No 1 A Season Unlike Any Other

By Mercer BaggsJanuary 1, 2006, 5:00 pm
2005 Stories of the Year - #1Editor's note: is counting down the top 10 stories from the 2005 golf season. This is Story No. 1.
It wasnt supposed to be this way.
That statement alone pretty much lays a blanket over Jason Gores 2005 season. His entire career, in fact.
Gore was a struggling professional. It wasnt supposed to be that way. He was an accomplished amateur who appeared to have all the tools necessary to be a successful pro.
Jason Gore
Jason Gore was a member of Pepperdine's NCAA Championship team and the victorious Walker Cup team in 1997.
When he finally made it to the PGA Tour, he flamed out and lost his card. That certainly wasnt supposed to happen. He was supposed to take advantage of his opportunity, not squander it ' twice.
He contemplated quitting the game in order to better provide for his wife and newborn son. It wasnt supposed to be like this. Being a golfer ' a player ' is what he was supposed to be.
It just wasnt supposed to be this hard for Jason Gore. But it had been this way ever since the day he turned professional ' the day his father died suddenly of a heart attack.
By the time this year's U.S. Open rolled around, he was a has-been, a never-was, a 31-year-old who had started the year playing something called the A.G. Spanos Tour in his native California and had to take a $12,000 loan just to keep his dream alive.
When youre not seeing what you think you should be seeing and nothing is really paying off, maybe you can stop and look in the mirror and say, This just isnt for me, Gore said. I think the low point was probably five or six weeks before the Open and thinking, This probably isnt going to work out. I was struggling. I was whining and complaining and just not doing what I had to do.
Its hard to sit there and face up to yourself and say, Hey, listen, nobody owes you anything. You have to go out and make your own destiny.
He eventually did that. But not before life got in one more sucker punch.
On his way to Pinehurst, vandals broke into his SUV. They stole just about everything they could get their criminal hands on, except his golf clubs, which were with his caddie, and his perspective.
Nobody was hurt. I still had my wife and family, and thats what it comes down to. It was just a car, he said.
Thats really kind of what it was, and thats the way I started looking at golf. Its just golf; its just a game.
What transpired that week in the quaint North Carolina golfing destination, however, was more than just golf, more than just a game. It was a life-changing experience.
After two rounds, Gore was tied atop the leaderboard at 2 under. He hung in with a 2-over 72 on Saturday to keep him within three strokes of the lead entering the final round. He made birdie on the final hole to secure a spot in the final twosome alongside defending champion Retief Goosen.
When I made that putt I kind of pointed at it, a la Tiger, Gore recalled. I looked at my caddie afterward and said, Did I just point the ball into the hole? And he said, Yeah, you did. And I said, What a cheese ball.
Yeah, but the public ate up that cheese ball. They loved the big man. The 61, 235-pound teddy bear with the collar buttoned to the top and the huge, omnipresent smile.
And when he shot 84 on Sunday to finish tied for 49th, they gave him a standing ovation. He had not only entertained them, but impressed them ' and endeared himself to them.
Jason Gore
Gore won four of his next eight starts after the U.S. Open.
This was supposed to be it. This was supposed to be the curtain call.
This was not expected: three straight wins almost immediately upon his return to the Nationwide Tour; a round of 59; a promotion back to the PGA Tour; a victory in the 84 Lumber Classic; his picture on magazine covers; guest spots on national talk shows; over $1 million in just three months.
He could now pay back his loan ' with interest, buy a new truck, even get his son a sweet swing set for his first birthday.
And he could do what he wanted to do most of all: play golf for a living, and enjoy doing so.
I think Im happy with everything thats happened, but Im not satisfied. Its one of those things you have to keep working hard to try and get better. Thats what Im trying to do, said the man who sports a wristband that reads: Never Give Up.
Its actually made me a lot hungrier.
Complacency will not hinder Gore, and he doesnt have to dig that far back in his memory bank to find every reason why.
Around May I was going to the store and was wondering if I was going to be able to get formula for my child, wondering if I was going to be able to afford it and wondering if I was going to make a house payment, he said after winning his first PGA Tour event. And now look.
To know that just five, six months ago I was thinking about hanging it up It's amazing where a little perseverance and grit and maybe a little ignorance can take you.
Now this is the way its supposed to be.
Related Links:
  • Jason Gore's Bio
  • A (Fairy)Tale of Two Seasons
  • U.S. Open Coverage
  • 84 Lumber Classic Coverage
  • Getty Images

