He once celebrated in front of a banner that read ‘Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order’.
But now he has called time on his professional football career, golf looks to be the undisputed number one for Gareth Bale – just ask world number three Jon Rahm.
The 2021 US Open champion played alongside the former Wales and Real Madrid forward in the Pro-Am before this week’s Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.
It is fair to say the European Ryder Cup player was impressed by what he saw at Torrey Pines.
“I told Gareth, ‘you can’t be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn’t seem fair’,” said the in-form Spaniard, who is seeking his third straight PGA Tour win this week.
“Can’t be dedicated to one thing and have this much talent for golf, it’s not fair in the slightest.”
Bale, a well-known golf nut, announced earlier this week he will play in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am in California next month – just weeks after announcing his retirement from professional football at the age of 33.
Bale warmed up for his week with the pros with nine holes at Torrey Pines – and Rahm said the former Tottenham Hotspur forward was not seeking any tips from him.
“He didn’t ask for anything, nor should he be asking, he’s already good enough,” the 28-year-old said. “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.”