Tiger Woods’ former coach Hank Haney will now have his day in court.
This is after the PGA Tour’s motion to dismiss Haney’s allegations of unfair dismissal were stated by the ruling Southern District Court of Florida in Miami, and strangely in well-used golf terms, to be ‘like a well-hit drive on the golf course—have avoided pleading hazards under Rule 12(b)(6), remained in bounds’.
Haney was suspended by the Tour and SiriusXM in May 2019 when he and co-host Steve Johnson were chatting about the then upcoming U.S. Women’s Open with Haney mockingly predicting “a Korean” would win the championship, held that week at the Country Club of Charleston.
It did Haney little favour in adding he could not name six South Korean-born players on the LPGA Tour save for those with the last name ‘Lee’.
Both Haney, now aged 64, and Johnson were sacked by Sirius that is owned by the PGA Tour who deemed the comments to be racist and also sexist.
Haney, who had coached Woods from 2004 to 2010, brought a suit against the Tour in December stating the Tour harboured a “vendetta” against him. According to the court documents he is seeking damages “for the harm the PGA Tour caused when it improperly intimidated, enticed and threatened SiriusXM Radio, Inc. (SiriusXM) to suspend and ultimately terminate Haney’s radio broadcast on SiriusXM’s PGA Tour Radio station.”
Haney also claims the Tour has “long attempted to disrupt and interfere in Haney’s business,” most notably regarding the release of his book, The Big Miss, a tell-all from Haney’s time as Tiger Woods’ swing coach.
Haney also alleges the Tour forced the Golf Channel to discontinue his “Hank Haney Project” TV show on the network and SiriusXM to terminate Haney’s business relationship.
According to Haney, these actions have cost advertising revenues that “would have amounted to millions” over the life of Haney’s agreements.
The Southern District Court acted in asserting Haney had a right to his day in court.
“The Court, having reviewed the parties’ submissions, the record, and being otherwise fully advised in the premises, finds that the allegations teed up in this case—like a well-hit drive on the golf course—have avoided pleading hazards under Rule 12(b)(6), remained in bounds, and left Plaintiffs with an opportunity to take their next shot,” reads the court’s ruling.”
Haney was naturally pleased with the decision meaning the PGA Tour does have a case to answer.
“I’m pleased with the court’s decision as it allows us to move forward and prove our case,” said Haney speaking to Golf Digest US.
“Discovery will show the evidence in our favour is overwhelming and indisputable, and evidences a disturbing influence the PGA Tour exercises in the golf world, including on media outlets. I’m looking forward to our day in court.”