That’s how tonight’s premier of The Hank Haney Project began.

This is entertaining television, people. As bad as Barkley’s swing is, he’s just fun to watch.

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Hank Haney hopes to make Barkley's swing suck less. (Image: Rachelle/Flickr)

In tonight’s first episode, Haney put Charles through the ringer–basically, a “Tiger Day.” Barkley was on the course from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., whacking balls like it was his job…and, for the purposes of this show, it was his job.

A few things stood out to me tonight. I forgot that Barkley once had a respectable golf game. In the early 90s, he actually maintained a 12 handicap.

Video of his swing in 1994 showed a solid backswing and follow through, much closer to being on plane, and with a lot less movement than he has today.

But then he started playing in televised celebrity tournaments, and his game went south. All the bad shots seemed more pronounced, maybe he would hit someone in the gallery–all of this nationally televised. The bad shots kept building, his confidence detiorated, and he slowly developed one of the worst golf swings ever caught on tape.

The other thing about tonight’s episode: you could see his progress after just one day. Chuck’s swing was much smoother after a few hours with Haney. He was still way off plane, he still dipped his head, but the mid-swing hitch was gone and his swing seemed much more fluid. Nice job Hank Haney.

In next week’s episode, Big Chuck takes the course, so that should be interesting. To quote Hank Haney, “This is a project of a lifetime. And I don’t have a lifetime left.” Should be fun to watch.

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