ICYMI: Judge’s ‘Hank Haney v PGA Tour’ Ruling Was Written in Golf Lingo

Federal Judge Rodolfo Ruiz agreed with the PGA Tour and dismissed Hank Haney's lawsuit against the tour. (PGW Graphic)

Last week, U.S. District Court Judge Rodolfo Ruiz granted the PGA Tour’s request to dismiss Hank Haney’s lawsuit against the tour, in which the celebrity golf instructor alleged that the golf behemoth pressured SiriusXM Radio to suspend him and eventually terminate his contract after he made snide comments about the LPGA.

Haney, who is best known for his relationship with Tiger Woods, had sued the PGA Tour in federal court (Southern District of Florida) in late 2019, claiming the tour basically blackballed him and ruined his business prospects.

The PGA Tour’s lawyers asked the court to dismiss Haney’s lawsuit in February 2020, saying he failed to prove “anything other than [Sirius’] own review of Haney’s racist, xenophobic, and sexist comments about the LPGA and its players.”

While the story was widely reported in the golf media, the way the judge ruled was sort of a buried lede.

It was next level trolling:

“As the Court remarked at the outset of this matter, the allegations teed up in this case — like a well-hit drive on the golf course — avoided pleading hazards… remained in bounds, and left Plaintiffs with an opportunity to take their next shot,” wrote Judge Ruiz wrote in his ruling.

“However, Plaintiffs’ next shot has not fared as well as their opening drive. In an effort to reach the green and get this matter to trial, Plaintiffs’ approach has found the water.

“Rule 9 of the USGA Rules of Golf states a key principle of the game: ‘play the ball as it lies.’ In other words, absent a few exceptions, players cannot improve their position by simply moving the golf ball. And the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure do not provide for mulligans.

“Here, under Rule 56, the Court must similarly take the evidence as it lies in the record. And that evidence makes clear that Plaintiffs are unable to establish the necessary elements of their claims… Plaintiffs’ round has come to an end.”

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