Twitter may help Gore get sponsor exemption

By Jason SobelJanuary 12, 2012, 1:08 pm

This is a story about what happens when kindness intersects with social media, when a relationship forged on the golf course extends to the outer reaches of cyberspace.

The roots of this story can be traced back to last September. As part of his comeback from shoulder surgery, Jason Gore was competing in the Nationwide Tour’s Boise Open. Once called the “Prince of Pinehurst” for his three-day contention at the 2005 U.S. Open, the burly Gore earned legions of supporters not only for that unlikely jaunt through the venerable links, but for his ensuing three victories on the developmental circuit and one more once joining the PGA Tour for good.

Maybe that’s why Eric Magidson was drawn to him at the driving range that week. A golf fan from Bend, Ore., Magidson initiated a conversation with Gore early on and – being the gregarious, outgoing sort that he is – Gore was more than happy to engage in what became an ongoing discussion throughout the week.

After the tournament was over, Magidson and Gore kept in touch through Twitter, with the former – a computer science instructor at Central Oregon Community College who is aspiring to compete in this year’s Monday qualifier for the Boise Open – often seeking advice from the latter.

Gore has plenty of it to offer, from a lifetime of experience. After failing to earn his PGA Tour card for the 2012 season by a single stroke at Q-School, he now owns status only as a past champion, which he expects will be enough to get him into only about a half-dozen events this year. He understands and appreciates the predicament, but as a Southern California native and longtime fan of Riviera Country Club, there’s one tournament that means more to him than all others.

All of which was the impetus for the following tweet on Sunday:

@JasonGore59: Just signed up for the @ntrustopen qualifier, but you have NO IDEA how stoked I'd be to get a sponsors invitation! #myhometown #mymajor

Gore considered the post simply a public attempt at levity. Magidson considered it an opportunity to take action.

Since the pro had never disappointed his new fan, Magidson took it upon himself to lend a hand – or at least a couple of thumbs. He almost immediately started a grassroots campaign to support the cause, asking anyone he could find to re-tweet their advocacy.

“I’m simply attempting to pay back his kindness,” Magidson says. “Kindness earns kindness. It is who he is.”

Apparently he’s not the only one who believes that. Within days, Magidson had generated hundreds of re-tweets of support from the masses, including from NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick and fellow professional golfers such as Pat Perez, Geoff Ogilvy, D.A. Points and Christina Kim.

“People love Jason. He’s a good man and it’s his backyard,” Kim says. “Getting an invite will show just how much of an impact the world of Twitter has in everyday life. The world has shrunk to the size of a golf ball on Twitter. It’s the American dream, what Jason is trying to achieve.”

A dream that began as one innocent tweet, but has since turned into a viral campaign for a cause.

“I was just going to throw out a hint-hint kind of thing and it just blew up,” Gore explains with a laugh. “It’s crazy. I had no intention of doing this.”

Actually, he hasn’t done anything. While some players have been known to get creative with requests for sponsor exemptions, Gore went the old-fashioned route, simply writing a letter to Northern Trust officials prior to his tweet heard ‘round the world.

What has transpired is the power of social media at its best. To the uninitiated, Twitter can be a vast wasteland of faceless handles all arguing politics or divulging what was on today’s lunch menu. When used more efficiently, though, the medium can be used for good more than evil – from generating donations for cancer research to aiding in kidnapping cases and other crimes.

By comparison, an effort to get one player into one golf tournament should be viewed as trivial, but it may be a groundbreaking campaign within the industry.

As the Twitterverse sounds off about the movement, their 140-character voices are being heard by Northern Trust Open officials. The tournament’s own Twitter account recently posted a response on Tuesday:

@NTrustOpen: Hey @JasonGore59 fans...we do hear you! Exemptions decisions are coming soon. Stay tuned...

In fact, exemptions will be issued by the tournament committee sometime next week, with Gore eligible for one of two spots. The groundswell of support through social media can only help his cause.

“I would be surprised if it hurt him. I don’t see how it could hurt him,” says Mike Bone, general manager for the tournament. “We have such an incredibly strong field that we’re in a position of possibly being able to give the people what they want.

“There are a few hundred tweets from what I can see. If half of them buy a ticket, I think that would be pretty cool.”

Therein lies the biggest benefit for tournament title sponsors. One of the main priorities for such corporations is pleasing the consumer base. If a large percentage of that base is requesting a specific decision, isn’t it simply good business to acquiesce to the masses?

This could be a new frontier in the way sponsor exemptions are administered. Instead of silently offering a spot in the field to whomever tournament officials deemed worthy, such cases could go to a popular vote, with the leading candidate being issued the free pass.

As for Gore, he remains both baffled and humbled by the social media reaction to his cause.

“I did not mean for this to happen,” he says. “It just kept snowballing and snowballing.”

The result is that he now has more than a snowball’s chance in Southern California of receiving a Northern Trust Open exemption. It would be a fitting conclusion to this story, one which is about kindness and the power of social media – and what happens when those two forces work in conjunction.

Chawrasia leads major champs in Hong Kong

By Associated PressNovember 24, 2017, 1:19 pm

HONG KONG – S.S.P. Chawrasia extended his lead at the Hong Kong Open to two strokes Friday after a 4-under 66 in the second round.

Chawrasia, who had led by one at the Hong Kong Golf Club, is at 9-under 131 overall and took as much as a five-stroke lead at one point.

