The Haney Project: Episode 1 recap

This gives us hope.  Apparently there are people out there interested in bad golf.  More than 800,000 unique viewers watched the series premiere of “The Haney Project: Charles Barkley,” according to Dan Higgins, public relations official with Golf Channel.

With that excitement bringing delusions that perhaps people would like to watch Hank Haney help me, too, we begin our series recap of THP.

The episode begins with Charles Barkley and Hank Haney in their cars en route to an initial meeting over breakfast.  We hear Charles talk about how bad he is, and how bad it hurts to be bad (I’ve sung that song).  We see the visual evidence.  Hank lets us know that he has high expectations, and says he’d like to see Charles shoot 75.  On 18 holes.

While the pupil and new student await their food, Charles states that he has great fear when standing over the ball because he has no clue what’s going to happen, including the likelyhood that he may whiff altogether.  Coming in last at Tahoe isn’t the worst part for Charles, it’s being mocked on the internet by that “a–hole,” Tiger Woods.  He also jokingly refers to his famous friend as a “flash in the pan” whose hair is “leaving us quickly.”  He goes on to say that Tiger’s imitation isn’t that good.

Haney asks Charles if he’s ready to work, challenging Barkley to a “Tiger day.”  With some of us thinking that means a day off work and a parade, Hank explains that it entails the following routine:

- 6 a.m.: Workout and lift before breakfast
- 9 a.m.: Hit balls on the practice tee
- 11 a.m.: Putt
- 11:30 a.m.: Play 9 holes
- 12:30 p.m.: Lunch
- 1:00 p.m.: Hit balls on the practice tee
- 3:00 p.m.: Short game practice
- 4:00 p.m.: Play 9 holes
- 5:00 p.m.: Putt
- 5:30 p.m.: Hit balls on the practice tee
- 6:00 p.m.: Go home to beautiful wife on palatial estate where fields are trimmed by hand with Gillette Fusion razors (I added that one)

Charles says he’s up to the challenge of a Tiger day, especially the last part that I added.

Skip ahead to day one of Project Barkley at the Haney Golf Ranch in Dallas, TX.  After watching Charles take some swings, the first thing that Haney noticed is a poor swing plane, and drastic movement of the head.  The hitch is a secondary correction to try and get back in position.  Some video illustration shows Charles his fatal flaws.  So now it’s time to hit some balls.  And he hits them.  And hits more.  And some more.  Line of balls after line of balls, Haney puts Barkley through the mill, all with the goal of keeping the head up, and getting the swing plane flatter.  Haney also admits to just “wanting to test his commitment.”  Even through a rainstorm, Charles came through it tougher and several pounds of his own water weight lighter.

After more than 1,000 swings on day one, Barkley says it’s time for the cameras to shut down, and they do.

All in all, a very fun half hour of television, and I can’t wait to see next week’s episode.  It hurts, however, to know that, at the end of the series, there will be one more golfer in the world better than me.

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