Jason Gore cant forget chance meeting with Arnold Palmer

By Associated PressMarch 27, 2009, 4:00 pm
Arnold Palmer InvitationalORLANDO, Fla. ' Walk up the back stairs of the clubhouse at Bay Hill Lodge toward the office of Arnold Palmer and it is hard to miss the many photos of two of golfs most charismatic figures ' Palmer and Tiger Woods.
 
Woods is a six-time winner at Bay Hill ' five times in what now is called the Arnold Palmer Invitational, once in 1991 when he captured the first of three straight U.S. Junior Amateur titles.
 
Too bad there are no pictures of The King and The Prince.
 
That would be Jason Gore, still known in some parts as the Prince of Pinehurst for his unlikely journey to the final group of the U.S. Open in 2005 before he staggered home to an 84.
 
Who wouldnt pay to see that photo of an 11-year-old Gore posing with a 55-year-old Palmer at Latrobe Country Club in western Pennsylvania, the course where Palmer grew up?
 
Gore, who opened with a 5-under 65 on Thursday for a one-shot lead in the Arnold Palmer Invitational, has family in the Pittsburgh area and went there one summer. He talked his mom into driving him to Latrobe Country Club.
 
Drove in like we owned the place, Gore said. I was wearing a light blue Town & Country surf design T-shirt with a big, ugly emblem on the back. And I had these shorts that had yellow and pink and blue and red. I dont know what they were 'obnoxiously terrible. Never been on a surfboard in my life, but I looked like a surfer.
 
They asked if Palmer was around. Turns out he was.
 
Before long, Palmer drove up in a cart that Gore remembers looking like a tractor. Palmer was gracious as ever, posing for a picture, signing a scoreboard and dropping a big surprise.
 
He said, Son, Im going to go hit balls. Would you like to come watch? Gore said. I sat right on the little slope behind the first tee and watched Mr. Palmer hit balls for about 45 minutes. And from that point on, I knew I wanted to be a professional golfer.
 
Gore has done fine for himself.
 
After the final-round debacle at Pinehurst No. 2, he rallied to win three straight times on the Nationwide Tour to earn his PGA Tour card, then he won the 84 Lumber Classic ' near Pittsburgh, of all places.
 
But his game has gone south, and Gore failed to finish in the top 125 last year. After he failed to make it through Q-School, he sought out swing coach Mike Abbott to overhaul his action, and the results have been slow in coming.
 
Gore has played seven times this year, some on sponsor exemptions, and has yet to finish in the top 20.
 
Thats what made Thursday so pleasant.
 
He hit a hybrid 2-iron onto the par-5 12th green for eagle and was having a good round until it turned much better over the final hour with three birdies in his final four holes.
 
Gore had a one-shot lead over Jeff Overton and Tim Herron, who won at Bay Hill in a playoff 10 years ago.
 
Woods had few complaints.
 
He played with Padraig Harrington ' they have won five of the last six majors 'along with Mark Wilson, whom Woods defeated for his second straight U.S. Junior Amateur title.
 
The best of the bunch ' Wilson, of course.
 
He played bogey-free as Woods and Harrington saw far more of the course. Woods had a 68, Harrington a 70.
 
Wilson learned anew not to count Woods out of any hole.
 
He was some 20 feet away for birdie on the opening hole, while Woods had gone into the rough, short of the green and faced a tough flop shot from 30 yards away over a bunker, with not much green between the sand and the flag.
 
Im looking at it going, he could start out with a double (bogey) here, Wilson said. Its an easy shot to hit short, leave in the rough and not get that one up-and-down. Then he hits a beautiful shot that leaves a ball mark and then rolls like a putt right into the middle of the hole. That was an impressive start to the day.
 
It got even better on the back nine when Woods ran off four straight birdies ' part of a stretch of eight consecutive one-putt greens. But there was that tee shot in the water on the par-5 sixth that led to double bogey, and a late bogey with a poor chip behind the 17th green that brought Woods back.
 
Even so, 68 was a solid start.
 
I was not hitting it well, and I had to scramble and grind it out and manage to score, Woods said. He managed just fine, taking only 24 putts in the first round after ranking 74th in putting out of 79 players at Doral two weeks ago.
 
Gore is lucky to be here. He has limited status on the tour, but he asked Palmer for an exemption and received one.
 
