A Guy Who Just Lets It Be
His house in Southern California doesnt come cheaply, you know. Jason Gores mind was whirring as he made another trip to the grocery store ' and incidentally, didnt his six-month-old baby need formula again? He sighed and was seriously thinking about getting a 9-to-5, a real job where the income is guaranteed every Friday.
Lo and behold, the world was about to go topsy-turvy for Jason Gore.
First of all, there was the U.S. Open in June, where he played alongside Retief Goosen in the final pairing Sunday. He played horribly that particular day ' so did Goosen ' but both got a ton of respect for the way they carried themselves on a day when neither could break 80. Then Gore went back to the Nationwide Tour and won three events ' in succession, no less - and suddenly leaped to the big tour.
Now the big guy is a PGA Tour winner. Last weekend he hung tough to win the 84 Lumber Classic. With a first-place check of $792,000 in his pocket, he wont have to sweat out the mortgage for a long, long while. And baby? Well, baby could be slurping down caviar along with his formula today.
Jason doesnt really know if he is dreaming. He realizes that he has become something of a folk hero with golf fans across America, what with his anti-athlete build and his all-around good-guy personality. What you see here is everymans blueprint for success - the guy-next-door works his rear off, and that work finally is paying dividends. Basically, you have to stop the complaining and start the sweating.
You know, sometimes you just have to quit whining and pick yourself up and move on, said Gore. And that's kind of what I did - with the help of some loyal and faithful right foots to the butt.
That was just kind of what it was - just shake yourself off and keep moving. I think that was a big thing really about the Open. I didn't sit back and go back to the room and cry and woe-is-me kind of thing. Just, Hey, that was pretty cool. That was really about it.
He realizes that yesterday is yesterday and tomorrow is tomorrow
The best players in the world have often said that you can never be satisfied. I mean, you can be happy with what you've done, but you can't be satisfied with what you're doing. And you just have to keep working hard and continue to strive to be the best ... I think that's what I'm going to try to do, put it in the pocket and keep on going.
Gore is 31 now, and nearly a decade of playing professional golf has made him consider life from a very realistic viewpoint. The first three days of the U.S. Open were great, but he says he didnt really have a chance ' he had an opportunity. And it was the opportunity to learn that was important as the win, not just the opportunity to win.
It was a great learning experience, he said, and I took that learning experience back to the Nationwide Tour and had a little bit of success. It was a wonderful day, and I don't think I'd like to change it. But you can't, and you take what you can out of it and go from there.
And it was an A-1 lesson to get to see Goosen handle the horrors of the last day. He says all he had to do was look at Goosen ' a man who had won two U.S. Opens but who today was in the throes of shooting an 81.
He's a good dude, a great guy, said Gore of his playing partner that day. To be able to walk off the 18th green - I mean, all this stuff even happening, he was acting like a champion. He is a champion, and he's a gentleman.
I think that was really important for me to see, too, just to see how really solid this guy was and how it really didn't matter. It was just a golf tournament. It might have been the U.S. Open, but we're going to wake up the next day and nobody is going to lose a finger. It was pretty cool to see a true champion act like that.
Lesson learned. An opportunity which wasnt wasted, even if a chance for a win was.
Like I said before, we get to play a game for a living, he said. And that's really my perspective on what it comes down to, what really matters.
Gore told the story of sitting down once with an analyst friend of his and hearing an interesting yarn. It was about Fred Astaire, and how he would put chalk down on the sidewalk and start practicing his moves. And when the music began, he just danced, said Jason. That's kind of the way it is.
You can go out on the range, beat balls, work on your golf swing, but once you get to the first tee, just go dance. And that's really kind of what it was. I just kind of forgot about where my right arm needs to be or where my hand needs to be, just go have a good time, hit it, chase it and find it and hit it again.
And he told a story about a letter he had received following the Open, one written to him by a gentleman who watched the final round with a father who was dying of cancer. 'Keep watching this kid, Gore remembers the father saying.
It was like a tender moment, one of their last moments together. It's a father-son.
It's pretty well documented how my relationship with my dad was, and that was pretty touching to know that it really wasn't just me - it was just somebody in that position being the all-American story of Mr. Underdog and fighting and clawing his way up to do that. It was really pretty cool to know that I was involved in such a wonderful moment - or a tragic moment, if you want to look at it that way. That was pretty special.
Jason Gore may not be the second coming of Ben Hogan. But he is the first coming of Jason Gore. And that, it seems, is more than sufficient.
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Fleetwood flawless en route to Abu Dhabi lead
New year, same results for Tommy Fleetwood.
The reigning Race to Dubai champ picked up where he left off in the opening round of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship, carding a bogey-free 66 during which the Englishman found all 18 greens in regulation. At 6 under, he shares the lead with Japan's Hideto Tanihara and sits one shot clear of five other players.
"Very stress-free. Played really well from start to finish," Fleetwood said. "Felt like I did what you need to do around this golf course, which is drive it well, hit your irons solid. You can't really be too greedy a lot of the time, and then sort of my pace putting was really good. So basically just did what you need to do to get a good score around this golf course, and I got one."
Fleetwood shined in a marquee grouping that included world No. 1 Dustin Johnson and Rory McIlroy, as he birdied three holes on each nine. This is his first worldwide start since a T-3 finish at the Hero World Challenge.
It was at this event a year ago that Fleetwood sparked a career campaign, edging Johnson and Pablo Larrazabal for the win. He added another win at the French Open in the summer to go along with a pair of runner-up results and a T-4 finish at the U.S. Open, all of which helped him capture the European Tour's season-long title.
Fleetwood's sudden success in Abu Dhabi serves as a microcosm for his career resurgence. Prior to last year's victory, he had missed the cut in four of his five other trips to this event.
Sergio starts season with 66 in Singapore
SINGAPORE – Sergio Garcia opened his season with a 5-under 66 and a share of the clubhouse lead on Thursday in the first round of the weather-interrupted Singapore Open.
Playing his first tournament of the year, the Masters champion rebounded after making an early bogey to collect four birdies and an eagle at the Sentosa Golf Club.
He was later joined by American qualifier Kurt Kitayama in the clubhouse lead. Still on the course, Tirawat Kaewsiribandit was at 6 under through 16 holes when play was suspended for the day because of the threat of lightning.
Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open champion, was at 5 under through 16 holes when he also had to stop his round because of the weather.
Of the players who did finish their opening rounds, only three were within two strokes of Garcia and Kitayama. One of them was Casey O'Toole, who aced the par-3 second with a 7-iron.
The 38-year-old Garcia dropped his only shot of the day on the par-4 15th, his sixth hole after teeing off on the back nine, when he missed the fairway and was unable to make par. But he made amends when he birdied the par-3 17th and then eagled the par-5 18th to go out in 33.
''I was 1 over after (the) seventh but it didn't feel like I was playing badly,'' said Garcia, who made birdies on each of the two par 5s and one of the par 3s on the second nine. ''But then I hit two greats in a row for holes 17 and 18. I got a birdie-eagle there, so that settled me a little bit and I could play solid in the back nine and it was a great round.''
Garcia made the shortlist for the Laureus Sports Awards in the Breakthrough of the Year category after claiming his first major at Augusta National last year and is hoping for more success this season.
He credits the Singapore Open as having played a part in toughening him up for his Masters win because he opted to start his 2017 campaign in the stifling humidity of Southeast Asia to prepare himself for the bigger tournaments ahead.
Although he finished tied for 11th in Singapore, Garcia won the Dubai Desert Classic the next week and was in peak form when he won the Masters two months later.
Kitayama only secured his place in the $1 million event on Monday by finishing at the top of the qualifying competition, but he made a strong start with birdies on three of his first five holes. The 25-year-old Thai was 6 under through 13 holes but spoiled his otherwise flawless round with a bogey on his last.
''I started with a birdie and I just let it roll from there. I had some good tee shots, which I think, is the biggest thing for this course,'' Kitayama said. ''I'm a little tired, but I'm hanging in there. Whenever I have time off, I'll try not to think too much about golf.''
13-year-old beats DJ in closest-to-the-pin contest
Dustin Johnson didn’t just get beat by Tommy Fleetwood and Rory McIlroy on Day 1 of the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Even a 13-year-old got the best of the world No. 1.
Oscar Murphy teed off on the 177-yard 15th hole as part of the tournament’s Beat the Pro challenge during the opening round. The Northern Irishman, one of the HSBC’s Future Falcons, carved a 3-wood toward a back-right pin, about 25 feet away, closer than both Johnson and Fleetwood.
“An unbelievable shot,” Fleetwood said afterward, “and me and Rory both said, ‘We don’t have that in our locker.’”
Johnson still made par on the hole, but he mixed four birdies with four bogeys Thursday for an even-par 72 that left him six shots back of Fleetwood and Hideto Tanihara after the opening round.
Johnson, who tied for second here a year ago, is coming off a dominant performance at the Sentry Tournament of Champions, where he won by eight shots to strengthen his lead atop the world rankings.
McIlroy 'really pleased' with opening 69 in Abu Dhabi
It was an auspicious 2018 debut for Rory McIlroy.
Playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson for his first round since October, McIlroy missed only one green and shot a bogey-free 69 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship. McIlroy is three shots back of reigning Race to Dubai champion Tommy Fleetwood, who played in the same group as McIlroy and Johnson, and Hideto Tanihara.
Starting on the back nine at Abu Dhabi Golf Club, McIlroy began with 11 consecutive pars before birdies on Nos. 3, 7 and 8.
“I was excited to get going,” he told reporters afterward. “The last couple of months have been really nice in terms of being able to concentrate on things I needed to work on in my game and health-wise. I feel like I’m the most prepared for a season that I’ve ever been, but it was nice to get back out there.”
Fleetwood, the defending champion, raced out to another lead while McIlroy and Johnson, who shot 72, just tried to keep pace.
“Tommy played very well and I was just trying to hang onto his coattails for most of the round, so really pleased – bogey-free 69, I can’t really complain,” McIlroy said.
This was his first competitive round in more than three months, since a tie for 63rd at the Dunhill Links. He is outside the top 10 in the world ranking for the first time since 2014.