Saturday, July 29, 2006

the ugliest swing in televised golf

I had a chance a to catch Charles Barkley on TV at a celebrity golf tournament in Lake Tahoe a couple of weeks ago. I knew he was a fanatic golfer, getting into serious betting matches with Michael Jordon on the course. So I was completely unprepared for how indescribably ugly his golf game was, despite the announcer's warning right before Barkley teed off "Any viewers who are faint of heart should turn away from the screen now."

I've been a Barkley fan for years. Ever since he used to drag his fat ass up and down the court at The Spectrum in Philly making unexpectedly sprightly plays. And now that he's retired, the way he plays golf only makes me like him more. He is simultaneously humble and arrogant. And you have never heard better self-analysis of someone's own game. What can I say but, dude, I love this guy. The following are some excerpts and priceless quotes by or about Barkley. Even if you can't stand golf, he'll still manage to entertain you.

Barkley on himself:
Q: What do you think when you hear all these other celebrities mocking your golf game? Whenever you ask a celebrity who the worst celebrity golfer is, it's always your name coming up.
A: It doesn't bother me. I can take a joke. That's what wrong with a lot of people these days. Nobody can take a joke anymore. Besides, my game's not good right now. If they make it funny, I'll laugh. What am I going to say, "I don't stink"? I do stink.

Q: What's the state of your game right now?
A: It's not good. It's not good at all. I've retired from golf. It just got too frustrating. I don't play anymore.

Q: So this is sort of a boxer's retirement?
A: It's a don't-hit-no-more-people retirement. I get in those celebrity tournaments and I'm hitting some old lady in the crowd. I'm rich, man. I can't be hitting people. It's a liability issue. Especially with all these white people in the crowd at golf tournaments. I can see the headlines: "Charles Barkley kills white dude with a golf ball." I don't need to be looking for my Al Cowlings. [Fellow TNT studio analyst] Kenny Smith and I aren't that close. Seriously, I hit too many people.

Barkley on Tiger:
"Tiger and I were in Vegas playing golf not so long ago, and he asked if I'd heard about the new super Kmart store being built there," Barkley recalls. "And I said, 'No, where are they gonna build it?' And Tiger said, 'In the space between your ball and mine.' My God, he even beats me talking trash."

Joe Kleine on Barkley:
"We loved playing golf with Charles. The only thing easier than playing golf with Charles is going to the ATM. He’s awful.

We were playing over at Gainey Ranch one time. We had some death match going with Roy Green and Majerle. We’re putting everything out and playing the ball as it lies. His ball was right next to the car path but he’s got a great lie. He and Roy are over there plotting. He said, “I’m not going to take a drop. I’m going to stand on the path and I’m going to hit it.” That’s when they had spikes on the shoes and so he proceeds to start with his back swing and you could just hear (his feet shuffling). It looked like he was moonwalking, making all this noise. It was a par five and he proceeds to smack this ball. He probably hit it 260 yards and it never went higher than three feet off the ground. If somebody would have been standing out there he would have killed them. It was in the air for a long time. After he hits it, the club stops on the way through, and then he goes into his follow through and poses. We just sat there. He’s the worst golfer I’ve ever seen.

The thing that was weird, when I first came to Phoenix he had this really nice swing. It was a normal swing and then he went to Houston. He came back that summer and we were playing golf, and he had that hitch and giddyup and getalong thing. I don’t know who got a hold of him in Houston. My theory is he started teaching himself. It’s painful to watch. He was out there hitting balls on the range and we thought he was joking. Then he went to the first tee and he had the same swing. "

And that swing would be this one... (look away if you're feeling queasy.)


Big O said...

That was awesome, thanks! The Tiger Woods burn was so freakin' good :).

Anonymous said...

i don't know a damn thing about golf but can still feel the love for sir charles:

on party politics as a potential candidate for governor of alabama:
"I was a Republican until they lost their minds,"

on alabama's past leadership:
"If it wasn't for Arkansas and Mississippi, we'd be dead last in everything. I think we can do better,"

on why he wants to enter politics:
"I really believe I was put on Earth to do more than play basketball and stockpile money,"


LeperColony said...

Charles Barkley is hilarious. I don't even really like basketball, but I watch him on TNT's basketball show. One time he ranted at fat people for making McDonalds take Supersize off the menu and ruining it for him.

My Father's Powerful Binoculars said...

Joe Kleine on Barkley - that is an incredibly funny anecdote. Thanks for adding a dose of humor to an otherwise scorchingly mundane afternoon.