American golf star Michelle Wie is not at the Country Club of Charleston this week for the U.S. Women's Open. But she was quick to jump to the defense of the tournament and LPGA players after controversial remarks by famed teaching pro Hank Haney.
Haney, who has worked with Tiger Woods among others, began his SiriusXM radio show Wednesday by predicting a South Korean player would win the Open.
"This week is the 74th U.S. Women's Open," Haney was told on the show.
"Oh it is?" he said. "I'm gonna predict a Korean."
Haney went on to say, "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."
Haney then indicated he didn't even know where the U.S. Women's Open is being played this week.
“Honestly, Michelle Wie is hurt," he said. "I don’t know anybody. Where are they playing by the way?”
Haney later issued an apology, but Wie — out this week with a wrist injury — was quick to respond, as was American veteran Stacy Lewis.
"I've never seen Hank Haney at an LPGA event, so I don't know how he could make those comments," Lewis said after a session at the Country Club's driving range.
Wie posted her response on Twitter.
"As a Korean American female golfer, these comments that (Hank Haney) 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."
Wie also posted, "Too many of these girls, Korean or not, have worked countless hours and sacrificed so much to play in the U.S. Open this week. There are so many amazing players in the field. Let's celebrate them ... Not mock them."
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
The U.S. Golf Association puts on the U.S. Women's Open, and USGA officials released a statement in response to Haney's remarks.
"We celebrate the fact that the U.S. Open Championship is a global event that is open for all and would encourage everyone to tune in this week to watch the finest athletes in the world compete for the most coveted championship in women's golf," the statement said.
Golfing legends Karrie Webb, who is in the Open field, and Annika Sorenstam also weighed in.
"Shame on you (Hank Haney) ... @PGATour if you're truly serious about supporting the @LPGA and growing the game, these two morons won't have a voice anymore!"
Sorenstam posted simply, "Unacceptable!"
Haney's statement of apology said, "This morning I made some comments about women's professional golf and its players that were insensitive and that I regret."