By Gary Norris Gray, Staff Reporter
OAKLAND – The Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) came out swinging this week as Hank Haney professional caddy and golf trainer tried to disparage a number of Korean golfers. Korean-American professional golfer Michelle Wie would have none of it and challenged Haney.
This man still has not learned the lesson that we are a multi-cultured country with many different ethnicities that make this nation great. Once again we stumble on the racial staircase of life. Mr. Haney has to have his coat-tails pulled to explain himself. Haney was just following in the footsteps of others and got caught.
It has happened again this week with, Hank Haney, a longtime golf instructor, and Tiger Woods‘ former coach, caught the attention of many after he made racist and sexist comments about women’s golf during his radio show Wednesday.
Haney was asked who would win the U.S. Open this weekend. His response was “a Korean I could not name you like uh, six players on the LPGA Tour. Nah, Maybe I could. Well, I’d go with Li, if I didn’t have to name the first name. I’d get a bunch of ’em right.”
No, Mr. Haney, you would have gotten them all wrong because none of them are named Li, try again. Now if he meant Lee then maybe six or seven but that does not excuse your comment of disrespecting the work and dedication that these ladies put into their craft.
For the record, there are over twenty South Korean Nationals on the LPGA golf tour and many others like Korean-Australian Minjee Lee, Korean-Canadian Jaclyn Lee, Korean-New Zealander Lydia Ko, and Korean-Americans Michelle Wie, Annie Park, Alison Lee, Lauren Kim, and Danielle Kang.
As for the Li-Lee comment he still got it wrong because there are seven in the 150 list. Li is a Chinese, not a Korean sir name. These are the seven Korean players with the sir name, Lee, Jaclyn Lee, Minjee Lee, Alison Lee, Jeongeun Lee6, Mi Hyang Lee, Miriam Lee, Jeong Eun Lee
Michelle Wie added: “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.”
This will most likely go over Mr. Haney’s head because he does not understand the pain and hurt that he has caused by his callous statement.
Mr. Haney should have known better in the political times of “ME TOO” and “TIME’S UP.” With our esteem leader at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Mr. Haney is permitted to say anything about the great Korean golfers without suffering the consequences. He has every right to think this way but never should have made it public.
The history continues if individuals cannot control and win the game these same individuals trash the game or the people who make the game great. It happened twenty-five years ago in golf when Tiger Woods took the game of golf by storm and won more championships in ten years more than any other professional golfer in history. Not good enough, Woods had to be brought back to earth with a scandal.
It happened with the Williams Sisters climbed up the tennis majors victory latter with Serena’s 23 victories. This year Ms. Williams is within one major victory away from the queen Margaret Court.
It happened when Black players dominated basketball and baseball winning championships in the 1970s and 1980s after the unwritten quota system on the floor and on the field ended.
Se Ri Pak
It happened in 1998 when female golfing Rookie of the Year, Se Ri Pak from South Korea took the ladies professional tour by storm which created a backlash in 2008 against the Asian golfers. The (LPGA) Ladies Professional Golfing Association put forth a ruling that was surprising and confusing. Lady golfers had to pass an English proficiency test and it became a world tour issue. This was aimed directly at the Asian golfers because few spoke English at that time.
This test was never required by the British Commonwealth countries or American golfers. The ruling was contested by the Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese national golf organizations and dropped in 2010 with a protest led by the State of California. The legislators of California informed the LPGA that they could not hold sanction tournaments in the Golden State if this rule stood.
Mr. Trump has allowed this full-scale attack on any minority accomplishment in the United States. We as Americans have to continue to point this out and expose these thoughts whenever possible, Michelle Wie has done that.
Michelle Wie and Samantha Marks did not waste time and twitted, Wie, stated, “As a Korean-American female golfer, these comments disappoint and anger me on so many levels. Racism and sexism are no laughing matter, Hank… Shame on you. I don’t ever do this, but this must be called out.”
Other females in the professional golfing fraternity came to Michelle’s aid like Marks and exposed the contradiction of Mr. Haney’s comments like they are very good golfers BUT they are Asian. That BUT gets in the way every time. It is like baseball Hall of Fame Rickey Henderson, stating he is a great baseball player BUT he speaks in the third person about himself. Does that diminish his baseball skills? NO, but Haney and many others continue to use that BUT to downgrade the accomplishments of minority athletes.
Haney finally apologized after the firestorm, stating, “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 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.”
The tide is slowly turning like in the late 1960s but it will take more incidents like this to open the eyes of America to racial, social, and spiritual harmony.
P.S. Haney was suspended Friday by Sirius XM Satellite PGA Golf Tour Radio for his comments
Want to know more about Korean golfers go to these websites
KLPGA.com and http://www.Seoulsisters.com
Thanks- Bleacher Report article by Adam Wells
Gary Norris Gray – Writer, Author, Historian, Gibbs Magazine-Oakland, California and New England Informer- Boston, Mass. THE GRAYLINE:- The Analects of A Black Disabled Man, The Gray Leopard Cove, Soul Tree Radio In The Raw, and The Batchelor Pad Network, Disabled Community Activist. Email firstname.lastname@example.org
©Copyrighted Gary Norris Gray @ Gray Leopard Prod.