Gareth Bale takes on the iconic island green… with a difference
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.”
Gareth Bale has teamed up with the PGA TOUR to take on the Mug Challenge ahead of THE PLAYERS Championship this week. Follow all the action from TPC Sawgrass @PGATOUR on Twitter and Instagram.
On this day in 2008: Ryder Cup misery in Louisville for Nick Faldo’s Europe
Faldo was heavily criticised for his tactics in the closing singles.
Lucas Glover edges past Patrick Cantlay to claim back-to-back Tour wins
Glover, 43, ultimately claimed victory with a par on the 18th hole playoff after Cantlay found water off the tee.
Lilia Vu wins second major as Charley Hull comes up short despite stunning eagle
American Vu added the Women’s Open title to her Chevron Championship.
Lucas Glover holds onto lead in Memphis with Tommy Fleetwood two strokes behind
Glover said it was a scrappy day but he got ‘a lot out of’ what he had.
Charley Hull shares lead with Lilia Vu heading into final day of Women’s Open
The pair are nine under for the tournament.
On This Day in 2007 – Tiger Woods claims 13th major with victory in Oklahoma
The world number one successfully defended his US PGA Championship title.
Ally Ewing out to emulate Brian Harman with Open win
The pair share their southern roots, passion for hunting and college teams named the Bulldogs.
Ally Ewing storms clear during second round of AIG Women’s Open at Walton Heath
At 10 under par Ewing enjoyed a five-shot lead over compatriot Andrea Lee and Japan’s Minami Katsu.
Jordan Spieth leads by one after first round of FedEx St Jude Championship
England’s Tommy Fleetwood and Aaron Rai are the best of the British contingent, closing out Thursday on four under par.
Rory McIlroy delighted with Tiger Woods’ role on PGA Tour’s policy board
Woods, 47, has not played since withdrawing from April’s Masters and concedes his playing opportunities will be extremely limited going forward.