Report: Hank Haney's lawsuit against PGA Tour dismissed
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A federal judge has dismissed golf instructor Hank Haney’s lawsuit against the PGA Tour, according to an ESPN report.
Haney, who was suspended by the tour and SiriusXM in 2019 for comments deemed racist and sexist on his eponymous radio program, brought a suit against the tour in December 2019, alleging the tour harbored a “vendetta” against him. According to documents, Haney was seeking damages “for the harm the PGA Tour caused when it improperly intimidated, enticed and threatened Sirius XMRadio, Inc. (SiriusXM) to suspend and ultimately terminate Haney’s radio broadcast on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio station.” Haney claims the tour has “long attempted to disrupt and interfere in Haney’s business,” most notably regarding the release of his book, The Big Miss, a tell-all from Haney's time as Tiger Woods' swing coach.
However, ESPN’s Mark Schlabach reports that U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo Ruiz has granted the tour’s motion for summary judgment, using numerous golf puns in the ruling.
"As the Court remarked at the outset of this matter, the allegations teed up in this case—like a well-hit drive on the golf course—[have] avoided pleading hazards … remained in bounds, and left Plaintiffs with an opportunity to take their next shot," wrote Judge Ruiz. "However, Plaintiffs' next shot has not fared as well as their opening drive. In an effort to reach the green and get this matter to trial, Plaintiffs' approach has found the water. And the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for mulligans. ... Plaintiffs' round has come to an end."
In May 2019, Haney and his co-host Steve Johnson were involved in controversy when they made comments during Haney's show regarding the U.S. Women’s Open. Haney mockingly predicted “a Korean” would win the championship, held that week at the Country Club of Charleston, adding he couldn’t name six players on the LPGA Tour save for those with the last name “Lee.”
Ruiz continued that Haney failed to establish that any alleged interference by the tour was unjustified.
"Rule 9 of the USGA Rules of Golf states a key principle of the game: 'play the ball as it lies,'" Ruiz wrote. "In other words, absent a few exceptions, players cannot improve their position by simply moving the golf ball. Here, under Rule 56, the Court must similarly take the evidence as it lies in the record. And that evidence makes clear that Plaintiffs are unable to establish the necessary elements of their claims."
Haney is best known for coaching Woods from 2004 to 2010. He is a longtime Golf Digest teaching professional.