‘He is getting to live out some dreams:’ Boy who battled hip disease kicks off charity golf event

The inaugural Constellation Furyk & Friends PGA TOUR Champions tournament will benefit local charities.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The inaugural Constellation Furyk & Friends PGA TOUR Champions tournament teed off on Friday.

The tournament, which benefits local charities, runs throughout the weekend.

“A few of my favorite golfers just in general are Jack Nicklaus, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth, and Harris English,” 12-year-old AJ Blinn told Action News Jax.

On Friday, AJ hit the opening ceremonial first round tee shot and the journey to get there wasn’t easy.

When he was 8 years old, AJ’s parents noticed he started limping.

That’s when they took him to Wolfson Children’s Hospital.

“He was diagnosed Perthes disease, which is an extremely rare, basically, hip disease that can occur in children,” his mother Joanna Blinn said.

He went through a major orthopedic surgery at Wolfson Children’s Hospital and at times during his recovery, he was only able to use a wheelchair or walker to get around.

AJ told Action News Jax he became interested in 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.

And after two and a half years of recovery, this 6th grader is not only playing with the pros, but he also made his school’s golf team.

“To be out here today, there’s no words to describe the pride and joy that just sort of makes that time worth it, that he is getting to live out some dreams now,” his mother said.

“I found something that I could do, and I ended up loving it now,” AJ said.

Michael Aubin, the President of Wolfson Children’s Hospital told Action News Jax that Wolfson has been a long-time beneficiary of the Jim and Tabitha Furyk Foundation and its one of several local charities benefitting from this week’s tournament.