Catching everyone’s eye during the 2019 PGA Championship Tour is Atiwit “Jazz” Janewattananond. Not only for his difficult to pronounce name, but for his high ranking on the leaderboard. Viewers around the world are watching the action on the Bethpage Black Course and asking who is Jazz? And where did he come?
Jazz is a professional golfer from Bangkok, Thailand, and this is the 23-year-old’s first PGA Championship Tour. With his unique “modern golf swing” he’s having an impressive debut run, and his name may rank on top over current leader Brooks Koepka come Sunday. As for the correct way to say Jazz’s last name, it’s pronounced “JANNA’-watta-NON’-nond.” His father nicknamed him Jazz, because natch, he’s a big fan jazz music.
The announcers have since dubbed him “All That Jazz” because saying his last name aloud is proving to be a broadcaster’s worst nightmare. Prior to the PGA Tour, Jazz was ranked #72 in the world. And thus far in the competition, the rising star golfer has hit four birdies over his first 10 holes. The 5’9 golfer, who lists his weight at 150 pounds, turned pro at the impressive age of 14. He was the youngest player ever to make it on to the Asian Tour.
While competing at Bethpage, he’s being assisted by veteran local caddie Jack Miller, who ranked No. 1 on the depth chart of loopers at the state park. Of coming to the New York area for the first time in his life, Jazz told Golf Digest that competing in the PGA actually marks a lot of firsts for him, including hearing fans try to shout out his name.
“My first time ever getting a crowd like this, shouting my name,” he said. “I don’t know how to react to it.” This is my first time for the shouting. They give me some really funny names. I try not to remember it. They did try [to pronounce my name]. It didn’t come out right.”
Jazz understands people will have difficulty pronoucing his name, as he’s having his own issues understanding Americans. “It’s good, it’s good, it’s great,” he said of visiting Bethpage. “Sometimes I’m finding it hard to understand his New York accent,” Jazz told Newsday. “But it’s good. [Miller] brought some crowd with him.”
Miller, who’s from Long Island said of Jazz, has enjoyed his time with young golfer. He said, “I did a couple practice rounds with him so I’ve known him a couple days. But it did take a little getting used to, you know? He’s from Thailand and he speaks very, very soft. I’m like, ‘What?’ He carries himself very well. He knows what he’s doing. I’m not going to tell him a million things.”