With a ton of new-found time on their hands, PGA Tour pros are continuing to do some meaningful work during the coronavirus layoff.
With the Valspar Championship recently falling victim to the Tour’s COVID-19 cancelations, nine-year-old Panagioti Bousdoukos was understandably upset. The Palm Harbor, Fla., native is a member of the First Tee of Clearwater and is obsessed with the game of golf, though the sport does not come easy to him. Bousdoukos is afflicted with multiple limb abnormalities which have required eight different surgeries throughout his young life. Each abnormality is independent of one another but greatly effects his everyday life. His right foot is drastically smaller than his left foot, creating an immense challenge to getting around the golf course as well as finding golf shoes that fit.
With the PGA Tour scheduled to come to his hometown, Panagioti planned on heading out to the Copperhead course at Innisbrook to watch his favorite players, get some autographs and have some fun. Unfortunately, the event was part of the first wave of cancelations on the PGA Tour. To date, eight PGA Tour tournaments have been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, while the Masters and PGA Championship have been postponed.
Bummed that he wouldn’t be able to see his favorite golfers, Panagioti set his sights on playing more golf. To do that he had to find the right golf shoes that would work for him. He began working with FootJoy on a custom pair of shoes that would not only work with his limb abnormality, but also look really cool. The nine-year old designed the shoes himself.
That’s when a few PGA Tour players sprang into action. Hearing about young Panogioti’s story, Justin Thomas, Ian Poulter and Charley Hoffman all sent surprise messages to the boy. The video messages were simple, and came with a special delivery “Panagioti, you’re an inspiration to all of us that play the game of golf. We’re all pulling for you!”
The players then asked him to go check outside his front door, where a box was waiting for him.
Bousdoukos was shocked, especially when he opened the box and saw his custom pair of golf shoes. The white and aqua shoes included a bunch of fun colors and an anchor which Panagioti called his “signature design.”
“Everybody’s unique in their own special way,” Panagioti said. He plans to wear his new shoes while playing as much golf as possible until he can get back to watching his favorite PGA Tour pros on the course.