PGA Championship

Valhalla Golf Club

Valero Texas Open

Akshay Bhatia's shoulder popped out in bizarre fist-pump injury

April 07, 2024

Raj Mehta

Akshay Bhatia won—or maybe the better word is “survived”—the Valero Texas Open on Sunday by beating Denny McCarthy on the first hole of sudden-death playoff. And he did it playing hurt.

Despite entering the back nine with a six-shot lead, Bhatia needed to birdie the 18th hole of the final round just to force a playoff after McCarthy made seven consecutive birdies at TPC San Antonio to finish out his closing 63. If that wasn’t enough, there was a Masters invite riding on the line for Bhatia. So you can’t blame the 22-year-old for unleashing a furious fist pump when he converted a 12-footer on the last hole of regulation to go to extra holes.

One problem: That fist pump popped his left shoulder out.

Cameras caught Bhatia rubbing his shoulder before the start of the playoff, with NBC Sports reporting that Bhatia requested his trainer through PGA Tour officials.

After McCarthy dunked his approach into the water on the first playoff hole, the par-5 18th, Bhatia met his trainer, who taped up his injured shoulder after hitting his drive into the fairway and successfully laying up to about 100 yards.

Despite the injury, Bhatia’s third shot safely found the green, and after McCarthy missed his bogey attempt, Bhatia cleaned up what was left for his second career tour victory. Getting a shoulder popped back in sounds painful, but given he earned a trip to Augusta National in the process, we’re guessing that’s a Faustian bargain Bhatia will gladly make.