Coaching guru Hank Haney, who was suspended from a golf radio slot last week, has said Lee Jeongeun’s US Open victory had backed up his controversial comment about Korean players.
Lee became the ninth South Korean to win the women’s major in just over 20 years, claiming a two-stroke victory over compatriot Ryu So-yeon and Americans Angel Yin and Lexi Thompson.
Haney was suspended after he said on SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio that a “Korean” would win the event in Charleston. “I couldn’t name you six players on the LPGA Tour,” Haney said. “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.”
After Lee’s win, Haney said his tip was based on facts. “My prediction that a Korean woman would be atop the leaderboard at the Women’s US Open was based on statistics and facts,” he said in a post on Twitter. “Korean women are absolutely dominating the LPGA Tour. If you asked me again my answer would be the same but worded more carefully.”
In later tweets, Haney mispelled Lee’s name in congratulating her and blamed it on “auto correcting”. “Congratulations to Jeongeun Lee6 on your great win at the US Women’s Open. I knew you’d win. Who’s The Great Predictor now Steve Johnson,” he wrote, addressing his fellow instructor and business partner.
Lee has a “6” in her surname to differentiate her from five other players with the same name on the Korean Tour.
Although Haney was quick to apologise for his radio comments last week, he drew criticism from a number of leading players, including his former client, Tiger Woods. SiriusXM said it was “reviewing his status” on the show.
Lee, who began the final day two shots behind joint overnight leaders Celine Boutier and Yu Liu, carded a closing 70 to win by one.
“I couldn’t imagine coming this far, winning a major championship, and I feel proud of myself,” said the 23-year-old.