Diverse Leaderboard For Women's Open In Wake Of Haney Comments
There was an "impressive cast of golfers from around the world" near the top of the leaderboard at the U.S. Women's Open on Thursday, as players "seemed to be making a point" about Hank Haney's comments on Korean LPGA players, according to Bill Fields of ESPN.com. Japan's Mamiko Higa shot a 6-under 65 to lead Germany's Esther Henseleit and American Gina Kim by one stroke, with Celine Boutier of France shooting 67. South Korea's Sei Young Kim and Azahara Munoz of Spain followed at 68, with American amateur Andrea Lee and Spain's Carlota Ciganda among those who shot 2 under. The LPGA had "spoken up for its tour" following Haney's insensitive comments made on his radio show Wednesday. Former U.S. Women's Amateur champion Emma Talley, who shot 70, said, "We're probably the most diverse professional sport. We're a worldly tour, so I think this is the best golf you're going to see" (ESPN.com, 5/30). In N.Y., Karen Crouse notes the first 12 LPGA events of the season have "produced winners from six countries," and six of the tournaments were "won by South Koreans." LPGA Commissioner Mike Whan said that he "considers the global reach of the women’s game to be its greatest strength" (N.Y. TIMES, 5/31).
GLOBAL GAME: TSN.ca's Bob Weeks wrote if the LPGA is a "beacon of how golf should be and what its strengths are." Players from "scores of countries, speaking many different languages and carrying with them cultures and practices from around the world come together to share in a game that bonds them" (TSN.ca, 5/30). Golf Channel's Amanda Blumenherst called Haney's comments a "slap in the face" and noted the LPGA “embraces it’s a global tour, that it is a diverse sport.” Golf Channel's Robert Damron said of Haney, "You take something very positive, which is these Korean women working so hard to be great, and turn it into a joke” ("Morning Drive," Golf Channel, 5/30). GOLF.com's Michael Bamberger wrote under the headline, "Hank Haney Apologized For His Inane Remarks. So Let’s Move On, Right? No, Let’s Not." Bamberger: "Being a woman in this game so dominated by white male American men means you wake up every day with more work to do" (GOLF.com, 5/30).
MAKING A NEGATIVE A POSITIVE: In Chicago, Barry Rozner writes the women's game is "extraordinary right now and the fields are very deep, something Haney would know if he bothered watching any of it." In his attempt to "mock their playing ability and star status, Haney has given women's golf more attention than it has received in a while," attention that is "long overdue." Rozner: "The game is really good and the women are supremely talented" (Chicago DAILY HERALD, 5/31). Golf Channel’s Lauren Lewis said while this is not generating the type of "headlines we want moving into this week ... it does draw attention to the women’s game” (“Morning Drive,” Golf Channel, 5/30).