Michael Phelps Explains That Photo of His Hilariously Intense Stare He Made Right Behind Tiger Woods

Michael Phelps has done it again. No, not another Olympic medal: but another viral face.

During Wednesday’s episode of Today, the most-decorated Olympic athlete of all time spoke about what it was like to watch Tiger Woods’ iconic comeback as he won the Masters on Sunday for the fifth time, but the first time in over a decade.

Phelps, who had an amazing seat for the championship, called Woods’ win one of the “coolest things I’ve ever seen live in sports, and definitely in golf.”

Phelps’ excitement definitely was visible. Some viewers of the Masters in Augusta, Georgia, which Phelps says was the first he’d ever attended, caught a pretty excellent (and soon viral) moment on camera. Phelps had a seat just behind Tiger for his shot at the 16th hole in the tournament.

Phelps told Today just how special that moment felt. “I mean, just watching Tiger come back, watching him be able to do that and get back on top of the mountain, it’s so cool.” And it was even cooler, the swimmer said, because he didn’t have his phone on him during the Masters. Afterwards, he did receive some texts from people who noticed him during the broadcast. His wife, Nicole, captured the moment in an Instagram post as she watched with their son, Boomer, on TV.

During the 2016 Olympics in Rio, the internet fell in love with the #PhelpsFace, an intensely meme-able mug he had on before competing against Olympian Chad le Clos.

Watch the full Today interview here.

Sports – TIME

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President Trump to Present Tiger Woods With Presidential Medal of Freedom

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump says he will present Tiger Woods with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Woods won his fifth Masters title Sunday, overcoming personal and professional adversity to once more claim the green jacket.

Trump tweeted Monday that he spoke to Woods and congratulated him on “the great victory” and “to inform him that because of his incredible Success & Comeback in Sports (Golf) and, more importantly, LIFE, I will be presenting him with the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM!”

Trump didn’t say when a ceremony will be held. The medal is the nation’s highest honor for a civilian.

The president is an avid golfer who played a round with Woods at Trump’s golf club in Jupiter, Florida, in February. He watched the Masters from his Virginia golf club on Sunday.

Sports – TIME

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Tiger Woods Wins 2019 Golf Masters in Major Comeback

(AUGUSTA, Ga.) — Fallen hero, crippled star, and now a Masters champion again.

Tiger Woods rallied to win the Masters for the fifth time Sunday, a comeback that goes well beyond the two-shot deficit he erased before a delirious audience at Augusta National that watched memories turn into reality.

Woods had gone nearly 11 years since he won his last major, 14 years since that green jacket was slipped over his Sunday red shirt. He made it worth the wait, closing with a 2-under 70 for a one-shot victory, and setting off a scene of raw emotion.

He scooped up 10-year-old Charlie, born a year after Woods won his 14th major at Torrey Pines in the 2008 U.S Open. He hugged his mother and then his 11-year-old daughter Sam, and everyone else in his camp that stood by him through a public divorce, an embarrassing DUI arrest from a concoction of painkillers and surgeries.

“WOOOOOOO!!!” Woods screamed as he headed for the scoring room with chants of “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger” echoing as loud as any of the roars on the back nine at Augusta National.

Woods lost his impeccable image to a sex scandal. He lost his health to four back surgeries that left him unable to get out of bed, much less swing a club, and he went two years without even playing a major. It was two years ago at the Masters when Woods said he needed a nerve block just to walk to the Champions Dinner. At that time, he thought his career is over.

Now the comeback is truly complete.

Woods won his 15th major, leaving three short of the standard set by Jack Nicklaus. It was his 81st victory on the PGA Tour, one title away from the career record held by Sam Snead.

“A big ‘well done’ from me to Tiger,” Nicklaus tweeted. “I am so happy for him and for the game of golf. This is just fantastic!!!”

It was the first time Woods won a major when trailing going into the final round, and he needed some help from Francesco Molinari, the 54-hole leader who still was up two shots heading into the heart of Amen Corner.

And that’s when all hell broke loose at Augusta.