    Storms halt Barbasol before Lincicome tees off

    By Associated PressJuly 20, 2018, 11:29 pm

    NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. - Brittany Lincicome will have to wait until the weekend to resume her bid to make the cut in a PGA Tour event.

    Overnight storms delayed the start of the second round Friday in the Barbasol Championship, and an afternoon thunderstorm suspended competition for good. The round will resume Saturday morning with much of the field still to play.

    The second stoppage at Champions Trace at Keene Trace Golf Club came 20 minutes before Lincicome's scheduled tee time.

    Lincicome was near the bottom of the field after opening with a 6-over 78 on Thursday. The first LPGA player since Michelle Wie in 2008 to start a PGA Tour event, she needs a huge rebound to join Babe Zaharias (1945) as the only female players to make the cut.

    Troy Merritt had the clubhouse lead at 15 under, following an opening 62 with a 67.

    Getty Images

    Third-round tee times for the 147th Open

    By Golf Channel DigitalJuly 20, 2018, 9:05 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Eighteen major champions made the cut at The Open and will be playing the weekend at Carnoustie, including 60-year-old ageless wonder Bernhard Langer, and both major champs so far this year, Patrick Reed and Brooks Koepka.

    Twenty-four-year-old Gavin Green will be first off solo Saturday at 4:15 a.m. ET. Reed and Rhys Enoch will follow along 10 minutes later.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods, both at even par for the tournament, six shots behind leaders Zach Johnson and Kevin Kisner, are in consecutive groups. Mickelson is playing with Austin Cook at 8:05 a.m. and Woods is with South Africa’s Shaun Norris at 8:15 a.m.

    Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler, both three shots off the lead, are also in consecutive groups. Fowler is at 10 a.m. with Thorbjorn Olesen and Spieth is 10 minutes later with Kevin Chappell. Rory McIlroy, looking to win his first major since the 2014 PGA Championship, is at 10:40 a.m. with Xander Schauffele. McIlroy is two shots behind.

    Johnson and Kisner are last off at 11 a.m.

    4:15AM ET: Gavin Green

    4:25AM ET: Rhys Enoch, Patrick Reed

    4:35AM ET: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, Justin Rose

    4:45AM ET: Yusaku Miyazato, Tyrrell Hatton

    4:55AM ET: Ross Fisher, Keegan Bradley

    5:05AM ET: Ryan Fox, Jason Dufner

    5:15AM ET: Bryson DeChambeau, Henrik Stenson

    5:25AM ET: Tom Lewis, Sam Locke (a)

