Haney Weighs in on Jordans Game


There was a time, not all that long ago, that Michael Jordan considered that his athletic future would entail swinging a golf club professionally. Turns out Jordan found out it was more fun (and time efficient) to play for his own money.
To put it politely, its no secret Jordan enjoys a friendly wager on the golf course every now and then. Wednesday, Jordan showed off his game to the world when he teed it up at the Pro-Am for the Wachovia Championship.
When I contacted Hank Haney, Tiger Woods swing coach, he had this to say about Jordan and his game: It is a real good swing, Haney said of Jordans action. But, Haney added, it is a little tough to play golf when your hands are as large as his, but he does real well.
As long as we were on the subject, I couldnt resist quizzing Haney on the contortionistic swing of Charles Barkley, a close friend of Woods and Jordan. He (Barkley) is one of my favorite people, Haney said politically. And I am looking forward to fixing his swing.
Speaking of hands and the golf swing, Calvin Peete had this to say when I asked him how he would solve Phil Mickelsons driving accuracy problems if Mickelson asked him:
If the hands arent in the right position, its impossible to square up the clubface.
Peete said the way to remedy a wayward driver is by practicing short wedges. If you cant fix it with the short shots, youre not going to fix it with the long ones.
Peete won the 1985 PLAYERS Championship and to this day remains one of the straightest drivers the game has ever known, leading the TOUR in driving accuracy for 10 straight years (1981-1990).
In Mickelsons defense, since switching from instructor Rick Smith to Butch Harmon he has played in just one event, last weeks EDS Byron Nelson Championship. And despite a relatively poor (by his standards) putting week, Mickelson finished tied for third.
Interest in Zach Johnson refuses to die down in and around the Illinois-Iowa border region near where the John Deere Classic takes place. When Johnson, an Iowa native, tees it up at the John Deere in July it will mark the first time in the 37-year history of the event that the reigning Masters champion will be in the field.
How can the John Deere be so sure Johnson will commit to their event?
For starters, Johnson sits on the tournaments board of directors. Tournament director Clair Peterson tells me local interest in Johnson has spiked so high that officials have been forced to implement their internet ticket sales a month ahead of when they normally start.
Peterson said Johnson is an invaluable resource in helping him take the pulse of the TOUR and keep up with the kind of issues he must know about when recruiting players and setting up his tournament week. Johnson regularly conferences in from the road for the monthly executive committee meeting.
Having Johnson on the board, Peterson said, is something of a trend. Other tournaments, he said, are increasingly enlisting the expertise of TOUR players from their area in making decisions related to their event.
The Wachovia Championship is known among many players and caddies as the event with the best perks on TOUR.
The good folks at Wachovia go so far as to provide a Mercedes courtesy car to the caddie of the defending champion.
This year that lucky looper is Jim Furyks bagman, Mike Fluff Cowan. Problem is Cowan decided to drive his own car down from Washington D.C. to North Carolina for this weeks tournament.
Tournament director Kym Hougham told me that if Cowan changed his mind and decided to leave his car at the hotel, his Mercedes would be waiting for him all week.
All he has to do, Hougham said, is pick it up.
MANHATTAN ISLAND GREEN: If you are in New York City next week, you might want to check out the interactive exhibition at Rockefeller Center in the heart of Manhattan. Its a replica of the famously infamous 17th hole at the TPC Sawgrass.
The concept was turned into reality by UBS, a partner of THE PLAYERS, which will take place next week in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.
The host for the exhibit is Tishman Speyer Properties which made news for itself in New York business circles earlier this week when it sold the New York Times building for $525 million after paying $175 for the same property just three years ago.
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