Golfer Jake Knapp Goes From A Bouncer To First Place At The Mexico Open

Jake Knapp isn’t your typical PGA Tour rookie. At nearly 6 feet tall and 200 pounds of pure muscle, he’s the kind of guy you’d think twice about crossing in a bar fight. But beneath that tough exterior lies a softer side that has endeared him to many, both on and off the golf course.

Knapp’s journey to professional golf hasn’t been conventional. After losing his Korn Ferry Tour card in 2021 and facing disappointment at Q-School, he found himself working as a bouncer at an upscale restaurant in Costa Mesa, California. Standing guard at The Country Club, a venue that transformed into a nightclub on weekends, Knapp gained valuable life lessons during his eight months in the security detail.

“Standing there at 1 in the morning every Friday and Saturday night, you kind of realize how good you have it when you get to travel and play golf for a living,” Knapp reflected. “It just kind of gave me some thicker skin and allowed me to get to where I am now.”


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Where he is now is at the top of the leaderboard in the PGA Tour’s Mexico Open after 54 holes. Knapp, already making waves with a third-place finish at the Farmers Insurance Open, showcased his talent on Saturday with a remarkable performance, flirting with a 59 after shooting a scorching 7-under 28 on the front nine. Despite a stumble on the next hole, he signed for an 8-under 63, securing a four-shot lead at 19 under.

In the competitive world of professional golf, maintaining focus and composure is paramount, but Knapp’s journey to the top is about more than just the game. He credits much of his success to his grandfather, Gordon Bowley, who played a significant role in shaping his career and character. Bowley, who passed away from cancer in 2023, was not only a beloved figure in Knapp’s life but also a mentor and supporter of his golf aspirations.

Knapp’s emotional connection to his grandfather is evident in his routine of sending a post-round text, a tradition that continues despite Bowley’s passing. With a tattoo bearing his grandfather’s initials beneath his left bicep, Knapp honors the memory of a man who believed in his dreams and shared in his journey to the PGA Tour.

Reflecting on his grandfather’s influence, Knapp’s voice wavers with emotion. “Just that I miss him, miss talking to him, wish he could see it,” he said. “It was always like my dream, and his dream as well, for me to get out here.”

As Knapp prepares to face the final round of the Mexico Open, his thoughts are not solely on the leaderboard but also on the cherished memories and lessons passed down by his grandfather. With the support of his family and the spirit of his grandfather guiding him, Knapp embarks on the ultimate challenge: closing out his first PGA Tour title.

In Jake Knapp, we see more than a formidable golfer; we see a man whose journey embodies resilience, gratitude, and the enduring bond between generations. As he takes to the course, he carries with him the strength of his past and the promise of a bright future, both on and off the fairways.

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