A radio host and former swing coach for Tiger Woods sued the PGA Tour Wednesday, claiming it unfairly pressured SiriusXM to cancel his radio show after he made controversial comments about Korean golfers.
According to the lawsuit, Hank Haney was on pace to make more than a million dollars in salary and ad revenue in 2019 from his golf talk show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio.
While discussing who would win the U.S. Women’s Open, Haney said: “I’m gonna predict a Korean.”
He continued: “I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA tour. Maybe I could. Well I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”
The comments sparked outrage on social media, where Haney was accused of being “ethnically insensitive,” as the lawsuit phrases it.
Haney promptly apologized, claiming his comments were nothing more than an indelicate quip about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour.
SiriusXM went into damage control, with the company’s golf program director instructing staff not to discuss the controversy on air. His email to staffers stated: “Hank made a comment that some people found offensive [and] he apologized, end of story.”
Haney says in the lawsuit that SiriusXM initially was not going to take punitive action against him over the comments. But the PGA Tour stepped in and wielded its influence over the radio company to ensure Haney would be taken off the air, he says.
SiriusXM is not a party to the lawsuit.
Haney claims the PGA Tour has had a vendetta against him stretching back to the release of his 2012 book, which in part tackled his time as golf legend Tiger Woods’ swing coach.