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June 17, 2005

Jason Gore


RAND JERRIS: It's a pleasure to welcome Jason Gore to the interview area. Jason had a round of 3 under par 67 this afternoon and stands at 2 under par, 138 for the championship.

Jason, start us off with some general comments about the golf course, your game earlier in the week and did you think you'd find yourself here after two rounds.

JASON GORE: Starting me off with trick questions, already. You know, deep down inside I felt like I actually would be maybe not in this position I felt like I'd be playing well. I've been playing decent for a little bit, and it's tough to imagine you're going to be up there in the U.S. Open. But I feel actually pretty comfortable. I'm surprising myself. I'm just trying to keep it simple and it's just golf, you know. That's what I'm trying to keep it as.

RAND JERRIS: Could you walk us through the birdies and bogeys on your score card, please.

JASON GORE: I started on 10 and drove it in the rough and laid up and hit a pitching wedge in there about 10 feet and made it. And then made an absolute fiasco on 11. I made about a 12 footer for bogey, but welcome to Pinehurst.

12, I hit it down the middle and hit had 45 yards into 12, I believe no, that was 13. Hit sand wedge in there into 12 and made about a 20 footer and then hit a lob wedge into 13 and made about an 8 footer and bogeyed 15 again.

Birdied the par 5, 4th and hit 4 iron into 6 about 15 feet and made it.

Q. So this is old hat for you?

JASON GORE: Did you hear that out there?

Q. I heard that.

JASON GORE: Yeah, that was kind of fun, back in '98 I hold a wedge shot on my first hole at Olympic Club. And was leading the U.S. Open. So this is my second time I've led The Open. So I'm quite comfortable here, now. That was fun.

Q. Is this a little better?

JASON GORE: This is a little better, yeah. It's trying to keep it all in perspective. It should just be a fun weekend. I get to play Pinehurst two more days.

Q. Does your general happy go lucky attitude help in a situation like this? You four bombed that green the other day and walked off laughing?

JASON GORE: What can you do, you know? It's the U.S. Open. Things like that happen, and stuff that doesn't usually happen on the golf course happens in the U.S. Open. Either you can four bomb it or drop four bombs, drop four letter bombs walking off the green. You've got to stay patient. Somebody asked me how you asked me how I 4 putted and I gave you the Seve line, "I missed, I missed, I missed, I made," and that's kind of the way it is.

Q. I read somewhere that you had actually met the first President Bush. I was curious if you can describe that and was there any discussion of the names, the last names involved?

JASON GORE: No, there was no discussion, but

Q. Are you related?

JASON GORE: I am not related, by the way.

Yeah, I met him at the 16th hole at the Southern California Amateur. I was trying to make the Walker Cup team and I had a 1 shot lead, the next thing you know President Bush comes up introducing himself and I have three holes left and of course I made bogey. So that was a little bit of an inopportune time to meet the president. But it happened.

Q. On a day when many golfers did not have such a good day, what do you credit your good day to?

JASON GORE: I was just trying to be patient, you know. You can't get to up and down. We had some crowds following and I made a couple of putts and it was kind of roaring. And I looked over at my caddie and I said, "You know what, this is a lot of fun, isn't it?" But I'm trying to stay even keeled, but this is a heck of a lot of fun. And you're just trying not to I'm not a fist pumper, so that just gets me a little too riled up. But I try to keep an even keel and have a good time.

Q. People will turn on TV tonight and see your name or read the paper and see your name and not give you much chance to win this championship. Give your best argument why you could be in that chair on Sunday night?

JASON GORE: Why not? I know, I'm going to go home and turn on the TV and everybody is going to rip me. And that's fine. That's fine.

Q. Rip you for what?

JASON GORE: For being Jason Gore, just for not being, you know, one of the Big 5 or something like that. A no name Nationwide Tour player leading The Open. But stuff happens. It's the U.S. Open, crazy things happen. And then not saying I'm going to be here on Sunday, but who knows? I feel like I'm playing well. I feel like I'm playing smart. And like I said outside, this tournament is not going to be a putting contest. It's going to be the guy who's level headed, who is not going to be up and down and he's going to happen to make a key putt here and there. And that's really what it is. You just can't do anything really dumb. And I think that plays right into my game.

Q. You did play some junior golf with one of the Big 5 for a while. Back then when you were playing with Tiger, did you expect to be here a little more regularly than you have been, and if so, give us your thoughts on that?

