By Andrew Both
CHARLESTON, S.C. (Reuters) – Tiger Woods’ former instructor Hank Haney has been suspended by the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel, a day after making disparaging remarks about women’s professional golf during his program.
Speaking on the eve of the U.S. Women’s Open, Haney said he didn’t know where the championship was being held, couldn’t name six players, and predicted that a Korean would win.
“Mr. Haney’s comments on women’s professional golf do not represent the views of the PGA Tour or SiriusXM,” the PGA Tour said in a statement.
“At the PGA Tour’s instruction, Mr. Haney has been suspended from the SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio channel. SiriusXM is reviewing his status going forward.”
Haney apologised for his remarks hours after the show.
“This morning, I made some comments about women’s golf and its players that were insensitive, and that I regret,” Haney wrote.
“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 highest 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.”
Haney’s remarks were rebuked on social media by several players, including Michelle Wie, arguably the biggest name in the women’s game.
Wie, who is missing the U.S. Open due to injury, tweeted that Haney’s comments “disappoint and anger me on so many different levels.
“Racism and sexism are no laughing matter Hank….shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out.”
But not everyone on the LPGA Tour was as upset as Wie.
“My guess is he was trying to be funny and it came out wrong,” Australian Katherine Kirk, a three-times LPGA winner, told Reuters at the U.S. Open.
“If I was Korean I don’t think I would take offence to it but I also understand Hank’s sense of humour and opinions. I’ve listened to his show.
“Only he knows what he was intending when he said it.”
(Reporting by Andrew Both; Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)