Very few people in the world can truly relate to Tiger Woods. But from both a personal and professional perspective, one of who can is Michael Phelps. Since Tiger’s DUI arrest in May, the two have developed a relationship, with Karen Crouse of The New York Times saying that Phelps is “lending an ear to the golfer.”
“I feel like that’s a massive scream for help,” Phelps said of Woods, via Crouse. Phelps also added that he has a great deal of sympathy for Woods and his family situation. “I’ve been thinking what you’ve gone through, what Tiger’s gone through, being divorced and not having the freedom to see your children whenever you want,” Phelps said. “It’s heartbreaking.”
Woods, of course, had a tremendous downfall over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 when his many extramarital affairs became public knowledge. His personal downfall has more or less coincided with his professional one. While Tiger has had good moments on the golf course since then, his career has been marred by injuries and false starts in returning to the course.
That’s all something that Notah Begay, a college teammate of Woods and a recovering alcoholic who reached out to Phelps, believes that the Olympic great can help with.
“Michael can provide honest and direct feedback, and that’s what athletes of their caliber need the most,” Begay said. “Athletes at their level of accomplishment, they have 100 people lined up around the corner trying to sell something to them or do something for them, and it’s hard to filter out, to decide, who is looking out for their best interests.”
Phelps has more gold medals than some countries and is universally regarded as the greatest swimmer of all-time. But since entering the public eye, his life has also included two DUI arrests and a photo of him with a bong.
Woods is one of the greatest athletes of all-time and has always been a lightning rod for media attention. In the last eight years, much of that attention has been negative. It can’t be easy for him to find people who can truly relate to what he’s experienced. We can only hope that Phelps, a man once called “Tiger in a Speedo,” can be a good guide for one of the greatest golfers the world has ever known.