Gareth Bale swaps football boots for golf club as he tees off at PGA Tour event

The five-time Champions League winner is playing at a PGA Tour event in California as he adjusts to life after football. Credit: PA

Welsh football legend Gareth Bale has swapped his football boots for his golf club as he tees off in his first official golf event since retiring from professional football.

The five-time Champions League winner is playing at a PGA Tour event in California as he adjusts to life after football.

Bale is one of the headline names featuring in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event. It will see 156 professionals and 156 amateurs play across three iconic courses.

The AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am event is played across three iconic courses in California. Credit: PA

The tournament, which dates back to 1937, runs Thursday to Sunday and will see each amateur paired with a professional. Bale is paired with 34-year-old American Joseph Bramlett.

Wales' world cup hero isn't the only big name taking part in the tournament. Super Bowl-winner Aaron Rodgers and Hollywood actors Bill Murray and Jason Bateman are all taking part in the tournament.

Bale's golfing skills put him in the top 10 amateur performers in the field. Only nine of the 155 other amateurs have a lower handicap than the former Real Madrid star.

Gareth Bale posing with a controversial flag that reads 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order'

Wales' record goalscorer has long been known for his fondness of golf. In 2019, after Bale helped his country qualify for Euro 2020 he posed with a flag that read, 'WALES. GOLF. MADRID. IN THAT ORDER.'

Many pundits and fans in Spain weren't happy with the picture but many fans across Wales saw it as an endearing show of love for his country of birth.

Bale was even given the nickname "the golfer" by Real Madrid team-mate Thibaut Courtois - something the Welshman proudly embraced.

Speaking in 2019, Bale said he was "very happy" with the moniker and explained golf helped him remain "mentally calmer off the pitch".

Wales' most-capped men's player with 111 appearances only retired from professional football last month. The Cardiff-born star called time on a trophy laden 16-year career and leaves the game as his country's record goalscorer.

Less than a month after his retirement, Bale posted on Instagram confirming his participation in the tournament.

On January 23 he said: "Delighted to announce I will be playing in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am at the start of next month! Let's go."

It's not just Bale's passion for the sport that has caught people's attention. As a warm-up for this event, the thirty-three year-old played at the Farmers Insurance Open Pro-Am in San Diego. 

He was on the course alongside European Ryder Cup star Jon Rahm and 2021 US Open champion Rahm was clearly impressed by his ability on the course.

“I told Gareth, 'you can't be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn't seem fair'," Spaniard Rahm said.

"Can't be dedicated to one thing and have this much talent for golf, it's not fair in the slightest."