Akshay Bhatia is living his dream.
The 21-year-old just had his career-best finish on the PGA Tour — a runner-up at the Puerto Rico Open — which earned him enough non-member points to accept temporary membership on the PGA Tour. Now, Bhatia has to continue his momentum to earn enough points to equal No. 125 on the FedEx Cup points list to ensure he keeps his card next season. Next year, the cutoff will be the top 70. Needless to say, it’s a big-time accomplishment for such a young player.
But although he’s made more than $550,000 this season alone, Bhatia isn’t far removed from days when he wasn’t so flush.
On this week’s episode of Subpar, Bhatia regaled hosts Colt Knost and Drew Stoltz with a story of how he ended up saving money on a rental car by renting a U-Haul instead at the 2022 Wichita Open on the Korn Ferry Tour.
“We were in Wichita, Kansas. And I ended up changing my flight to a day later, and Avis kind of waives the underage fee, because at that time I was 20,” he said. “So I get to the counter, and they’re like, ‘Yeah, we can’t give you a car, you need to be 21. And my girlfriend and me are 20 at the time.’”
Bhatia called his agent, who arranged a rental with a different company, but according to Bhatia, it was going to be $1,000 to rent the car for the week.
“I was literally driving five minutes from the golf course to our host house,” Bhatia said. “I was like, I’m not gonna do that.”
Bhatia said his girlfriend suggested getting a vehicle from U-Haul, which has rentals available for around $20 a day.
“So we call them, and they’re like, we don’t have any of the F-150s, but we have a U-Haul truck,” Bhatia said. He secured the rental by saying he was moving.
“So we ended up having that for a couple days, then luckily I got a Lexus for the week, which was super amazing,” he said. “It makes it easier now that I’m 21 so I guess I don’t have to deal with it.”
Bhatia said his eventual arrival to the course was an amusing moment for his caddie.
“I called my caddie, I was like, ‘Yeah, we’ll be there in a couple minutes, just look out, we got a truck this week,’” he said. “He saw us pull up in the U-Haul and it was just hilarious.”
For more from Bhatia, including the best players he’s watched and why mental focus is so important on Tour, check out the full interview below.