Former World No.1 Tennis Star To Play In New Golf Exhibition Series

Former World No.1 tennis star, Ashleigh Barty, will join sporting superstars in the Icons Series in New Jersey in June

Barty hits a shot
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Former World No.1 tennis star, Ashleigh Barty, will continue her rise in the golfing world by taking part in an exhibition golf event alongside some of world sport’s biggest names in New Jersey in June 2022.

The ten-hole team matchplay event, named the Icons Series, follows a similar path to that of the Presidents Cup. Fred Couples will take charge of Team USA, which will include 23-time Olympic gold medalist, Michael Phelps as well as two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger. It will also include former-boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who won 11-world titles in six different weight classes.

Ernie Els will head up the Rest of the World team; with Barty joined by Manchester City manager, Pep Guardiola and Tottenham Hotspur Striker, Harry Kane, as well as the first boxer in history to become undisputed champion at super middleweight, Carnelo Alvarez. Both teams are set to announce further participants in the weeks running up to the event. 

Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Barty spoke proudly of her latest sporting venture: “I’m excited to be part of the Icons Series and I hope through my participation in the series that we can encourage more women and girls to participate in golf around the world,” she said.

“The series is also a great opportunity for athletes to have an impact on local community and charity projects in each of the host destinations.

“It’s such a unique opportunity to have fun, test yourself and compete against the world’s greatest athletes in a sport that we are all so passionate about. I can’t wait to experience Liberty National and learn from our iconic captain, Ernie Els. I hope all the Aussie fans in New York and New Jersey come out to cheer us on.”

The Australian shocked the tennis world in March when, at the age of 25, she announced her retirement from the game. Barty was also ranked first in the tennis world ranking. During her rise to the top of the game, Barty claimed three Grand Slam titles, including last summer's Wimbledon crown. 

The superstar swapped the backhand for the backswing when just two weeks after the announcement she won a golf tournament at Brookwater Golf and Country Club in Brisbane. Playing off a handicap of four, 34-points secured the victory.

Seven-time Major winner, Karrie Webb, led the plaudits by saying: “I wouldn’t put it past her to be Australian amateur champion one day. (opens in new tab) I can see her working on her game and being good enough to be one of the best players in Australia.” If that praise wasn't enough, 15-time Major winner, Tiger Woods (opens in new tab), also said: "She's got a great swing, are you kidding me?" when Barty hit a wedge shot in front of him at an exhibition event along Melbourne's Yarra River in 2020. 

James Hibbitt
James Hibbitt

James joined Golf Monthly having previously written for other digital outlets. He is obsessed with all areas of the game – from tournament golf, to history, equipment, technique and travel. He is also an avid collector of memorabilia; with items from the likes of Bobby Jones, Tiger Woods, Francis Ouimet, Arnold Palmer, Lee Trevino, Adam Scott and Ernie Els. As well as writing for Golf Monthly, James’ golfing highlight is fist bumping Phil Mickelson on his way to winning the Open Championship at Muirfield in 2013. James grew up on the east coast of England and is the third generation of his golfing family. He now resides in Leeds and is a member of Cobble Hall Golf Club with a handicap index of 1.7. His favourite films are The Legend of Bagger Vance and Tin Cup.