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Here’s how Phelps wound up behind Tiger on Sunday at the Masters


Yes, that was Michael Phelps behind Tiger Woods on Sunday.

The 23-time Olympic gold medalist was spotted during television coverage of the final round rooting on Woods at the par-3 16th, where he very nearly made an ace en route to his fifth green jacket and 15th major victory.

In an interview with NBC Sports, Phelps said he scored a trip to his first Masters when a friend reached out with a ticket and a plane and asked him if he wanted to go. Once he arrived, he lucked into his spot on 16 likely by virtue of being Michael Phelps.

"[We] ran into a couple of nice people who had gotten to the gate early, at 3:30 a.m,” he told OlympicTalk. “They said, ‘If you ever want to come back and sit on 16 with us, we have a couple of chairs.’”

And that’s how Phelps got an up-close look at Woods for the second consecutive major, after following him around the back nine of Bellerive at last year’s PGA Championship.

Michael Phelps had a front-row seat to watch Tiger Woods take a run at major No. 15 Sunday at the PGA Championship.

Phelps, who has been open about his issues with his alcohol, was asked about some of the conversations he had with Woods during Woods’ own personal struggles.

“Through a mutual friend, just reached out, tried to do whatever I could if he needed help, wanted to ask questions, bounce ideas,” he said. “I’ve gone through a lot that other people haven’t gone through in the sports world. I just wanted to support.”

And when it comes to success in competition, it’s a small group of people who could possibly know what it’s like to perform at such a dominant level.

“Being able to watch him and how in control he is of every single thing on the golf course,” he said. “I feel like every step is so calculated and every little small detail he pays so much attention to. It’s something I can relate to.”