The winningest swimmer in Olympic history, Michael Phelps, is making a move toward competitive golf.
Phelps recently signed with Ping golf, who outfitted him with custom fit clubs and gear, and has been working with famed swing coach Hank Haney.
The pieces certainly seem to be falling together nicely for Phelps whose 22 medals in Olympic competition has proved he likes to win in dominant fashion. The real question is will that translate to golf?
His current plan points toward trying to make the US Olympic golf team.
He played with Bubba Watson, a fellow Ping sponsored player at the Phoenix open Pro Am where Watson had this to say about Phelps: “You can see he's an athlete and he's competitive, so he could be good if he practiced and put some time into it,” Watson said. “Any athlete of that level has a chance to be good at another sport.”
As seen first in the LA Times see http://www.latimes.com/sports/sportsnow/la-sp-sn-michael-phelps-golf-deal-20130130,0,1803931.story for the full article.
It’s important to keep in mind some of this could be just smoke and mirrors. Ping signed performer Justin Timberlake to a similar deal and he has not made any efforts to compete professionally. The key difference here, Phelps is a work horse and die hard competitor. He wants to transition into another competitive sport because his time in Olympic swimming is coming to a close. While he hasn’t announced he is done with training or retiring from competitive swimming, he has made many statements in the past that he wants somewhere to direct his attention so that he can make that transition as smooth as possible for himself.
Who could blame him. After all, 18 gold medals is a hard thing to forget.
Watching his play at the pro-am does make you wonder. If he put the same time and effort into training for golf as he does swimming, what could that mean for the PGA? We'll all have to wait and see if he tries to qualify for events.
For now, one thing can be certain. Phelps likes his grass!