Phelps diving headfirst into golf

2013-02-22T00:00:00Z Phelps diving headfirst into golfThe Associated Press The Associated Press
February 22, 2013 12:00 am  • 

SARASOTA, Fla. - Michael Phelps still hops in the pool occasionally, but only so the most decorated Olympian of all-time can get a little peace and quiet.

"Whenever I'm in the pool I don't have to answer questions, I don't have to say 'Hi!'" Phelps said. "It's my time. That's something that I don't get often. It's a good little getaway for me."

And that's it.

Six months into retirement, the man with more gold medals than any Olympic athlete insists he's content with the direction of his life. Sure he still finds himself keeping track of what's going on in the swimming world, but there are zero urges to call coach Bob Bowman and tell him it's time to dust off his stopwatch.

Asked if there's any scenario where he envisions himself giving it one more shot, Phelps says "no" three times and shakes his head.

"A lot of great athletes have come out of retirement," he said. "I just don't see myself doing it."

Besides, he's too busy living out the normal life - well, normal life for a guy with 22 Olympic medals stashed away somewhere - to have time to think about the 2016 Games.

Phelps is finishing up filming of the Golf Channel reality series "The Haney Project." Phelps and golf coach Hank Haney have spent the last few months trying to tune up the 27-year-old's game.

The eight-part series will debut next week, and Haney - who counts Tiger Woods among his former students - has come away impressed with how his new pupil has been able to reign in his competitive fire.

Of course Phelps wants to walk out there and shoot 68. He just understands it's not going to happen anytime soon.

"One of the things he always says is 'just baby steps, baby steps. Nothing wrong with taking baby steps,'" Haney said. "He's big on having a plan. He's big on just making progress even if it's just little bitty things."

In that way Phelps considers golf and swimming alike.

"I want to be a good golfer but it's not going to happen overnight," Phelps said.

"Swimming didn't happen overnight. I had to put years and years and years into it. Obviously I didn't think it would be this hard."

Neither will say where Phelps is at with his game now - that'd kind of ruin the journey of the show - but he acknowledged he had the "round of his life" while playing a Gary Player-designed course in Sarasota on Wednesday.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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