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Judge rejects Hank Haney’s lawsuit against PGA Tour

A Florida federal judge has granted the PGA Tour’s motion for summary judgment and dismissed instructor Hank Haney’s lawsuit against the tour, claiming it puts pressure on SiriusXM Radio to suspend him and then terminate him to present his radio program after his controversial commentary on women’s golf.

Haney, who is best known for collaborating Tiger Woods, sued the PGA Tour in December 2019 in federal court in Fort Lauderdale for alleged interference with contracts and unpleasant interference with business relationships.

PGA Tour attorneys have asked the judge to dismiss Haney’s lawsuit in February 2020, alleging that he could not prove that the decision to dismiss him was “based on anything other than [the radio network’s] own review of Haney’s racist, xenophobic and sexist remarks about the LPGA and its players. “

‘As the court noted at the outset of this matter, the allegations in this case came up — like a hit on the golf course- [have] avoid plea bargains. . . remained within bounds and gave the plaintiffs the opportunity to take their next shot, “U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo Ruiz wrote in his ruling.” In an attempt to reach the green and try the case, the plaintiffs’ approach found the water. And the federal rules of civil procedure do not provide for mulligans. … the round of the plaintiffs came to an end. “

Haney was originally suspended from his radio program in May 2019 due to what, according to the PGA Tour and SiriusXM, were insensitive remarks about women’s golf.

During the preview of the 74th US Open for Women, Haney said: ‘I’m going to predict a Korean [to win]. … That’s going to be my prediction. I could not name you six players on the LPGA Tour. “

Haney continues, “No, maybe I could do it. Well, I would go with Lee. If I did not have to name a first name, I would get a lot of them right.”

After noticing criticism on social media, Haney apologized during the show and later made a formal apology for his comments, in which he wrote, ‘[I] made some remarks about women’s professional golf and the players who were insensitive and about whom I regret. In an attempt to make a point about the overwhelming success of Korean players on the tour, I insulted people, and I’m sorry.

Ruiz ruled that Haney could not establish that any alleged interference by the PGA Tour was unfair, and that the Tour had the right to protect its economic and business interests in its dealings with SiriusXM. The court also ruled that the tour did not act with malice.

“Rule 9 of the USGA Rules of Golf sets out an important principle of the game: ‘play the ball as it lies’,’ Ruiz writes in the ruling.” In other words, in the absence of a few exceptions, players cannot position improves by simply moving the golf ball. Here, in terms of rule 56, the court must take the evidence in the same way as it lies in the record. And the evidence makes clear that plaintiffs are not able to determine the necessary elements of their claims. ”

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