Haney’s Folly

Unless you have no interest in golf whatsoever or have been on an expedition to Antarctica, you have doubtless heard about Hank Haney’s remarks about the LPGA in general and South Korean golfers in particular leading into last weekend’s US Women’s Open. If in the off chance you’ve not heard them, here’s the transcript, which while damning itself does not convey the disinterested and mocking tone used by Haney and his producer.

 

Reaction was swift from LPGA players and commentators from throughout the golf world, condemning Haney for said remarks. Sirius/XM suspended him from his show on its PGA Tour Radio station. Not surprisingly, the most shrill reaction came from USA Today’s Christine (Aunt Bea*) Brennan, who wants Haney banned from every golf club, public or private in the world.

Haney did not do himself any favors in the aftermath, first by offering the standard, tepid “sorry if I offended anybody” nonsense, and then, in an act that could only be described as incomprehensible, attempted to defend his comments after South Korean golfer Jeongeun Lee6’s win by offering up a flimsy argument that he had based his statements on statistical fact. He also managed to misspell Ms Lee6’s name while offering her congratulations.

I gave my own reasons as to why more attention should be paid to the LPGA and why the US Women’s Open deserved a watch over this past weekend (as opposed to, say, having the Golf Channel and CBS breathlessly broadcast every Tiger Woods shot on his way to a T-9 with Billy Horshel, Emilio Grillo, and Bud Cauley, whose combined time on the TV screen likely amounted to less than one minute). The competition at the Country Club of South Carolina was superb, and the USGA deserves credit for a tough but fair set up.

Oh, and for those of you keeping score at home, the Top 10 (including ties) consisted of the following breakdown:

  • 2 South Koreans
  • 1 Japanese
  • 1 Chinese
  • 1 French
  • 6 Americans

I will say that the radio channel on which Haney broadcasts is the PGA TOUR RADIO station. It does not cover the LPGA, and I would be surprised if there were not more than a few of his colleagues that share his views on the women’s Tour. That does not excuse Haney by any means, but it perhaps speaks to a need for the LPGA to further build upon its media presence. The Golf Channel has done a commendable job regarding LPGA Tour broadcasts and gave equal time to the recent NCAA Championships. Fox carries all USGA championships for both genders. Perhaps dedicated radio time should be the next step.

As to what to do about Haney . . . I don’t listen to him regularly, but he does have an audience and, unfortunately, his share of defenders. I can do without him. Maybe PGA Tour Radio can’t. And that’s the pity.

 

*credit to Tony Kornheiser

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