Monday, February 23, 2009

Charles Barkley working to become the next Tiger Woods and how science can help you stop choking under pressure

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To look at the golf swings of both Tiger Woods and Charles Barkley, one would have to admit that they are complete opposites from start to finish. Even with a gimp and a grimace at the 2008 U.S. Open, Woods' fluidity was still beautiful to watch. Barkley's movements, on the other hand, have been the fodder for everyone from amateurs on YouTube to Tiger Woods himself, who jokingly attempted to copy the infamous swing which has been compared to "a tornado on acid".

Charles Barkley has finally had enough ribbing and will allow himself to be guided by Hank Haney in which the master instructor will try and rid the former NBA star, once an 80's golfer, of his "spasmodic hitch". Haney believes this "hitch" is hiding the real quandary and will address problems of dropping the head through impact and the angle of Barkley's swing plane noting, "when you have a mess like he has, you're not going to fix it with a swing thought."

It should be interesting to see if Haney can not only create a new swing for Barkley but also rebuild his confidence. Barkley is ready for improvement mentioning recently that, "it sucks getting ridiculed and humiliated." Once a ten-handicap with great putting abilities, it has to hurt Barkley knowing that the reason he is in this position in the first place is because he didn't realize that his injuries were forcing him to practice incorrectly.

Small golf goals are important to long-term achievement and Barkley's initial step is to break 85. His second? To take on the guys who have mimicked him in the past, namely Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods. On the other hand, with a mantra like, "What other sport can you play with friends for a few bucks, smoke cigars, drink beer, no phones, trash talk and be in the middle of nowhere?" does Barkley even have a chance against single-digit Jordan and Tiger Woods who is, well, perhaps the greatest golfer who has ever lived?

The Haney Project is a seven-part series on the Golf Channel with the first episode airing on March 2nd.

Also, on this week's Golf for Beginners show, we discuss an article in Scientific American which ponders the science of choking under pressure.

Congratulations to Phil Mickelson on his 35th career win at the Northern Trust Open!

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