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Phelps wants to return to Olympics … as a golfer

April 17, 2013

Michael_Phelps golf 1

Michael Phelps isn’t quite ready to add a green jacket to his record collection of 18 gold medals in Olympic swimming.

But he has replaced his passion for swimming with golf and his love of the pool with the links. He was even paired with 2012 Masters champion Bubba Watson in the pro-am at this year’s Phoenix Open.

How serious is Phelps about his golf game? Serious enough to work with renowned coach Hank Haney, who worked with Tiger Woods between 2004 and 2008, back when Tiger was at his best.

In fact, Haney and Phelps did an eight-episode series on the Golf Channel that ends this week.

And with a name like Michael Phelps, the marketing possibilities are limitless. Ping, one of the oldest and biggest manufacturers of golf clubs, recently signed the swimmer-turned-golfer to a deal that will provide him with golf clubs. Not just any golf clubs. Custom-built designed clubs to accommodate his long arms and large hands on his 6-foot-4 frame.

And they’ve already made a noticeable difference in his game.

“It’s pretty wild,” he said. “’It’s crazy to think this sport is so technical. A lot of sports are very technical, but one of the (Ping) guys said there’s 50-something different shafts they can put on the clubs. I’m used to having a pair of goggles, a small, medium or large swim cap, and a jammer to put on, and that’s it.”

Keeping with the Olympic theme, Ping even added a few special personal touches to his clubs, like accents in gold and in red, white and blue. They know a good thing when they see it.

“His global presence as a golfer will bring PING tremendous exposure and, just as importantly, shed additional light on the game in general,” said John A. Solheim, the company’s chairman and CEO.

You may recall Phelps announced his retirement from swimming following the 2012 Games in London. But that doesn’t mean we’ve necessarily seen the last of him at the Olympics.

“You can’t put limits on anything,” he said. “There’s so much I could do. Maybe I can get good enough where I can make the Olympics in golf.”

And what do you know? Golf will officially become an Olympic sport at the 2016 Rio Games.

‘”Hey, you never know,” he laughed. “Being a golfer at the Olympics would be kind of fun.”

thehouronline

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