Blue and Gold Illustrated

February 2021

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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34 FEBRUARY 2021 BLUE & GOLD ILLUSTRATED ND SPORTS BY TODD D. BURLAGE F ormer PGA competitor turned Notre Dame as- sistant men's golf coach Scott Gump still feels like a thief when he revisits just how much he has taken from a game that he has loved for nearly 50 years. C o m p e t i t o r t u r n e d teacher, Gump, now 55, is the first to admit he wasn't the most gifted player during his 24 years as a touring professional — even after making more than 150 cuts on the PGA Tour and collecting more than $2.7 million in career earnings. Yet to still hold golf as a primary part of his life and livelihood, the ninth-year Irish coach wouldn't change a thing. "Did I win much or put myself in contention to win much? No, I did not, but I had my mo- ments," recalled Gump, who logged three runner-up finishes on the PGA Tour, including the 1999 Players Championship. "You'd walk right by me on the range and not be one bit impressed with my swing. "Hell, I'm not impressed with my swing. But I had the ability to focus and keep it simple and control my golf ball." Before turning pro, Gump's indel- ible work ethic, steely nerves and pinpoint accuracy made him an honorable mention All-American at the University of Miami and eventu- ally the No. 6-ranked amateur in the United States. And as a pro, Gump won three times on the Tour, the PGA's proving ground circuit. During his 24-year professional career, Gump competed in 10 major championships, finished among the top 25 50 times and earned PGA lifetime member- ship status, a coveted honor achieved through tour longevity and consis- tency. Gump's best finish in a major was a tie for 23rd at the 1998 PGA Championship and his most success- ful PGA Tour season came in 1999, when he recorded four top-10 finishes and posted $954,732 in earnings. How's that for credibility and cre- dentials to grab the attention of his Irish golfers? "I prided myself in being able to play well no matter where I traveled," Gump said. "And I think that is im- portant for my guys to understand." And now, in his ninth season coaching at Notre Dame — the first five under former Irish head coach Jim Kubinski and the last four under current head coach John Handrigan — Gump has helped lift the program to new heights. B e f o r e t h e s t e l l a r 2019-20 Irish season was cut short because of the C O V I D - 1 9 p a n d e m i c , Notre Dame recorded a program-record four tournament wins in only five events and produced two individual cham- p i o n s w i t h f re s h m a n Palmer Jackson (Quail Valley Collegiate) and se- nior John Felitto (Colleton River Collegiate). The quick success last season lifted Notre Dame to No. 5 in the country, its highest ranking in pro- gram history. Wi n s a n d r a n k i n g s are obvious measures of a healthy program, and certainly something to build on, but Gump warned that the confusion, cancellations and downtime during this disjointed offseason have tem- pered his coaching philosophy. "By far my biggest coaching style I will use is one of patience," ex- plained Gump, whose team recently opened its season with two tourna- ments in Florida after not compet- ing together for almost a year since COVID-19 shut down college athlet- ics last March. "When you haven't played much tournament golf, incon- sistency will come up. I don't have a magic wand for that. You've got to play your way through it." During his time at Notre Dame, Gump has learned all about the foot- ball tradition and academic excel- lence. But one university trait that he wasn't aware of upon his arrival in 2012 stands taller than the others. "The family here is the bond, that's where the juice is," said Gump, who with his wife, Christine, have a daughter (Sarah). "When you are part of the family, you are sincerely part of the family. There's a connec- tion for life. "I'm thrilled and fortunate to have ended up here." ✦ A Successful PGA Career Guides Scott Gump At Notre Dame During his 24-year professional career, Gump — the Irish's assistant men's golf coach — competed in 10 major championships, finished among the top 25 50 times and earned PGA lifetime membership status. PHOTO COURTESY NOTRE DAME ATHLETICS Irish Roundup HOCKEY (7-6-1 OVERALL, 5-4-1 BIG TEN) The No. 16 Irish resumed play at home Jan. 9-10 following their three-week holiday break and split two games with Arizona State, winning 5-4 before falling 5-3 … Notre Dame then traveled to No. 1 Minnesota Jan. 15-16 and emerged with 3-2 and 2-1 victories to move into third place in the Big Ten standings. SWIMMING & DIVING Notre Dame returned to action with a home dual meet against Louisville Jan. 9, and the women upset the No. 14-ranked Cardinals 158-141 while the No. 21 men were edged 152-148 by the No. 13 Cards. — Steve Downey

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