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‘The Haney Project’ tries to fix the mental woes of ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard’s golf game

Steve Cofield
Boxing

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Golf isn't for real athletes, right? Don't tell that to boxing legend Ray Leonard. He's addicted to the game, but gets a feeling he never had in the ring.

The always confident ring tactician is a mental mess with the sticks in his hands.

"I think of too many things. I read too many magazines," Leonard told ESPN1100/98,9 FM in Las Vegas. "I think about putting my hands properly, my feet, my head, my back, my posture, my legs, my shoes ... all these things come into play."

Leonard has a golden opportunity to fix his game as part of The Golf Channel's "Haney Project" airing Mondays at 9 p.m. ET.

The former three-division boxing champ is competing against actress/model Angie Everhart, celebrity chef Mario Batali and singer Adam Levine. Each one of the stars is a "project" for Tiger Woods' former swing coach Hank Haney.

"Sugar" Ray says the early tips have amazed him.

"It seems so simple, the things that he suggested," Leonard said. "[Like] using my hands when I make a swing. He says 'Ray, you don't use your hands. You have fast hands.'"

The second episode is this week and the tease says Leonard makes a shocking discovery.

"I was blown away by the simplicity of these things ... the pointers, the advice, the adjustments ... I see and feel improvement already," said Leonard.

That may be the biggest key for Leonard. He just needs to calm down and it'll help him maintain his energy and confidence.

"At times, I have a tendency, more so than not, to affect my game [negatively]. I get so juiced up. I want to hit the ball right," Leonard said. "When I finish the 18 holes, I am totally wiped out, exhausted."

Leonard, 55, began golfing back in 1991. He's never been better than a 16 handicap. He's hoping with Haney's help, he'll move into single digits.

Take a listen to the rest of the interview. Leonard gives his take on the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao impasse and if the fight is ever happening.

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