Last year at a corporate outing, Gore was listening to Palmer regale an audience with a story when Gore shared one of his own ' the one about the time he met Palmer, the influence he had on his life.
 
He thought Palmer began to get tears in his eyes.
 
It might have been what I wanted him to do, so I might have been making that up, Gore said with his infectious laugh. But he shook my hand, pulled me in and gave me a hug.
 
Gore was playing in the pro-member tournament at Seminole earlier this month when he ran into the King and thanked him for the exemption to the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
 
He looked at me and winked, and he said, I never forgot that story.
 
Its amazing that Gore didnt well up with tears.
 
The littlest things he does for a punk dressed in surf clothes who was trespassing on his property changes lives, Gore said. Hes got that power, and thats what makes him the King. And thats why hes the greatest person to this game.
 
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    Maguire's storied Duke career comes to an end

    By Ryan LavnerMay 22, 2018, 8:39 pm

    STILLWATER, Okla. – After losing in the quarterfinals here at the NCAA Women’s Championship, Duke coach Dan Brooks gathered his team and walked back toward the 18th hole. He wanted to get away and deliver a parting speech to senior Leona Maguire, one of the most important players in program history.

    “I feel like I didn’t say enough, and I feel like I didn’t say it right,” he said afterward. “I guess that’s inevitable when dealing with a player who has meant so much.”

    Maguire’s heralded Duke career came to an end Tuesday when she and her teammates dropped their quarterfinal match to Southern Cal, 3 1/2 to 1 1/2. Maguire did her part, winning, 1 up, against USC’s Jennifer Chang, but it still wasn’t enough.

    Maguire will go down as one of the best players not just in Duke’s storied history, but all time in college golf. She’s a two-time Player of the Year. She finished with the best scoring average (70.93) in Division I women’s golf history. She had a record 32 competitive rounds in the 60s. She spent 135 weeks at the top of the World Amateur Golf Rankings, another record.

    The 23-year-old from Ireland is the rare collegian who turned down guaranteed LPGA status to return to school to earn her degree and try to win a NCAA title with twin sister Lisa, the team’s No. 5 player. Ultimately, they never reached the championship match.

    “I wouldn’t change a thing,” she said softly outside the clubhouse. “The experiences, the memories, I wouldn’t change it for the world.”

    Maguire said that she’s turning pro soon and has a full schedule upcoming. She’ll play the ShopRite LPGA Classic and then try to capitalize on her full status on the developmental Symetra circuit.

    Asked about her potential at the next level, Brooks said that Maguire can be a future Hall of Famer.

    “She’s the hardest worker and the smartest player I’ve ever coached,” he said. “I’m really going to miss her.”

    Geoff Ogilvy and family at the 2009 WGC-Accenture Match Play. Getty Images

    Notes: Ogilvy moving family to Australia

    By Doug FergusonMay 22, 2018, 6:55 pm

    Geoff Ogilvy's immediate future involves fewer golf tournament and longer flights.

    Ogilvy has been contemplating in the last few years moving back home to Australia, and after discussing it with his Texas-born wife, Juli, they plan to return to Melbourne shortly after Christmas.

    Their daughter, Phoebe, turns 12 in October and will be starting the seventh grade in Australia. They have two sons, Jasper (10) and Harvey (8). The Ogilvys figured that waiting much longer to decide where to live would make it tougher on the children.

    ''We just talked about it, for lots of reasons, and we kept making pros and cons. Juli was strong on it,'' Ogilvy said. ''We're excited. I'm at the point where I'm not going to play 27 times a year. It's going to be brutal to play from there. But you've got to choose life.''

    Ogilvy won the 2006 U.S. Open at Winged Foot, and he counts three World Golf Championships among his eight PGA Tour victories. He also has won the Australian Open and the Australian PGA Championship and has reached No. 3 in the world.

    His last victory was in 2014, and Ogilvy has slipped to No. 416 in the world.

    He has been dividing some of his time with a golf course design business with projects that include Shady Oaks in Fort Worth, Texas, (including a ''Little Nine'' course that opened last year), a renovation in China and a 36-hole course called Peninsula Kingwood in Melbourne.

