Olympic superstar Michael Phelps is the latest big-name celebrity to be spotted at the PGA Championship at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte this week.
The 32-year-old swimmer, who holds the all-time record for Olympic gold medals with 23, was last seen on The Discovery Channel in July, when he lost a simulated race to a computer-generated shark. At the 13th hole Thursday morning, Phelps laughed when fans asked why he didn't beat the shark.
But there were also some signs that his sense of humor about the subject will probably wear pretty thin over the course of the day.
After the much-hyped race aired on July 23, many viewers expressed disappointment and/or irritation about the fact that the advertising campaign for the broadcast seemed to suggest that Phelps would actually be in the water with the shark at the same time.
He subsequently informed critics that they only had themselves to blame.
"You can believe whatever you want," Phelps said during a lengthy Facebook Live session where he answered questions from the public. "Everything was either presented on air, during multiple interviews that I did throughout Shark Week or the beginning of the show. Sorry you feel that way. For me, this was something I always wanted to do. I was honored to be able to do it."
On Thursday in Charlotte, Phelps walked the course with his wife, former beauty queen Nicole Johnson, as they followed the group featuring the last three major winners: Sergio Garcia (Masters), Brooks Koepka (U.S. Open) and Jordan Spieth (British Open.)
Phelps and Garcia are both brand ambassadors for Omega, the luxury sports watch maker that has been a sponsor of the PGA Championship for seven years now.
The Olympian isn't the first A-lister to show up at Quail Hollow this week, by the way: On Tuesday, pop star Justin Bieber stole the limelight when he surprised fans by showing up to hang with his pal Bubba Watson and other pros. He also was spotted later that afternoon at SouthPark Mall, and that night at Topgolf.
Meanwhile, if you're lucky, you might also catch country singer Darius Rucker out and about; he showed up somewhere in Charlotte (it's not clear exactly where) to do a little singing with pro golfer John Daly, who's competing this week.
And we spotted Allison Stokke, a fitness model and accomplished pole vaulter, accompanying boyfriend Rickie Fowler during Wednesday's practice round.
This article is written by Katherine Peralta, Rick Rothacker and Theoden Janes from The Charlotte Observer and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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