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Zing Along
Country star (and avid golfer) Jake Owen keeps things light while still taking the game seriously
  Jim Gorant // 9.20.2019

Pay attention to country star Jake Owen during his performance Thursday after the first round of the Safeway Open in Napa, California: When the singer-songwriter and golf come together, the punchlines often follow.

Flash back to November 2017, when Owen, a 1-handicapper from Florida who says he hoped to play professionally until he injured his shoulder wakeboarding, received a sponsor’s invite to participate in the Korn Ferry Tour’s Nashville Open. Such publicity-driven invites—looking at you, Tony Romo and Steph Curry—often rub purists the wrong way because they take opportunities away from real golfers trying to earn a living.

Sure enough, when Owen stumbled at the start, rising to 10-over par after nine holes, the Twitter trolls struck. Checking his phone between shots, Owen quickly showed he could deliver a zinger as well as anyone, firing off this response:

Fast forward a year, and it was Owen playing the role of troll. In early December, he went to Dallas for Jordan Spieth’s wedding; the musician and the golfer have teamed in the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am multiple times. Owen was among the many who’d paid $29.99 to watch the pay-per-view match between Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson, which had taken place the day before and been plagued by streaming problems and mediocre golf.

As fate would have it, Mickelson was also at the wedding. After a few adult beverages, Owen approached Lefty to complain about the technology and the play, claiming he wanted his 30 bucks back and throwing in some spicy language to emphasize his points. Mickelson, who later confirmed the story, pulled a wad of hundreds out of his pocket, peeled one from the top, and said, “I made 90,000 of these yesterday. Take this one and go [bleep] yourself.”

English rockers Bad Company will perform after Friday’s round at the Safeway, and Rob Thomas will take the stage following Saturday’s action. Neither the band nor Thomas play golf, though, and neither, at least so far, has displayed Owen’s penchant for bringing out the snappier side of the game.

Photo credit: Courtesy Lagardère Sports