Jason Allred: Triggering the Indomitable Human Spirit

Jason Allred was given a sponsor exemption into last week’s Barracuda Championship, the re-branded Reno/Tahoe Open, and he made the most of it through 54 holes. Playing under Modified Stableford scoring rules, he was T2 with Nick Watney behind eventual winner, Geoff Ogilvy.

He gave a brief but glorious interview to the Golf Channel’s on-course commentator, Jerry Foltz that was the basis for my Sunday post, “Jason Allred: The other side of being upset about golf.” It was largely about Jason’s attitude about playing the game in gratitude and with joy.

It touched a chord with readers. One 65-year-old left a comment that after reading the post Sunday morning, he went out for his birthday round and shot the second best round of his life, a 36-36, 72. He said it was all about enjoying whatever happened. 

But as Allred’s round began to unfold on Sunday morning, it looked like his carriage was going to turn into a pumpkin. It began encouragingly enough with a birdie on the par-5 2nd for 2 points, but then he gave one of them back with a bogey on 4. Tour pros hate bogeying par-5s; Allred bogeyed the 8th and lost another point, back to even on the day. And then gave another one up on the 9th to begin the slide backward.

On the back nine you can sometimes get a “new blood” spurt of good play to get it going again. But instead, his bad play began to snowball with two more bogeys on 10 and 12. Down 3 points on the day, I remember seeing that he had slipped to T20-something.

But then he got to the very short par-5 14th and this time made the expected birdie and went back to just minus 1 on the day…followed by another birdie on 15 to get to plus 1…and a final birdie on 18 to close it out at plus 3 for the day. That earned him a T6 and a top-10 finish exemption into the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro next week, the final regular-season event. The pumpkin turned back into a lovely carriage taking him to the next stop on his late-blossoming career.

So you might expect that you’d get more than a little disappointment out of Allred, but that apparently is not who he is. He is a guy who walks the talk. And here is the talk from his Sunday night interview:

Q.  Great week.  35 points.  Just solid all the way through.  You have a big smile on your face.

“I do.  It’s a bit fresh.  Naturally the competitor in me is a bit disappointed.  I didn’t have my best stuff today [there was that stone-cold shank when the heat was on late in the round].”

“But that said, I really hung in there.  I played my heart out.  I can honestly look back and say that I had a great time.  Certainly gave it my best.”

“Hopefully next time I’ll do a little better.”

Q.  Anything stand out in your mind, a particular part of your game you’re pleased with this week?

“You know, probably that intangible of just giving each shot my best whether it was for bogey or birdie.  Just hanging in there.”

“The first three rounds I drove the ball great so I had a lot of good chances.  Today it was my first time in the final group on Sunday, so a good learning experience.  I really hope I have more chances, and I feel like I’ll be better next time.”

Q.  Final question is:  Is it the format?  Is it the golf course?  Combination of both that you can attribute to the top 10 finish this week?

“Good question.  A lot of it being I’m here on a sponsor exemption thanks to the folks at the Barracuda, I just tried to remember what a gift it was be here in the first place.”

“That’s easier said than done for me.  I love the game and I want to do well so bad.  Just to remember I have nothing to lose.  Just to play a little more free.”

“I think it’s set up well for this format, too, more free and the let‑it‑rip attitude you can have, it goes a long way.”

“So thankfully, yeah, I did all right.”

There clearly there is a lot to be said for Allred’s humble and grateful approach to the game…and surely to life itself.

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