Will cricket legend Ponting turn to golf?

Australia

Thu, 29 Nov 2012

Will cricket legend Ponting turn to golf?

Ricky Ponting was once told by nine-time major champion Gary Player to hang up his pads and take up golf.

The Black Knight’s comments were ignored and Ponting went on to become the most successful Australian cricket captain of all time, but Player may finally get his wish after Ponting announced that his 168th Test against South Africa, starting tomorrow in Perth, will be his last.

“I haven’t been performing consistently over the last 12 to 18 months,” said Ponting, making the announcement. “I believe now is the right time. This is a decision not made by the selectors, it was made by me.”

Ponting has scored 13,366 runs at an average of 52.21 in his Test career, but he has struggled for form in the current series with South Africa.

But the next step in his career might be closer than he thinks after the PGA of Australia have confirmed a virtual open invitation is in place for the 37-year-old - a one-handicap golfer - to participate at Australian golf’s major events next summer.

“We don’t want to take away opportunities for up-and-coming players, but it would be great for golf in Australia for someone like Ricky Ponting to play in one of our events,” said PGA of Australia’s Nick Thornton. 

“It certainly would create a lot of interest for one of those tournaments, so that is something we are always interested in.”

If he switched sports, Ponting, who calls himself a ‘golf tragic’, would follow the likes of All-Star Major League baseballer John Smoltz and Hall of Fame American footballer Jerry Rice, who have teed it up in Nationwide Tour events in America, while 46-Test batsman and scratch-handicapper Greg Blewett lined up in a field of 98 at the SA Classic amateur event at Glenelg.

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