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Ash Barty has been announced as a participant in the Icons Series golf event in America in June, further fuelling speculation that she's eyeing a code switch.
Barty shocked the sporting world last month when she announced her sudden retirement from tennis at age 25.
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Rumours immediately began swirling that the Queenslander was keen on a switch to golf, however the three-time grand slam champion refused to speculate.
However Tuesday's announcement will only fuel the rumour mill even more.
The former World No.1 of tennis will play in a teams exhibition event in New Jersey from June 30 to July 1, alongside some of sport's biggest names.
Barty will be a headline act in the Icons Series, which will be played in the US for the first time.
Team USA, captained by 1992 Masters Champion Fred Couples, will take on a Rest of the World team captained by four-time major winner Ernie Els.
The late Shane Warne has played in a previous edition of the event, while Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya and retired swimming champion Michael Phelps will all line up for the 2022 event.
The June tournament is a nine-hole team match-play format at Liberty National, while Barty is reportedly looking to bring the event to Australia next year.
She has been coy on her post-retirement plans after quitting tennis, although they are sure to involve golf in some way as she lives on a golf course with her fiance Garry Kissick a PGA trainee professional.
Speculation rife that Ash Barty will switch to golf
The Australian Open champion won the ladies competition at her home club Brookwater, near Ipswich, earlier this month - playing off 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 had the talent to make it on the LPGA tour.
"She's a really handy player and just that one day I could tell if she puts some time into it she will be a great player," Webb told AAP.
"It was everything - she hit the ball a long way - but a lot of athletes are very hand-eye co-ordinated and they get out there and they're fairly decent at hitting the ball.
"When it comes to the finesse shots, sometimes that's where they struggle, but she's got good hands from how she plays tennis.
"You could tell she had good hands and she'd developed a good short game and that just needs sharpening."
Icons Series chief executive Thomas Brookes told the Sydney Morning Herald that Barty had also impressed English golfer Ian Poulter.
“She’s absolutely terrific," Brookes said.
“She did a range session with Ian Poulter, who is one of our future captains, in September when she was at the US Open, and she had not hit a golf ball for a while.
"Ian said: ‘Just hit a few balls and we’ll see how you go’.
“She hit this ball, I don’t know how far. And he turned around and said, ‘You’re having me on. Let’s just take it a bit deeper. Can you do me a high fade?’ And she did a high fade. Then he said, ‘Can you do me a low draw?’ And she did a low draw.
“He said, ‘Oh my goodness, you are something else’.
“She’s got those skill sets within her locker. With a bit of practice she can get lower than a three or four handicap. I know she’s really, really excited to be playing in New York and she’s also really keen to bring the concept to Australia.”
See you on the fairway, Ash Barty! 👀🏌️♀️
The recently retired tennis superstar is returning to competitive sport, but she'll be swinging a club instead of a racquet!
Barty will reportedly compete in an international golf tournament in June.
Is there anything she can't do? 🤩 pic.twitter.com/0vtyxFwU34
— ABC SPORT (@abcsport) April 19, 2022
Golf’s image and exposure to the masses may well, if it is not already, be influenced by top players from other sports
Ash Barty is keen to bring this concept to Australia
Exciting ✅@karenharding123 @Rod_Morri @JimmyEmanuel4 @PGAofAustralia https://t.co/iLxVCOHw75
— Andrew Marchbank (@MarchbankAndrew) April 19, 2022
Omg, Ash Barty is now playing golf, there is literally nothing this woman cannot do 🤩
— elliemarney (@elliemarney) April 19, 2022
What’s the collective noun for an athlete that wins all the championships in 2 different sports?? Is there a sporting equivalent to EGOT?
What Ash did next: Barty to play in global golf tournament https://t.co/2NbDYl5dLI
— Cass (@HuskyCass) April 19, 2022
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