Featured Golf News
Moore Excels in Familiar Spot
Ryan Moore felt right at home the past week at TPC Summerlin for the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. After all, he was in his adopted home of Las Vegas and the place where he built a storied amateur career while attending UNLV.
So it wasn't surprising that the 29-year-old native of Puyallup, Wash., excelled. Moore got off to a rousing start with a 10-under 61 and then followed with rounds of 68, 65 and 66 for a one-shot victory in the $4.5 million tournament, earning $810,000. It was his first title since his inaugural win in the 2009 Wyndham Championship.
Much was expected of Moore when he entered the professional ranks in 2005. After all, he forged one of the greatest amateur careers in history, becoming an All-American at UNLV while winning the U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur, U.S. Amateur Public Links (twice) and the NCAA individual championship. He received the Haskins Award - denoting the outstanding collegiate golfer in America - in 2005, the same year he placed 13th at the Masters for low-amateur honors.
He came close to winning his first few years as a touring pro, but then Moore had problems with his surgically repaired wrist that forced him to stop playing in parts of 2008 before the Wyndham win in August 2009 turned around his fortunes.
At the end of 2012, Moore was one of the game's hottest players. He had three top-10 finishes in the four FedEx Cup Playoffs' events, including a T-3 in the season-ending Tour Championship, to end up 11th in the standings.
After signing his scorecard and receiving the winner's hardware from the Justin Timberlake, Moore met with reporters and discussed what it meant to win in his adopted hometown. Here's what he had to say.
MODERATOR: We'd like welcome Ryan Moore to the media center. Maybe some thoughts about your round and winning this tournament and having all your family here for a home event.
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I mean, this has just been an unreal week just having my entire family here, both my side and my wife's entire family. You know, to go out and actually play that well, this is a really important event for me. It's one I've really wanted to - I mean, to win certainly, but even just play well and be in con tension and be in the mix there on the weekend. To come out on top, it's an incredible feeling. The last couple days it was tough. I mean, I was shot for shot with Brendon and he was playing some great golf. I was just able to make a birdie at the right time there at the end and just hold him off.
Q. (Question regarding confidence.)
RYAN MOORE: Oh, it's grown immensely. I just shot 24 under. I guess I set a tournament record and won by one. That just shows right there that there is always somebody right there. I mean, it means a lot. I've been close right quite a few times and had people make some pretty ridiculous putts on me and get up and down from all sorts of places to hold me off. So it was nice to get at other side of it again today and make a birdie when it mattered coming down the stretch and be able to hold him off.
Q. Did it almost feel like match play?
RYAN MOORE: I mean, I wasn't really looking at it that way. I was just focused on my game and what I needed to do. You know, obviously he was playing great and he was hitting the ball really well and he was making putts. I tried not get too wrapped up into what he was doing really the last two days. I just tried to keep my head down and just keep hitting my golf shots and playing the golf course how I wanted to play it and just give myself opportunities. That's what I was able to do there those last four holes. You know, 15, 16, 17, and 18, I gave myself good, reasonable birdie chances. That's all I was trying to do those last few holes, just because I had been rolling my putter so well I knew I just needed a few opportunities.
Q. (Question regarding No. 15.)
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, it's funny, because I hit it for the third time missed the fairway in a row yesterday. Hit it right in the trees like the first day, and then hit left of the bunker two days in a row. Walking off the tee yesterday I told my caddie, I'm going to hit 3 wood tomorrow. I can hit a 3 wood, maybe a 5 wood or hybrid onto the green, but when it came down to it, it was decision time, I was just like, No, I'm going to step up and I'm going to hit driver. I hit driver on this hole all the time. I'm just going to step up and hit my golf shot that I feel like I should. And I stripped one. I hit a nice little controlled cut right down the middle and ended up on the right side of the fairway. I had 235, I believe, to the pin. I hit a lightly thin but pretty darn solid 4 iron in there that landed just on the front third of the green and kind of chased it through. Had a pretty quick maybe 30, 35 footer coming down. I think it was dead-center. Left it about a foot short and was able to make that one.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: It's huge I think for any of us that were involved in the program. Unfortunately the team was gone this week. They're playing a tournament up in Ohio, Muirfield Village. But, yeah, I mean, I think it means a lot to the program and for the program just to have somebody come through it and come back and win this event. It hasn't happened yet, so I'm excited that I'm one that did it.
Q. We talked about it all week, but one the first things you mentioned after you won was that after your first win you had no one there.
RYAN MOORE: Well, I had to take a lot more pictures, that's for sure, after this one. You know, everybody had their phone out, One more, one more. But this was an amazing week. It really was. I mean, sometimes I'll have maybe my parents and one of my brothers out, and even both of my brothers, my older brother's family and his two children. You know, my sister came out this week. Just to have everybody here be involved and be able to all go out to dinner tonight and celebrate. And then on top of it, my wife's entire family that have adopted me pretty well or the last couple years. To have them all out and having a great time, it was a perfect week.
Q. (Question regarding dinner.)
RYAN MOORE: I'm not sure yet. Depends on how many people come. Yeah, I think I will be buying. I didn't get that check yet, but I think it's coming.
