'He Was Impressive' - Gareth Bale's Golf Game Gets More Praise From Matt Fitzpatrick

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick says Gareth Bale has certainly got golfing ability after a round at Pebble Beach

Matt Fitzpatrick and Gareth Bale at Pebble Beach
(Image credit: Getty Images)

US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick confirmed that retired football star Gareth Bale’s golf game was “impressive” after playing with the Welshman ahead of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am.

Wales captain Bale hung up his boots in January after a glittering career at Real Madrid and a two spells at Tottenham, and immediately picked up his golf clubs to aim to play in this prestigious PGA Tour pro-am.

Bale is one of the star attractions along with NFL quarterbacks Aaron Rodgers and Josh Allen and numerous other sports stars and celebrities in the pro-am field featuring 156 professionals and 156 amateurs taking on three iconic venues.

Pebble Beach Golf Links, Spyglass Hill Golf Course and Monterey Peninsula Country Club stage the event again, some of the best golf courses in California and arguably the world as the appear on many a bucket list.

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And after impressing in the pro-am at the Farmers Insurance Open, Bale will showcase the golf game that’s already drawn huge praise from Jon Rahm.

The Spaniard said Bale had “no business being that good” at golf having been a professional footballer, and Fitzpatrick confirmed after a round with him that Bale indeed has golfing ability.

“Yeah, it was really cool,” Fitzpatrick said of playing with Bale. “First time I've officially met him. So that was obviously good to see him. Really, really enjoyed it. Asking him questions about football and he's asking questions about golf and stuff.

“So we had a really enjoyable front nine and there's not many better places to do it than around here.

“I don't know what Jon said. But, yeah, he's obviously a good player. He's obviously got a lot of talent. Yeah, he was impressive.”

Some have even mentioned Bale and talk of turning professional or trying to qualify for PGA Tour events – something former quarterback Tony Romo has tried in the past.

Bale is listed as having a handicap of two, and will play alongside former Korn Ferry Tour Championship winner Joseph Bramlett for the first three rounds in California.

For Fitzpatrick, he’s using the event as a warm-up for the rest of the season, as he’s not quite at 100 percent due to a slight neck problem, but feels this is the perfect event to start his year.

“This week's perfect,” he added. “I hurt my neck last Saturday. So it's, like it's still not a hundred percent. I don't feel like 100 percent.

“That's why another reason I'm kind of playing this as a warm-up week for me. It's just kind of see where I'm at. Hopefully, it's going to die down a little bit more. Like I can still play, but I'm not, I've not got like full speed or anything like that.”

Paul Higham

Paul Higham is a sports journalist with over 20 years of experience in covering most major sporting events for both Sky Sports and BBC Sport. He is currently freelance and covers the golf majors on the BBC Sport website.  Highlights over the years include covering that epic Monday finish in the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor and watching Rory McIlroy produce one of the most dominant Major wins at the 2011 US Open at Congressional. He also writes betting previews and still feels strangely proud of backing Danny Willett when he won the Masters in 2016 - Willett also praised his putting stroke during a media event before the Open at Hoylake. Favourite interviews he's conducted have been with McIlroy, Paul McGinley, Thomas Bjorn, Rickie Fowler and the enigma that is Victor Dubuisson. A big fan of watching any golf from any tour, sadly he spends more time writing about golf than playing these days with two young children, and as a big fair weather golfer claims playing in shorts is worth at least five shots. Being from Liverpool he loves the likes of Hoylake, Birkdale and the stretch of tracks along England's Golf Coast, but would say his favourite courses played are Kingsbarns and Portrush.