Ryan Lochte has made the most noise in the press during the 2012 London Olympic Games, but Michael Phelps has already landed a reality show deal, but the only time he’ll be getting wet for this one is from sweat.
The 2012 London Olympic Games seemed to create a Team Ryan Lochte and Team Michael Phelps mentality, but Phelps has already beaten swimming rival Lochte to a reality show deal in an entirely unexpected direction. Whereas with Lochte, we knew he’d be jumping on the glam reality show circuit (I’m working on another story now with that scoop of what he’s landed today!), but Phelps went very different as he’s just signed on to The Golf Channel’s The Haney Project.
I know that Phelps enjoys golf, but he’s traded one stroke for another, although this latest stroke can be rather competitive which fits in with the phenom swimmers mentality.
“I’m excited about this project with Golf Channel and I’m looking forward to working with Hank and see what we can do together on the golf course,” Phelps said in an announcement Saturday.
Phelps may have retired from swimming, but this won’t stop him for being at the 2016 Rio Olympics, just in a different sport. Golf! I know, but I respect the guy for challenging himself continually, and that’s why the swimming world will truly never be the same without him. He brought true heart to the sport, and even with that stupid blow-up with the bong picture (Phelps discusses that below), people knew this was a true athlete. I have a feeling that Ryan Lochte will wind up making the tabloids for much bigger things than a stupid bong. Hopefully now for his sake, but it seems already ingrained in his DNA.
“He wants to win his club championship,” Hank Haney said in a telephone interview. “He wants to play golf so bad. He’ll be all right. It will take him a little while, but he should improve really fast. Michael has got such long arms. But it’s funny, because whenever anyone makes a comment that a guy has got a lot of potential, they’re always talking about one thing – he hits it a long way. The translation is he hits it everywhere. The guy with a lot of potential is athletic, long and in search of his golf ball.”
Haney, the former swing coach of Tiger Woods, has previously worked with actor Ray Romano, Charles Barkley and radio host Rush Limbaugh in the television series, which is in its fifth season. Last year, he worked with four celebrities, including former boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard.
The series, which begins in September, will show Phelps’ attempt to improve his game from tee-to-green while playing some of the world’s best golf courses.
“I have traveled the world through swimming, but really haven’t had an opportunity to experience the world through my travels,” said Phelps. “As I enter this next chapter of my life, I think I will be able to shift my competitiveness to anything I put my mind to and golf is one of the things I want to focus on. If I have a goal of dropping a certain amount of shots, or working on my short game or putting, those things are going to keep me motivated and fire me up and keep me excited. I want to play all the world’s great golf courses, but I’d like to play them well.”
Haney feels that Phelps could really show the most improvement in his game, namely because he’s currently retired so he can spent all the time he wants on this. “This is a perfect opportunity for me because every other time when I’ve done my show, everybody has a real job,” he said. “Michael is retired. He’s got a lot of time on his hands. He’s going to practice a lot.”
Back in May, Phelps told Rick Reilly he had a desire to play golf that rivaled that of swimming, even suggesting as a youth he considered giving up the sport he now dominates to switch his focus. While he was always coaxed back into the pool by his mother, he still has the desire and wants to “play all the great [golf] courses” in the world. Oh yeah, and he’s been getting coaching tips from Hank Haney. Obviously those coaching tips were good enough to make him want to take to this further Olympic gold. Plus, how many gold players are there that can sit in a bathtub in just underwear for an add. Imagine what he can do with a golf club in just underwear.