After almost quitting, Gore's a PGA Tour lock
Editor's note: Jason Gore received his "battlefield promotion" to the PGA Tour by winning his third Nationwide Tour event, rallying to win the Cox Classic on Sunday, Aug. 7.
Jason Gore is honest.
"Every day has been better since my son Jaxon was born," he says of the last 10 months. "There have been some days that have been less better though, like the 3 a.m. wake-up calls."
Jason Gore is funny.
"I married way over my head, dude," he says of wife Megan. "I am so lucky."
Jason Gore has a problem.
"I'm one of those sickos who loves golf. I'm not cut out to do anything else," he says. "Can you picture me behind a desk every day from 9 to 5?"
Uh, no. But luckily, this golf thing is working out. It took eight years and plenty of soul searching, but the former Pac-10 champ finally found himself.
A fortuitous two-month run that included contending at the U.S. Open and two subsequent Nationwide Tour wins helped.
But all of that almost never happened. It took a reality check from his wife, a little counseling from Dr. Preston Waddington and some playtime with Jaxon to find the real Jason Gore.
On the verge of quitting golf earlier this year, Megan looked her husband dead in the eye and laughed. Then she told Jason what a ridiculous idea it was and reminded him how much he loved the game. Waddington told Gore to stop focusing on the future and to concentrate on the present. Jaxon's presence demanded that his daddy stop caring about golf when he was home and start caring about life.
"Before this year, I was a very selfish person," Gore says. "That's how golf is, you do what you have to do. But now that's all changed."
Before the U.S. Open, chances are you didn't know who Jason Gore was. But now everybody is aware of the, ahem, "full-bodied" Gore after he was in the final pairing with Retief Goosen on Father's Day at Pinehurst. We learned he plays with class, can deal with adversity and puts it all into perspective. Shooting a final-round 84 and finishing T-49 was tough -- especially considering he was 3 shots off the lead entering the day -- but he talked easily with the media and fans afterward. He didn't make any excuses for his breakdown, although his car was broken into earlier in the week. The thieves even stole his underwear. And he was smart enough to go back to the Nationwide Tour to secure his PGA card for next season rather than play a bunch of PGA events on sponsor's exemptions to capitalize on his new-found celebrity.
In his next three events after the Open, Gore finished T-10 and won the Pete Dye Classic and the Scholarship America Showdown. He is currently fourth on the money list ($244,079) and a virtual lock to finish in the top 20, securing his PGA Tour card for next season.
His main goal beyond staying on the PGA Tour? Making a U.S. Ryder Cup team.
"Getting the chance to hear, 'Now representing the United States of America Jason Gore,'" he says in his best announcer voice. "That would be pretty awesome."
He considers the U.S. victory in the 1997 Walker Cup -- a Ryder Cup-like amateur event -- his best moment in golf, better than the Open or any of his five Nationwide wins.
In an individual sport, Gore is a team guy. And he's right: He is a sicko.
Dan Galvin is a reporter for ESPN the Magazine. He can be reached at Dan.Galvin@espn3.com
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