''Yesterday I was putting very well, and today, also I make some up and downs. I saved a couple of short putts. That's why I think I'm leading by two shots most probably,'' the Indian said. ''The next two days, I'm just looking forward.''

Full-field scores from the UBS Hong Kong Open

Thomas Aiken (64) is second, followed by Alexander Bjork (66), Joakim Lagergren (66), Poom Saksansin (68) and Julian Suri (67) at 5 under 135.

Aiken's round was the lowest of the tournament.

''It is tough out there. The greens are really firm. You've got to hit the fairway,'' Aiken said. ''If you get above the holes, putts can get away from you.''

Justin Rose (69) had six birdies, but three bogeys and a double-bogey at the par 3 12th kept him at 3 under for the tournament.

Masters champion Sergio Garcia (71), playing for the first time in Hong Kong, was at even par, as was defending champion Sam Brazel (71) and 2014 champion Scott Hend (67).

''I have to play better,'' Garcia said. ''The way I felt like I played, it's difficult. This kind of course, you need to play well to shoot a good score.''

Day (68) just one back at Australian Open

By Nick MentaNovember 24, 2017, 6:40 am

Jason Day posted a second-round 68 to move himself just one off the lead held by Lucas Herbert through two rounds at the Emirates Australian Open. Here’s where things stand after 36 holes in Sydney.

Leaderboard: Herbert (-9), Day (-8), Cameron Davis (-7), Anthony Quayle (-6), Matt Jones (-4), Cameron Smith (-4), Nick Cullen (-4), Richard Green (-4)

What it means: Day is in search of his first worldwide victory of 2017. The former world No. 1 last visited the winner’s circle in May 2016, when he won The Players at TPC Sawgrass. A win this week would close out a difficult year for the Aussie who struggled with his game while also helping his mother in her battle with cancer. Day’s last victory on his native soil came in 2013, when he partnered with Adam Scott to win the World Cup of Golf for Australia at Royal Melbourne.

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Round of the day: Herbert followed an opening 67 with a round of 66 to vault himself into the lead at The Australian Golf Club. He made six birdies, including four on his second nine, against a lone bogey to take the outright lead. The 22-year-old, who held the lead at this event last year and captured low-amateur honors in 2014, is coming off a runner-up finish at the NSW Open Championship, which boosted him from 714th to 429th in the Official World Golf Ranking. His 5-under score was matched by Dale Brandt-Richards and Josh Cabban.

Best of the rest: Matt Jones, who won this event over Jordan Spieth and Adam Scott two years ago, turned in 4-under 67. Jones is best known to American audiences for his playoff victory at the 2014 Shell Houston Open and for holding the 36-hole lead at the 2015 PGA Championship at Whistling Straits, which was eventually won by Day. Jones will start the weekend five shots off the lead, at 4 under par.

Biggest disappointment: Spieth has a lot of work to do this weekend if he expects to be in the title picture for the fourth year in a row. Rounds of 70-71 have him eight shots behind the lead held by Herbert. Spieth made a birdie and a bogey on each side Friday to turn in level par. The reigning champion golfer of the year has finished first, second and first at this event over the last three years.

Storyline to watch this weekend: The Australian Open is the first event of the 2018 Open Qualifying Series. The leading three players who finish in the top 10 and who are not otherwise exempt will receive invites into next summer’s Open Championship at Carnoustie.

Ogilvy urges distance rollback of ball

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 8:49 pm

Add Geoff Ogilvy to the chorus of voices calling for a distance rollback of the golf ball.

In an interview before the start of the Emirates Australian Open, Ogilvy said a "time-out" is needed for governing bodies to deal with the issue.

"It's complete nonsense," he said, according to an Australian website. "In my career, it’s gone from 300 yards was a massive hit to you’re a shorter hitter on tour now, legitimately short. It’s changed the way we play great golf courses and that is the crime. It isn’t that the ball goes 400, that’s neither here nor there. It’s the fact the ball going 400 doesn’t makes Augusta work properly, it functions completely wrong.’’

Full-field scores from the Emirates Australian Open

Ogilvy used an example from American baseball to help get his point across to an Australian audience.

“Major League Baseball in America, they use wooden bats, and everywhere else in baseball they use aluminium bats,’’ he said. “And when the major leaguers use aluminium bats they don’t even have to touch it and it completely destroys their stadiums. It’s just comedy.

“That’s kind of what’s happened to us at least with the drivers of these big hitters; We’ve completely outgrown the stadiums. So do you rebuild every stadium in the world? That’s expensive. Or make the ball go shorter? It seems relatively simple from that perspective.’’

Ogilvy, an Australian who won the 2006 U.S. Open, said he believes there will be a rollback, but admitted it would be a "challenge" for manufacturers to produce a ball that flies shorter for pros but does not lose distance when struck by recreational players.

The golf world celebrates Thanksgiving

By Golf Channel DigitalNovember 23, 2017, 6:01 pm

Here's a look, through social media, at how the golf world celebrates Thanksgiving.

Lexi Thompson:

Baking time!!

A post shared by Lexi Thompson (@lexi) on

David Feherty:

Jack Nicklaus:

GC Tiger Tracker:

Steve Stricker:

Golf Channel:

Frank Nobilo:

Ian Poulter:

Tyrone Van Aswegen: