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Charles Barkley on his golf game, Phil Mickelson, the American Century celebrity tournament and NBA playoffs


Charles Barkley has maybe the most critiqued—and criticized and laughed at—swing in golf, however he does love the sport and that’s all good by us. And he’s working onerous to get higher.

With the NBA playoffs heating up, Barkley and his co-hosts are busy on the set of the hit TV present Inside the NBA on TNT.

Next month, he’ll make yet one more look in the American Century Championship, the premiere celebrity golf tournament that’s held yearly at the scenic Edgewood Tahoe Golf Course in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.

Owned and broadcast by NBC Sports, this will likely be the thirty second 12 months of the made-for-TV occasion which has a handbag of $600,000 but additionally raises funds for native and nationwide charities. The tournament is a 54-hole modified Stableford format. It’s not unusual for Barkley to complete final in the 80-golfer area.

In advance of the occasion, Barkley talks about his sport, his new swing coach, Phil Mickelson and the NBA playoffs.

Have you been working on your sport?

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley performs his shot from the first tee throughout Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Change at Stone Canyon Golf Club on Nov. 27, 2020 in Oro Valley, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match

Listen, I’m excited. I’m taking part in actually, very well. I’ve had numerous enchancment in the final couple of years. I truly began taking part in nicely up there. Better, I should not say nicely, higher the final couple of years. And my instructor Stan Utley, we have come a good distance. I can not wait to get there and present it off.

What are a few of your objectives this time round?

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley performs a shot throughout Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Change at Stone Canyon Golf Club on November 27, 2020 in Oro Valley, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match

I simply need to play and have enjoyable. It hasn’t been enjoyable for me for 25 years to play golf. I solely play in Lake Tahoe as a result of I like coming there. It wasn’t like I used to be having enjoyable on the golf course. I’m not going to let you know that lie. But man it is a lot extra enjoyable to exit and hit a bunch of fine photographs. I really feel actually good, actually good about the place I’m. I simply gotta maintain working tougher. As far as my objectives, I needed to make birdie on 18 final 12 months to not are available in final. So I hope to begin with, it was the worst birdie in the historical past. I dribbled it like 75 yards and it jumped over the bunker.

What saved you motivated to maintain taking part in golf?

When you get previous and fats there’s solely a few issues you are able to do: golf and fish. And I’m loads higher fisherman than I’m a golfer. I like strolling. I get to do it for 4 days. It’s fairly cool. I meet a bunch of identical mates. My caddie, I met my caddie there 20 some years in the past. He’s married now. Got two children which might be youngsters and he brings them out to the course. I’ve been with the identical caddie for most likely the total tournament. And to see him and yearly his teenage women, and they’re stunning, and it is most likely about 10 to fifteen individuals who I see yearly I come to Lake Tahoe. We seize dinner and speak about the place we’re in life, how all people’s life goes. So it is fairly particular to me in that side.

What did you study from taking part in with Phil Mickelson in the Match?

Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley

Phil Mickelson, Charles Barkley

Phil Mickelson and Charles Barkley speak on the eighth inexperienced throughout Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Change at Stone Canyon Golf Club on November 27, 2020 in Oro Valley, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match

Phil Mickelson is a good buddy of mine. I’ve recognized him a very long time, him and Amy. They’re superior. But Phil is that annoying buddy. When you ask him a query, as a substitute of answering your query. … like, should you stated, ‘Hey, what’s the climate like?’ He says, ‘You need the humidity, the barometric strain, the excessive and low for the day?’ No, man, I simply need the rattling climate. Tell me what the temperature is correct now. So, although as nice a man he’s whenever you ask him a query, it is like, yo, what do you consider this putt? Well it is down grain, it is into the grain, it will pull in the direction of the valley. Yo, man, simply inform me the place to hit the putt. I ain’t received time to be analyzing down grain, up grain. But, you realize, he is such an superior dude. It’s so humorous, he calls me the day earlier than the match and says, hey, I’m flying up, I would like you to drive up and play a apply spherical with me. I’m like, dude, tomorrow’s Thanksgiving. He’s like, no, no, we have to get a apply spherical in. I’m flying in from San Diego. I’m like, yo, man, it is Thanksgiving. And I’ve to spend my Thanksgiving day driving two hours to play a apply spherical for a charity occasion. That’s how loopy he’s. But that is how dangerous he wished to win.

What recommendation do you may have for golfers who’ve been struggling for years?

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley

Charles Barkley reacts to a missed putt on the first inexperienced throughout Capital One’s The Match: Champions For Change at Stone Canyon Golf Club on Nov. 27, 2020 in Oro Valley, Arizona. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images for The Match

I’m not going to lie, I had given up golf. And I met Stan Utley and he stated, Chuck, let me work with you a bit of bit. I stated, Stan, I’ve labored with all people in the world. He stated, nicely, then yet one more’s not going to harm. I feel you simply need to maintain making an attempt issues and generally it clicks. To be sincere with you, perhaps I simply wasn’t working onerous sufficient, as a result of it is onerous to apply on one thing whenever you suck at it. Stan stated one thing to me, he stated, ‘When you stand over the ball, how many individuals are speaking to you?’ I stated, ‘That’s an incredible query. I by no means been requested that earlier than.’ And in equity I most likely had, I’ve had 10 lecturers, I had 10 totally different individuals speaking to me at the identical time. He stated, ‘Let’s simply work on one thought. Don’t work on the rest. Forget what this man stated, this man stated.’ And after about three hours of hitting balls, I hit extra – we have been simply hitting balls – I used to be like, wow. And then the subsequent day he stated, ‘Let’s take into consideration one other factor right now.’ So he simply calmed my mind down stated, ‘Hey, man, you possibly can’t assume 10 issues over a golf ball.’

What do you consider Kevin Durant, the Nets and the ‘tremendous staff’ pattern?

I’m rooting in opposition to these guys. I feel you already know that. KD is a good participant. And I feel he is an incredible child. I do not know him that nicely. But I’m not a fan of tremendous groups. So, hear, in the event that they win it, they win it. But I would like it completely clear, I’m rooting in opposition to these guys. I root in opposition to all tremendous groups. That’s simply the method I’m old style. I stated the different day if I might have recognized you guys have been going to make enjoyable of me for not successful the championship I might have joined an excellent staff again in my day.

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