MEDINAH, Illinois, September 28. MICHAEL Phelps has traded in his cap and goggles for designer sunglasses and polo shirts, winning his first golf tournament this week at the Ryder Cup Celebrity Scramble.
Phelps paired with actor/comedian George Lopez, as well as pro golfers Hal Sutton and Lanny Wadkins, to finish with a 9-under score, three strokes better than the team of Justin Timberlake, Bill Murray, Tom Lehman and Dave Stockton.
The event opened this year's Ryder Cup at the Medinah Country Club, which starts today in the Chicago suburb of Medinah. Each team played 10 holes of golf, and while the Ryder Cup will feature more serious competition with such stars as Tiger Woods, the atmosphere in the Celebrity Scramble was much looser, with the players goofing around with each other and hamming for the crowd.
“That was the most nervous I've ever been in my entire life,” Phelps told media after the event. “Even though I'm not very good yet, I will be.”
Phelps has been working with Hank Haney in the past few weeks on his golf game, a journey that is being documented for the upcoming season of “The Haney Project,” scheduled to premiere on the Golf Channel in February. Phelps said this week he's looking forward to traveling around the world and playing on the world's best golf courses.
“This is a very frustrating game, a very tough game, and I have to always pay attention to the small things,” he said.
Update: Today on Twitter, Phelps admitted to a loss in a putting match against Haney in a special event put on by Phelps' longtime sponsor Omega. Phelps has been Omega's major spokesperson for many years, and is doing so at the Ryder Cup this weekend.