On Tuesday, Kelly Slater played in the Ryder Cup Celebrity Match golf tournament at the Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota with some guy named Michael Phelps:
— Boyke Arrigoni (@Boyke) September 29, 2016
The 11-time surfing world champion and 23-time gold medal winning Olympic swimmer took on tennis legend Martina Navratilova and British Olympian John Regis in the biennial battle between Team USA and Team Europe, and absolutely smoked the duo.
As we’ve reported before, Kelly Slater isn’t just very, very good at surfing, he’s also very, very good at golf. But the extent to which Slater and Phelps dominated their European counterparts bears examination.
Michael Phelps (along with partner Kelly Slater) laying the smackdown in the 9-hole Ryder Cup celebrity match. 'Bout time he won something.
— Ryan Lavner (@RyanLavnerGC) September 27, 2016
Slater and Phelps were playing in a nine-hole match play, scramble-style golf tournament.
Scramble means that on any given hole, Phelps and Slater tee off, and whoever hits a better shot, that’s where the duo hits their next shot from. They follow that routine for the subsequent shot, always playing from the spot of the best shot.
Match play golf means that each of the nine holes is worth one point.
If Slater and Phelps post a better score than Navratilova and Regis on a hole, they go “one-up.”
If Navratilova and Regis post a better score on the very next hole, the match is back to being “all square,” and if they tie on any particular hole it’s considered “halving” the hole, and neither team gets a point.
Now that you’re caught up on the rules of match play golf, you can understand just how dominant Phelps and Slater were that — after nine holes — they finished six-up on their opponents.
That means the duo won at least six of the nine holes they played on.
They had the highest score of any of the celebrity pairs that played in the tournament on Tuesday (other famous celebrities playing in the match included Bill Murray and Kurt Russell) and powered Team USA to a 14-0 final score.
Team Europe’s official Ryder Cup website called their victory over Navratilova and Regis a “mauling.”
Afterward, Slater joked that he was able to play so well because, for once, he wasn’t the center of attention, with the crowd focused squarely on Phelps after his recent heroics at the Rio 2016 Olympics.
“We could just kind of relax because [Phelps] had all the pressure,” Slater told the Ryder Cup’s website following his match. “But he deals with it really well.”
Phelps, at the first tee, performed his signature “flap” warmup to the delight of the crowd before hitting his drive right down the fairway:
So there you have it. Not only are Michael Phelps and Kelly Slater the most dominant athletes ever in their respective sports, but they’re also apparently great golfers. Some guys just can’t catch a break.
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