Almost everyone at Augusta National on Sunday was encouraging Tiger Woods to win the Masters, but one particular skipper stood out from the crowd: Olympic champion Michael Phelps.
In par 3 No. 16, Woods provided one of the most exciting moments of the day, almost hitting a hole in one that would have sent the crowd into hysteria.
Woods would lose his ace by a few inches, but the reps showed him cheering his ball into the hole from the tee box, and right behind him was Phelps, cheering just as hard.
read more: Michael Phelps applauded Tiger Woods at the Masters while Woods walked away from a hole in one
On Wednesday, Phelps spoke with NBC Sports about how he ended up in the Masters in the first place, explaining that it had always been a dream for him to attend the tournament, and that being there for Woods' big win was luckier than anything.
"A mutual friend is a member," said Phelps, explaining how he received his invitation to one of the toughest tickets in sports. "A friend of mine called me on the Monday before the Masters." "Do I have a ticket? Do you want to go? I have a plane. Do you want to go?" I was like, amazing, I'm going to the Masters for the first time "
read more: How to get tickets for the Masters and how much it costs to participate in one of the most exclusive sporting events in the world
As for how Phelps fell into the seats in the front row to see Woods take first place at number 16, he says they were strangers who arrived at the tournament early Sunday.
"We started walking through the countryside and we met a couple of good people who had arrived early at the door at 3:30 a.m.," said Phelps. "They said, if you ever want to come back and sit with us at 16, we have a couple of chairs in. We were lucky, we met a super nice guy who worked there and had some seats in some prime locations that we had pretty amazing access to."
Being so close to one of Woods' best shots in the winning round of the tournament was especially meaningful to Phelps, who spoke with Woods from time to time after his arrest for DUI in May 2017, and advised and understood about the struggles to get up from a difficult moment in the public eye.
read more: Another year after retirement, Michael Phelps explains why he is "happy" that he is not swimming and how he channels his competitiveness
"It's great because I have an idea of how that feels, climb back to the top of the mountain," Phelps told NBC Sports. "By having the opportunity to see him do it on his terms with his children there, I was speechless for two days."
Phelps also said that while he has not yet had the opportunity to play golf with him, Woods is the ideal partner to join the field, eventually now that he has retired from competitive swimming. For now, however, it seems that Phelps is quite happy encouraging him from the stands.
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