Bunker Mentality

Twitter helps Jason Gore get exemption

Bunker Mentality

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Jason Gore isn't the biggest name on the golf planet, but he has turned into a social media sensation with the help of thousands of followers on Twitter.

Gore, who became a fan favourite following his Cinderella run at the 2005 USOpen, was in need of some good luck after coming up one shot short of earning his card at Q-School.

With a limited US Tour schedule, he'd have to rely on the kindness of tournament officials to get a sponsor exemption into some of the top-tier events -- like the Northern Trust Open.

The California native apparently really wanted to play in the event at Riviera, going so far as to use his Twitter account to send out this tweet on January 8: "Just signed up for the @ntrustopen qualifier, but you have NO IDEA how stoked I'd be to get a sponsors invitation! #myhometown #mymajor."

It was a bold move. A pro golfer saying he deserved a sponsor exemption into a tournament, via Twitter? It couldn't work, right?

In a move that proved social media is the most powerful tool on earth, fans of Gore started to put a Twitter movement together, bombarding the Northern Trust Open's Twitter account (@NTrustOpen) with tweets in support of Gore getting a sponsor exemption.

Clearly, the tournament was listening -- they first sent out a message out on January 10, confirming there was something in the works -- because by Thursday afternoon, Northern Trust Open confirmed, via Twitter, that Gore was going to be in the field: "NTRS Corp. awards seasoned @PGATOUR pro & local fan fav @JasonGore59 w/ @NTrustOpen Exemption. Congrats, Jason!"

I know sponsor exemptions have always been about handwritten letters and relationships with tournament officials, but if the golf world learned anything this week, it's that social media may very well be the new handwritten letter if you're seeking an exemption.

Based on what Gore accomplished in just one week, you have to wonder who's going to be the next pro to try and "pull a Jason Gore."

By Jonathan Wall

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