Ash Barty will return to the world sports scene with a golf club rather than a tennis racquet. The former world number 1 will play in a tag team exhibition event in New Jersey from June 30 to July 1, alongside some of the biggest names in the sport.
Barty, who announced his surprise retirement last month at just 25, will headline the Icons series which will be performed in the United States for the first time. Team USA, led by 1992 Masters champion Fred Couples, will face a team from the rest of the world led by four-time major winner Ernie Els.
The late Shane Warne played in a previous edition while this time Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, former boxer Oscar De La Hoya and retired swimmer Michael Phelps will line up.
The June tournament is a nine-hole tag team match format at Liberty National. Barty is reportedly looking to hold the event in Australia next year.
She’s been coy about her post-retirement plans, although they certainly involve golf in one way or another as she lives on a golf course with her fiancé Garry Kissick, a professional PGA trainee .
The three-time Grand Slam tennis champion won the women’s competition this month at her home club of Brookwater, near Ipswich, with a handicap of five.
Seven-time major winner Karrie Webb played a round with her at Victoria Golf Club in 2019 and told AAP that Barty has the talent to compete on the LPGA Tour.
“She’s a very practical player and one day I could say that if she puts in the time, she’ll be a great player,” Webb said. “That was it – she hit the ball a long distance – but a lot of athletes are very hand-eye coordinated and they go out and they’re pretty decent at hitting the ball.
“When it comes to fine shots, that’s where they struggle sometimes, but she has good hands thanks to the way she plays tennis. You could tell she had good hands and that she had developed a good short game and it just needed to be honed.