Gore Carries the West

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Potential (poe-ten`shel) adj. 1. Possible but not actual. 2. Having capacity for existence, but not yet existing. Golf: The kiss of death for many a promising young star.
 
Jason Gore had been given that very kiss for his entire golfing life. From the first moment that he showed promise as a kid, Jason was assuredly referred to as a youngster with tons of potential. A big strong kid with a sound, powerful golf swing, Jason has always impressed his peers.
 
Hes always been one of those guys that make you wonder how hes not doing better, said PGA and Buy.Com Tour veteran Brian Kamm on a flight last night. You play alongside Jason and it seems like he should be leading, yet on the scorecard hes struggling to make the cut. That is exactly the type of statement about Jason that implied that same burden of being tagged as a player with potential.
 
A nasty word that 'potential' is. In simple golfing terms, it implies that youre an underachiever.
 
For many young professional golfers, Jason Gores career would already have been considered a success. Membership on the Buy.Com Tour in 1998 after an outstanding amateur career that included one Walker Cup appearance, a victory at the 2000 Buy.Com New Mexico Classic, and a rookie year on the PGA Tour in 2001 doesnt exactly sound like the stuff of an underachiever. But Jason would be the first to tell you that he was behind schedule in reaching his goals. He wasnt playing up to his potential.
 
All of a sudden a funny thing happened on the way to a wedding. Well, it wasnt really the wedding, it was the reception.
 
Jason had a relative getting married on the same night as his friend, PGA Tour player Bob Burns. So Jason decided to do the right thing ' he went to the relatives wedding and then to Bob Burns reception. Trust me, Bob Burns reception would assure a high rating on the fun-o-meter.
 
At the reception, another PGA Tour player gave Jason a blindsided body-block. It was just a greeting between friends who were enjoying themselves and celebrating. This certain PGA player had been in somewhat of a celebration mode for a few weeks now. He has enjoyed much success of late and some would even say that hes been overachieving.
 
But during their time together at the reception, the subject of talk was why Jason wasnt playing better. Number 62 on the Buy.Com Tour money list at the time, Jason was in the midst of a miserable year by his standards. He played well in two of the first three tournaments of the year, but quite poorly ever since.
 
According to Jason, the friendly chat became more of an in-your-face, youre better than this, get youre a-- in gear, quit making excuses and play better type of talk. A verbal kick in the rear is what it sounded like to me ' good-natured, yet tough love.
 
Well, evidently it worked. The difference between then and now, is that I forced myself to believe in my abilities, Jason said during the trophy presentation at the Albertson's Boise Open. I get up over the ball now and tell myself that theres no way that this ball can miss. I wont let it.
 
Believing in yourself is the defining factor between those who achieve, and those who dont. Its probably the hardest aspect of professional golf to quantify, and nearly impossible to teach. It comes from within, and in Jasons case, it needed a firm prodding to be brought out. And brought out it was; actually, unleashed would be more appropriate.
 
The Albertson's Boise Open was Jasons second win in as many weeks. At Bob Burns reception, Jason was hoping that he could finish in the top 55 on the Buy.com Tour money list and ensure himself a place to play next year. Two weeks later, hes now fourth on the money list and guaranteed of graduating back to the PGA Tour in 2003. When he gets there, he will certainly play a few practice rounds with his old friends.
 
Jason now knows that his potential is finally being realized and his goals are within reach. Regardless of who provides the motivation, golf is an individual sport in which Jason only need thank himself for his success. But along the way Im sure hell take a moment to drop a body-block on his old buddy as a way of saying thanks for the swift kick. And hell share something with that friend because Jason Gore learned about believing in himself from someone who epitomizes it ' Rich Beem.
 
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