Gores Star Continues to Rise

By Jerry FoltzJuly 18, 2005, 4:00 pm
'I feel like I've let them down--a lot, at times,' is how Jason Gore summarized his feelings about his final round 84 at the U.S. Open as well as his career in general. The 31-year-old was referring to his mother, his wife, and all those supporters who've long recognized his potential while enduring the heartbreak of periodic setbacks that have become a constant in his career.
Jason Gore
Jason Gore's stellar play has secured him a place on the PGA Tour in 2006.
Jason Gore's talent was in full bloom four weeks ago in Pinehurst. A level of talent that proved to the whole world that he could compete at the highest level. Those who know him, and those who've seen him play were not surprised.
'Surely he'll be a non-factor tomorrow,' is what was on the minds of the so-called experts and doubting fans as Jason held a share of the 36-hole lead at Pinehurst #2. But on Saturday he didn't disappear. Not by a long shot. Rather, he stole the show, and in the process, he stole the hearts of millions of viewers around the world.
With glory seemingly at his finger tips and the dreams of a lifetime on the verge of coming true, Jason saw the fairytale vanish right before his eyes.
Two weeks later, Jason wasn't making arrangements to travel to Scotland in hopes of winning the other Open, nor was he taping commercials for Nike. Instead, Jason Gore found himself right back where he started the week before the Open. He was preparing for his next Nationwide Tour event. He was the same ol' good guy, joking with his friends, smiling at every volunteer, engaging the suddenly curious media, and setting about his work. Only this time, Jason was a bit different.
Surely it would have been understandable if he tried to cash in on his newfound 15 minutes. After all, he was barely in the top 70 on the Nationwide Tour money list and nobody would blame him if he chased those prospective sponsor's-exemptions on the PGA Tour. But Jason knew his best route to the PGA Tour was the Nationwide Tour, and he had plenty of work ahead of him if he wanted to get there in 2006. And now, he had the all-too-evasive confidence in his ability that can't be faked.
Gore resumed his Nationwide Tour campaign with a 10th place finish at the Lake Erie Charity Classic and a jump to 57th on the money list. It was his best finish of the year, but not nearly good enough to offer any guarantees for the future. However, everything changed the following week.
Gore played four rounds at the National Mining Association Pete Dye Classic exactly as he had played the first three at #2. And in doing so, he notched his fourth career victory on the Nationwide Tour. He vaulted to No. 7 on the money list and looked like a lock to finish the year in the top-20. He still needed about $50,000, but with 16 tournaments remaining on the schedule, that shouldn't be a problem.
His last victory on the Nationwide Tour was in 2002, and it came the week following his next to last victory. The thought of winning back to back again was certainly on his mind as he packed his trophy in the back of his SUV en-route to the next stop on the Nationwide Tour.
The end of Jason's streak appeared over halfway through the Scholarship America Showdown. He was 9 shots back of the lead, and almost certainly fatigued both physically and emotionally. But in Jason's own words, 'Every tournament is important and the most important one to me is the one I'm playing in.' Opportunity was knocking.
He shot 64 under tough conditions on Saturday, and followed it up with 67 on Sunday. And just like that, Jason Gore turned a 9 shot deficit into a 4 shot victory. His second in a row for the second time in his career.
Jason now sits in third on the money list with more than enough to graduate to the PGA Tour if he doesn't earn another dollar. He's also just one win away from the Battlefield Promotion and instant status on the PGA Tour. And when asked what his playing plans are now, Jason replied with a confused look that seemed to say that it's all happened too quickly to comprehend. 'I'm not sure. Tonight my wife and son are flying home and I'm supposed to meet them there after I drop off my car in Omaha. Two weeks off sounds good right now.'
Jason's life has changed permanently in about the time it takes Lance Armstrong to win a race. It's been a wild ride, and like Lance, Jason has dominated the competition. But there is no final stage of the race for Jason. As a matter of fact, the immediate destination is uncertain.
The glamour that was within his grasp for a few fleeting moments at the U.S. Open is now back within reach. But that same ol' loveable big guy that endeared himself to us all a month ago won't change one iota.
After sealing the deal this past Sunday in Wisconsin, Jason kissed his wife and son goodbye at the gas station. Megan and Jaxon on their way to the airport, and Jason driving into the night -- presumably to Omaha. And when he then pulled up behind me at the Taco Bell drive thru on his last stop before the lonely drive, I turned to wave goodbye. Through those darkly tinted Southern California style windows I could only make out his silhouette. That was until I saw that one thing golf fans worldwide have fallen in love with--his ear-to-ear pearly whites.
Not that he ever needed them, but Jason Gore now has many reasons to smile. He may not have known where he'd spend the night, but his destination is certain. The self esteem that led him to feel as though he'd let down his family at Pinehurst has been redeemed. And the talent that first set him on his quest to chase a dream, well, let's just say that his future is even brighter than the smile that lights up an empty car.
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McIlroy (65) one back in Abu Dhabi through 54

