking this as racially insensitive," Haney said." He then apologized "if I offended anyone." The show ended with Johnson telling Haney he was not a racist, to which Haney replied, "I am definitely not a racist."
Haney also responded to a Golf Digest request for comment with the following text:
”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 biggest 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 doing so.”
Haney is best known for coaching Tiger Woods from 2004 to 2010, and for the Golf Channel TV show "The Haney Project." He is also a longtime Golf Digest contributing teacher.
UPDATE - 8:15 p.m. -- The PGA Tour and SiriusXM have suspended Hank Haney. "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. "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 proudly covers and supports both women's and men's golf and the athletes that make them great. At the PGA Tour's instruction Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel. SiriusXM is reviewing his status on SiriusXM going forward."
Mr. Haney added, "I accept my suspension and apologize again."