It’s just 23 days since Gareth Bale announced his retirement from professional football and the Welsh wizard is already making a name for himself in another sport.
The former Real Madrid forward is currently making his PGA Tour debut alongside 156 pro golfers at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California – a four-day event that boasts a purse of $9 million (£7.3m).
Bale, who plays off a handicap of two, must have been a tad nervous when he walked out at Spyglass Hill on Thursday ahead of his opening round.
But the 33-year-old scored a solid par on hole one, despite finding the bunker.
Bale showed more nerves when he went long and right off the green on hole two. In fact, he needed to hit his next shot from a nearby cart-path.
But the Welshman recovered with a magnificent chip to get four feet from the hole.
“This is where he’s hitting his third shot on the second,” said the ESPN commentator. “He goes low and hits an amazing shot.”
The co-commentator also praises the shot. “That is pretty tidy there. Holy cow!”
Bale has impressed a number of top golfers in the past week. On Wednesday afternoon, US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick played nine holes with the former Wales international.
“It was really cool,” Fitzpatrick said about 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. We had a really enjoyable front nine and there’s not many better places to do it than around here.”
Bale also played nine holes with world number three Jon Rahm ahead of this week’s tournament.
Rahm, who has won four times in his last six worldwide starts, joined the Welshman in a fourball alongside ESPN golf analyst Michael Collins and social media star Tisha Alyn.
And the German was left stunned by Bale ability on the Torrey Pines 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’,” he said.
“You can’t be dedicated to one thing and have this much talent for golf, it’s not fair in the slightest.”
When asked about Bale’s golfing prowess after Rahm’s comments, Sheffield-born Fitzpatrick added: “I don’t know what Jon said but yeah, he [Bale] is obviously a good player.
“He has obviously got a lot of talent. Yeah, he was impressive.”
Bale and Fitzpatrick enjoyed playing nine holes on Wednesday. Image credit: Instagram/mattfitz94Although he is unlikely to top a leaderboard at any stage, Rahm says the former Spurs forward has all the tools to make an impression.
When asked if Bale asked for any tips, the Spaniard said: “He didn’t ask for anything, nor should he be asking, he’s already good enough. He has no business being that good when he’s a professional football player.
“When he can actually practise more, he’s going to get a lot better.
“He got two strokes in the Pro-Am, which I think is already wrong. He should be giving strokes back to the rest of the amateurs because he is a very, very good player.”