Jacksonville Sports Day

FURYK & FRIENDS: Familiar Faces in This Week’s Star Studded Field

Photo by jim Brady/Jacksonville Sports News

This week’s field includes several players who were involved in the Ryder Cup two weeks ago, including victorious U.S. Captain Steve Stricker and Team Europe Captain Padraig Harrington.

U.S. Vice Captains Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III and Phil Mickelson, who helped the U.S. Team to a 19-9 victory over Europe, are also in this week’s field at the Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS. European Vice Captain Robert Karlsson will also tee it up this week, making it seven of the 12 captains/vice captains from either side playing at FURYK & FRIENDS

In support of the Play Yellow Campaign started by Jack and Barbara Nicklaus and in support of local children’s hospitals, AJ Blinn (Wolfson Children’s Hospital patient) will hit a ceremonial opening tee shot at 7:40 a.m. with Michael Aubin, President of Wolfson’s Children’s Hospital, on hand.

Peter Jacobsen will announce AJ to the tee. Wolfson Children’s Hospital has been a long-time partner and beneficiary of the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation and will be one of the several local charity partners of this week’s Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS.

In 2019, A.J. Blinn received uplifting news when doctors at Wolfson Children’s Hospital cleared the then 9-year-old Jacksonville boy to begin riding his bicycle again, a sign that his recovery from avascular necrosis (AVN) was proceeding well.

Blinn got another big thrill Wednesday at THE PLAYERS Championship that year. He and his family were invited as guests when legendary golfer Jack Nicklaus, his wife, Barbara, and PGA TOUR commissioner Jay Monahan announced plans for a five-year, $100 million “Play Yellow” fundraising campaign to help combat pediatric diseases through the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

AJ has come a long way since he was diagnosed with a rare condition called Legg-Calve-Perthes disease in December 2017. Because of this disease, he developed avascular necrosis, a condition in which the blood supply going to the femoral head of the hip socket was cut off, causing the bone to die.

This was devastating for him and his family but yet AJ bravely endured major orthopedic surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital in March 2018. Post-surgery, he could only get around with a walker and wheelchair, as he wasn’t able to put weight on his hip for three months.

AJ got into golf because it was one of the very few activities he could do, since it involves no running or jumping or strenuous activity on his hip. Two years and a few months after his surgery, he was cleared to run and back to activity.

After 8 weeks of physical therapy, he was able to go to golf camp in the summer of 2020, where he met his future golf coach. And in the spring of 2021, he made his school’s golf team! Now in sixth grade, AJ loves golf, loves to play, loves to watch and knows a lot of the players.

Start times for the opening round of the Constellation FURYK & FRIENDS presented by Circle K are earlier than originally planned, due to expected inclement weather later in the day on Friday, Oct. 8. Important spectator information for these changes is listed below.

Timuquana Country Club was founded in 1923 when 50 community leaders decided to form a new golf club for
Jacksonville. The Club is named after a Timucuan tribe of Native Americans who once lived along the edges of the St.
Johns River which borders the Club and will provide beautiful views for players and fans alike.

Donald Ross, who was the most accomplished golf architect during that time, was chosen as the course designer and constructed a beautiful, tree-lined property. Since its opening, the course has hosted several tournaments including the 2002 U.S. Senior Men’s Amateur Golf Championship and the 2019 U.S. Women’s Amateur Four-Ball Championship

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *