Country music singer Jake Owen gets exemption for event

After the success of Steph Curry on the Tour this summer (Curry shot 74-74 at the Ellie Mae Classic), the Tour was emboldened to broaden its horizons again. Country singer Jake Owen has been invited to play the Nashville Open in May.

He made the announcement himself this week on social media.

Owen, who is pals with Jordan Spieth (who isn't?), plays in all manner of pro-ams and is a staple at the Pebble Beach Pro-Am with Spieth every February. He's apparently a 3-handicap, which is around what Curry was, too. 

In addition to his friendship with Spieth, Owen is also buddies with Brandt Snedeker, whose foundation is a partner with this event. Owen has his own foundation which hosts the Grapefruit Pro-Am every year. Here's USA Today on the Grapefruit Pro-Am.

The Grapefruit Pro-Am has been around since 1945, but it has become sort of an overnight sensation, thanks to Owen's presence and connections. Besides (Jason) Day, NASCAR's Kevin Harvick played Saturday and Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum played Sunday.

Owen played junior golf in Vero Beach and hoped to become a professional golfer before blowing out his left shoulder during a skiing accident while he attended Florida State. He started playing guitar, so that bad break turned into a very good one. "I never thought music would bring me happiness but also the ability to help others," he said. "In a sense, I have come back full circle."

His popularity in golf circles and influence within the game have now led to a second exemption in as many years for non-golfers into Tour events. There will be detractors (there always are), and some of them will make valid arguments. But I understand why the Tour would allow this to happen, and it's clear Owen doesn't take it lightly.

"It's so cool to have been awarded a sponsor exemption to play in the Nashville Golf Open," Owen said. "I am truly honored to have this opportunity to play golf with guys whose work ethic I admire so much, like my buddy Brandt Snedeker. I know how hard everyone works to get to play in these PGA Tour tournaments. I'm really grateful, and I can't wait for this week in May 2018 to get here."

CBS Sports Writer

Kyle Porter began his sports writing career with CBS Sports in 2012. He covers golf, writes poetry about Rory McIlroy's swing, stays ready on Tiger watch and loves the Masters more than anyone you know.... Full Bio

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