When’s he’s not busy brushing off defenders at The Emirates or scoring for England, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain likes nothing more than to unwind with a bit of golf, but that competitive nature never quite turns all way off, as he told TG recently, “I always want to go round as well as I can, but I’m more worried about beating other people.”
“I never go out on my own, we’re always having a little competition,” the 19-year-old added.
“I play with Theo Walcott and Aaron Ramsey quite a lot and I played with Carl Jenkinson today. Theo loves it, he’s always out and is a member down at Wentworth. James Milner’s probably the best of the England bunch.”
So how does the man known simply as ‘The Ox’ shape-up on the fairways?
“When we played at The Grove before Euro 2012 I beat the England lot and they reckoned there was a bit of banditry going on with my handicap. I’ve not got anything official, but I usually play to around 16 or 18, but where I’m not consistent it can often be up and down.”
It’s not the winning that matters though when the Arsenal winger goes toe-to-toe with the likes of Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard on the greens, rather the not coming last.
“We don’t usually play for money but a forfeit, like a car wash and stuff like that. When I’m with my non-football mates we usually do forfeits rather than wagers too, so the loser will have to do something outrageous. Luckily I’m usually quite steady!”
Unfortunately the same can’t be said for his round today at the 2013 Bizarre Masters Golf Day at Stoke Park, where the youngster was a bit “ropey”.
“Tee to green I was okay but I think I three-putted most holes, so it’s not good form. I don’t like to be out on the course when it’s cold like today. I can’t cope. It was so cold I just wasn’t feeling it. It was horrible; I’m more of a tropical golfer!”
The Portsmouth-born star has played golf most of his life, taking up the game with his dad when he was only five. “I’ve always played quite regularly but was never serious enough to be really good. I used to be a member when I was younger at home, but not anymore,” lements Oxlade-Chamberlain.
Nowadays he normally plays his rounds at Brocket Hall, The Grove or The Shire. The mention of the Seve Ballesteros layout brings a wry smile to the youngster’s face. “My golfing highlight was when me and Theo Walcott played Aaron Ramsey and one of the pros from The Shire and we were coming up the 18th where there’s water.
“I’ve hit a 4-iron from about 180-yards, probably the best shot I have ever hit with my 4-iron, absolutely smashed it, and it finished within about 10-feet of the hole and then I holed the putt to win it. The best thing of all was that Theo filmed the whole thing!”
For now though he’ll leave the nervy carries over water to the pros, as he looks forward to the first major of the year. “I’m definitely going to watch The Masters next week, it’s one of the biggest sporting events in the world and you never want to miss it. I’ve grown up over the years watching every moment with my dad, so I’ll be watching every step of it.”
“I’m not sure who will win this year. I want to say Tiger because he’s my man, I going to have to back him because he’s back now. Tiger’s back!”
Then again, the Nike footballer may be a tad biased having just spent the morning playing the latest edition of EA Sport’s ever-popular Tiger Woods PGA Tour game as the 14 time major champion.
"I'd love to play Augusta at some point, but for the time being, I'll have to settle with 18 holes on the new Tiger 14"
"It's mad that you don't use a controller to play the new Tiger 14 game. On the Xbox Kinect you change clubs and aim your shots with voice control. Once set, you just swing your normal swing and watch it fly 340-yards down the fairway!"
"There are some great new features in the game too, including the chance to play all four majors and challenge legends of the game including Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer."
Tiger Woods PGA TOUR 14 is OUT now on Xbox Kinect and PlayStation. Play as Arnold Palmer in the all-new Legends of the Majors mode and #TakeDownLegends.
More info at: ea.com/uk/tiger-woods-pga-tour-14