Gareth Bale is making a dramatic PGA Tour debut – just 23 days after quitting football.
The Wales and Real Madrid legend, 33, recovered from the bunker to par the first hole of the Pebble Beach pro-am, The Sun reports.
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Smiling Bale looked a world away from the stressful injuries and World Cup disappointment that marred his final months in the beautiful game.
Wales exited Qatar at the group stage and he barely played for his last club Los Angeles FC amid fitness concerns.
Now, though, the two-handicapper is looking relaxed as he takes on world class golfers in the USA.
The Pebble Beach event is held on three separate courses – starting on Thursday at Spyglass Hill.
Bale shared a joke as he walked out to cheers before going through practice swings in a manner suggesting he was playing for fun.
But the ex-Tottenham attacker also proved he has the focus of an elite sportsman as he kept his cool after getting into trouble on the opening hole.
Bale not only got out of a bunker in style, he even had a decent shot at a birdie that he sent inches by.
Then, taking just a couple of seconds to compose himself, he tapped in for par as if he was a seasoned pro.
Fans watching on couldn’t believe just how good the recently retired football superstar looked on the course.
Bale is partnering Californian Joseph Bramlett, 34, who has a FedEx Cup ranking of 64.
Their group includes Yahoo Founder Jerry Lang and Swedish pro David Lingmerth, 35.
The tournament switches to the Monterey Peninsula course on Friday and Pebble Beach the following day.
Leading professionals have praised Bale’s game over the past month.
US Open champion Matt Fitzpatrick and World No3 Jon Rahm have led praise for Bale’s talent in the past month.
Rahm said: “I told Gareth, you can’t be so good at professional football and golf at the same time, it just doesn’t seem fair.”
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission.