While Tiger Woods was wowed by Ash Barty’s swing, Australian great Karrie Webb says the retiring tennis star also has the finesse that could make her a golf champion.
World No.1 Barty’s shock retirement from tennis has led to speculation she may turn her attention to a golf career.
She already plays off a handicap of four, winning her club championship while juggling her three-time grand slam career.
Seven-time major winner Webb doubted the LPGA tour loomed for Barty due to the travel demands which contributed to her quitting tennis, but said she could see her as a future Australian amateur champion.
After playing a round with her at Victoria Golf Club in 2019, Webb said Barty was a natural.
And while Woods, who saw her tee off across the Yarra River at an exhibition event before the Presidents Cup, raved about her swing, Webb said her short game was just as impressive.
Barty had at the time been playing quite regularly after winning the French Open.
“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.
“But 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.”
Ideally, Barty is living on a golf course, engaged to a golfer while her parents were both Queensland amateur champions.
Webb, who is spending six months a year in Australia and has taken over the Olympic captaincy ahead of Paris in 2024, said she’d already reached out to the 25-year-old about playing a round.
If Barty pursued that line she could wind up in a second Olympic sport, playing golf in her home town at the 2032 Brisbane Games.
“I messaged her when she announced her retirement and said I hope that means we get to play some more golf together,” Webb said.
“I don’t think I’ll have to get in her ear to start playing more golf; I think Ash will definitely get into her golf now.
“I wouldn’t put it past her to be Australian amateur champion one day – I can see her working on her game and being good enough to be one of the best players in Australia for sure.”