    5:35AM ET: Paul Casey, Chris Wood

    5:45AM ET: Bernhard Langer, Rafa Cabrera Bello

    6:00AM ET: Paul Dunne, Brett Rumford

    6:10AM ET: Masahiro Kawamura, Shubhankar Sharma

    6:20AM ET: Cameron Smith, Brendan Steele

    6:30AM ET: Marc Leishman, Lee Westwood

    6:40AM ET: Byeong Hun An, Kevin Na

    6:50AM ET: Julian Suri, Adam Hadwin

    7:00AM ET: Gary Woodland, Si-Woo Kim

    7:10AM ET: Yuta Ikeda, Satoshi Kodaira

    7:20AM ET: Marcus Kinhult, Thomas Pieters

    7:30AM ET: Beau Hossler, Haotong Li

    7:45AM ET: Cameron Davis, Sean Crocker

    7:55AM ET: Louis Oosthuizen, Stewart Cink

    8:05AM ET: Phil Mickeslon, Austin Cook

    8:15AM ET: Tiger Woods, Shaun Norris

    8:25AM ET: Lucas Herbert, Michael Kim

    8:35AM ET: Jason Day, Francesco Molinari

    8:45AM ET: Sung Kang, Webb Simpson

    8:55AM ET: Patrick Cantlay, Eddie Pepperell

    9:05AM ET: Matthew Southgate, Brooks Koepka

    9:15AM ET: Kyle Stanley, Adam Scott

    9:30AM ET: Charley Hoffman, Alex Noren

    9:40AM ET: Ryan Moore, Brandon Stone

    9:50AM ET: Luke List, Danny Willett

    10:00AM ET: Thorbjorn Olesen, Rickie Fowler

    10:10AM ET: Jordan Spieth, Kevin Chappell

    10:20AM ET: Zander Lombard, Tony Finau

    10:30AM ET: Matt Kuchar, Erik Van Rooyen

    10:40AM ET: Rory McIlroy, Xander Schauffele

    10:50AM ET: Pat Perez, Tommy Fleetwood

    11:00AM ET: Kevin Kisner, Zach Johnson

    Getty Images

    Facial hair Fowler's new good-luck charm

    By Rex HoggardJuly 20, 2018, 8:12 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Before, during and after the Fourth of July, Rickie Fowler missed a few appointments with his razor.

    He arrived in the United Kingdom for last week’s Scottish Open still unshaved and he tied for sixth place. Fowler, like most golfers, can give in to superstition, so he's decided to keep the caveman look going for this week’s Open Championship.

    “There could be some variations,” he smiled following his round on Friday at Carnoustie.

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    At this rate, he may never shave again. Fowler followed an opening 70 with a 69 on Friday to move into a tie for 11th place, just three strokes off the lead.

    Fowler also has some friendly competition in the beard department, with his roommate this week Justin Thomas also going for the rugged look.

    “I think he kind of followed my lead in a way. I think he ended up at home, and he had a little bit of scruff going. It's just fun,” Fowler said. “We mess around with it. Obviously, not taking it too seriously. But like I said, ended up playing halfway decent last week, so I couldn't really shave it off going into this week.”

    Getty Images

    Spieth (67) rebounds from tough Round 1 finish

    By Ryan LavnerJuly 20, 2018, 7:55 pm

    CARNOUSTIE, Scotland – Guess whose putter is starting to heat up again at a major?

    Even with a few wayward shots Friday at Carnoustie, Jordan Spieth made a significant climb up the leaderboard in the second round, firing a 4-under 67 to move just three shots off the lead.

    Spieth showed his trademark grit in bouncing back from a rough finish Thursday, when he mis-clubbed on the 15th hole, leading to a double bogey, and ended up playing the last four holes in 4 over.

    “I don’t know if I actually regrouped,” he said. “It more kind of fires me up a little.”

    Full-field scores from the 147th Open Championship

    Full coverage of the 147th Open Championship

    Spieth missed more than half of his fairways in the second round, but he was able to play his approach shots from the proper side of the hole. Sure, he “stole a few,” particularly with unlikely birdies on Nos. 10 and 11 after errant drives, but he took advantage and put himself in position to defend his claret jug.

    Spieth needed only 25 putts in the second round, and he credited a post-round adjustment Thursday for the improvement. The tweak allows his arms to do more of the work in his stroke, and he said he felt more confident on the greens.

    “It’s come a long way in the last few months, no doubt,” he said.

    More than anything, Spieth was relieved not to have to play “cut-line golf” on Friday, like he’s done each start since his spirited run at the Masters.

    “I know that my swing isn’t exactly where I want it to be; it’s nowhere near where it was at Birkdale,” he said. “But the short game is on point, and the swing is working in the right direction to get the confidence back.”