Ash Barty hasn’t shied away from loving golf, and it looks like the former world number one tennis player is warming up to the idea of being a pro as she heads to the US for a world tournament with other famous faces.
Ash Barty stunned a veteran England golfer during a warm-up session ahead of a world tournament featuring a line-up of sports stars from around the world.
Barty, who announced her explosive retirement last month after winning the Australian Open and while comfortably sitting atop the rankings as world No. 1, has shown signs she could make a foray into golf as she spends more time on the green.
The 25-year-old joined the Icon Series in New Jersey for a two-day event where 24 decorated sports icons compete on two teams over nine-hole match play.
Icon Series chief executive Thomas Brookes says the down-to-earth Australian left England golfer Ian Poulter almost speechless by his skills during a hitting session.
“She did a range session with Ian Poulter. Ian said, ‘Just hit a few balls and we’ll see how you do,'” he told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“She hit that ball; I don’t know how far. And he turned around and said, ‘You got me. Let’s go a little further. Can you crossfade me? And she did a crossfade. Then he said, ‘Can you give me a low draw?’ And she made a low draw.
“He said, ‘oh my God, you’re something else’.”
Mr Brookes added that with a little practice, the former cricketer turned tennis player could reduce the three or four handicap she is sitting on.
Barty is excited about the competition in June and would have liked to bring the concept to Australia one day.
Her fiancé, Garry Kissick, is an aspiring professional golfer who plays with his future wife at least once a week.
Earlier this month, the three-time Grand Slam champion finished first in a five-ladies field at Brookwater Golf Club, where she was the 2020 titleholder, and won $30.
Golf officials publicly and privately pressured Barty to join the sport, adding that they would provide training, despite her already strong ties to her parents and Kissick.
But the ever-humble Australian said she was happy to play golf as a leisure activity rather than competitively.
“I’m very lucky that so many people are interested and invested, but right now I’m happy to get by on a Saturday,” Barty said.
“It’s more my cup of tea. It was the second round I had played in six months. I went down and played with my two girlfriends and my mom on a Saturday morning and then we saw it all over the news.
She added that she had “a good laugh” about it but that golf was something she tried to do “every week”.
Barty will be part of the Rest of the World squad which will be led by former No.1 golfer Ernie Els and rookies England footballer Harry Kane and Mexican boxer Canelo Alvarez.
Team USA will be led by former Masters champion Fred Couple and will feature swimming icon Michael Phelps, NFL star Michael Strahan and boxer Oscar De La Hoya.
Both groups are yet to reveal the rest of their squads.