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- Michael Phelps was caught cheering on Tiger Woods from the front row of No. 16 at Augusta National at the Masters on Sunday.
- Phelps spoke with NBC Sports about how he got his tickets to the tournament, and what it meant to him to watch Tiger as he completed his comeback.
- Phelps had been a helpful friend to Woods after his DUI arrest in 2017, advising Woods on how to handle such a difficult moment in the public eye.
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Nearly every person at Augusta National on Sunday was cheering on Tiger Woods to win the Masters, but one particular patron stood out from the crowd — Olympic champion Michael Phelps.
At the par-3 No. 16, Woods provided one of the most thrilling moments of the day, nearly hitting a hole-in-one that would have sent the crowd into hysterics.
Woods would miss his ace by mere inches, but replays showed him cheering his ball towards the hole from the tee box, and right behind him was Phelps, cheering just as hard.
On Wednesday, Phelps spoke with NBC Sports about how he wound up at the Masters in the first place, explaining that it had always been a dream of his to attend the tournament, and him being there for Woods’ big comeback win was more luck than anything.
"A mutual friend is a member," Phelps said, explaining how he got his invite to one of the most difficult tickets in sports. "A buddy of mine called me Monday before the Masters. ‘I have a ticket? Do you want to go? I have a plane. Do you want to go?’ I was like, awesome, I’m going to the Masters for the first time."
As to how Phelps fell into front row seats to watch Woods tee off at No. 16, he says it came down to a helpful strangers that got to the tournament early on Sunday.
"We started walking around the course and ran into a couple of nice people who had gotten to the gate early, at 3:30 a.m," Phelps said. "They said, if you ever want to come back and sit on 16 with us, we have a couple of chairs. We got lucky, met a super nice guy working there that had some seats set up in some primo spots that we just had some pretty amazing access to."
Being so close for one of Woods’ best shots of the tournament-winning round was especially meaningful to Phelps, who spoke with Woods from time to time after his DUI arrest in May 2017, advising and empathizing with him about the struggles of rising from a difficult moment in the public eye.
"It’s cool because I kind of have an idea of what that feels like, climbing back to the top of the mountain," Phelps told NBC Sports. "Having a chance to see him do it on his terms with his kids there, I was speechless for two days."
Phelps also said that while he hasn’t had the chance to play golf with him yet, Woods is a dream partner to join on the course eventually now that he has retired from competitive swimming. For now though, it seems Phelps is plenty content cheering him on from the stands.
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