Dubai: Gareth Bale announced his retirement from football earlier this month and although his career in the beautiful game is now over, his golfing one looks like it is just beginning.
The former Real Madrid and Tottenham midfielder has confirmed he will be participating in the upcoming AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am which boasts a hefty prize fund of $9 million from February 2-5.
He will join several other celebrities including actors Bill Murray and Jason Bateman, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and musician Macklemore competing in the event at the famous Californian links with thousands of spectators expected.
Love of golf
The 33-year-old’s love of the golf is very well known and he will put his considerable skills to the test against the likes of US Open winner Matt Fitzpatrick, world number five Patrick Cantlay, three-time major winner Jordan Spieth and Ryder Cup captain Luke Donald. There will be 156 amateurs participating and the same number of professionals.
Bale, who is one of Britain’s greatest players and arguably Wales’ finest ever footballer, is set to be offered an ambassador’s role by the Welsh FA. He started his career at Southampton before moving to Spurs for £10 million where he was twice voted as footballer of the year.
Then in 2013 came a world record transfer to Real for £80 million and he helped the club to win three La Liga crowns, five Champions League titles, three Club World Cups, three Uefa Super Cups and a Spanish cup.
21 major trophies
In all, he won 21 major trophies but often said if he hadn’t made it as a professional footballer he would have taken up golf, a sport that sparked huge controversy during his time with the Spanish giants. He famously posed with a banner which read, ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In That Order’ as he pushed for a transfer to play in China and it sparked a big backlash amongst fans of the club.
After his Real contract expired, he joined Los Angeles FC but his spell in the US was ruined by injury. He managed 13 appearances and helped the club lift the MLS Cup for the first time by scoring a last-minute equaliser to set up a penalty shootout which his side won.
Bale has a three-hole golf course in his garden and is known to be a low handicapper. Clearly golf is more than just a hobby for him. Fitzpatrick and co had better watch out.