Ahead of the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass this week, Real Madrid footballer Gareth Bale has teamed up with the PGA Tour to take on the purest test of golf, the famous island green.
Bale is a massive golf fan, and said he’ll be catching as much of the Players Championship action as he can inbetween Real Madrid training and match days.
“Obviously around my training and games I’ll be following updates as and where I can. It’s going to be an exciting tournament, you have the best players in the world and it’s an amazing course, on 16,17,18 anything can happen, especially on 17, so it’s going to be a great tournament, and I can’t wait for it to get started.”
Unable to make it to the tournament itself or indeed back to Wales where he has a replica of the famous Par 3 17th hole in his garden, Bale tested his short game golf skills on a floating island green positioned on a swimming pool:
Despite landing in the water on his first couple of attempts, mirroring the perils of the real hole at TPC Sawgrass, Bale soon found his range chipping the specially designed balls onto the green to tee up a series of ‘birdie’ opportunities.
Speaking about the challenge, Bale said; “It was good fun, I’m definitely taking it home with me! It’s a good replacement for the 17th until I can make it back to Wales!”.
On why he decided to recreate Sawgrass’ iconic 17th in his own garden, Bale said: “I’ve actually played TPC Sawgrass and played the 17th green before and I felt a huge adrenaline rush on the tee and I love watching the drama unfold on it. Over the years you see people go into the water, there’s not too many hole in ones, there’s just so much drama around it and anything can happen and it made me want to build it at home and have some fun with my friends and I just enjoy playing it.”
Bale also tried out a different challenge, this one tasking him with trying to chip a ball into a mug from distance.
After a couple of near misses, he quickly found his range with the wedge and landed the ball perfectly into the centre of the cup:
As for which PGA Tour player he’d love to have a round of golf with, Bale said it would have to be Tiger Woods.
“Probably Tiger, he’s Tiger Woods, he’s the biggest name in golf he’s obviously the best player that’s ever played the game. Some of the stuff I used to watch him do and is doing again now, is incredible. We’re obviously all hoping he wins another tournament and plenty more majors, it would be amazing to play with him.”
Asked who he’s backing for the Players this week, Bale added: “It would be amazing to see Tiger lift the trophy again, he has a big chance but I would like to see Dustin Johnson win, as he’s my favourite player so I’ll go for him. I also love watching Rory McIlroy play, I have a few players I really like, but whenever he’s playing I try and watch him, and I’m interested in how he plays and it’s just amazing how he plays the game, so it would be nice see him win.”