RUSH: This is Ginny in Hilton Head, which is one of the locations we used to shoot The Haney Project.
CALLER: I know you did, Rush. I’m sorry I wasn’t able to go over to the May River and watch you play. From one aficionado of golf to another, I’m really looking forward to your debut tonight with Hank Haney.
RUSH: Thank you.
CALLER: I have a couple of questions.
CALLER: I’d like to know if you were able to accomplish everything you wanted to with him, and also, what was it that made you go to him in the first place.
RUSH: Well, if I answer your first question, I’m giving away more of the show than I should at this point. For example, if I say, ‘Yeah. Yeah, okay,’ if I say no, then why watch?
CALLER: That’s true. What was it that took you to him in the first place? I saw a clip of it while we were watching a football game, or actually golf on TV, and it seemed like you have a step like Gary Player after you swing.
RUSH: Well, that’s because… (laughing).
RUSH: Now, what does that have to do with why I went to Haney?
CALLER: Well, I’m wondering if that was one of the things you wanted to correct or if you just —
CALLER: — want to get more —
RUSH: I’ll tell you this much.
RUSH: One of my physical problems or challenges playing golf was finishing.
RUSH: Finishing the turn.
RUSH: I got into a habit where after I hit the ball, I basically just stopped and figured the whole process was complete, and I had to be taught how to turn through. My backswing turn was fine, but turning completely through — and, of course, the old adage, ‘have your belt buckle face the target’ — that’s what I had problems with.
CALLER: Right, right.
RUSH: So what you probably saw was the early stage of Haney trying to teach me to do this, and I was off balance at the finish, which was why I was taking a step forward to stay in balance.
CALLER: Oh, I see. Okay. Well, I look forward to it. I have been waiting with bated breath.
RUSH: Well, you knew I was in Hilton Head? This was back in early December.
CALLER: Well, I played the same course you played the following week.
RUSH: Ah. That’s a beautiful course. We actually didn’t play the course. We played two or three holes. That session was ‘getting out of trouble,’ in the woods, on the pine straw —
RUSH: — out of weird lies in the sand traps. That’s gonna be a fascinating episode. But the overall question, ‘How did I choose Haney?’ Actually the Golf Channel people approached me last spring and asked if I would be interested in being the next student on The Haney Project, and I had not seen it. I still haven’t seen any of the Charles Barkley series or the Ray Romano. I still haven’t watched it. On purpose.
CALLER: Oh, I see. Well, I missed the Charles Barkley but I did watch the Ray Romano and I’m looking forward, like I said, to seeing how you progressed.
RUSH: Well (chuckles), make sure you don’t miss an episode, then.
CALLER: Have you noticed a difference in your golf score now?
RUSH: Now, you… Yeah. That’s as much as I’m gonna say. Yeah! Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
CALLER: But you can’t practice —
RUSH: I wish I wish I could answer your questions out there, Ginny.
RUSH: I really, really do.
CALLER: Yeah, well.
RUSH: I really do.
CALLER: Again —
RUSH: Let me just say this.
RUSH: Let me just say this. I’ll just say this: My guess is that there have been very few times in Hank Haney’s career as an instructor when he has been this happy.
CALLER: Well, that’s wonderful.
RUSH: Yeah, but I’m not gonna tell you when that happened.
RUSH: It certainly didn’t happen the first episode.
RUSH: There were also many times I’m sure during this when Haney said, ‘Why did we choose this guy?’ So it runs the gamut out there. That’s why it’s a good series.
CALLER: Well, I think he actually chose a great person to showcase his instruction with. I’m sure you… You seem to be more of a devotee of the game where you’ll want to be better and you’ll work at the game if you can.
RUSH: Well, I don’t mean this to be critical of the any other instructor but I’ve actually never taken full-time instruction before this.
CALLER: Uh huh.
RUSH: I have taken a day here with somebody, a day there. But because they knew it was just gonna be a day, I don’t think they — either of us — really put ourselves into it. This was a full-fledged commitment on both sides. Plus, you know, there’s the added pressure got a television show out there. I mean, one of the reasons I did this was to get better at something I’m naturally not good at; and you’ll hear me say in this series that the one place in life where I totally lose self-confidence is on the golf course and that’s something I wanted to correct. I’ve done some media interviews: ‘Why are you willing to do this in front of everybody on television?’ I said, ‘Well, because that adds to part of the challenge and succeeding at it.’ ‘Well, aren’t you afraid of being humiliated or embarrassed?’ Oh, no. (laughs) I got over that long time ago. I couldn’t do what I do if I had that kind of fear.’ So this was all about putting as much pressure as possible. I remember the first time I played in an AT&T or a Bob Hope. You go out and play in a professional tournament as an amateur with all the gallery and crowds. I don’t care how many people I’ve stood before at a public event, that’s when I’m in control of it. I’m speaking. I know what I’m gonna say. Golf, it’s a prayer every swing. You can only hope.
CALLER: Not only that, you don’t know who shows up at the tee.
RUSH: Yeah. Exactly. So it’s all been good. The whole process has been fascinating, and it’s been fun. It was also… You know, I told the Golf Channel guys today — I did a little interview on The Golf Channel today. There are two morning show hosts, and I said, ‘It was fascinating to be working with somebody who is as committed to success as what he does as I am at what I do,’ and a lot of people were thinking, ‘That’s gonna lead to a visually fun clash.’ USA Today even ran an ad yesterday in the paper: Lesson one for me is to stop talking. They have no clue how little I spoke in the first lesson. I couldn’t do what I do if I weren’t a good listener.
RUSH: That’s how you learn things. At any rate, the whole experience… We still have two episodes to go, and we’re still putting together ideas for the grand finale. So it’s two episodes to go. In fact, I’m holding right here in my formerly nicotine-stained fingers the DVDs of the rough cuts of episodes four and five. See, I have total editorial control over what ends up on TV. So they send me these things so I can review ’em, but I’m glad you asked about it ’cause I think you’re gonna get a big kick out of it.
CALLER: Well, good luck with you with the follow-up as far as your game goes. I wish you lots of strokes taken off your game.
RUSH: Thank you, Ginny. It has happened. It has happened… uh, now and then. It’s still not consistent. But that’s just part of playing more.