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Men’s Golf: Gump returns to green as assistant

Joseph Monardo | Monday, August 27, 2012

The Irish recently lost one of their top golfers to a professional career, as Max Scodro graduated in May. But this season they bring in a professional golf veteran in Scott Gump.

Gump won’t be able to suit up and take to the links for the Irish, but he will do just about everything else as the new assistant coach.

Gump replaces former Irish golfer and assistant coach Steve Colnitis, who resigned this summer after seven years at the post. A former All-American at Brevard Community College before transferring to Miami, Gump brings with him 18 years of experience from the PGA and Web.com Tours. After earning his PGA Tour card in 1991, Gump accumulated $2.7 million in career winnings, made more than 150 cuts in 329 starts and competed at the Masters twice during his 10 major championship appearances.

“Anytime you can bring in someone with that depth, not only experience but the depth of experience at the highest level of golf [it is a good thing],” Irish coach Jim Kubinski said.

“To spend so many years out there and see what it’s like week in, week out, competing against the best players, I think that brings something to our program that, quite honestly, I don’t know that any other college program really has at this point.”Gump comes to Notre Dame following a three-year stint as a coach and instructor at the Gary Gilchrest Golf Academy in Howie-in-the-Hills, Fla. Now several years removed from his professional career, Gump has fond memories of his playing days.

“For me, I guess it was joy at having an opportunity to play a game for a living first, and then to actually survive and thrive in the competitive world for so many years,” he said.

“To play pro golf for over 20 years at different levels, I am proud of that,” Gump said. “I was never the smartest, fastest, strongest, but I found other ways to compete.”During his time playing against the world’s best golfers, Gump said he had to focus on continuously improving his game.

“Always learning, that was one of my keys,” he said. “I knew I had strengths and I had weaknesses, and I was always striving to figure out a way because I just loved being in the heat of battle so much that I wanted to be a part of it.”

By joining the Irish staff, Gump takes on some of the responsibility for developing a team with plenty of new faces in the mix. Having lost three seniors to graduation last year, the Irish are now in the process of determining their starting lineup.

Regardless of which players represent the starting squad for the Irish, Gump said he has lessons for the entire team.

“When you play with players like Ernie Els and Tiger Woods and Phil [Mickelson], you see how good of golf swings [they had] and how they did things,” he said. “I knew I couldn’t be those guys but I had to be the best that I could be. That is where it ties in for me being a college golf coach, is having these players realize, ‘be the best you can be.’

“Also, really to show these guys that they are not alone. Just about anything you can think of, other than a Ryder Cup and a Walker Cup, I have experienced. Anywhere from leading a major championship for a little while to winning some tournaments to playing poorly – to missing nine cuts in a row at one point. It’s not all a bed of roses, but if you can learn from it and move on, that is always key.”

Kubinski said he is confident Gump’s experience will pay dividends for the Irish golfers, specifically in learning how to maintain composure, how to practice and prepare for tournaments and how to block out distractions.

“Just from almost every possible angle you can look at, [Gump] is going to bring something to the table,” Kubinski said.
With the season-opening Tar Heel Intercollegiate scheduled for Sept. 15, Gump said he looks forward to helping the Irish athletes succeed.

“I will be there to support them and push them when needed and help them out when needed, things like that, hopefully I can have them climb that ladder of success that much quicker,” he said. “No free lunch – you have to go through the hard work and the hard knocks – but if I can speed them along a little bit, that will be fantastic.”

Contact Joseph Monardo at jmonardo@nd.edu.