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June 17, 2005

Jason Gore

Pinehurst No. 2

Q. Just your overall thoughts, 36 holes down and you're tied for the U.S. Open lead.

JASON GORE: It's kind of fun, isn't it? You know, it's a difficult golf tournament to play in, and you just have to play very smart. That's kind of what I've been doing. I felt like I've hit a bunch of really good, smart shots. It's not turning into a putting contest, which is what unfortunately a lot of the golf tournaments are turning into. You just have to play very smart, and that's about it.

Q. You look like you're playing with a lot of confidence out there. Where are you getting all this confidence from?

JASON GORE: You know, I know I'm going to beat this cliche up, but I'm trying to keep it one at a time, trying to keep it simple, trying not to get too excited or too down on yourself, but this is a hard golf tournament. We'll see, you know.

Q. Your first four holes, how important was that?

JASON GORE: It's always important to get off to a good start. That's the one stretch of the golf course that you can take advantage of. I hit some good wedges in there and made a couple putts and took advantage of the holes I had to.

Q. Summarize your year up to this point, and what you went through to get here.

JASON GORE: Painful. The first stage of qualifying I actually was playing in Richmond in the Nationwide event and then flew back and got back at 2:00 a.m. and had a 7:16 a.m. tee time in Los Angeles. You know, that was probably the toughest one.

The year, I've made a few changes and started working with a new sports psychologist and trying to keep everything very simple, just be myself.

Q. What does this mean to you? You're going into Saturday at the U.S. Open on one of the toughest tracks that you guys will ever see, and you're tied for the lead.

JASON GORE: You know, I'll watch TV tonight and I'll get beat up by the press. But I really have nothing to do. This is really just an opportunity for me to play well. I mean, I really don't have any pressure. I'm the underdog, and it's going to be kind of fun.

I'm saying "you know" a lot (laughter).

It's going to be fun. I just really have nothing to lose, and I feel like if I can play two smart rounds of golf, then we'll count them up at the end.

Q. Were you feeling any pressure today, and are you going to be able to handle it tomorrow?

JASON GORE: I'll be fine. It's the U.S. Open, you're going to feel pressure, and if you don't, then there's something wrong with you. I'm just going to try to go out right now my biggest concern is I'm going to hit the first tee shot tomorrow and that's it, then I'll find the next one and hit it again, and so be it, and count them up at the end. That's really all I can have control over.

Q. Did you ever stop and look at the leaderboard and just kind of go "wow!"

JASON GORE: Yeah, a couple times. I feel like I should belong, and I haven't proved it yet with my golf, but deep down inside I think everybody out here feels like they belong. That's the number one thing you've got to keep believing.

Q. So much is made of Retief and his coolness under pressure, and Mark Hensby, who had a great round today and did very well at The Masters, he just sat up here and said this is like any other tournament, and the funny thing is I really believed it. He really seemed to feel that way. Is that maybe the key, just to kind of approach it like that?

JASON GORE: I mean, really we have no other control over it. That's kind of what it is. You try to hit the smart shot, and if it doesn't happen, it's not like you're trying to hit a bad shot. That's kind of what it comes down to. The golf ball doesn't know it's the U.S. Open, my putter doesn't know it's the U.S. Open, and the only one that really knows it's the U.S. Open is me. If I can stay really in the present and concentrate and just keep playing smart, then my ball doesn't know.

Q. You obviously have to very much believe in yourself. Is there a part of you that really wants to show that to other people, to become somebody that the public knows, as well?

JASON GORE: Sure. I mean, I'd like to be Freddie or somebody like that, you know, somebody who's well loved. But I really can only be myself, and I feel like I'm a pretty good guy, and I feel like I'm a pretty good player, and that's really all I can do.

Q. Can you tell us where you've been the last year or two?

JASON GORE: I played on the PGA TOUR in 2001 and 2003 and played on the Nationwide the other years, since '98.

Q. Can you summarize your previous U.S. Open experience when you were young, just getting started?

JASON GORE: Well, this is actually not the first time I've led the Open. I was one of the first grouped out in '98 and holed a wedge on the 1st hole at Olympic and I was the first guy to make birdie at a U.S. Open, so this is old hat for me (laughter).

I hit it through the fairway into the crap and then hooked it into the bush, had to take an unplayable, then holed like a 60 yard wedge.

Q. When you say you get the sense that people don't know or believe you belong here but you do, where does that come from and what does that instill in you?

JASON GORE: I don't know if they don't think I belong, but I played on the Nationwide Tour. The Nationwide Tour, I don't think anybody really knows, but it's not that they're a second class player, it's just that there's not enough room on the PGA TOUR for as many good players as there are.

You know, it's a great place, and don't get me wrong, I don't want to be there next week (laughter), but really your golf courses do your talking. That's really all there is. I haven't played well enough to keep my card. I've become a stronger person for that, and maybe that's all just starting to pan out. I felt like something good is going to happen, but you just never know when. It's been a lot of fun.

Q. So what do these two days mean to you?

JASON GORE: It means I get to go out and play Saturday and Sunday. That's really what it is. It means I get to spend two days playing a great golf course, two more days. That's really what I'm trying to think. It's like going out and playing Pebble Beach for me; if I make the cut at AT & T it means I get to play one more day on a great golf course. This is a great venue, and I get to enjoy two more days at the U.S. Open.

Q. You have a young family with you?

JASON GORE: Very young. I have my wife here; we've been married since May of 2003. And we have an eight month old son Jackson who's got two ear infections, so it should be quite interesting at night, and my mom is here from Pittsburgh. So yeah, I've got some immediate family here, and it's nice, just try to keep it quiet and simple.

Q. (Inaudible).

JASON GORE: We're just not going to try to do anything different. It's halfway over, and halfway is not very far. We'll just take it one at a time, just try and get some good sleep and hang out.

End of FastScripts.

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