Charles Barkley
Barkley Finds Someone He Can Beat at American Century Championship.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Craig Smith        PDF Version Here  

South Shore, Lake Tahoe, Nev. - Golf instructor Hank Haney had his hands full on Saturday trying to help Charles Barkley and Jimmer Fredette at the same time during the second round of the American Century Championship. The two worst golfers in the celebrity field were paired together for their adventure at Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course, and Barkley was swinging at the ball with his eyes closed.

"I'm trying to trick myself," admitted Barkley, who hit some wonderful tee shots with his eyes closed on the practice range before his round.

Barkley's struggles with the game of golf have been well documented, and the pronounced hitch in his downswing is as imitated among recreational golfers as Tiger Woods' fist pump. Barkley's attempt to improve was the subject of Golf Channel's "Hank Haney Project."

Well, Haney may have another "project." Barkley might just be better than Fredette, who struggled with his chip shots from 50 yards-and-in. Barkley has more trouble off the tee.

"It's a dream come true to play with Charles," said a smiling Fredette, the sharp-shooting BYU graduate who recently was the first round draft pick of the Sacramento Kings of the NBA. "I loved watching him play. He played so hard and had such determination."

Fredette's best hole on Saturday was a bogey on the par-3 12th. He stopped his 5-iron approach 10 feet above the hole, but three-putted to tie Barkley, who one-putted after a chip from across the cart path and through a stand of pine trees.

"You don't have no short game like mine, so don't be trying any of those shots," Barkley heckled Fredette after leaving himself a 5-footer for bogey.

Two holes later Barkley lined up, closed his eyes, and launched his tee ball 310 yards to the right rough, leaving him just 90 yards to the green. It was good enough for his second of three bogeys on his first nine holes.

"It takes a special athlete to hit a golf ball with his eyes closed," Barkley joked to his new friend Jimmer.

Craig Smith, former director of media relations for the U.S. Golf Association.

(Permission granted for general or media use)

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