Charles calls into Howard Eskin’s Philadelphia radio show to talk smack. Howard, like most people, is suffering in this bad economy. Howard was in the ass-kicking business, and business is bad since Charles left. Eskin doesn’t think Haney has a snowball’s chance in fixing Barkley. “I’ll run around in my underwear on the golf course if this thing works,” he says. Charles should hold him to that.
We get a little run-down of Charles’ hit list, people he has to beat at golf someday because they’ve talked so much trash about his golf game. Here’s the list as we know it:
1. Michael Jordan
2. Tiger Woods
3. Dave the Bartender (CHOPS Restaurant & Bar in Philadelphia)
4. Howard Eskin (sports radio personality for WIP-AM in Philadelphia)
5. Roy Green (former NFL wide receiver)
6. Seth Joyner (former NFL linebacker)
7. Jim Murphy (director of golf at Gainey Ranch Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.)
11. Colt Knost (PGA Tour golfer)
The show follows Barkley to his one-day-a-week job doing the NBA studio show for TNT on Thursday nights. He gets to sit around and get paid to watch basketball. He’ll also watch Grey’s Anatomy and CSI, but don’t tell anyone. We get a little behind the scenes look at the TNT studio in Atlanta, and we see that Ernie Johnson has a cool little office with lots of sports memorabilia in it.
Oh, and Timmy and Olivia: You’re dad is fat in high definition, too!
“Charles as a broadcaster is just like Charles as a player,” Johnson says. “When you went to see him play, you knew he was going to give you everything he had, and you were going to be entertained.” And Johnson also thinks that Barkley has the resolve to get this thing fixed. “If he can’t play golf, then all he can do after that is eat … and gamble.”
Kenny Smith also gives Charles a vote of confidence, with a little caveat: “He’s got one of the greatest coaches that ever coached golf. He’s coached Tiger Woods. But Phil Jackson coached Kwame Brown.”
On the TNT set, Charles shows them exactly what he’s been up to. He shows off a beautiful swing on TV in front of the TV audience, and his colleagues reward him with one of those exploding golf balls.
After Charles’ one day of work, it’s back to the golf lessons. Haney puts Charles into a golf simulator, and he’s absolutely astonished with Charles’ stats: average carry 298.3 yards, club speed 113.9 mph, ball speed 162.1 mph. According to Haney, the minimum club speed on the PGA Tour would be 102-105 mph, so he knows that Charles has great potential if he can correct his flawed swing.
Charles and Hank meet Dr. J for a round of golf, one of Charles’ first opportunities to actually try to put his practice into play. But he fails miserably. The hitch comes back, and he keeps dropping his head.” I always told him that his head was too heavy. That’s probably contributing to it right there,” Dr. J jokes.
Charles is now worried that he’s one of those guys who does great in practice but can’t perform in games. Haney is pissed, mostly at himself.
“Disastrous day. Huge step backwards,” Haney says. “I wouldn’t blame him if he did just quit.”
But there’s no quit in Sir Charles. “It sucks being ridiculed and humiliated. But I just miss playing golf.”
Photo: Credit: GOLF CHANNEL