Despite a number of player drop-outs and, let’s be honest, a severe lack of buzz, golf remains a full go for the 2021 Olympic Games in Tokyo later this month. Those that will make the trip, however, seem quite excited, as they should be considering it could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Captain America himself Patrick Reed won’t be on the team this year, but he did get to experience the Olympic Games as a member of Team USA in 2016 in Rio. He, of course, fully embraced the red, white and blue, just like he has in every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup since 2014. The former Masters champion tied for 11th in Rio on the strength of a final-round, seven-under 64.
As memorable as that must have been, it’s a moment that has nothing to do with golf that Reed seems most fond of. He was asked about the experience overnight at the Rocket Mortgage Classic, and if he learned anything from the other athletes competing in the Games that translates to golf. Reed’s brain immediately jumped to the GOAT of his respective sport, Michael Phelps.
“I think the most memorable moment at the Olympics was going and watching Phelps swim,” said Reed. “We didn’t get to meet any of the athletes while we were there. You have all these different sections and the golf course and where we were all staying was a lot farther out. So we didn’t stay in the village or anything like that. But coming in and watching Phelps swim and just the dominance he had in the pool and just kind of the zone you could tell he was getting into before the races.
“You had a lot of guys kind of looking around that were racing and stuff like that and he non-stop was just staring down the lane that he was in, just basically getting in his zone getting ready for the race. Just to see how he went about things was amazing.”
Phelps, who turned 36 yesterday, won five gold medals in 2016, which brought his career gold-medal count to 23, the all-time Olympic record. His career was very Tiger Woods-esque, which explains why Reed, who idolised Woods, was drawn to him that year. Then again, so was all of America and most of the world. A GOAT doing GOAT things is usually pretty memorable.
PHOTO: Cliff Hawkins