Champions seem to gravitate towards each other, kind of like a magnet. People who are winners or have a champion mind set are naturally attracted to others with the same traits. That’s probably why the most decorated swimmer in Olympic history has built a bond with the PGA Tour’s most dominant player over the past couple years.
Michael Phelps, the 23-time Gold medalist, has grown a bond with Texas native Jordan Spieth over the sport of golf and competing in general. Maybe you don’t remember but Phelps was one of the few people to appear on The Haney Project. A show on the Golf Channel that featured the likes of Ray Ramano, Charles Barkley, and Rush Limbaugh…all seeking help from Tiger Woods’ former caddie.
Phelps was in attendance for the PGA Championship, and to be frank, if you were there and didn’t see him then you must be blind because it’s hard not to spot the 6-foot-4 swimmer with a seven-foot wingspan.
The former Olympic swimmer wanted to use that height to get the attention of his friend Spieth who was struggling through the first two rounds of his attempt to be the youngest player to complete the career Grand Slam.
“I wanted to walk up and say, ‘Just trust it. You’ve done the work, you’ve done the preparation, just go and do what you know how to do,'” Phelps said after the first round. “You’ve got to find a way to channel that, to change that into a positive.
“I always learned from the mistakes I made in the pool. It always motivated me, like, ‘I know how to do it, I need to get back on track.’ It’s almost figuring out a certain way how his mind works and translating it to on the course.”
It is hard to crack the shell of Jordan Spieth. Even with such a cool demeanor, the 24-year-old has wisdom and carries himself as if he’s played on the Tour for years. That’s probably why Phelps, who is eight years older than Spieth, likes him so much.
Between champions, Spieth opened up to Phelps when asked about his short comings at the 2016 Masters.
“I picked his brain about [last year’s] Masters,” said Phelps, referring to Spieth’s two shots into Rae’s Creek at the 12th hole, which led to a quadruple-bogey. “I was like, ‘Why did you hit that shot?’ He said, ‘It was my shot.’ The way he explained it, I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, he’s got a great head on his shoulders. This kid doesn’t seem like he’s 24.’ It’s fun for me to see that.”
This is just the beginning chapters of Spieth’s book of dominance over golf, Phelps sees that in person along with the rest of us. Even though Spieth said the pressure didn’t get to him, perhaps the atmosphere of this past Major championship at Quail Hollow did.
“I don’t think I was as free rolling as I thought I would be, as you can tell by some frustration,” Spieth said. “If I would have shot 1 over and didn’t strike it well and everything was average, it would have been fine. But when I had the chances that I had and I just couldn’t get the ball to go in on the greens, that is when I get the most frustrated I can get out there.”
Spieth definitely does not lack a competitive fire, and Phelps knows that. He wants to see it grow.
“You’ve just got to figure out what makes him tick and what makes him work and what makes him go to that extra level,” Phelps said.
“I’m here to help. I love watching these guys and coming out here and seeing what they do so well. If some little thing that I’ve gone through can help him in any way, then obviously I’d love to help.”