Synopsis: Political correctness regarding the LPGA officially has jumped the shark. Earlier this week, Hank Haney mockingly predicted that a Korean with the last name of Lee would win the U.S. Women’s Open. To be honest, the only reason we know of Haney is because he served as the swing coach for six out of Tiger Woods’ fifteen majors. Largely based on this historical relationship, Haney has a show on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio. Due to the negative reaction to his arguably racist and sexist remarks, the station suspended him and preempted his show. I argue that Haney’s comments were neither racist nor sexist, but rather stereotypically accurate.
NOT TOP10 BUST: HANK HANEY
Prior to the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, Hank Haney offered the following thoughts on his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show with co-host Steve Johnson:
Steve Johnson: “Hank, the 74th U.S. Women’s Open…yeah.”
Hank Haney: “I’m going to predict a Korean.”
Johnson: “Okay.” (laughter)
Johnson: “Pretty safe bet.” (Laughter)
Haney: “That’s going to be my prediction…I couldn’t name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour.
Haney: “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…Yeah, I don’t know.”
Johnson: “You’ve got six Lees.”
Haney: “Honestly, Michelle Wie’s hurt…I don’t know anybody…where are they playing, anyway?”
Despite being acknowledged as a recognizable LPGA name by Haney, Michelle Wie did not take kindly to his words. Specifically, she said:
As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that @HankHaney made 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.”
HOLD YOUR HORSES
But for winning the 2014 U.S. Women’s Open, Michelle Wie deserves consideration as a Top10Bust. Like many, I thought she would redefine LPGA greatness as Tiger Woods redefined PGA greatness. Imagine if Tiger had only won one Major instead of 15, then you’ll understand her underachievement.
After the negative reactions from Wie and other LPGA professionals, Haney responded by saying:
This morning I made some comments about women’s professional golf and its players that were insensitive and that I regret. 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 biggest 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. I’ve worked in this game with men and women players from many different cultures, and I look forward to continuing to doing so.
Despite Haney’s apology, his former student (i.e. Tiger Woods) didn’t hold back back by saying:
He deserved it. . . [You] just can’t look at life like that. He obviously said what he meant, and he got what he deserved
Karma presumably is a b*tch because Haney went after Woods’ scandalous indiscretions over 10 years ago so the pupil offered his version of payback. Still, I question whether Haney deserves any condemnation because he simply spoke the truth.
2019 SCRIPPS SPELLING BEE WINNERS
Earlier this week, I watched a little bit of the 2019 Scripps National Spelling Bee. I didn’t know any of the contestants, but I silently bet to myself that the winner would be of Indian descent. After running out of words, the organizers announced eight winners this year. The following list includes the winners’ names, ages, hometowns, and final correctly spelled words.
- Rishik Gandhasri, 13, of San Jose, Calif.: auslaut.
- Erin Howard, 14, of Huntsville, Ala.: erysipelas.
Saketh Sundar, 13, of Clarksville, Md.: bougainvillea.
- Shruthika Padhy, 13, of Cherry Hill, N.J.: aiguillette.
- Sohum Sukhatankar, 13, of Dallas: pendeloque.
- Abhijay Kodali, 12, of Flower Mound, Tex.: palama.
- Christopher Serrao, 13, of Whitehouse Station, N.J.: cernuous.
- Rohan Raja, 13, of Irving, Tex: odylic.
Simply based on the names (and the picture), I would bet that 7 out of the 8 winners are of Indian descent. My prior prediction was not racist, but rather stereotypically accurate. With all due respect to Erin Howard, the odds are she would not have outlasted the others if the Spelling Bee organizers had done their homework and prepared more words.
After two rounds of the 74th U.S. Women’s Open, five of the top 17 contestants are Korean. More interestingly, Korean Joengeun Lee6 is tied for fifth. Of note, she changed her name from Lee to Lee6 because she was the 6th Joengeun Lee on the Korean LPGA Tour. Mind you, she was not the 6th Lee, but rather the 6th Joengeun Lee.
So let’s get this straight. Hank Haney gets called out for predicting that a Korean woman with the last name of Lee will win the U.S. Women’s Open. Meanwhile, a Korean woman with the last name of Lee changed her name to Lee6 to differentiate herself from all of the other Korean Lees. And, she sits within three shots of the lead after two rounds.
There’s a difference between being racist and being stereotypically honest. Imagine if I argued in 2000 that an African-American with the last name of Woods would win the men’s U.S. Open. Would you have called me a racist, or a smart bettor?
Go figure, Hank Haney was right. A Korean with the last name of Lee just won the 2019 LPGA U.S. Open. To boot, Joengeun Lee6 (i.e. the Korean golfer who changed her last name due to the volume of other Koreans named Joenguen Lee) won. Haney was vilified and suspended for jokingly (and accurately) predicting the outcome. Hopefully, the result confirms that everyone overreacted. I look forward to listening to Haney once he’s appropriately reinstated because he provides an honest assessment that too often gets ignores in a world of excessive political correctness.