Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Haney Project - Michael Phelps


In anticipation of The Haney Project with Michael Phelps, premiering Monday February 25th at 9:00 ET on the Golf Channel, I had the opportunity to connect with Hank Haney and Michael Phelps and get the inside scoop on what we can expect.  Over the years I've had the opportunity to meet several world renown athletes including professional golfers, hockey players, skiers, etc, but connecting with the worlds most decorated Olympian is at the top of the list.

I found out first hand why Michael Phelps, winner of 22 Olympic medals, made the decision to trade in his Speedo for a pair of spikes and pursue golf as the next stage of his career. "It was something I was interested in for a long time." Phelps explained "One of the craziest thing was  when I got my first set of golf clubs, I wanted to do it just so give myself kind of something away from the pool that doesn't have to be always sort of focused around swimming."

He continued to talk about his journey "I have friends that played in high school and played in college and I was able to go out with them, and at that point I was like, wow, maybe I'll just quit swimming and start golfing. But then we quickly decided that probably wasn't the best idea. So I decided to just do it as a hobby. Took about a year off after the Olympics to really focus on what I had to do there. And then sort of being able to travel the world and play some of the best golf courses and learn from the greatest golf coach, I think it's just like  for me it's a cool opportunity of being able to learn a game that's so challenging."

"And it is probably one of the most humbling things I've ever done in my entire life; to be able to learn from the best and see some of the best courses, it was something that really interested me.
I guess it was right around New Year's where I really started falling even more in love with the sport and it's allowed me to I think really since then be able to be more consistent than I was but not as consistent as I want to be."

(Photo credits: Golf Channel)

As a professional athlete, Phelps has undoubtedly set some high golf goals for himself, and with the expert help of Hank Haney he hopes to achieve them.  He was a little reluctant to give specifics but had this to say  "there is still something that is keeping me hungry, and I do have a goal in this sport, and I'm going to do everything that I can to hopefully achieve that." He later gave some more insight  "In other sports, I could pick up a basketball and shoot a basketball. I could pick up a lacrosse stick and be fine. I can play baseball. I can play soccer. Like I feel like I can participate in a lot of other sports but I think in the sport of golf, there are so many different levels."  

"I have friends who play as a scratch golfer, and for me it would be exciting to be able to get down to where I could compete with them. So it's a challenge for me, and it's something that, like I said, keeps me  sure, it's not like I can go out and play a perfect round and hit all good shots, but that's what really keeps me coming back to try to reach that point.
I'm sure it's very challenging and who knows if it's possible to hit every perfect shot in a round. But it's obviously something that I am learning and hopefully I can go out and enjoy the game even more than I already have."  

(Photo credits: Golf Channel)

Hank Haney also weighed with his thoughts about his newest student "Obviously Michael is an incredible athlete, and as most unbelievable athletes see, translating it into golf is a little bit harder than it looks. But obviously he's got a tremendous amount of potential. Just his size and the length of his arms and his height, those give him such an advantage in the game, because so much of golf is distance, it's power and how far you can hit the golf ball."

Haney continued to talk about Phelps potential "So when I looked at Michael, like most people would say, wow, he's got a lot of potential for the game of golf. But the thing about potential in golf, it's really directly related to your clubhead speed and that means that anyone with a lot of potential when they are first starting is going to be wild with their shots and that just kind of goes with the territory. But I knew that he was raw as a golfer, but had incredible potential, and I was just looking forward to helping him.
The thing that I think gives him a big advantage is that he knows the process, he's patient with the process. He always talks about just takinglittle baby steps and he's had great coaching through his career, so he knows what it's like to be coached. So I felt like, you know what, this is going to be a dream student for me."


Over all Michael was super positive about his experience with the Haney Project and guarantees to have viewers laughing "It's probably going to be one of the funniest shows you've ever seen of the Haney Project. With the experiences that we have with the friends that I have on the show, I don't want to give too much away, but I guarantee you, we will have you laughing each part of the show, every single episode you ever watch, you're going to be you may be crying because you're laughing so hard.   We have been laughing every step of the way and we've had a great experience, and I have learned a lot. You can see from the very first shot that I took to the very last."

"I think with practice, you can be whatever you want to be, and with a goal you can go in any direction that you want to go in. So I think that's something that I think a lot of people will get out of the show."  

Here's a sneak peak of the show...



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The Haney Project will follow Phelps over the course of eight, 60-minute episodes to see if he can outperform his predecessors from previous seasons, which have included Charles Barkley, Ray Romano, Rush Limbaugh and Adam Levine.  For more information about The Haney Project, visit: http://www.golfchannel.com/tv/the-haney-project/
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