Chat with Charles Barkley re-energizes Jason Gore
PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. – Jason Gore is in the field at the Northern Trust Open and happy to be here.
That sounds like it would be a no-brainer – of course one would be excited to play in a Tour event.
But the 39-year-old Gore has gone through a lot of jumping back and forth between the PGA Tour and Web.com Tour, with no real home.
Add the fact that his desire to be home with his family tugged at him, and Gore was not a happy man on either Tour.
After winning his only PGA Tour event, in 2005 at the 84 Lumber Classic, Gore found that his desire had waned and his game suffered because of family obligations and uncertain about his career direction. But a recent casual conversation with Charles Barkley, the Basketball Hall of Fame member, at the Tommy Bahama Desert Marlin tournament in Scottsdale, Ariz., helped Gore to refocus and provided a new outlook and attitude.
“I kind of figured out that I'm still pretty good at this game,” Gore said on the eve of the Northern Trust Open. “And I can provide a heck of a life for my family, and what better way to do it than that, doing something that I love and something that I have loved to do for a long time.”
Gore joked that he found himself unemployable as even his alma mater, Pepperdine, where he was instrumental in the Waves' 1997 national championship, would not hire him as men's golf coach when the job came open in late 2012. According to Gore, the school said "he wasn’t the guy that was going to further the Christian mission.”
So Gore is back on the PGA Tour, at least for this week. He returns with new equipment from Ping and a game with which he feels very comfortable. A game that not only got him through the Monday qualifier for this week but also carried him to victories in the Southern California Open, Straight Down Fall Classic and Plantation Pro-Scratch.
“It was good to see that I can still hit good shots and hit some putts, and you know, a win is a win,” Gore said of his recent success at non-marquee events. “It doesn't matter where it is, as long as it's just a building block to something, something better that's coming along. It's fun to hold trophies and that's why I do this. I love to hold trophies, and I've held a few, but not enough.”
Gore had planned to be in Bogota, Colombia, this week at the Web.com Tour's season opener. He is playing a Riviera Country Club course that is 30 minutes from his house and aiming for his second consecutive made cut in a Tour event. Gore finished T-26 at the Frys.com Open at the beginning of the wraparound 2014 season, only his second made cut since the end of the 2011 season.
“I love being out here," Gore said of his return to the Tour. "Just knowing what's happened at this golf course is really cool. I was just up there doing putting drills by the Hogan statue, for crying out loud.”