Where Are They Now? Listening Post
JASON GORE’S NEW USGA ADVENTURE
JASON GORE AND HIS WIFE, MEGAN, have spent their entire lives in Southern California. The high school sweethearts married, had two kids and many pets, and balanced it all around Gore’s professional golf career.
In July, the Gores embarked on a new adventure. They rented a minivan for a cross-country drive to the East Coast for Gore’s new job with the USGA. It was never planned, but the opportunity for Gore to become the USGA’s senior director of player relations was too exciting to pass up.
There were seven family pets along for the ride — three dogs (two goldendoodles and a bulldog), two fish and two birds. Their children, Jaxon, 14, and Olivia, 11, flew to New Jersey with their grandparents.
The bulldog, Linus, refused to walk from each hotel to the car, so the Gores wheeled him out on a luggage cart. Other than that, the road trip went as smoothly as the decision for Gore — a former FORE magazine coverboy and Hart High and Pepperdine alum — to change careers within the industry.
The 45-year-old Gore now makes a living by listening to and helping the world’s best golfers. He’s in a newly created position in a newly created department, aimed at improving the relationship between the USGA and professional players.
The first few times Gore walked out to the practice range in his new role, there were a lot of laughs. “They gave me hell when I first got out here,” Gore said. “I’m glad they did. They joked that I’ve gone to the dark side, stuff like that. I’d be worried if they didn’t do that. I tell them, ‘Hey dude, I’m here for you. I’m here to help you. I’m on your side. Anything you need.’
“You never want to be the guy where they’re like, ‘Oh no, here he is. What does he … want?’
While at the Greenbrier Classic recently, the PGA Tour implemented its new driver testing program. The USGA has the equipment that is used for the testing, and Gore was on hand to listen and answer questions.
“Jason is a dynamic individual who has a great passion for the USGA and the game of golf and is widely recognized and respected by Tour players and staff, as well as industry influencers,” said John Bodenhamer, the USGA’s senior managing director of championships. “Filling this role has been a strategic priority for the organization for some time, and in Jason we have someone who will bring us player insights and share our position on matters of importance to the game.”
I HAVEN’T SEEN EVERYTHING, BUT I’VE SEEN QUITE A BIT IN 22 YEARS.”
Gore won over a legion of fans when he played in the final pairing of the U.S. Open in 2005. He then won three times on what is now the Korn Ferry Tour, earning an automatic promotion to the PGA Tour, and subsequently won the 84 Lumber classic in 2005. His personality, combined with his career experience — from his days as an amateur and being on winning Walker Cup teams (1997, 1998) and on up the professional ranks — made him a seemingly perfect fit.
“It’s been really good,” Gore said. “Basically, I’m trying to be an avenue between the players and the USGA and be that bridge that someone can talk to if they have any questions with rule changes or anything. A lot of it is about the U.S. Open, about the setup and what they expect the U.S. Open to be. I try to bridge both sides and get the USGA message across.”
He travels much less than he did when he won a career $6.4 million on the PGA Tour. Before the U.S. Open, he’ll travel to almost every tournament early in the week. After the U.S. Open, he’ll go to one or two tournaments a month in addition to office time.
U.S. Open course setup has been a hot topic among players. Always.
“Next year, I’m helping the team set up the U.S. Open, and we want it to be about the players. One basic rule since I’ve been here is that you can’t stop a great player from hitting a great shot unless you do something unnecessary. I want to be that voice to them … I haven’t seen everything, but I’ve seen quite a bit in 22 years.”
The Gores love their new Gladstone, N.J., home, on nearly four acres of land with a 1.5-mile commute to the office. Once he had to wait for five Canada geese to cross the road.
Gore said he still appreciates the SCGA newsletters in his inbox. He misses his golf family at Lakeside GC. They threw him a farewell party, and Justin Timberlake sang happy birthday to him.
“That was really cool,” Gore said. “I miss that place.”
He hasn’t completely retired his clubs and still plays. If he wants to play in a professional tournament, he can. He’ll re-evaluate in five years to see if he wants to play on the Champions Tour.
“My career wasn’t the greatest and it wasn’t the worst,” Gore said. “I’ve been bless-ed. It was fun. In five years, I’ll re-evaluate. I don’t miss it. I’m good. I’m having fun.”