Hank Haney doubles down on racist remark, saying prediction was 'based on statistics and facts'

ORLANDO, FL - JANUARY 26:  Hank Haney on SiriusXM PGA TOUR Radio's Teacher's Town Hall at The PGA Merchandise Show In Orlando Florida on January 26, 2017 in Orlando City.  (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for SiriusXM)
Hank Haney was suspended from his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show last week for his racist comments. (Photo by Gerardo Mora/Getty Images for SiriusXM)

Golf commentator and swing coach Hank Haney was suspended last week for his racist and sexist comments about the LPGA, but he’s making it clear his apologies have not been sincere.

After initially making comments on his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show belittling the LPGA and Korean golfers, Haney came back to claim that he was acting in good faith.

Following Jeongeun Lee6’s U.S Open win on Sunday, Haney said that his prediction that a Korean would win the tournament was actually based on “statistics and facts.”

Although his prediction — if we can call it that — came true, it’s easy to see how he isn’t taking responsibility for his careless and hurtful remarks.

Why Haney’s initial comments were tone-deaf

Haney found himself in hot water when he and fellow instructor Steve Johnson were discussing the U.S. Women’s Open on a radio segment. Golf News Net Radio found and transcribed the audio:

Johnson: This week is the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, Hank.

Haney: Oh is it? I’m going to predict a Korean. OK?

Johnson (laughing): OK, that’s a pretty safe bet.

Haney: That’s going to be my prediction. I could name you like six players on the LPGA tour. No, maybe I couldn’t. Ah, 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 followed that attempted humor by saying that he couldn’t name any other players beyond Michelle Wie. That underscored the fact that his comment about Korean golfers was not based in any good faith since Koreans have dominated this year with five different golfers winning six tournament, but none have been named Lee.

There are quite a few golfers named Lee on the tour — Lee6's name is listed with the number because she is the sixth player in the Korean LPGA with that name. The unique name has become a point of pride for her, and her fan club is called “Lucky 6.”

However, Haney continued to show himself to be unaware of Lee6 or other golfers, which make his comments even worse. As the segment continued, Haney could tell that his comments had crossed a line and began offering half-hearted apologies.

Haney has been denounced by Wie and his most famous former student, Tiger Woods, who is half-Asian. The PGA Tour also quickly put out a statement with SiriusXM, announcing his suspension.

Haney's comments matter because the LPGA gets disparaged enough as is, and a golf professional should speak positively about the sport if he's going to choose to talk about it at all. Joking from a place of power about foreign golfers having the same name is not funny, original or worth sharing.

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