Tiger Woods' burning desire to regain his place at golf's summit could be the catalyst that sparks one of sport's greatest comeback stories, according to a 23-time Olympic champion Michael Phelps. Woods has been plagued by injuries for several years and is now suffering from back spasms that have forced his withdrawal from two tournaments.
The last of his 14 major wins came back in 2008 and Woods sits 693rd in the world rankings, which he has topped for a total of 683 weeks.
Speaking at the Laureus Awards, Phelps – who retired in 2012 but returned to the pool two years later – even offered his own assistance to help his fellow American get back to his peak.
"When you think of golf you think of Tiger and for me as an athlete you can tell when someone wants to do it and I truly think it is in there and he wants to come back and be the best," he said.
"I think everyone has struggles and I had struggles when I came back and for me I would love to reach out and help in any way that I can.
"He is somebody that is an icon for the sport and if he wants to retire, then he should retire, but it is truly up to him though.
"I think he has to see what he wants and how he wants to finish his career, but he is a tremendous athlete and great for the sport of golf."
Phelps may not be of much use as a coach to Woods, though, as the 31-year-old confessed he is not as comfortable on the golf course as he is in the swimming pool.
"I have been very passionate about golf for a long time and it is one of the toughest sports I have ever done," he said.
"I never thought hitting a little white ball literally sitting on the ground would be so hard and frustrating every single shot.
"I was saying earlier how bad I am and wish I could be so much better. Last week I hit a guy in the face with a ball at the Waste Management Open and felt so bad."