Gore the Talk of the US Open

By Associated PressJune 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
PINEHURST, N.C. -- Inspector No. 54 must have been on a coffee break when Jason Gore rolled off the PGA Tour assembly line. Flat-bellied and unsmiling the man is not.
But the runaway best story at this U.S. Open?
That the 818th-ranked player in the world most definitely is.
As a 15-foot birdie putt dropped at the final hole and propped Gore up in second place, you got the feeling he probably was absent the day the tour held a seminar on the proper way to celebrate.
'%& yeah!' Gore shouted - and somewhere back in the NBC trailers, the bosses were praying there were very few lip-readers left in the viewing audience.
Forewarned is forearmed, as the saying goes, and so it's probably a good idea for somebody at the network to keep the mute button close by. Because chances are good that Gore missed more than his fair share of the other seminars offered by the PGA Tour, too.
Like the one about maximizing commercial sponsorships, since his caddie, Louis Pullen, sports a 'Pabst Blue Ribbon' hat because of loyalty, as opposed to royalties.
Or the one about working hand-in-golf-glove with sports psychologists, since this is what Gore said when someone asked about his 'thought process' before stepping onto the biggest stage of his 6-year pro career:
'Actually,' he replied, 'it was, 'When am I going to get a new stereo for my car and how am I going to keep my wife in clothes?''
The story there is that thieves broke into his car last Sunday night when the Gores stopped in Asheville en route to Pinehurst. They got everything but his clubs and golf shoes, and missed those only because Pullen volunteered to drive them down from their last stop on the Nationwide Tour in suburban Chicago. Rather than embittered, Gore was amused.
'They took all my underwear,' he chuckled, 'those poor guys.'
It's a good thing the 31-year-old former wunderkind from Southern California likes to laugh. Rarely has America's national championship yielded so few red numbers and so many humorless expressions. Two-time and defending Open champion Retief Goosen is the only player left in the 83-man field below par at 3-under. Gore and journeyman Olin Browne are next at even-par and even Browne has no illusions where the rooting interest lies.
'He's the story of the Open. He's a guy that nobody has ever heard of and they're digging the way he plays,' Browne said. 'I think that's cool.'
The car break-in aside, Gore has taken so many lumps just to get here that everything looks like gravy to him.
He played a practice round Tuesday with Fred Couples, 'and everybody was yelling, 'Freddie, Freddie,'' he recalled.
'I said, 'Gosh, does it ever get old?' He looks at me and goes, 'No, not really.'
'I've never heard my name so much yelled in my life since I was in grade school and the teacher was screaming at me.'
Just about the same time, Gore was bumping heads with Tiger Woods on California's brutally competitive junior circuit. He took a lot of grief because his size always made him look overage.
'He's got all the talent in the world,' Woods said. 'He's always been a very long hitter. It's just a matter of fine-tuning his swing and he's done that.'
It didn't happen fast or easy. The day Gore turned pro, he found his father, Sheldon, dead on the floor at home, the victim of a heart attack. That was in 1997. It was the first in a series of setbacks that saw Gore bounce back and forth between golf's minor leagues and the bigs.
If ever there was a U.S. Open waiting to be snatched by somebody coming out of nowhere - remember John Daly bombing his way to the PGA Championship in 1991 or Ben Curtis winning the British Open two years ago - this feels like it. It's 'Tin Cup,' only maybe for real this time.
The leaderboard, with the exception of Goosen at the top, looks like it's been turned upside down. Besides Gore and Browne, there's the pair in third place, afterthought Michael Campbell and Mark Hensby, whose golfing fortunes dipped so low 10 years ago that he spent more than a few nights sleeping in his old Ford hatchback in the parking lot at a course. More than a few of the names the rest of the way down are household names only in their own households.
And come Sunday, their patron saint, the happy go-lucky guy shaped like a pear, figures to take the best shot for all the Roy McAvoys of the world.
'I'm in the final pairing. I've come this far,' Gore said, 'Who knows? I've come this far. If they invite me out on the 18th green and they hand me a large piece of silver, that will be pretty special.'
Related links:
  • Leaderboard - 105th U.S. Open
  • Full Coverage - 105th U.S. Open

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    Cabreras take 1-shot lead in Father/Son

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 11:23 pm

    ORLANDO, Fla. - Two-time major champion Angel Cabrera and Angel Cabrera Jr. birdied their last three holes for a 13-under 59 to take a one-shot lead Saturday in the PNC Father-Son Challenge.

