Michael Phelps and Tiger Woods have each experienced the pinnacle of their respective sport, and they have also both dealt with turmoil in their personal lives. Now it appears the swimmer has offered to throw the golfer a lifeline.
According to a New York Times report, Phelps reached out to Woods following his arrest in May for driving under the influence. While Woods was not under the influence of alcohol, a toxicology report later revealed that he had a combination of five drugs in his system, including the generic form of the painkiller Vicodin and the sleep drug commonly known as Xanax.
Phelps himself has twice been arrested for DUI, most recently in 2014 after which he spent eight weeks in a treatment center to address issues with anxiety and depression. According to the report, Phelps had a blunt assessment of Woods’ high-profile arrest.
“I feel like that’s a massive scream for help,” Phelps said.
Woods has not played competitive golf since withdrawing from the Omega Dubai Desert Classic in February, and he had lumbar fusion surgery to treat lingering back pain in April. Phelps reportedly reached out to Woods via Woods’ former teammate and Golf Channel analyst, Notah Begay III.
The two superstars have combined to win 14 majors and 23 Olympic gold medals, and according to Begay they spent more than two hours talking during the first of multiple phone conversations since Woods’ arrest.
“Michael can provide honest and direct feedback,” Bega said, “and that’s what athletes of their caliber need the most.”