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August 19 2010

9:15 PM

Gore has some local knowledge

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University of North Carolina basketball coach Roy Williams, along with Jacon Gore and race car driver Kevin Harvick.

Jason Gore is staying with a Sedgefield Country Club member this week while he plays in the Wyndham Championship. And not just any member, either.

Gore's host is Kevin Harvick, the current Sprint Cup points leader who won the NASCAR race in Michigan last week. The two played together in Monday's Kevin Harvick Foundation pro-am at Sedgefield – which also featured NASCAR drivers Scott Speed and Denny Hamlin and UNC basketball coach Roy Williams.

Gore and Harvick watched the truck race on TV Wednesday night -- but it looks like Thursday's dinner conversation will be about golf. After all, Gore fired a bogey-free 65 that left him three shots off the lead.

The two met earlier this year. Gore's son Jaxson is a big NASCAR fan and Havrick is his favorite driver. When Gore received a sponsor's exemption into the Shell Houston Open earlier this year, he attended a dinner where Harvick, who drives the Shell car, was among the guests.

"I said to my wife, 'Should I get his autograph for Jaxson?'  (She said,) 'Absolutely,'" Gore said. "I walked over, kind of, a little slowly and not very easily and started talking. 'My son is a huge fan.'"

Turns out, the two had a lot in common. Both are Californians and Harvick, who also has a home in Kernersville, N.C., was holding his first pro-am to benefit his foundation the following Wednesday.

"I said, 'Well, barring any sudden getting into Augusta, I'll be home,'" Gore recalled. "I said, 'Well, if you need any help let me know.'"

Harvick did, and Gore went up to Bakersfield to play in the pro-am. Then he asked Gore if he had ever been to a NASCAR race and invited him to one in Phoenix that weekend.

"'Okay, I'll go,'" Gore remembered, "thinking now I got to get on Southwest. He said, 'I'll send my plane out to pick you and your family up to bring you out to Phoenix and come watch the race and we'll turn around and take you home.'

"Good friend to have."

Gore, who came into the Wyndham Championship ranked 213th in the FedExCup, joked that he has a "mild bro-mance" going on with Harvick. He called Thursday's round his most "complete" of the year that has seen him split time on the PGA TOUR and Nationwide Tour.

"I just want to play well again," said Gore, who won the 2005 84 LUMBER Classic. "I just want to do what I'm supposed to do, be committed to every shot. I am kind of right now in no-man's land. Whatever positive I can get right now I will take -- whether it's going back to the Nationwide Tour or whether it's coming out here and just seeing a couple of putts fall.

"I'm just taking it one shot at a time and we'll just see what happens. I'm not doing very well on the Nationwide Tour but I know out there it can turn around in a heartbeat and it can out here too. I am trying to treat every tournament like it's my last one."

Gore is not alone in that approach at the Wyndham Championship as players battle to get into the PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup -- and improve their position on the money list.

"These are the fun events when you get guys fighting for their lives," Gore said. "Every one of us want a job next year. It's tough. we're all out here battling. It's tough to look in the mirror and say, 'Holy crap -- what have you gotten into?'"

"These are guys who are out there fighting hard and these are probably some of the toughest tournaments to win." – Helen Ross

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