Scott Gump is an enigma of the modern game. A short hitter with a self-deprecating manner and a quiet, almost carefree approach to a career that spans three decades.
At 38, Gump’s is not the face of the increasingly youthful Nationwide Tour, yet the journeyman’s victory Sept. 26 at the Boise Open was one of the year’s most endearing.
Gump, who has bounced between the Nationwide Tour and PGA Tour since turning pro in the late 1980s, ended a 297-event (Nationwide and PGA Tour) victory drought in Idaho. His two-stroke victory at Hillcrest Country Club also gave some of the circuit’s aged veterans a reason to be optimistic.
“There’s hope for us old guys out there,” said Gump, who began the week a pedestrian 147th on tour with a 270.6-yard driving average but, for the third consecutive year, is the circuit’s best at finding the fairway.
Throughout a career that includes three Nationwide victories and three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, Gump has used a combination of guile and persistence to make up for his lack of power. Until his Boise breakthrough, however, his relentlessness was little match for courses that stretch past 7,200 yards.
Gump missed the cut in seven of his first eight events and began the week in Boise a hapless 98th on the money list.
“I’d been playing well and obviously the course fit me so well,” Gump said of the 6,685-yard Hillcrest layout. “That’s the key thing for me. It’s not a bomber’s paradise. You really had to hit it in the right place. I knew the course fit me.”
Gump followed Boise with a T-28 at the Mark Christopher Charity Classic and a T-4 at the Permian Basin Charity Golf Classic. His late-season run includes a season’s best five consecutive made cuts and has lifted him to 27th on the money list ($163,198) with two events remaining. Those two events will push Gump’s total to 27 tournaments, a full year for anyone but Gump.
In 2000, he played a workman-like 36 events on the PGA Tour and since 1990 he’s averaged slightly less than 29 tournaments per year.
“You have the 20 guys in the world that play good everywhere,” Gump mused. “Then you have everybody else who knows they’re going to play good, they just don’t know when or where. There’s the 20 freaks, and everybody else who has to be sure they don’t miss their week.”