Molinari’s tee shot on the par-3 12th never had a chance, hitting the bank and tumbling into Rae’s Creek for double bogey. Until then, Molinari had never trailed in a round that began early in threesomes to finish ahead of storms.

And then it seemed as though practically everyone had a chance.

Six players had a share of the lead at some point on the back. With the final group still in the 15th fairway, there was a five-way tie for the lead. And that’s when Woods seized control, again with plenty of help.

Molinari’s third shot clipped a tree and plopped straight down in the water for another double bogey. Woods hit onto the green, setting up a two-putt birdie for his first lead of the final round. Woods followed with a tee shot on the par-3 16th that rode down the slope next to the cup and settled two feet away for his final birdie.

That gave him a two-shot cushion, and no one was going to catch him.

Sports – TIME

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How Tiger Woods Completed One of the Greatest Comebacks in Sports

The most thrilling comeback in American sports history had to be completed at Augusta, at the Masters on a Sunday afternoon in April.

After all, the Augusta National Golf Club is where Tiger Woods, 22 years ago, first burst into our cultural consciousness, like no one we had never seen before: golf’s first black superstar, a player who everyone figured would rewrite his sport’s record book. He won by a dozen strokes that day in 1997, as a 21-year-old, and never looked back. By the time he was 32, Woods had won 14 major championships, even taking four in a row — the 2000-2001 Tiger Slam — during his astonishing prime. He gave a mass audience a reason to stay inside on Sundays, and watch men walk on grass and swing at a little white ball.

Then came the personal scandal about a decade ago, which the fed tabloids for months and destroyed his marriage. He returned to golf, but kept getting hurt. He had four back surgeries in three years, between 2014-2017. Woods fell out of the top 1,000 in the world golf rankings. He thought he may never play again. On Memorial Day Weekend in 2017, police found him asleep at the wheel, and arrested him. He had painkillers in his system, and was struggling with managing that pain. Wearing a Green Jacket less than two years later was unimaginable.

But here we are. It seemed Woods and one of his playing partners in the final group, Francesco Molinari, would go shot for shot down the stretch. But on the 15th hole Molinari, last year’s British Open champion, hit a shot in the water, essentially knocking him out of the tournament. Woods, wearing his signature Sunday red, with a mock turtle neck, birdied the par 5 and was now alone with the lead. Unlike his last Masters win in 2005, when he needed a miracle chip on the par 3 16th hole to pull it out, Woods stuck his tee shot on 16, giving him another birdie and more breathing room. Now, he could essentially soak in a coronation. Brooks Koepka — winner of three majors since 2017, and playing in the group ahead of Woods — could have cut Woods’ lead to a single stroke on 18, but he missed a make-able birdie putt. All Woods needed was a bogey 5 on 18 to clinch it.

Tiger had been crawling towards his moment. He contended in the last two majors, which enabled him to refresh his memory of how to win one: plod along, let the other guys make mistakes and stay calm.

When he tapped in the winning putt, for his 15th career major, Woods screamed and flipped his club. He hugged his son Charlie, who wasn’t born the last time Woods won a major 11 years ago, and daughter Sam, who was about to turn one. Woods grew hoarse from all his yelling. He refused to hide his catharsis. Augusta’s proper “patrons” turned into actual sports fans, celebrating as if their team just won a Super Bowl. “Tiger! Tiger! Tiger!” the fans chanted, pushing up the volume to college football stadium decibel levels.

The 14-year gap between Tiger’s fourth and fifth Masters wins is the largest in golf history. The last time he won a major, Barack Obama and John McCain hadn’t even been officially nominated as presidential candidates. Woods’ chase of Jack Nicklaus’ record 18 majors titles is officially back on. We once thought we’d be commemorate that historic moment — Woods passing Jack with 19 — circa 2011 or so.

In recent years, we could afford to forget that storyline. It was dormant, like Tiger’s game. He was almost done. Not anymore. Because Tiger Woods just won the Masters.

Sports – TIME

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Podcast: David Epstein on Roger Federer vs. Tiger Woods and Generalization vs. Specialization

On this week’s episode, David Epstein joins the podcast to discuss the opening chapter of his new book, Range, on Roger Federer and Tiger Woods. 

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