LOS ANGELES – The U.S. Open returns to Pinehurst No. 2 this year.
Nobody’s happier about that than Jason Gore.
“I definitely want to go back,” said Gore, who played his way into this week’s Northern Trust Open by Monday qualifying. “I can’t wait.”
Now, he just has to qualify for the U.S. Open, probably through both local and sectional stages. There’s a lot of motivation to get back to that special place where he first emerged as an international story. Gore, the Cinderella Man back then, came out of nowhere to grab a share of the second round lead at the U.S. Open at Pinehurst in 2005, then played his way into the final Sunday pairing with Retief Goosen.
Though Gore faltered with a final-round 84, his career got the boost he needed. In the three months after that U.S. Open, he won four times. He won three Nationwide Tour events, earning a promotion to the PGA Tour, and then he won the PGA Tour's 84 Lumber Classic.
Today, at 39, Gore’s looking for another career boost. He has Web.com Tour status, where he is looking to play his way back on to the PGA Tour. He hasn’t played the PGA Tour full time since ’09. He had shoulder surgery three years ago, leading to so much frustration that he started looking for a new job.
Gore says his passion is back. How did he get it back?
“You honestly want to know?” said Gore, who played collegiately at nearby Pepperdine. “I found out I was unemployable.”
Gore applied for the Pepperdine men’s golf coach job two years ago. He didn’t get it.
“It’s been a rough go, the desire,” Gore said. “I've been working hard, but the desire and the love for the game really hasn't been there. It's nice to actually come into this week with a little confidence, and a little belief, and we'll go tee it up and see what happens.”
Gore’s confidence is coming back. He was scheduled to play the Web.com Tour season opener in Colombia this week. He was supposed to fly out after the Northern Trust Monday qualifier.
“I was supposed to fly out yesterday morning, and I had not packed a thing,” Gore said. “I just had a feeling I wasn't going to go.”