Gareth Bale is a Major League Soccer player. Strange as those words dripping from the lips of MLS broadcasters everywhere, it’s a reality at this point. he is here! LAFC signed the player who took the bike kick in the Champions League final four years ago. He revealed the LAFC hat and all.
Of course, Bale 2022 and 2018 are far from the same player. He maintains a Kepler dwarf face and fully committed to the strategically attached man at the crown of his head, but his name doesn’t quite carry the same weight as it once did. Injuries and the lucky fall of Real Madrid have hampered his playing time over the past few seasons.
Also, there is a golf thing. Bale loves good golf, so much so that his Welsh teammates raised a flag he got from fans in 2019 listing his priorities: Wales first, golf second, Real Madrid third. Los Blancos Fans were critical of Bale during his time in Madrid, with some even telling him to “go play golf” when the Welshman arrived for training earlier this year.
While Bale should theoretically be up to the task of producing LAFC’s offensive vitality and vitality against an opposition that, unfortunately, won’t be quite as tough as LaLiga’s best defenses, there are some questions about how good he actually is. Many of the game’s stars – Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard and Jermain Defoe – came to Major League Soccer and immediately discovered that football in the United States simply did not accept stardom. There’s also travel, extreme weather, and sometimes playing on a Major League baseball field. It is not the easiest place to succeed.
So, as a favor to Bale and LAFC, we’ve decided to provide a little introductory information on some of the competition he will face in the league, whether his rivals in the Western Conference or some heavyweight players from the East. And we decided to present it in a format he’s pretty sure he understands: the PGA Football Tour, or the PMGALS Tour for short.
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Los Angeles Galaxy: Riviera Country Club (Pacific Palisades, CA)
Sure, it’s technically L.A. County, but is it really L.A.? The Galaxy are LAFC’s main competitors, and half the battle actually comes down to Carson.
Although LAFC often publishes “better” seasons of the Galaxy, its competitors are a mystery to them. The Galaxy has six wins in competition history against three for LAFC, and what seems like a simple game for LAFC is nothing but. This turns out to be a lot like Riviera Country Club, which Jordan Spieth described as a surprisingly difficult course for Golf Digest in 2021. “Don’t get into the pins,” Speth said. “So if you try to be nice to her, a lot of times when you miss the greens, it’s harder for you to get any closer than where you would have taken the approaching blow.”
Don’t be too nice to her, Gareth. Just keep your discipline and put the ball in good places.
We started the list near Bill’s new home. Here are the other golf courses we’ve analyzed and compared to the league competition they’ll face across the United States.
Seattle Sounders: Chambers Bay (University Place, Washington)
Don’t let their league record fool you, Gareth: The Sons are the elites of MLS after winning the CONCACAF Champions League, and if LAFC has to play in Seattle during the playoffs, you’ll taste one of their highest fan bases. In the league, some NFL-class artificial turf.
Trust us, Lumen Field is a place where it feels like the same elements are against you. A bit like Chambers Bay, home of the 2015 US Open and a course once described by Gary Player as “the worst track I’ve probably seen in my life.” The 2015 Open was marred by some questionable playing surfaces, something Bill might think to himself when picking bits of black rubber from his teeth at Lumen. Chambers Bay is also a bit infamous for the 10 mile players who have to make a trip to play it, with no golf carts without medical exemption allowed. Good luck leaving Washington with the results you’re looking for.
New York City: Bethpage Black (Farmingdale, NY)
“This has obviously been the longest, but it’s also the tightest American Championship I’ve ever played,” Tiger Woods told PGATour.com in 2019. Shockingly, he wasn’t referring to New York City’s Yankee Stadium but to Bethpage. black. The similarity here is quite clear: NYCFC plays on a postage stamp, and they are very good at playing on that postage, winning 66% of their home games over the past five years.
Bethpage Black could also apply to the New York Red Bulls in that referring to it as a New York City team course is geographically generous.
San Jose Earthquakes: Cypress Point (Pebble Beach, California)
Cypress Point Golf Course is known for its stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. It’s also known for its particular difficulty, and I’ll be on the same level with Gareth and everyone who hopes to see him succeed: the earthquakes probably won’t be as hard as Cypress Point. But they have a very nice stadium. The stadium is very beautiful. Kind of like a golf course.
Philadelphia Union: Pine Valley Golf Club (Pine Valley, New Jersey)
Pine Valley is a tough track – like the birthplace of the union’s most famous local talent, Brenden Aaronson – it’s actually in New Jersey.
Despite being named a Top 100 course in 2021 by Golf Digest, Pine Valley has not hosted a major tournament. The Philadelphia Union similarly falls within the bounds of MLS: a good team, even a great team lately, but a team without his signature moment. Getting a score at a Subaru park is hard, almost as hard as booking a Pine Valley tee time, which is only open to members and their guests. A word of advice, Gareth? When playing, try hitting the ball with the same force and precision as Jacob Glesnis does with his bewilderingly long shot. Seriously, this guy is the heart of the defence.
Atlanta United: Augusta National (Augusta, Georgia)
Of course, what is the PMGALS non-stop tour of the Augusta National? Its slopes and greens are enough to inspire a feeling of reverence and awe in any golf fan.
Atlanta United and Mercedes-Benz Stadium don’t have the same history as Augusta, but they make up for it with their blunt power meter. Standing outside a Mercedes-Benz feels like standing next to the Death Star, and being inside when Atlanta United score is what we imagine the Death Star looked like when it exploded, then when it exploded again, and then when it exploded again.
Atlanta United may not have recaptured the impressive talent squad that brought him the 2018 MLS Cup and is suffering from a certain level of injury that Dante might have written into his initial draft. But few teams in the league are as shocked and intimidated as Atlanta United do, and Bale’s hiatus in the league was not completed until he played for MBS. That is if LAFC can find it. Augusta is very close to Atlanta by American standards – only a two-hour drive, and traffic is on hold.