“Gotta keep laughing to avoid crying”
With everyone on Tour shooting 58’s and 59’s nowadays, it’s hard to definitively pick one round more impressive than the next. In December of 2000, there was a particular round shot thirteen under par for a 59 that I believe trumps everyone before or after (except for maybe Double D’s- that was just insane). Who shot this pink elephant round you ask? Who could have possibly shot a round more impressive than Jim Furyk’s 58 at the 2016 Traveler’s Championship or Shigeki Maruyama’s 58 at Woodmont in Maryland during a U.S. Open qualifier? It was David Gossett at the 2000 PGA Tour Qualifying School. Remember him? What makes this 59 so impressive was it solidified a young, aspiring Tour Player his tour card for the next year and helped him to achieve a seemingly unattainable goal that he had been striving for his entire life up to that point. Ask any PGA Tour player what they would prefer; a 58 to place 5th in a second tier tour event or a 59 in Q-School to actually get on Tour and they will say the latter. It just means more. I once watched David Gossett hit balls on a Las Vegas driving range and recognized he was a truly special golfer. He was hitting shots I couldn’t imagine and I was playing to a plus-5 at the time. He had an astounding amount of talent and in my opinion, rivaled the abilities of a Zach Johnson, Jimmy Walker or Bill Haas. He should still be on Tour with 12 wins and a U.S. Open. Minimum.
David Spencer Gossett was born on April 28, 1979 in Phoenix, Arizona and was introduced to golf by his father. At the ripe age of 10, he competed in his first tournament and was hooked. After a solid junior career, David attended the University of Texas where he was a two-time first-team All American, won the Big 12 Championship and in 1999 was crowned the Big 12 Student-Athlete of the Year. His biggest achievement, however came when he won the 1999 U.S. Amateur at Pebble Beach by drumming Sung Yoon Kim, 9 & 8; the largest margin at the time. Winning the Amateur got him an invite to the next years’ Masters where he easily made the cut. David was clearly ready for the PGA Tour and after shooting that elusive 59 at Tour School the next winter, so began his brief and confusing PGA Tour career.
With confidence riding high in 2000-2001, David joined the Buy.com Tour (precursor to Web.com) and by all accounts, had a great start. After gaining entrance to the PGA Tour’s, John Deere Classic that summer, David promptly won and pocketed a cool half million. He was on top of the golfing world, and everyone from Johnny Miller to Lanny Wadkins touted him as the next “big thing.” With the win, he graduated full-time to the PGA Tour with a 2-year exemption. In 2002, he made the cut in 60% of his starts and had three top 10’s. Pretty solid start. 2003 saw a similar year with 18 of 28 cuts made and another top 10. Acceptable? No doubt. However, the next year was a triple bogey. He made just 2 cuts in 25 starts and had zero top 10’s. Dismal. David was caught in the often downward spiral of trying to become a better player. He felt that finishing 80-100 on the money list was not acceptable and wanted to compete more in the majors. He missed getting to the second stage of qualifying school two years in a row and missed big one time by 10 shots. David did qualify for the 2014 U.S. Open by way of local and sectional qualifying, but missed the cut shooting rounds of 76-72, +8.
David now spends his time on the Adams Tour and plays events around his hometown of Austin, Texas. In 2015, he played in 8 events and made just 4 cuts. His best finish was a T-14 where he made $1,500. He jokes with his wife that “the jet is in the shop,” and likes to keep a generally positive attitude about having lost his game over the years. While these stories tend to reach for a happy ending, you have to respect David Gossett for not quitting. There are plenty of opportunities for a former Tour winner to settle into a comfortable life. Everyone needs a good financial consultant or teaching guru, but David still strives to find the swing I saw in Las Vegas. The swing that won him $2.5 million on the biggest Tour in the world. Keep doing you, David. I think I can speak for every golfer out there that we hope you find your game again.
Until next time…