A federal judge shut down the PGA Tour’s request to have a lawsuit filed against it by longtime swing coach and radio host Hank Haney dismissed on Tuesday, according to Golf Digest.
Haney, who worked as Tiger Woods’ swing coach from 2004 to 2010, was suspended and eventually fired from his SiriusXM radio show last year after he made racist and sexist comments on air about the LPGA. He filed a lawsuit against the Tour in December in Florida.
The Tour filed a motion in February asking a federal judge to throw out the suit, claiming that it failed to prove the Tour “unjustifiably interfered with Plaintiffs' business and/or contractual relationship with Sirius XM.” The Tour also said that Haney’s legal team failed to prove the decision to fire him was “based on anything other than [the radio network's] own review of Haney's racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments about the LPGA and its players.”
“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,” the court said, via Golf Digest.
The PGA Tour declined to comment to Golf Digest about the decision, and has until April 13 to respond to the complaint. Haney, naturally, was pleased by the ruling.
“It allows us to move forward and prove our case,” Haney said in a statement, via Golf Digest. “Discovery will show that the evidence in our favor 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.”
Haney fired from show after racist, sexist comments
Haney was suspended from his SiriusXM PGA Tour radio show last May after he made racist and sexist comments about the LPGA. He doubled down on those comments days later too, before finally apologizing.
“I’m going to predict a Korean [to win the U.S. Women’s Open],” Haney said on the show while talking with fellow instructor Steve Johnson.
“That’s going to be my prediction. I could name you like six players on the LPGA tour. No, maybe I couldn’t. Ah, well, I’d go with Lee.
“If I didn’t have to name a first name, I’d get a bunch of them right.”
Many in the golf world, including Woods and Michelle Wie, were quick to slam Haney for his comments.
He was eventually fired from the show. He filed the lawsuit in federal court in December, alleging “tortious interference with contract and tortious interference with business relations.” His firing from the show, he claims, cost him “millions of dollars” in advertising revenue, among other things.
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