In a development that proved the power of social media, Jason Gore was awarded a sponsor exemption to the Northern Trust Open after his fans bombarded the event's Twitter feed with messages of support.
Gore, a fan favorite since his Cinderella run at the 2005 U.S. Open, can thank his nearly 9,000 followers for his tee time at the Northern Trust Open, which will be held Feb. 16-19 at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles.
Gore grew up in the L.A. suburb of Valencia and helped Pepperdine to the 1997 NCAA Championship. Pepperdine is located less than 15 miles from Riviera.
He missed his PGA Tour card by one stroke at the recent Q-School, but has past-champion status thanks to his victory at the 2005 84 Lumber Classic.
The campaign for Gore’s exemption started Jan. 8 when he tweeted, "Just signed up for the @ntrustopen qualifier, but you have NO IDEA how stoked I'd be to get a sponsors invitation! #myhometown #mymajor."
One of Gore's Twitter followers, @GhostOfHogan, responded to Gore's tweet by writing, "ok followers let's see if we can help get Jason a sponsors invite. Tweet NTrustOpen that u want Gore in the field!!"
Gore's supporters soon bombarded the Northern Trust Open's Twitter feed (@NTrustOpen) on Gore's behalf, leading the tournament to tweet Jan. 10, "Hey @JasonGore59 fans...we do hear you! Exemptions decisions are coming soon. Stay tuned... ."
The exemption was announced two days later with a tweet that read, "NTRS Corp. awards seasoned @PGATOUR pro & local fan fav @JasonGore59 w/ @NTrustOpen Exemption. Congrats, Jason!"
Gore Monday qualified for last year's Northern Trust Open. He has appeared in the event six times, with a best finish of T-14 in 2008.
Jerry West, the tournament’s executive director, said in a statement, "Jason’s record and his strong local ties to Southern California put him on Northern Trust Corporation's short list for a sponsor's exemption since last year. We are all pleased to see that his many fans on Twitter agreed that he is deserving of this exemption. We look forward to seeing all of Jason’s fans, which we are dubbing Gore’s Gallery, at the tournament next month at Riviera."
Gore responded by tweeting, "THANK YOU EVERYONE!!!!!! Absolutely AMAZING!!!!!" and "Could not have done it without you all!!!!!"
Gore's exemption proved the power of the people, or should we say Twee-ple.
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