Rising star pro explains the biggest key to success on the PGA Tour

Akshay Bhatia has made 22 PGA Tour starts in his young career, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t figured out what it takes.

Coming off a career-best second-place finish at the Puerto Rico Open earlier this month, which earned him special temporary status on the PGA Tour for the rest of the year, Bhatia told GOLF’s Subpar co-hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stolz about what he needs to do to improve.

“The amount of focus it takes every single week and every single shot isn’t, I mean, it’s a big difference,” Bhatia said on this week’s podcast. “And if you’re not focused on exactly where you want to hit it every single time and you miscue and short side of yourself, it’s half a stroke at least a round.”

akshay bhatia swings
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He said changing his mentality about grinding to better finishes when he’s not in contention is one of his goals.

Bhatia offered an example from a few seasons ago when he Monday qualified for the Mayakoba event in 2020. He was coming off his first career made-cut and top-10 finish at the Safeway Open (now Fortinet).

In the third round, he recalled playing with Viktor Hovland — who would go on to win — and Patrick Rodgers. Hovland shot 63 and Rodgers shot 65, making Bhatia feel like he was left in the dust after putting up a 70.

“I got into a mentality of not wanting to be there because I wasn’t in contention,” he said. “That was a big learning experience for me: I still need a mentality to try and grind it out and finish top 15 versus a 30th.

“I feel like everyone’s so talented and I feel like I have a solid game, but if you’re mentally able to focus every single week and every single shot, I think that’s the biggest thing on the PGA Tour.”

For more from Bhatia, including the best players he’s played with so far, and the story behind why he drove a U-Haul to a KFT event, listen to the full podcast below.

Jack Hirsh

Golf.com Editor

Jack Hirsh is an assistant editor at GOLF. A Pennsylvania native, Jack is a 2020 graduate of Penn State University, earning degrees in broadcast journalism and political science. He was captain of his high school golf team and recently returned to the program to serve as head coach. Jack also still *tries* to remain competitive in local amateurs. Before joining GOLF, Jack spent two years working at a TV station in Bend, Oregon, primarily as a Multimedia Journalist/reporter, but also producing, anchoring and even presenting the weather. He can be reached at jack.hirsh@golf.com.