Former world No. 1 tennis star to play in new series of golf exhibitions
Former world No. 1 tennis star Ashleigh Barty will continue her rise in the world of golf by competing in an exhibition golf event alongside some of the biggest names in world sport in New Jersey in June 2022 .
The ten-hole team matchplay event, named the Icons Series, follows a similar path to the Presidents Cup. Fred Couples will take charge of Team USA, which will include 23-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps as well as two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. It will also include former boxer Oscar De La Hoya, who won 11 world titles in six different weight classes.
Ernie Els will lead the Rest of the World team; with Barty joined by Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola and Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane, as well as the first boxer in history to become undisputed super middleweight champion, Carnelo Alvarez. Both teams are expected to announce other participants in the weeks leading up to the event.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, Barty spoke proudly of her latest sporting adventure: “I am delighted to be part of the Icons series and hope that through my participation in the series we can encourage more women and girls to participate in golf around us. the world,” she said.
“The series is also a great opportunity for athletes to impact local community and charity projects in each of the host destinations.
“It’s a unique opportunity to have fun, test yourself and compete against the greatest athletes in the world in a sport that we are all passionate about. I look forward to experiencing Liberty National and learning from our iconic captain, Ernie Els. I hope all the Australian fans in New York and New Jersey will come cheer us on.
The Australian shocked the tennis world in March when, at the age of 25, she announced her retirement from the game. Barty was also ranked first in the world tennis rankings. During her rise to the top of the game, Barty has won three Grand Slam titles, including the Wimbledon crown last summer.
The superstar swapped backswing for backswing when just two weeks after the announcement she won a golf tournament at Brookwater Golf and Country Club in Brisbane. Playing on a handicap of four, 34 points ensured victory.
Seven-time Major winner Karrie Webb led the applause, saying: “I wouldn’t trust her to ever be Australian amateur champion. I can see her working on her game and being good enough to be one of the best players in Australia. If that praise wasn’t enough, 15-time Major winner Tiger Woods also said: “She’s got a great swing, are you kidding me?” when Barty hit a corner kick past him during an exhibition along the Yarra River in Melbourne in 2020.