    Ogilvy, who grew up at Victoria Golf Club, still has a home on the 14th hole of the West Course at Royal Melbourne. If he didn't move back home, Ogilvy figured he would be spending six months in Melbourne and six months in Scottsdale, Arizona.

    ''It's a feeling more than anything,'' he said. ''Scottsdale is dreamy. We live a great existence. I know what I'm getting there. If we didn't move back, we'd be a six-and-six family. The kids get out of school, and they're bounced back and forth. It's not good for continuity.''

    As for golf?

    Ogilvy narrowly kept his full PGA Tour card last year and this season has been a struggle. He hasn't sorted out what kind of schedule he would keep, understanding it would involve long trips from Sydney to Dallas.

    The immediate goal would be to play a heavy fall schedule and miss most of the West Coast swing to get acclimated to the move.

    ''And then we'll start working it out,'' he said.


    US OPEN QUALIFYING: The U.S. Open likes to consider its championship the most democratic of the majors, and it has it just about right again this year. With the addition of 23 players who became exempt by being in the top 60 in the world ranking, 77 players in the 156-man field are exempt from qualifying. That number could go up slightly with another cutoff for the top 60 the Sunday before U.S. Open week.

    The U.S. Open is the only American major that does not offer automatic exemptions to PGA Tour winners. Five such winners from this season still face qualifying, including Patton Kizzire, who has won twice (OHL Classic at Mayakoba and Sony Open). The others are Austin Cook, Ted Potter Jr., Andrew Landry and Aaron Wise.

    Kizzire is at No. 63 in the world, followed by Wise (66) and Landry (69). All have three weeks to crack the top 60.

    Until 2011, the U.S. Open offered exemptions to multiple PGA Tour winners since the previous Open. It leans heavily on the world ranking, as do the other majors. It also awards recent major champions and top finishers from the previous U.S. Open, along with the Tour Championship field from the previous year, to reward a consistently strong season.

    ''All of the tours around the world have bought into the official world golf ranking rankings,'' said Jeff Hall, the USGA's managing director of rules and open championships. ''And this provides just the right place for us to be with exemptions. We don't have to get into the weighting of one tour over another, this championship versus that event, a week-to-week event. We focus on the official world golf rankings and it seems to get us the right players for our championship.''



    FICKLE GAME: Careers can change quickly in golf. No one can attest to that as well as Michael Arnaud.

    The 36-year-old Arnaud had never finished better than a tie for fifth in his 49 starts on the Web.com Tour, and that was three years ago. His career earnings were just over $130,000. He had only made it into one previous event this year, and he wasn't in the field at the BMW Charity Pro-Am in South Carolina last week until Kent Bulle withdrew on the eve of the event.

    Arnaud tied the course record with a 60 in the second round. He closed with a 63 and won by five shots.

    He won $126,000 and moved to No. 13 on the money list, giving him a reasonable chance to reach the PGA Tour if he finishes the season in the top 25.

    ''A lot of people kept pushing me when I wanted to step away from it,'' Arnaud said. ''My wife was one of those that told me to take the chance and go. Low and behold it really paid off.''


    SHINNECOCK SAVANT: Rory McIlroy is excited to get back to Shinnecock Hills for the U.S. Open, a course he already has played a few times.

    Equally excited is his manager, Sean O'Flaherty, who knows the course on New York's Long Island better than McIlroy.

    O'Flaherty spent two summers as a caddie at Shinnecock Hills.

    He went to college at Trinity in Dublin, had friends in the Hamptons and came over during the summer months in 2002 and 2003 to work as a caddie.

    ''I got to know a lot of members,'' O'Flaherty said. ''I can't wait. To me, it's the best course in the world.''


    DIVOTS: Justin Thomas won the Honda Classic on Feb. 25 at No. 4 in the world. No one from the top 10 in the world has won a PGA Tour event since then, a stretch of 12 tournaments. ... Guy Kinnings is leaving IMG after nearly 30 years to become the deputy CEO and Ryder Cup director of the European Tour. He will report directly to European Tour chief Keith Pelley. ... The LPGA tour will play in China during its fall Asia swing at the Buick LPGA Shanghai at Qizhong Garden Golf Club. The tournament will be Oct. 18-21, one week before the men play the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International in Shanghai. ... Alice Chen of Furman has been selected for the Dinah Shore Trophy, awarded to top college women who excel in golf, academics and work off the golf course. ... The Irish Open is going to Lahinch Golf Club in 2019, with former Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley serving as the tournament host.


