I’m a fan of golf of all levels. College, LPGA, PGA, European PGA, Champions… it doesn’t matter. The skill of the game is what brings me to the table.
Of course, I get clowned a lot about like to watch the LPGA along with the European Tour and Champions Tour. But, the clowning about like the LPGA is different. It seems to be more personal. The reasoning is usually based on the nationality of the females. The Asian women on the tour all get lumped in as Koreans. I’ve heard people criticize their accents when the do interviews begging them to become Americanized faster.
It’s beyond disappointing. And to be honest, the reasons have come from both men and, shockingly enough, women. The critics seem to be seeking young, American women to dominate the Tour, as opposed to, appreciating just how good these women are.
What might surprise some is where I play golf is the last place I hear this type of talk. Male members and female members are quick to be complimentary of each other’s skills. Even when the LPGA is on TV, I don’t hear the “I can beat her” or “make her play from the male tees” or any of that nonsense.
All sports, look at the NBA, are going to have people who will never watch for their own personal reasons and that’s fine. But there’s no room for the racist and/or gender based nonsense. It’s 2019. Grow up.
That’s why it was so disappointing the one of the golf community’s most respected voices, Hank Haney, make the comments that he made. When asked about the upcoming U.S. Women’s Open Haney said
“I’m gonna predict a Korean,” Haney said.
“That’s a pretty safe bet,” (Steve) Johnson replied
“That’s gonna be my prediction. I couldn’t name you, like, six players on the LPGA Tour,” Haney continued.
“Yeah,” Johnson said.
“Nah, maybe I could,” Haney said. “Well, I’d go with Lee. If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right. I don’t know. … Lexi Thompson. … Michelle Wie’s hurt. I don’t know that many.”
Haney would later apologize but the damage was done. I’m not naive. I’m sure he said how some, hopefully a growing minority, feel. That doesn’t make it any less repulsive.
Michelle Wie took to Twitter feeling the need to respond to Haney’s comments.
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. https://t.co/P18JByTosN
— Michelle Wie (@themichellewie) May 29, 2019
Wie was spot on with her tweet. It’s bad enough that a lot of athletes are subjected to comments based on a time that no longer exists. It’s even worse when it comes from someone in your sport’s community.
The LPGA is growing. Golf among the younger generation is growing. Instead of celebrating one of the best worldwide sports, Haney shamed it. Lets hope his repulsive comments won’t derail the LPGA. As LPGA Commissioner, Michael Whan tweeted:
In a time when the @LPGA is experiencing tremendous growth in tournaments, sponsors, @LPGAGirlsGolf, and TV coverage, we won’t get side-tracked by individuals that simply don’t get it. There will always be clueless critics – we’ll simply #DriveOn! https://t.co/pS2OX0ZmAJ
— Michael Whan (@LPGACommish) May 30, 2019
Now that’s more like it.