Knapp from bouncer to champion on the PGA

Jake Knapp achieved his first success on the PGA Tour at the Mexico Open in Vallarta.

by Andrea Gussoni
Knapp from bouncer to champion on the PGA
© Getty Images Sport - Orlando Ramirez / Stringer

Jake Knapp achieved his first success on the PGA Tour at the Mexico Open in Vallarta. He finished the tournament with a total of 265 (-19), beating by two strokes the Finnish Sami Valimaki, second with 267 (-17), and three other players who finished in third place with 270 (-14): the German Stephan Jager, Taiwanese Pan Cheng-tsung and American Justin Lower.

Jake Knapp, results

This victory was especially significant for Knapp, who dedicated it to his late grandfather. He states that he would have been proud and thrilled with this achievement. At 29 years old and after a relatively short professional career, Knapp fulfilled one of his childhood dreams by winning on the PGA Tour, and he did so as a rookie, in his ninth start on the circuit.

His career has been characterized by ups and downs. After turning professional in 2016, he struggled with disappointing results and financial difficulties, resulting in him having to work as a bouncer in a club in his hometown.

However, an encounter with a psychologist during a wedding changed the course of his career, helping him regain confidence in his abilities. Prior to this victory on the PGA Tour, Knapp won three times on the PGA Tour Canada.

The victory in Mexico not only earned him significant prize money, but also granted him an exemption to play until 2026 on the PGA Tour. Currently, he is preparing to participate in major tournaments such as The Masters, the PGA Championship and The Players.

Even for Sami Valimaki, the second place, this was an important satisfaction, celebrating his best placing on the tour. The PGA Tour is an organization that oversees the major professional golf tours in the United States.

It is headquartered in Ponte Vedra Beach, a suburb of Jacksonville, Florida. Its official name is written in all capital letters, "PGA TOUR." The PGA Tour became a separate organization in 1968 when it separated from the PGA of America, which is now primarily an association of golf professionals such as teachers and club managers.

Tournament players initially formed their own organization, the Association of Professional Golfers (APG). Later, in 1968, the players disbanded the APG and agreed to operate as the PGA "Tournament Players Division," a completely autonomous division of the PGA, under the supervision of a new 10-member Tournament Policy Board. The name officially changed to "PGA Tour" in 1975.

Pga Tour