    Cabrera, a Masters and U.S. Open champion, is making his debut in this popular 36-hole scramble. His son said he practiced hard for 10 days. What helped put him at ease was watching his father make so many putts.

    ''We combined very well,'' Cabrera said. ''When I hit a bad shot, he hit a good one. That's the key.''

    They had a one-shot lead over Mark O'Meara and Shaun O'Meara, who are playing for the first time. That included a birdie on the last hole, which O'Meara attributed to the strength of his son.

    ''My little man hit it 58 yards by me on the 18th,'' said O'Meara, the Masters and British Open champion in 1998. ''It's a little easier coming in with a 6-iron.''

    Defending champions David Duval and Nick Karavites rallied over the back nine at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club for a 61. They are trying to become the first father-son team to repeat as winners since Bernhard and Stefan Langer in 2006. Larry Nelson won two years in a row in 2007 and 2008, but with different sons.

    ''I'd imagine we have to break 60 tomorrow to have a chance to win, but hey, stranger things have happened,'' Duval said. ''I've even done it myself.''

    Duval shot 59 at the Bob Hope Classic to win in 1999 on his way to reaching No. 1 in the world that year.

    Duval and his stepson were tied with Bernhard Langer and 17-year-old Jason Langer, who made two eagles on the last five holes. This Langer tandem won in 2014.

    Jack Nicklaus, playing with grandson G.T., opened with a 68.

    Getty Images

    Woods' 2018 schedule coming into focus ... or is it?

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 16, 2017, 5:46 pm

    Two weeks after his successful return to competition at the Hero World Challenge, Tiger Woods’ 2018 schedule may be coming into focus.

    Golfweek reported on Saturday that Woods hopes to play the Genesis Open in February according to an unidentified source with “direct knowledge of the situation.”

    Woods’ agent Mark Steinberg declined to confirm the 14-time major champion would play the event and told GolfChannel.com that Woods – who underwent fusion surgery to his lower back in April – is still formulating his ’18 schedule.

    Woods’ foundation is the host organization for the Genesis Open and the event supports the Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim, Calif.

    The Genesis Open would be Woods’ first start on the PGA Tour since he missed the cut last January at the Farmers Insurance Open.

    Rose weathering delayed Indonesian Masters

    By Associated PressDecember 16, 2017, 3:52 pm

    JAKARTA, Indonesia - Justin Rose held a three-stroke lead after eight holes of the third round Saturday when play was suspended for the day due to bad weather at the Indonesian Masters.

    Rose was 3-under on the day and led his playing partners Kiradech Aphibarnrat and Scott Vincent. The Englishman led both players by a stroke after the second round was completed Saturday morning due to weather delays on Friday.

    Brandt Snedeker withdrew with apparent heat exhaustion on Friday on the 11th hole of the second round. Ranked 51st in the world, he flew to Jakarta looking to move inside the top 50 by the end of the year and ensure a spot in next year's Masters.

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    Lexi (wrist) WDs from Diamond Resorts Invitational

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 15, 2017, 11:27 pm

    Lexi Thompson on Friday withdrew from the Diamond Resorts Invitational, citing inflammation in her wrist. Thompson, who teamed with Tony Finau to finish tied for fourth place in last week's QBE Shootout, said she is under strict doctor's order not to hit golf balls until mid-January.

    The Diamond Resorts Invitational is scheduled Jan. 12-14 at Tranquilo Golf Club in Orlando, Fla. The field for te 54-hole event includes LPGA and PGA Tour Champions players, as well as celebrities from the worlds or sports and entertainment.