Five days after apologizing for making “insensitive” comments on his SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio show, Hank Haney defended his prediction that a Korean would win the U.S. Women’s Open while South Korea’s Jeongeun Lee6 was putting the finishing touches on her maiden major championship victory.
Haney was subsequently suspended from his radio show for his comments and received criticism from the likes of Michelle Wie and Tiger Woods, among others.
“I’m going to predict a Korean (will win),” Haney said on the air on Tuesday. “That’s going to be my prediction. I couldn’t name you, like, 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.
“Honestly, Michelle Wie’s hurt. I don’t know anybody.”
After walking back the comments, Haney apologized shortly thereafter, writing, “This morning I made some comments about women’s professional golf and its players that were insensitive and that I regret,” he said. “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. I’ve worked in this game with men and women players from many different cultures, and I look forward to continuing to doing so.”
On Sunday evening, Haney reopened the apology thread by defending his prediction.
My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts. Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.
— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) June 2, 2019
“My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts,” Haney wrote on Twitter on Sunday evening. “Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.”
Congratulations to Jeongeun Lee6 on your great win at the US Women’s Open. I knew you’d win. Who’s The Great Predictor now Steve Johnson @steveyrayj
— Hank Haney (@HankHaney) June 3, 2019
Lee6, who uses a number at the end of her last name to differentiate herself from the other Jeongeun Lees on the Korean LPGA Tour, shot a 1-under par final round of 70 to best Lexi Thompson, Angel Yin and So Yeon Ryu by two strokes and pick up her first major championship.
“She couldn’t imagine coming this far,” Jennifer Kim, Lee6’s manager and translator, said. “She feels proud of herself, and she worked so hard.”