When the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst began, I didn't really have a clue who Jason Gore was. After the U.S. Open was over, however, I think everyone and their dog knew who Gore was. Seriously, the television crew took us into Gore's personal life, both at home and on the road. We all got to see his wife and son, as well as the kind of car he drove.
Jason Gore did play great golf at Pinehurst for three days. He probably deserved all the media attention, and it's no secret the media enjoys covering the underdogs in sports. Gore found himself in the final group on Sunday with a legitimate chance to win the United States Open Championship right? Not exactly. A final-round 84 left Gore in a very modest tie for 49th.
There is a big problem with all of the hype surrounding Jason Gore. When the casual golf fan looks back at the 2005 U.S. Open, they are more than likely going to remember Jason Gore's underdog story before they remember the winner. That's right, Michael Campbell finished 48 spots higher than Jason Gore did. Campbell outlasted Tiger Woods himself to win the 105th U.S. Open. That should be the story that gets the most attention! Even Retief Goosen's 81 on Sunday gets higher billing than the Campbell victory.
That was in June, and we're now creeping up on autumn. Jason Gore's life has changed for the better once again. This time, he played his way into the spotlight the way it's supposed to be done. Gore vowed to PGA Tour fans he would go back to the Nationwide Tour and earn his PGA Tour card. And that's just what he did, in dominant fashion I might add. Gore turned down a sponsor's exemption (didn't really deserve one) to the John Deere Classic to play the Pete Dye Classic on the Nationwide Tour. He took full advantage of that decision and won the event by one stroke.
To make a long story short, Gore won his next two Nationwide tournaments to earn a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour. This enables Gore to play the tour for the remainder of the 2005 season and the entire 2006 season. The Buick Championship this past weekend was Gore's first test on the PGA Tour since his promotion. He made the cut by one stroke, but stumbled to a tie for 73rd when the dust had settled.
This brings me to my main question. Has Jason Gore really done enough to earn all this attention? The guy has played two PGA Tour events in 2005 and didn't finish in the top 45 in either. There are always two sides to every story, and this is no different. I'm sure there are fans that think Gore deserves every bit of the attention he has received, and I'm sure there are some fans who think he is a little overhyped so far. I'm going to break down both sides of the story and give my final thoughts when all is said and done.
Deserving of the Hype
Jason Gore went through qualifying for the U.S. Open, and that is an accomplishment in itself. I would love to have a chance to play in that event, but unfortunately I'm not that good. I will give respect where it's due, and anyone who tees it up in any tournament on the PGA Tour is a great golfer! Lucky for Gore, the U.S. Open isn't just any other tournament, it may be the biggest tournament in all of golf.
Gore did have a rough time on Sunday, but at least he made it to the final round. There were a number of great golfers, including Chris DiMarco and Padraig Harrington, that didn't even make the cut. Gore deserved some of the attention for putting himself in contention at one of the best events in golf.
Also, Jason Gore did the respectful thing and went back to the Nationwide Tour. He almost gave up on golf until his wife pushed him to qualify for the U.S. Open. It was really awesome that Gore went back out on the Nationwide Tour and dominated until he earned his battlefield promotion. Nobody has ever won three Nationwide events in a row to earn a promotion to the PGA Tour, and Gore did that. Any golfer who can dominate a tour like that deserves some respect for sure.
Not So Deserving
Jason Gore did qualify for the U.S. Open, but so did many other deserving golfers. And I don't recall hearing their names mentioned nearly as much as Gore's was. I understand that many of those that qualified didn't really play very good, but there were some that did. I don't remember hearing Rocco Mediate's life story during the broadcast.
The same goes for Olin Browne and many others. Jason Gore's car was broken into during the U.S. Open, and I guess that is a much more important story than Olin Browne getting his game back together isn't it? Nope, not as far as I'm concerned. Also, Peter Hedblom finished in a tie for 11th. I've never heard of the guy to be honest, but he definitely deserved some more attention. And what about Matthew Every? The guy is an amateur for crying out loud, and he finished ahead of Gore. I didn't hear his name mentioned many times throughout the broadcast. I think you get my point.
As I mentioned above, Jason Gore played his butt off to earn the battlefield promotion. However, that was on the Nationwide Tour. I'll be honest, I can't name many winners on the Nationwide Tour this season, with the exception of Gore and Chris Couch. The casual golf fan wants to watch the PGA Tour, not the Nationwide Tour. The PGA Tour is where the big boys play! If Gore's legacy is going to live on, he will have to have consistent success at the highest level.
Jason Gore has played on the PGA Tour before, but he has never experienced the kind of attention he is currently receiving. Gore has a few top-20 finishes throughout his career on the PGA Tour, but as I mentioned previously, he hasn't managed anything better than a tie for 49th in 2005. He still has a lot of tournaments to go before 2005 is over, and those tournaments will go a long way in determining if Gore deserves anymore attention or not. The media shouldn't be jumping the gun on this guy just yet.
The Final Say
I don't want everyone to think I hate Jason Gore. I am actually a fan of the guy. I enjoy watching him play golf because he is a likeable guy. He always seems to have a smile on his face, and he seems to be very thankful for the hand he has been dealt. Gore has a great family that travels with him from tournament to tournament, and things are definitely going well for him right now. I couldn't be any happier for him in that regard. I hope he goes on to prove me wrong and win a lot of tournaments on the PGA Tour.
I see so many PGA Tour golfers get overshadowed in the big tournaments, and it ticks me off to see a guy like Gore come in and get all the attention from the guys who have been around for much longer and quite frankly deserve it more. I know it's not Gore's fault at all. The media is the source of the problem, which unfortunately doesn't surprise me. There are golfers like Retief Goosen that get overlooked all the time, and "The Goose" is ranked in the top five in the world for crying out loud. All I know about Goosen is he was struck by lightning on the golf course one time. He has two U.S. Open victories, and I don't know jack about him because he is considered "boring."
This article may actually be more about the media than anything, but Jason Gore was the lucky culprit for the time being. It has happened with other golfers in the past, including Sean O'Hair earlier this year. At least O'Hair won a PGA Tour event. I just hate to see the veterans who have paid their dues get less attention than a guy who finished in a tie for 49th in the U.S. Open. It's obviously all about the ratings and pulling for the underdog, but I say to hell with both of those. It's time for the media to start giving more attention to veterans like Scott Verplank and Fred Funk, just to name a couple.
Well, that's enough for this week. I could go on and on about this topic, but we don't have enough time to read it all. It's time for you to speak your opinions now. Does Jason Gore really deserve all the attention he has received since the U.S. Open? And for that matter, do any of these younger guys deserve to have their entire life stories shown on television before they have any success? Finally, will Jason Gore have any success on the PGA Tour? If you have anything to add, feel free to comment below or discuss it in our forum. Thanks for reading Thrash Talk this week, and have a great week of golf!
Photo Credit: © AP.