Famous Sportsmen Who Took Up Golf
Former world snooker champion Shaun Murphy is the latest sportsman who believes he is good enough to make a fist of playing golf at the highest level and will attempt to qualify for The Open Championship at Royal Portrush.
Murphy plays off scratch, which means he can play in the regional qualifier at County Louth in Ireland on June 24 having previously caddied for a friend in Open Championship qualifying.
"That was a fantastic experience. I thought it would be nice to have a go myself," he said. "It is very hard to maintain a scratch handicap while having a full-time snooker career, a young family and all the rest of it.
"I won't be off scratch for much longer so I thought I should take my opportunity while I am still eligible."
Murphy, who won snooker's World Championship in 2005, admits his chances of progressing to the final stage of qualifying are "extremely unlikely" and he said that he is not taking it very seriously. "It is all a bit tongue in cheek and a bit of a laugh," he said. "The one thing I do have going for me is that I already have a full-time job. Golf isn't my livelihood. Relative to the other players I will be playing against, it doesn't really matter to me if I win or lose.
"I am just trying to have a good day out. I could knock it round in anything from 68 to 108."
Murphy has won all three of the top titles in snooker having also triumphed at the UK Championship in 2008 and Masters in 2015.
There are too many to mention, so here we look at just 10 athletes famous for their prowess in other sports who have found they have an aptitude for golf.
Tim Henman, plus one
The former British No 1 tennis player has a sweet golf swing and there are many who believe he could have made a decent fist of it as a professional golfer. He is now a regular on the celebrity pro-am circuit. He once outscored Colin Montgomerie at the Alfred Dunhill LInks Championship at St Andrews (he had a 66, Monty a 72). Ouch!
Jamie Redknapp, four
Forced to retire early due to injury, the former Liverpool midefielder and Sky Sports pundit is a decent golfer who plays off a handicap of four, and regularly plays in Pro-Am events, including the Alfred Dunhill Championship at St. Andrews.
Alan Shearer, six
The Premier League’s all time top scorer has turned himself into a decent golfer since retiring in 2006. The Match of the Day pundit plays off six and is a member at Close House, which hosted the British Masters in 2017.
Alan Hansen five
The former Liverpool player and TV pundit Alan Hansen is an excellent amateur golfer. Currently off five, he has been much lower. He is a member at both Hillside Golf Club and Queenwood Golf Club in Surrey.
Jimmy Bullard, scratch
Former Fulham and Hull City midfielder Bullard tried his hand at turning professional. His footballer career was plagued by injuries and he was a scratch golfer by the time he hung up his boots. Having made his EuroPro debut in 2013, he has failed to make a penny as a golfer.
Gareth Bale, 4.8
The Real Madrid star has created his own golf course in what he laughingly describes as his back garden, with replicas of famous holes from TPC Sawgrass, Royal Troon and Augusta National. He regularly tests his skills on copies of the 17th at Sawgrass, the 12th at Augusta and the Postage Stamp from Royal Troon.
Michael Jordan, 1.9
The greatest basketball player of all time is a pretty useful golfer and has also built his own course in Florida - now that is when you know you have arrived.
Tony Romo 0.3
The CBS broadcaster and former Cowboys quarterback is no stranger to shooting scores under par. Unfortunately, he has yet to do so in a PGA Tour event and his attempts to do so are becoming increasingly tiresome.
Wayne Gretzky 7.8
The hockey legend isn’t anywhere near as good as Dustin Johnson, whose partner is Gretzky's daughter, Paulina. Perhaps the Dustinator should be giving Daddy Gretzky some golf lessons.
Theo Walcott, 10
Everton forward Walcott admits that he is probably much better than his official handicap of 10. And that is hardly surprising since he plays much of his golf at Wentworth’s West Course.
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