Rafa Benitez on Staysure Tour: Golf's footballing namesakes XI
By Ali Stafford
Last Updated: 29/01/19 6:49pm
Football fans looking through the leaderboard for the Staysure Tour’s Qualifying School this week will notice a familiar name amongst the field.
The Final Stage of Q-School sees 76 players battling to earn their playing privileges for golf's over-50s tour, where a golfer named Rafael Benitez is one of those chasing one of the five cards available.
Although the Spaniard in action unsurprisingly isn't the current Newcastle United boss, he is one of a number of golfers who share their name with someone from the footballing world.
With Benitez a ready-made manager, we delved through the world rankings to come up with a team of current footballers who share their names with golfers…
GK - Jordan Smith
The two-time Challenge Tour winner and 2017 Porsche European Open champion has the same name as the Nottingham Forest keeper, who joined League Two promotion-chasers Mansfield Town on loan at the start of January.
LB - Scott Jamieson
Jamieson was appointed captain of A-League side Melbourne City at the start of the season and has been a key part of their side since signing in 2017, while his golfing namesake kicked off his European Tour season with a tied-11th finish at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
CB - Ricardo Santos
The Portuguese defender hasn't featured for Barnet this season due to injury, having only missed four league games last season in their relegation campaign from League Two. The golfing Santos is a regular on the Challenge Tour, registering two top-10s in 2018.
CB - Adam Long
The PGA Tour rookie claimed an unlikely victory at the Desert Classic, as the-then world No 417 finished a shot clear of Phil Mickelson and Adam Hadwin. His footballing alias is on the books at Wigan Athletic, where the teenage defender has yet to make a league appearance.
RB - Ryan Moore
The teenager has yet to make a first-team appearance for Championship side Birmingham City, predominately featuring for their U18s side, whereas the golfing Moore is a five-time winner on the PGA Tour and has been inside the world's top 100 for over a decade.
MF - James Morrison
The golfing Morrison is a two-time European Tour winner, most recently at the 2015 Open de Espana, while his footballing namesake has been a West Bromwich Albion stalwart since signing from Middlesbrough in 2007.
MF - Scott Brown
Brown retained his PGA Tour playing privileges for the 2018-19 season after finishing 122nd in the FedExCup standings last time around. The American shares his name with Celtic's Scottish captain, who has won the Scottish Premiership eight times during his time at Celtic Park.
MF - Sam Saunders
Saunders is the grandson of golfing great Arnold Palmer and a regular on the PGA Tour, after previously shooting a '59 round' on the Web.com Tour in 2017. His football namesake is contracted to Wycombe Wanderers in League One, having previously played for Brentford.
ST - Cameron Smith
The Scottish forward dropped down a division to re-sign for Dundee United in January, having spent the past two years at St Mirren. The Australian Smith has broken into the world's top 30 after winning the Australian PGA Championship - his second professional title - in November.
ST - Sergio Garcia
The 2017 Masters champion and Europe's all-time record Ryder Cup points scorer shares his name with Espanyol's veteran striker, who can also play as winger, who has been at the club since moving from Real Betis in 2010 and has registered two La Liga goals so far this season.
ST - Chris Wood
Wood made his Ryder Cup debut in 2016 after winning the BMW PGA Championship, with the Englishman a three-time winner on the European Tour. His New Zealand namesake continues to be a regular part of Burnley's line-up, having made a £15million switch from Leeds United in 2017.
Have we missed a golfer from our line-up? Which golfers would appear in your footballing xi? Send in your comments to @SkySportsGolf!