Michael Phelps is one of the greatest athletes ever, but even he gets nervous in front of fans. When he’s playing golf, that is. Phelps played in the Waste Management Phoenix Open Pro-Am with Jordan Spieth this week. He whipped the fans on the famous par-3 16th hole into a frenzy with his traditional swimming warmup before badly chunking a shot that looked like it didn’t even get halfway to the green.
“It’s actually funny to me, because it’s, like, how could these guys get nervous doing this when the whole world watched them and they succeeded?” Spieth said. “They have nothing to lose. They are supposed to be bad at golf. Like, who cares? But yet, they’re still that nervous. It’s interesting.
“I was just asking him, walking up there, and he said, ‘It’s different.’ He gets so in the zone, he has his hood on and headphones on, he’s looking down and he doesn’t notice anybody when he goes into the rink, which is similar to what we experience for the most part when big crowds come.
“But 16 here is a different animal, too. All of a sudden, now it’s stacked up. Now you feel like you’re hitting a shot in a football stadium. For me, it’s as nerve-wracking a shot as I see during the year, for sure. I was interested. He said, ‘Yeah, I’ll be much more nervous here than I would in an Olympics or something.'”
You could tell Phelps had some nerves. At least he was a good sport about the bad shot.
Spieth and Phelps are apparently pals now, too. They have a common interest (golf) and a common business venture (they are both Under Armour athletes). Spieth talked about having dinner with Phelps in Arizona early in the week.
“If you think about it, he’s the most decorated Olympian ever,” said Spieth. “He could be argued as the greatest champion in sport, right? I mean, certainly would be in the conversation. It would be hard to think about how you could argue anybody else. So that’s very cool. I mean, it’s amazing. We had dinner last night. He invited myself and Michael over, and had some good talks there.
“He loves golf. I’m surprised we haven’t really crossed paths yet. He came in and spoke to the Ryder Cup team. I’d met him and his wife Nicole and Boomer before, but very briefly. It was great spending time with them. He’s offered to continue to advise or help or just really any time I want to reach out, which is just incredibly kind to have that kind of opportunity. It’s humbling for me and I certainly should take advantage of it.”
Just maybe stay away from swing advice, Jordan.
Source: CBS Sports Headlines / Jordan Spieth, Michael Phelps spawn friendship before brutal chunk in Phoenix