Jason Gore hired by PGA Tour to be ‘player advocate,’ report directly to Commissioner
The Prince of Pinehurst is headed to Ponte Vedra Beach.
Veteran PGA Tour pro Jason Gore, 48, was named PGA Tour senior vice president, player advisor to the Commissioner in a move that was announced Friday. According to the announcement, “Gore will serve as a player advocate who will continue to strengthen the relationship between the Tour and its membership.”
“We are thrilled to welcome the Gores back to the Tour and know Jason’s work will have a profound impact on our efforts to continually serve our players and elevate our organization,” Commissioner Monahan said in a memo. “The addition of his perspective and experience in conjunction with our team’s existing knowledge will contribute greatly to this next chapter of the Tour’s success.”
Gore, who won on both the PGA Tour and Korn Ferry Tour during a two-decade playing career, has spent the last three years in a similar role with the USGA as managing director, player relations, a role that was created to open the lines of communication between players and the association. He has been credited by everyone from Phil Mickelson to Rory McIlroy with improving the tenuous relationship that existed between the blue coats and tour pros.
“I think about how contentious the relationship was between the players and the USGA, so much so that in 2013 there was massive talk of a player boycott at Merion, right?” McIlroy said after posting a second straight 68 at the BMW Championship. “It’s done a complete 180. It’s probably, I would say, if you polled players, I would say it’s probably one of the top two majors now in terms of how the players are treated and the feedback that they can give and Jason has been a massive part to do with that. And the team that sort of worked with Jason, too.”
McIlroy was asked if the PGA Tour needed the voice of a former player in the Tour’s upper management.
“I think so. We’re not looking for former players to run this. The players are players and management are management and they’re executives and they’re trained to run businesses and run – that’s not what we do,” he said. “I think Jason coming back into the fold, especially with everything that’s happening in the world of golf right now, I think it’s a really – I’m surprised the USGA let him go because he is so good, but it’s a great addition to the Tour.”
Gore’s seven wins on the Korn Ferry Tour are the most in that circuit’s history. That includes three wins in 2005, the same year he won the PGA Tour’s 84 Lumber Classic and played in the final group of the U.S. Open at Pinehurst Resort, where he was dubbed the Prince of Pinehurst. He also was a member of Pepperdine’s NCAA title team in 1997 and represented the United States in that year’s Walker Cup.
According to the announcement, Gore will report directly to the Commissioner, and spend his early days in his new role assisting the Commissioner and the Tour’s senior leadership in developing long-range, player-focused strategies that align with the unique needs of the Tour’s players. Monahan called the move “an important part of our evolution in further integrating our players into the business of the Tour.”
USGA chief executive Mike Whan called Gore “everything you hope for in a teammate – knowledgeable, helpful, dedicated and fun to be around.”
McIlroy noted that the Tour’s business needs will take Gore some getting up to speed.
“I’ve only been on the board for a year, but I mean, all the executive team came to my house and spent four or five hours with me just sort of bringing me through the entire Tour business and sort of trying to help me understand how everything works,” McIlroy said. “So it’s been a massive education for me this year, and I’m still trying to get my head around all of it.”
McIlroy added: “Jason can take ideas from players and maybe articulate them better to Jay and his executive team and the board and everything else. Again, he’s a player advocate. He wants to do everything as well as possible to make the players as happy as possible, and it’s a good addition.”
Original article by Adam Schupak on GolfWeek