    STAT OF THE WEEK: Matt Kuchar, Peter Uihlein and Jhonattan Vegas are the only players to compete in all five Texas events on the PGA Tour this year.


    FINAL WORD: ''The sum of his shots seems to add up to slightly less than the sum of the shots from another guy.'' - Geoff Ogilvy on Jordan Spieth.

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    Arizona's run continues, knocks off top seed to reach semis

    By Jay CoffinMay 22, 2018, 6:35 pm

    STILLWATER, Okla. – The No. 1 seed in match play has still never won the women’s NCAA Championship.

    That dubious distinction continued Tuesday at Karsten Creek when Arizona knocked out top-seeded UCLA on the final hole of the final match.

    With the matches tied at 2 apiece, the anchor match between Arizona junior Bianca Pagdanganan and UCLA freshman Patty Tavatanakit was tied on the 18th hole, a par 5 that’s reachable in two shots by many.

    Tavatanakit was just short of the green in two and Pagdanganan, the Wildcats’ hero from Monday when she made eagle on the last hole to give her team a shot at match play, blasted her second shot onto the green. Tavatanakit failed to get up and down – missing a 4-footer for birdie – and Pagdanganan two-putted for birdie to give Arizona the victory.


    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Scoring and TV times

    NCAA Women’s DI Championship: Full coverage


    “We’re lucky to be in match play,” Arizona coach Laura Ianello said. “Let’s ride the highs. Why not?”

    Arizona will now face Stanford in the semifinals. The Cardinal, the 2015 champion and 2016 runner up, has qualified for match play in each of the past four seasons. They beat Northwestern, 3-2, in the quarterfinals to advance.

    USC will face Alabama in the other semifinal, meaning three Pac-12 teams have advanced to the Final Four. The Crimson Tide had an easy go of it in their quarterfinal match against Kent State, winning 4-1. The decisive victory gave Alabama extra rest for its afternoon match.

    USC beat Duke, 3-1-1, in the other quarterfinal, pitting teams that have combined to win nine NCAA titles in the past 20 years. But neither team has had much success in the past four years since the championship turned to match play. Not only has neither team won, neither has even reached the championship match.

    Duke’s Leona Maguire won the first match and the second match was halved, but USC swept the last three matches with Gabriela Ruffels, Alyaa Abdulghany and Amelia Garvey all winning to propel the Trojans into the semifinals.

    Alabama (2) vs. USC (3)

    2:30PM ET: Lauren Stephenson (A) vs. Jennifer Chang (USC)

    2:40PM ET: Kristen Gillman (A) vs. Amelia Garvey (USC)

    2:50PM ET: Cheyenne Knight (A) vs. Allisen Corpuz (USC)

    3:00PM ET: Lakareber Abe (A) vs. Alyaa Abdulghany (USC)

    3:10PM ET: Angelica Moresco (A) Gabriela Ruffels (USC)


    Stanford (5) vs. Arizona (8)

    3:20PM ET: Emily Wang (S) vs. Gigi Stoll (A)

    3:30PM ET: Shannon Aubert (S) vs. Yu-Sang Hou (A)

    3:40PM ET: Mika Liu (S) vs. Haley Moore (A)

    3:50PM ET: Albane Valenzuela (S) vs. Sandra Nordaas (A)

    4:00PM ET: Andrea Lee (S) vs. Bianca Pagdanganan (A)

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    NCAA DI Women's Champ.: Scoring, TV times

    By Golf Channel DigitalMay 22, 2018, 5:50 pm

    The NCAA Division I Women's Golf Championship is underway at Kartsen Creek Golf Club in Stillwater, Okla.

    After three days of stroke play, eight teams advanced to the match-play portion of the championship. Quarterfinals were contested Tuesday morning with semifinals in the afternoon. The finals are being held on Wednesday. Golf Channel is airing the action live.

    Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho won the individual title. Click here for live action, beginning at 4 p.m. ET.

    Scoring:

    TV Times (all times ET):

    Tuesday
    4-8PM: Match-play semifinals (Click here to watch live)

    Wednesday
    4-8PM: Match-play finals