It is hard not to like and root for Jason Gore, a large man with a gregarious nature who endeared himself to the masses when he threatened to win the U.S. Open in 2005.
Gore, 44, is the quintessential journeyman whose journey recently took a detour away from professional golf and into the insurance business, selling policies for a company in which he is a partner, Kirkland Gore. He enjoys saying that he retired from golf.
So what is he doing tied for second in the RSM Classic, a stroke behind leader Charles Howell III heading into Sunday’s final round?
Enjoying himself, is the short answer. “This is fun,” he said.
Gore played seven PGA Tour events in the 2017-’18 season, missed the cut in five of them and withdrew from the other two. If you’re counting, that equals $0 in earnings. He also played 13 Web.com Tour events and earned only $53,483 while struggling with a chronic back issue that he has corrected with “a little back surgery or procedure.
“I've been playing a bunch of golf, just been doing a lot of client golf,” he said. “It's been fun. Actually realized that I love the game again, that I actually love playing it. Sometimes you get out of here and you just beat yourself up, especially in a year that was bad. I feel better now and, I don't know, it's been kind of fun.”
So in his first PGA Tour start since July and his first professional tournament since a Web.com Tour event in August, he has posted scores of 68, 63 and on Saturday a four-under par 67 on the Seaside Course at Sea Island, Ga.
Gore’s formal introduction to the golf world at large came at the 2005 U.S. Open at Pinehurst, when he shared the 36-hole lead and entered the final round three back and in the final grouping. He eventually finished tied for 49th, but by virtue of his third Web.com Tour victory of the season a few weeks later, earned a battlefield promotion to the PGA Tour. Then he won the 84 Lumber Classic, his only PGA Tour win.
And now, in a hiatus from “retirement” and selling insurance, he suddenly — inexplicably, even — has a chance at winning for a second time.
Whatever he’s selling, insurance or something else altogether, we’re buying.