WEDNESDAY  | MARCH 20, 2019
by Jeff Shain

Kevin Na was too focused on his own work to notice the skinny teenager attracting a small gathering two spots behind him Tuesday on Innisbrook Resort’s Copperhead practice range.

Akshay Bhatia is just 17, but he has built a portfolio that few junior golfers have ever achieved. He’s the only two-time boys’ winner of the Junior PGA Championship, adding three other elite junior titles last year. He was runner-up at the U.S. Junior Amateur.
 

 



by Gary Van Sickle

Jim Furyk already has come in second once this week, so I don’t think he’s going to be too ticked off by another runner-up finish.

My second-favorite thing about Furyk is that he holds himself to a high standard. My favorite thing, of course, is that he has a unique swing that he owns. That’s a plus, I believe.

Some media types who don’t really understand him perhaps figured he’d be pleased by coming close Sunday at the Players Championship, losing by a stroke to The Legend Who Is Rory McIlroy. The high standard to which Furyk holds himself is simple: winning.

 


‘Spoiled millionaires’ sour volunteer experience
Recent commentaries about the volunteer experience at PGA Tour events are spot on (“Volunteers lend a hand in labor of love,” March 15); (“From the Morning Read inbox,” March 19).

When I volunteered to be a marshal at Tiger Woods’ AT&T National (later the Quicken Loans National), I didn’t object to the $75 fee to cover the cost of a shirt, cap and water bottle for the opportunity to see the best golfers in the world up close and personal. (The tournament also offered free tickets for the tournament, but you couldn’t give them away, so they had zero value.) But over the course of five years, I soured on the experience, not because of the fee but because of the attitude of the players themselves.

 


Released: By the U.S. Golf Association, the broadcast and live-stream schedule for Fox Sports in its coverage of USGA tournaments this year. Fox will air nearly 140 hours of live coverage of eight USGA events.

 


2

Position in the U.S. rankings for the 2020 Ryder Cup for Jim Furyk, 48, who will be 50 when the Americans play the Europeans at Whistling Straits. Furyk vaulted up the rankings with his runner-up finish Sunday in the Players Championship.

 


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RADIO, TV AND PODCASTS

The Grill Room with Bob & Jay
Co-hosts Bob Bubka and Jay Randolph Jr. discuss Rory McIlroy, the recent Players champion who joined an elite club by winning his 15th title on the PGA Tour before age 30. The show includes audio from McIlroy, runner-up Jim Furyk and Tiger Woods. Plus, Morning Read co-founder Alex Miceli talks about the effects of the revised Florida Swing, including this week’s Valspar Championship.


Hawk & Rude: Players Championship wrap
John Hawkins and Jeff Rude discuss an exciting Players Championship won by Rory McIlroy, who picked up his 15th PGA Tour victory seven weeks before his 30th birthday.




FROM THE INDUSTRY

Wake Forest, led by individual champion Jennifer Kupcho, won the Tar Heel Classic by Suzy Whaley on March 16 at Casa de Campo’s Teeth of the Dog course in La Romana, Dominican Republic. Kupcho, the world’s No. 1-ranked women’s amateur and the reigning NCAA champion, shot 14-under 202 as the Demon Deacons posted a 23-under 841 score to win the 15-team, 54-hole event. Whaley, the PGA of America’s president, is an alumna of tournament host North Carolina.

 

Club Champion opened a fitting studio in Bedford, Mass., the company announced. The store, at 213 Burlington Rd., offers two hitting bays with TrackMan launch monitors, a SAM PuttLab and other features to provide customers with lessons and club-fitting services. To celebrate the opening, the store will be offering discounted club fittings for a limited time.

 

Rob Duca has joined the writing staff at New England dot Golf, the digital marketing platform announced. Duca, a former sports columnist for the Cape Cod (Mass.) Times, will write each week for www.newengland.golf.

 


CALENDAR
March 21-24
European: Maybank Championship

Saujana G&CC, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

PGA Tour: Valspar Championship

Innisbrook Resort (Copperhead), Palm Harbor, Fla.

LPGA: Bank of Hope Founders Cup

JW Marriott Desert Ridge Wildfire GC, Phoenix

Web.com: Chitimacha Louisiana Open

Le Triomphe G&CC, Broussard, La.


      
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