Why this soccer star is banned from playing golf during the World Cup

Gareth Bale is a golf fanatic, but he won't be playing any golf at the World Cup.

Getty Images

It seems Welsh star Gareth Bale, who was nicknamed “The Golfer” by Spanish media while playing for Real Madrid, won’t be much of one later this month during the World Cup.

Wales national football team manager Rob Paige told media members he banned Bale from playing golf for the duration of the 29-day tournament in Qatar.

“There’s no golf. We’re out there to do a job,” Paige said, according to Goal.com. “In the past, I may get Gareth, Kieffer Moore or Aaron Ramsey come up to me and say, ‘What’s the plan for tomorrow afternoon? Are there meetings?’

Soccer star Gareth Bale under fire for playing golf during Real Madrid game
By: Max Marcovitch

“I’d say, ‘No, there’s no meetings, so if you want nine holes then go and play. … But that is when you have a week building up to a doubleheader. Out there, we won’t have enough time. Every four days there is a game. It’s relentless.”

Bale, who told Erik Anders Lang in 2020 he plays to about a 3 or 4 handicap, has a bit of a complicated history with the sport, despite being a complete golf fanatic. While playing for Real Madrid, he was once spotted playing golf during a match he missed due to injury. His golf habits were also blamed for his injury history at times.

When he played on loan in the Premier League for Tottenham, the club built a short game area at their practice facility for him.

He built three holes in his backyard, including replicas of the 17th at TPC Sawgrass and the “Postage Stamp” 8th at Royal Troon.

“A lot of people have problems with me playing golf,” Bale told Anders Lang. “I don’t know what their reason is, because I’ve spoken to doctors and everybody’s fine with it. The media has this perception that it’s not good for me. Steph Curry plays maybe on the morning of a game. If I play two days before a game, it’s like ‘What’s he doing?'”

He has supported the Cazoo Open, the national open of Wales, the past two seasons on the DP World Tour. Bale was also recently announced as an investor in Tiger Woods and Rory McIlroy’s TMRW Sports.

This year’s World Cup will be the 33-year-old’s first, and likely last. He left Real Madrid over the summer to join the MLS and Los Angeles FC.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.