JASON GORE: Yeah, I did. And I kind of had a rough start to my golf career. The day I turned pro I found my dad dead on the floor in our house. So it kind of tends to put a damper on things. But it's taken a little while to get back over that and try and become myself again and not point fingers and blame. I think just right now it's kind of everything is starting to gel together and I feel like I'm becoming a better golfer.

Q. At this point in your career and this biggest competition to date for you, are you calling your shots more than your caddie? How is your caddie playing into your shot selection and your club selection?

JASON GORE: Louis Pullen and I have worked together for a long time. And I have the utmost trust in him. And it's always better to have somebody on your side. I know he's not going to lead me in a bad direction. So he's mostly there to just give me the, you got it. And I really trust him reading greens. And he's very good. I've got a hundred percent trust in him. He's not afraid to say, you know, maybe it's one more club or maybe it's one less. So he's we know each other very well and I think that's key. I think that's very important.

Q. The personality obviously comes through, as you sit there and you show emotion on the course, even though you say you're not a fist pumper, are you confident in your game to the point that you feel personally, and it doesn't matter how you're viewed later or through the weekend, are you confident enough in your game that you know you can do this?

JASON GORE: Absolutely. I feel like I'm a great player. And it may not have been shown in years past, but I really do feel like I'm a very good player. That's all you've really got to think. Even if you're not, you really do have to think you're that good. And that's kind of half the battle.

Q. Not to bring up something tough, but what was your dad's name and did he die of a heart attack.

JASON GORE: His name was Sheldon and, yes, he did.

Q. You're the one that walked in and found him?

JASON GORE: Actually my mom did and I was sleeping in bed and she was actually going to take her to the airport to go to San Antonio for a convention and I was supposed to be going to Boise for my first event, first Nike Tour event. And I just finished Walker Cup, just finished U.S. Amateur, and, you know, kind of happened from there. So I think that's why a couple of years ago when I won Boise it was pretty special to me.

Q. '97?

JASON GORE: Yes, '97.

Q. I'm going way back in the cobwebs of my brain, but did you win Pac 10 individual title your first couple of years, and was Tiger playing at that point, I don't remember?

JASON GORE: No, I got a chance to win it before he got there. I won in '93 and '94, as a freshman and sophomore at Arizona.

Q. Tell me a little bit about earlier this year when you had conditional status on Nationwide you could have sat around and moped a little bit but you went out and played Golden Staters and everybody said look at Jason Gore playing these little events. How important was that for you to do?

JASON GORE: You know, it was very important, just to keep yourself playing. And I wanted to walk up to these tournaments and have them say, "oh, my gosh, there's Jason Gore, the PGA TOUR player." And I think at that point I needed that. I needed to be revered or people being scared of me. And I think that helped my confidence a lot. I didn't win any, but I played well in them and I think I needed that for my self confidence. And it really helped. Those guys are good, another cliche, but I needed that, I needed to keep myself playing and to keep sharp and to work on things that I had to work on.

Q. When you were coming in this week, what was your mindset? Was it to win the tournament, was it to build some momentum so when you got back out on the Nationwide Tour you would have more confidence; what was your thought process coming in?

JASON GORE: It was actually when I was going to get a new stereo for my car and how I was going to keep my wife in clothes. Our car got broken into Sunday night and had everything ransacked. It was in Asheville, North Carolina. We were driving from Knoxville. So, yeah, that was our first day here at the U.S. Open was trying to find my wife something to wear.

Q. Why were you driving from Knoxville?

JASON GORE: Well, I had second stage U.S. Open qualifying in Atlanta. And my friend, James wasn't in Chicago, which last week was the Nationwide event. So he took my car from Atlanta to Knoxville, where this week's event was. So we flew back into Knoxville, and was going to drive over here, and we stopped in Asheville because it was about 1:30 in the morning and my wife went to go get her clothes and there was none.

Q. Took everything?

JASON GORE: Took my stereo, took my computer

Q. Clubs?

JASON GORE: My clubs were actually in my caddie's car, because we were traveling with our eight month old son, and everybody who has children knows how much crap they take. He took them because he was driving from Chicago here. So luckily we had golf shoes and golf clubs, and I had some clothes. But they took all my underwear, those poor guys (laughter.)

Q. So the joke's on them?

JASON GORE: Yeah, he who laughs last, right?

RAND JERRIS: Well, Jason, thanks very much for your time, we wish you continued luck this week.

End of FastScripts.

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