Q. You talk about your family. What about all the golf fans in Vegas that followed you for four days. You had a lot people around you today.
RYAN MOORE: There was. I was kind of joking coming in. I don't think there was anybody else watching any other group this afternoon. We had a ton of people out there watching us. There was UNLV cheers and go Rebels all week really. It was great walking up 18. They were all chanting, Go Rebels. Like I said, this week has just been almost too perfect. It's one of those weeks that it all just kind of went my way. I was able to start out great and shoot 10 under the first day, and that kind of put me into position so I could just play solid golf from that point on and still have a really good chance to win; that's what I did.
Q. (Question regarding expectations.)
RYAN MOORE: No, I don't think so. I had some tough stuff happened early in my career with a couple injuries that just kind of derailed me and slowed me down a little bit. But, no I don't think I had unrealistic expectations. I've won golf tournaments all my life at every level I've been at, so to expect to go out and play well and win, I think that's a normal thing in the position I was in.
Of course I would have liked it to come a little sooner and a little bit more often, but I'm a multiple winner on Tour now. I think that's huge for me and my career and moving forward. You know, I'm excited for the off season. Having my baby here in about 25 days, and really excited for next year. It was a great way to go out. Obviously great feelings in the last five, six weeks. three top-10s in a row leading into this with a chance to win the Tour Championship and then to cap it off with a win here, I mean, couldn't finish off my season any better.
Q. Second shot on 16, do you remember what you were thinking about? Were you totally focused on the shot?
RYAN MOORE: No, I mean, my caddie was pretty good there. We had our numbers. It was about 208 to the front and 234 to the pin. He just said a few times, That's the perfect club. Just hit it. And it was. I had a 4 iron, and I knew that was plenty to carry that water. At worst it would just chase through the green kind of where it got to on the back fringe. I just picked a good target and said, Fine, it's time to hit a golf shot. I mean, there was no way around it. Any time you win, you come to some point where you just got to hit a shot and it all rides on that.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: I mean, that was huge. Obviously Brendon was in a little bit of trouble there. I didn't know to what extent. I didn't know if he had a chance and hit it way up the fairway and had to come out. I wasn't really paying attention to that. I just knew that was my chance to make an eagle or a birdie to keep moving forward and to keep putting pressure. So that's pretty high up there. I hit a good shot when I won the playoff at the Wyndham. I stuck it in there about 10 feet on the third playoff hole. That was pretty good one. I would say honestly the one in the FedEx Cup in Indiana at the BMW, just to make a birdie to lock in my chance to get in, those are probably three of my better shots I've ever hit. But this one, because it resulted in winning a golf tournament, it's if not the best, pretty high up there.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: I mean, really all week. Like I said, I made it a point to play this golf course a little more this year. I haven't played it that much in the past. Honestly, I really haven't played that well here. I have had a good round here and there, but haven't really had any great events. Just this whole year I made it a point to play this golf course more and get familiar with it, get comfortable with it. I think I've played it enough. When I'm home just playing around it's not like I'm going out and trying to shoot a tournament score. I'm practicing and hitting shots. So I think Thursday going out there I was focused. I was playing well. All of a sudden it was just like, oh, this golf course, I know where it hit it, where to miss it. I know what the putts are going to do. I got a lot of confidence early in the week and just kind of kept going the rest of it.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: Oh, I lipped out so many putts. I hit the pins four times in week too and none of 'em went in.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: No, no. I mean, coming into this event you know it's going to take definitely into the 20s to have a chance to win. Obviously starting out 10 under that first day I'm like, Well, I'm almost halfway there in one day, so that's nice. But, yeah, it's just been my ball striking has been there. I've just given myself chances. I just rolled in so many good, solid 10 to 15 footers for birdie. They weren't gimmes that I was making all day. They were the kind of putts you feel like you can make them but still got to go hit a really good putt. I was making them dead center. I got a lot of confidence early in the week just the way I was rolling it. Just kind of kept rolling through the whole week.
Q. Boy or girl?
RYAN MOORE: Boy.
Q. When is he due?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, its 31st of this month.
Q. Pretty much special month.
RYAN MOORE: Yes, it will actually, yeah.
Q. (Question about donating money.)
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, that was fun. This year with Shift Four (phonetic), they decided to do a birdies for Shriners. You can go on to their website and sign up. Anybody can do it and donate a dollar or $5 or $1000 for every birdie I make, eagle, and hole in one. We were able to give them a check for $75,000 Friday. I think I cost them a bit more this week. They do it with Scott Piercy as well. They're a great company and great people. To support Shriners like that and this event, it's fun to be a part of it.
Q. (No microphone.)
RYAN MOORE: Yeah. I mean, it changes the dynamic completely. The fact that this is going to be the first or second tournament of the next season, I'm excited for that just because, well, I tend to play good late into the summer and early fall. So the way they're doing the schedule, I think it's great. It allows someone like myself to just kind of just keep rolling and going and playing. Then maybe I can take a few weeks off in January, February and just kind of keep playing more this time of year. I'm excited. I think it's great for the event and the Tour what they're doing. I think you're going to see this event get stronger and stronger over the next two, three years. It's made so much headway in the last three, four years. It's great to see where it could go.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.