By Randall MellJanuary 20, 2018, 1:09 pm

Rory McIlroy moved into position to send a powerful message in his first start of the new year at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.

Closing out with back-to-back birdies Saturday, McIlroy posted a 7-under-par 65, leaving him poised to announce his return to golf in spectacular fashion after a winless year in 2017.

McIlroy heads into Sunday just a single shot behind the leaders, Thomas Pieters (67) and Ross Fisher (65), who are at 17-under overall at Abu Dhabi Golf Club.

Making his first start after taking three-and-a-half months off to regroup from an injury-riddled year, McIlroy is looking sharp in his bid to win for the first time in 16 months. He chipped in for birdie from 50 feet at the 17th on Saturday and two-putted from 60 feet for another birdie to finish his round.

Full-field scores from the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

McIlroy took 50 holes before making a bogey in Abu Dhabi. He pushed his tee shot into a greenside bunker at the 15th, where he left a delicate play in the bunker, then barely blasted his third out before holing a 15-footer for bogey.

McIlroy notably opened the tournament playing alongside world No. 1 Dustin Johnson, who started the new year winning the PGA Tour’s Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii in an eight-shot rout just two weeks ago. McIlroy was grouped in the first two rounds with Johnson and Tommy Fleetwood, the European Tour’s Player of the Year last season. McIlroy sits ahead of both of them going into the final round, with Johnson (68) tied for 12th, four shots back, and Fleetwood (67) tied for fourth, two shots back.

Those first two rounds left McIlroy feeling good about his off season work.

“That proves I’m back to full fitness and 100 percent health,” he said going into Saturday. “DJ is definitely the No. 1 player in the world right now and of, if not the best, drivers of the golf ball, and to be up there with him over the first two days proves to me I’m doing the right things and gives me confidence.”

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Monty grabs lead entering final round in season-opener

By Associated PressJanuary 20, 2018, 4:00 am

KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Colin Montgomerie shot a second straight 7-under 65 to take a two-shot lead into the final round of the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

The 54-year-old Scot, a six-time winner on the over-50 tour, didn't miss a fairway on Friday and made five birdies on the back nine to reach 14 under at Hualalai.

Montgomerie has made 17 birdies through 36 holes and said he will have to continue cashing in on his opportunities.

''We know that I've got to score something similar to what I've done – 66, 67, something like that, at least,'' Montgomerie said. ''You know the competition out here is so strong that if you do play away from the pins, you'll get run over. It's tough, but hey, it's great.''

Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship

First-round co-leaders Gene Sauers and Jerry Kelly each shot 68 and were 12 under.

''I hit the ball really well. You know, all the putts that dropped yesterday didn't drop today,'' Kelly said. ''I was just short and burning edges. It was good putting again. They just didn't go in.''

David Toms was three shots back after a 66. Woody Austin, Mark Calcavecchia and Doug Garwood each shot 67 and were another shot behind.

Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, was six shots back after a 67.

The limited-field tournament on Hawaii's Big Island includes last season's winners, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

''We've enjoyed ourselves thoroughly here,'' Montgomerie said. ''It's just a dramatic spot, isn't it? If you don't like this, well, I'm sorry, take a good look in the mirror, you know?''

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The missing link: Advice from successful tour pros

By Phil BlackmarJanuary 20, 2018, 1:24 am

Today’s topic is significant in that it underscores the direction golf is headed, a direction that has me a little concerned.

