And they even get Phelps himself to open up a tiny bit in talking about his past. Phelps is never going to be a chatterbox in front of the camera. On the course, however, he does seem relatively at ease with the reality-TV cameras surrounding him — relatively.

To be as successful as Phelps, an athlete has to be able to go to a private mental place where there are no distractions — and no thoughts of failure. It’s not a place most athletes talk about or share with anyone but coaches — certainly not the media.

A glimpse of that came through in the teleconference last week when I asked Phelps whether he could be more specific about vague “goals” he kept referring to in connection with golf and his participation in Haney’s show. Even though Phelps says the best score he ever had was 91, I asked if his goal was to be a professional golfer.

“Well, I mean, one thing with me and every goal I’ve had — in the sport of swimming, my mother didn’t know my goals,” he began.

“The only person that knew my goals were my coaches,” he continued. “That’s something — no offense to you guys, but I don’t think you guys are going to help me to my goals of X, if I do tell you my goals. So, I see my goals as personal, and I always have. That’s just been how I’ve worked.”

That’s not the way it usually works on reality TV, though, Michael. Sharing is a good thing on reality TV. Just ask Dr. Drew.

Based on what I saw in the first hour, I wouldn’t expect to see Phelps in a “confessional” room, like the one on MTV’s “The Real World,” baring his soul during this season of “The Haney Project.”

With Phelps, though, a few thrown clubs, sullen looks and bleeped words of frustration after bad swings might be enough for young male viewers watching him “live the dream” — or, at least, a pretty big part of it, divots notwithstanding.

On TV

“The Haney Project” starring Michael Phelps debuts at 9 p.m. Monday on the Golf Channel