Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Not A Rave Review


I tried to look away. Watching was painful but I couldn't take my eyes off the screen. It seemed impossible. Nothing could be worse than the disaster on the screen. It scared me. It shocked me. It nearly made me physically ill.

Honestly, The Golf Channel has, once again, over-hyped a mediocre show. "The Hank Haney Project" premiered last night after weeks of lead-in, hype and window dressing. Candidly, I was not surprised to be disappointed. For those of you who long ago gave up on The Golf Channel, the "project" in this new SIX MONTH LONG series is the horrific golf swing of retired NBA Superstar Charles Barkley. The premise is to take one of the best and currently one of the most famous, swing instructors, Hank Haney, and have him "fix" the most broken swing in golf, Sir Charles.

Before I pass judgment on the entire series I feel the need to be fair... last night was the first episode, so I guess I could allow a mulligan. The trouble I'm having is that the first show is just as exciting, innovative and compelling as a manual typewriter. How many times can one watch Charles Barkley make the same three or four swings, which were the examples of the "before" level of Barkley's game? The answer isn't clear to me because I'm still counting the number of times the Golf Channel has used those same swings...over and over and over and over. Making matters worse, the show "Golf's Amazing Videos" uses one of the same clips, please...shoot something NEW! Barkley, as the subject, doesn't really inspire one to keep watching. He speaks painfully slow and often comments from three-point range when he should be slam dunking. I really wish the producers gave we viewers a reason to root for the underdog but they didn't. Maybe Charles Barkley just doesn't inspire us to hope, or even care, if he fixes his swing.

Admittedly, Hank Haney had some interesting moments... there were just too few of them. Most of the time viewers got to watch Haney roll his eyes, furrow his brow or laugh out loud. I could only guess that Haney's contract was specific that he would be the "straight-man" to Barkley. It is a given that Haney knows his stuff. He coaches the #1 Golfer on the planet. So, let him show the world how he does it! More Haney and less Charles would be pleasant. Perhaps the next shows will improve?

I intend to try to watch next week's episode. The badness of the show isn't Haney's fault. The badness of the show certainly isn't Barkley's fault. Anyone who would endure his painfully awful swing for as long as he has must be mentally strong. Allowing the entire world to watch the game of golf bring Barkley to his knees and then be "saved" by Haney might have seemed like heady stuff in the boardroom. The first episode only left me sitting in the "bored" room.

Mulligan granted... reluctantly.

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