Now, more than ever, it has become the norm for PGA Tour players to put together a team to assist in all aspects of their career. These teams can typically include the player’s swing coach, mental coach, manager, workout specialist, dietician, physical therapist, short-game guru, doctor, accountant, nanny and wife. Though it often concerns me the player may be missing out when others are making decisions for them, that is not the topic.

I want to talk about what most players seem to be inexplicably leaving off their teams.

One of the things that separates great players from the rest of the pack – other than talent – is the great player’s ability to routinely stay comfortable and play with focus and clarity in all situations. Though innate to many, this skill is trainable and can be learned. Don’t get too excited, the details of such a plan are too long and more suited for a book than the short confines of this article.

So, if that aspect of the game is so important, where is the representative on the player’s team who has stood on the 18th tee with everything on the line? Where is the representative on the team who has experienced, over and over, what the player will be experiencing? In other words, where is the successful former tour player on the team?

You look to tennis and many players have such a person on their team. These teacher/mentors include the likes of Boris Becker, Ivan Lendl, Jimmy Connors and Brad Gilbert. Why is it not the norm in golf?

Sure, a few players have sought out the advice of Jack Nicklaus, but he’s not part of a team. The teaching ranks also include some former players like Butch Harmon and a few others. But how many teams include a player who has contended in a major, let alone won one or more?

I’m not here to argue the value and knowledge of all the other coaches who make up a player’s team. But how can the value of a successful tour professional be overlooked? If I’m going to ask someone what I should do in various situations on the course, I would prefer to include the experienced knowledge of players who have been there themselves.

This leads me to the second part of today’s message. Is there a need for the professional players to mix with professional teachers to deliver the best and most comprehensive teaching philosophy to average players? I feel there is.

Most lessons are concerned with changing the student’s swing. Often, this is done with little regard for how it feels to the student because the teacher believes the information is correct and more important than the “feels” of the student. “Stick with it until it’s comfortable” is often the message. This directive methodology was put on Twitter for public consumption a short time back:

On the other hand, the professional player is an expert at making a score and understands the intangible side of the game. The intangible side says: “Mechanics cannot stand alone in making a good player.” The intangible side understands “people feel things differently”; ask Jim Furyk to swing like Dustin Johnson, or vice versa. This means something that looks good to us may not feel right to someone else.

The intangible side lets us know that mechanics and feels must walk together in order for the player to succeed. From Ben Hogan’s book:

“What I have learned I have learned by laborious trial and error, watching a good player do something that looked right to me, stumbling across something that felt right to me, experimenting with that something to see if it helped or hindered, adopting it if it helped, refining it sometimes, discarding it if it didn’t help, sometimes discarding it later if it proved undependable in competition, experimenting continually with new ideas and old ideas and all manner of variations until I arrived at a set of fundamentals that appeared to me to be right because they accomplished a very definite purpose, a set of fundamentals which proved to me they were right because they stood up and produced under all kinds of pressure.”

Hogan beautifully described the learning process that could develop the swings of great players like DJ, Furyk, Lee Trevino, Jordan Spieth, Nicklaus, etc.

Bob Toski is still teaching. Steve Elkington is helping to bring us the insight of Jackie Burke. Hal Sutton has a beautiful teaching facility outside of Houston. And so on. Just like mechanics and feels, it’s not either-or – the best message comes from both teachers and players.

Lately, it seems the scale has swung more to one side; let us not forget the value of insights brought to us by the players who have best mastered the game.

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Woods, Rahm, Rickie, J-Day headline Torrey field

By Golf Channel DigitalJanuary 20, 2018, 12:47 am

Tiger Woods is set to make his 2018 debut.

Woods is still part of the final field list for next week’s Farmers Insurance Open, the headliner of a tournament that includes defending champion Jon Rahm, Hideki Matsuyama, Justin Rose, Rickie Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Jason Day.

In all, 12 of the top 26 players in the world are teeing it up at Torrey Pines.

Though Woods has won eight times at Torrey Pines, he hasn’t broken 71 in his past seven rounds there and hasn’t played all four rounds since 2013, when he won. Last year he missed the cut after rounds of 76-72, then lasted just one round in Dubai before he withdrew with back spasms.

After a fourth back surgery, Woods didn’t return to competition until last month’s Hero World Challenge, where he tied for ninth. 

Woods has committed to play both the Farmers Insurance Open and next month's Genesis Open at Riviera, which benefits his foundation.