‘No business being that good’: Retired soccer star turning heads on PGA Tour

gareth bale playing golf

Gareth Bale combining his two passions in 2016.

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During Gareth Bale’s 16-year-long run as a superstar on the soccer pitch, the now former Welsh winger was a major problem for opposing defenders. He was still very much on top of his game at the 2022 World Cup, but Bale decided to walk away from the game. Earlier this month, at the ripe old age of 33, he announced his retirement.

Then he did what any sensible retiree would do: focus on playing more golf.

Bale’s love affair with golf is well documented. Not only did he find an ingenious workaround during a ban from playing golf during the 2022 World Cup but he also built a three-hole course in his backyard, an homage to some of the most famous holes in golf, including No. 17 at TPC Sawgrass.

Maybe more impressively, Bale told The Erik Anders Lang Show podcast, his handicap is “between a 3 and a 4” — so, no, he’s not your average weekend hacker.

Gareth Bale’s golf game impresses Jon Rahm

How good is Bale on the links? He has the No. 3-ranked player in the world jealous of his game.

After playing a pro-am round with Bale leading up to this week’s Farmers Insurance Open, Jon Rahm said Bale is talented enough not to require tips from the 2021 U.S. Open champ.

“I told Gareth, you can’t be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn’t seem fair,” Rahm said. “Can’t be dedicated to one thing and have this much talent for golf, it’s not fair in the slightest.

“He didn’t ask for anything, nor should he be asking, he’s already good enough. Like I said, he has no business being that good when he’s a professional football player. The second he’s done and he can actually practice more, he’s going to get a lot better. He got two strokes, which I think it’s already wrong. He should be giving strokes back to the rest of the amateurs because he is a very, very good player.”

Now look, when a bunch of PGA players and celebrities get together to play in a pro-am, there’s usually a bunch of compliments that get tossed around. It’s a lighthearted atmosphere and allows pros the opportunity to see other celebs hold their own on the course. But in this case, Rahm legitimately seems impressed with Bale’s game.

Who knows, maybe the former footballer will find himself hunting for his PGA Tour card in the not-so-distant future? If Bale can handle the crazed atmosphere of playing in a World Cup, he seems suited to do the same when put in the pressure cooker of a PGA Tour event.

Bale’s next chance to wow Tour pros will come next week when he joins the field at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Nick Dimengo

Golf.com Editor