HAIKOU CHINA - OCTOBER 31: Michael Phelps of USA plays a shot during day five of the Mission Hills Start Trophy tournament at Mission Hills Resort on October 31 2010 in Haikou China. The Mission Hills Star Trophy is Asia's leading leisure liflestyle event which features Hollywood celebrities and international golf stars. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images for Mission Hills)
Michael Phelps has dominated the pool for more than a decade but, after winning 18 Olympic gold medals, he's looking for a new challenge -- this time on dry land. The most decorated Olympian of all time announced Saturday that he's getting serious about golf, turning to noted golf instructor Hank Haney to improve his game in the upcoming season of "The Haney Project" on the Golf Channel.
"I have traveled the world through swimming, but really haven't had an opportunity to experience the world through my travels," Phelps said. "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. 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."
The television show, which previously featured Charles Barkley, Ray Romano and Rush Limbaugh, will return to The Golf Channel in February and likely last eight episodes. Haney briefly worked with Phelps in the past, giving him a few pointers during one episode of Season 3:
In a telephone interview with the Associated Press, Haney sounded excited to resume working with a world-class athlete such as Phelps.
"He wants to win his club championship," Haney said. "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."