Celebrity Golf


Is it possible that Jerry Rice is worse at golf than Michael Jordan was at baseball?

In his second Nationwide Tour event, Jerry Rice fired a 92-82 at the BMW Charity Pro-Am. Two weeks ago, Rice shot an 83-76 in his debut Nationwide event. I briefly wrote about that train wreck here.

Yes, those scores are awful. But here’s the kicker, Rice was disqualified in his second event because his caddy used a yardage scope in the fairway. Are you kidding me? The Nationwide Tour should be embarrassed to let this guy use corporate sponsors. Are they that hard up for publicity?

If Rice was competing on some small regional mini tour, then that’s fine. But the Nationwide is a smidgen below the PGA Tour–these golfers are the real deal–so why taint that with some publicity stunt from a guy who couldn’t make a cut if he played in every tournament for five years?

Unbelievable.

You know Rice doesn’t belong on the Nationwide for the mere fact that he said he was pleased with a second round 76 during his debut tournament. Dude, if you’re happy with a 76 on the Nationwide Tour, you’ve got serious issues.

Thankfully, Rice was quoted in USA Today as saying, ““Because I can’t commit to golf the way I want to, this is probably my last Nationwide Tour event.” Let’s go ahead and eliminate that “probably”, Jerry. Save yourself the embarrassment, and keep the range finder in the bag, please.

This Rice debacle leads me to one question: Who was worse at their second sport…was it Rice at golf or Michael Jordan at baseball?

Talk amongst yourselves.

83-76.

No, those aren’t my two rounds from a local amateur tournament, though my efforts would probably closely resemble that.

Image: Flowski/Flickr

That 159 two-round score was the product of former NFL Great and future hall-of-famer Jerry Rice, who missed the cut in his first professional tournament—the Fresh Express Classic on the Nationwide Tour.

Rice is just another on the long list of former athletes who thought they could make it in golf. Johnny Bench and Mike Schmidt tried. Michael Jordan has always talked about it. Few of them ever even make a cut.

The former San Francisco 49ers receiver got into the Nationwide Tournament on a sponsor’s exemption—of course,  finishing 151st in a 152 man field.

This was nothing more than a marketing ploy, obviously. When he’s quoted as being “happy” with a second round 76, you know he doesn’t belong on the Nationwide Tour, even on a sponsor’s exemption.

It would have been much more sensible for Rice to play on a smaller regional mini tour…in Portugal. Seriously. They have great golf in Portgual. Why not?

If Rice, 47, wants to practice a few years and give the Champions Tour a shot, then more power to him. But, Jerry, stay away from the Nationwide Tour. You’re being ridiculous.

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How bad does Ray Romano suck at golf? We'll find out next spring. (Image: simplisticdesigns /Flickr)

Last winter, Tiger Woods’ teacher took on the project of a lifetime: Charles Barkley.

I covered The Haney Project fairly extensively on this blog. It seemed Hank helped Charles quite a bit at times. And, at other times, well it seemed as if Chuck still had no clue.

All that to say that Haney has a new project: Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano. I really know very little about Romano’s game. But if the Barkley show is any indication, Haney loves a good challenge. So my guess is that Ray’s swing needs quite a bit of work.

The program is slated to air in March.

Read more on Golf Magazine‘s website.

For those who read my blog for The Haney Project recaps, the show is on hiatus until May 11th.

Tune back in then to find out if Chuck is able to keep flattening that swing and losing the hitch following the DUI mishap.

For a recap of last week’s episode, click here.

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Charles is in the sand much less these days. (Image: simplistic.designs/Flickr)

With a little help from Anthony Kim’s trash talk, Charles Barkley was swinging nicely on tonight’s episode, smacking three drives over 300 yards.

The episode started rough, with Chuck struggling in a charity tournament (The First Tee) in Florida. Pretty embarassing, actually. I felt for the guy. The hitch crept up and wouldn’t go away.

But that was nothing Hank Haney couldn’t fix. After another 1,000 ball day on the range with Tiger’s coach, Barkley was swinging like a pro again. One fluid motion. No hitch. Now that’s how a golf swing should look.

Charles took the course–his nemesis–for a four hole “virtual match” against Anthony Kim. I could see a big difference at this point. The hitch was mostly gone, and Barkley’s shots were much improved. Staggering drives and fairly solid approach shots.

He continues to improve. But both Chuck and Hank admit they thought they would be further along by now. It just goes to show how much help Barkley needed.

The show goes on hiatus until May 11, likely because of the break in filming after Charles was charged with a DUI. It will be interesting to see how much the layoff affects him–assuming he wasn’t playing much while dealing with the alcohol issues.

Hopefully, Hank Haney won’t have to start over. Tune in May 11 to find out.

In tonight’s episode, Hank Haney was asked: How many golf balls does it take to break a habit?

To which he answered: “I don’t know. We are about to find out.”

The range ball is Charles Barkley's best friend.

The range ball is Charles Barkley's best friend. (Image: Ken Quixote/Flickr)

So is the problem which Haney faces–fixing Charles Barkley’s swing. It’s astonishing how different Charles’ swing is on the range…smooth, seamless, not bad at all.

But when he takes it to the course, like he did again tonight, all hell breaks loose. The hitch returns, he looses the flat angle, and he sprays horrid golf shots all over the course.

Tonight Haney commented that he’d like to have Barkley further along by now. It’s three months into their training together. Chuck’s doing well, but old habits die hard–and that hitch just doesn’t want to go away.

Haney incorporated an interesting drill to help Barkley keep his head still. While he swung the club, Chuck looked straight ahead at Hank standing across from him. This took away Chuck’s focus on the ball, and let him just swing the club. The hitch disappeared.

Hank explained that it’s the same type of technique they use for golfers who have the yips with the putter. They take the ball away, focus on the stroke, and then slowly incorporate the ball back into the picture.

Hank was doing the same thing with Barkley tonight, except this drill was used in the form of the full swing, not a putting stroke.

Good episode tonight. The question remains, though: Will Hank Haney be able to fix Charles Barkley’s swing? Chuck is getting there, but the new swing has yet to click. We’ll keep watching.

Charles is all smiles on the range. But on the course it's a different story. (Image: Simplistic.Designs/Flickr)

Charles is all smiles on the range. But on the course it's a different story. (Image: Simplistic.Designs/Flickr)

Tonight’s episode was a case study in golf psychology.

Barkley has made enormous strides in practice. Hank Haney has worked with Charles to the point that Chuck was comfortable going on national television–on his NBA show on TNT–and hitting a few balls with his redesigned swing.  Swing looked great.  Hank then took Barkley to one of those golf simulators that I hate. Chuck was busting out over 300 yard drives.

But, then, Charles went out to the course. And, oh my, that was bad. Horrible. Embarassing. He reverted back to his old hitchy, stop and start swing, and hit some nasty looking shots. Hank was dissapointed. Chuck was disappointed.

Hank repeatedly says that Chuck’s problem is not in his head, but it’s  in his swing. But, really, it’s his head that is producing a different swing on the course. He’s comfortable on the range. But it’s the course that’s getting inside his head. And that’s the catalyst for these bad swings.

Here’s a guy who could stand in front of 15,000 people and sink free throws to win playoff games. But he can’t handle the pressure of playing with a few friends on the golf course. It’s crazy how the mind works, isn’t it?

In my own life, it’s amazing how I could hit a tee shot in front of 50 people and not even think about it. But you make me stand and talk in front of those 50 people and I’m like Ricky Bobby after he won his first race in Talledega Nights: What do I do with my hands? But I’m getting better at that.

So there’s tonights recap. Until next week…

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