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February 16 2012

1:05 AM

Gore takes advantage of ‘accident’

Interview: Jason Gore, Andy Walker

Two longtime friends will meet at Riviera after both received an exemption into the Northern Trust Open.

By Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM

PACIFIC PALISADES, Calif. -- Jason Gore was prepared for the question.

And as much as Gore would like to say he had it all planned, the Twitter campaign that contributed to him getting a sponsor's exemption for this week's Northern Trust Open was a "pure accident.

“I wish I could tell you I set the bar and was smart enough to figure all this stuff out,” Gore said. “But that's far from the truth.”

The wheels were set in motion as Gore sat in his hotel room in Honolulu watching an NFL playoff game -- "they come on at like 3 a.m.," he said with a grin -- on the Sunday prior the the Sony Open in Hawaii. A Monday qualifying round loomed large in the Californian's future.

"I got the computer in front of me, and I go, oh, I probably need to sign up for Monday qualifying at Northern Trust, so I did it," Gore said. "I kind of asked (my wife), do you think I should just tweet that I just signed up and say how stoked I'd be to get a sponsor's invite?  And she goes, ‘why not?; So all I was really trying to do was get in Northern Trust's ear.

"I didn't know if it was some 15-year-old girl running the Twitter account for the tournament. ... I was just trying to let somebody know that, hey, I'm thinking about you, and you have no idea how excited I'd be to get a spot and basically how crappy Monday qualifying is."

Turns out, the tweet took on a life of its own. Friends and fans like Eric Magidson and Paul Regali, who played golf at Oregon, began to tweet @NTrustOpen on Gore's behalf -- and encouraged others to do the same. Gore called the support "incredible" but stopped short of more campaigning.

"I didn't go out there and say, hey, everybody vote for me -- a Gore has already lost an election," he said, laughing.   

Several weeks later, Gore got the call he had hoped for from the tournament he considers his major. Even so, the affable Californian, who has one PGA TOUR title under his belt but lost his card four years ago, couldn't resist having a little fun.

"When they called me and said, ‘This is not about the Twitter campaign, this is on your merits,’ and I said, ‘I don't really care to be honest with you,’ and he goes, ‘We'd like to extend you the sponsor's invite to the Northern Trust Open,’ and I said, ‘no, I'm busy,'" Gore recalled.

Gore even went so far as to say he wanted to play in the Nationwide Tour season-opener in Bogota, Colombia this week. “He's like, really? I'm like, "no, absolutely not. I'd be honored to play,'" Gore recalled with a smile.

The SoCal native is staying at home this week and commuting the 30 miles or so each day. He knows it will be hard to focus with so many friends and family in the gallery but it's "back to work time," Gore said, as he plays in his first event of 2012.

"I've had a hard few couple years, had shoulder surgery last year, but yeah, this is my major," Gore said. "This is where I came out to watch golf when I was a kid. I didn't start until I was 12 years old, so I kind of knew what golf was, and I took it pretty serious. I wasn't like a 6-year-old kid that was like, oh, big hill, I want to roll down it. I enjoyed coming out here with my dad, and now that my dad has been gone for 14 years, it brings back good memories of we talked about this shot here and this shot here.

"... It's at probably my favorite golf course to play, and it's just a special week. ... I can't tell you how excited I am to be here."

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