Moore Thinks He Can Compete at Augusta

By Associated PressApril 6, 2005, 4:00 pm
AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Charles Coody walked up the 15th fairway at Augusta National together, three former Masters winners with 10 titles between them.
And there, at Nicklaus' side, was Ryan Moore. Pretty impressive company for a college senior, even one who made the best run in amateur history since the days of Bobby Jones.
'I was thinking, 'I don't quite fit in this picture,'' Moore said after his practice round with the three champions Wednesday. 'Hopefully I'll fit in the picture someday.'
If he keeps playing the way he did last year, that day might come sooner than expected.
The 22-year-old won nine tournaments last year -- the same number as Vijay Singh -- and captured virtually every major amateur title. He won the NCAA title by six strokes, earned his second U.S. Public Links title in three years, and then birdied three of the last four holes to beat Luke List at the U.S. Amateur. He also won the Sahalee Players Championship, and helped the United States keep the team title in the World Amateur.
He's the first ever to win the U.S. Public Links and U.S. Amateur in the same year, and joined Nicklaus as the only players to win the U.S. Amateur, Western Amateur and NCAA title in the same season. Moore also joined Jones, Chick Evans, Jay Sigel and Pearl Sinn as the only players to win two USGA championships in the same year.
'It was a great year. I enjoyed every bit of it,' Moore said. 'But the year is over, and I'm looking forward. I'm trying to focus on this week.'
Moore has played at the Masters before, finishing in a tie for 45th with a 13-over-301 in 2003. But the experience this week is sure to be far different, and not just because he now knows where everything is.
Two years ago, no one besides his family could pick him out as he walked the course. He didn't get quite the same reception as Nicklaus on Wednesday, but there were plenty of fans in the gallery who knew who he was.
'I'm a lot more confident in my game,' he said. 'I'm playing a lot better now. I think there's a better chance. I still have to go play great.'
Moore isn't trying to be cocky when he says this. He was a good player when he was here in 2003, having won his first Public Links title, but golf was more work than fun back then.
Sometime that summer, his attitude changed.
'There was no exact moment when the light bulb went off,' he said. 'I just started enjoying it again. I got a whole new perspective on playing, and it kind of carried me through. Then I started winning.'
And the more he won, the more his confidence grew. He finished 16-under at Sahalee, even though the course was set up using some of the hardest pins from the 1998 PGA Championship. He won the Western Am by holing a 33-foot putt. At the Tucker Intercollegiate, he came back from four down to win by two.
He could have turned pro last summer, leaving college early like so many other promising young golfers do now. But he opted to stay at UNLV for his senior year instead.
'I haven't had second thoughts,' he said. 'My whole theory with golf is being patient, and that's the approach I wanted to take. There was no rush, feeling like my game was going to disappear or anything. My golf game is my golf game, and it's going to be that way ... hopefully just getting better.'
He's already won three individual titles this year, and last month became UNLV's winningest golfer.
'He has some specific goals he's trying to achieve,' said Dwaine McKnight, his coach at UNLV, 'so it's never a matter of looking back.'
One of his goals is to be up there with Nicklaus, Player and Coody -- whether it's this year or a few years from now.
'Why go to a tournament if you don't think you can win?' said Tiger Woods, who was on the leaderboard Saturday morning in 1995, the first year he played, before shooting a 77.
'You have to have that belief,' Woods said. 'I knew if I played my best I should have a chance. Am I going to play my best for four rounds? That's unlikely.'
But Moore is going to try.
'It still has to be an amazing week for anyone to win this,' he said. 'Things have to go your way, you have to hit some great shots and get some breaks. That's what it takes to win a major, as far as I've seen, no matter who wins it.
'You just have to play as good as you possibly can,' he added. 'That's what I'm going to do.'
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  • Spieth, Thomas headline winter break trip to Cabo

    By Grill Room TeamDecember 15, 2017, 1:05 am

    Justin Thomas and Jordan Spieth. Really good at golf. Really good at vacationing.

    With #SB2K18 still months away, Thomas and Spieth headlined a vacation to Cabo San Lucas, and this will shock you but it looks like they had a great time.

    Spring break veteran Smylie Kaufman joined the party, as did Thomas' roommate, Tom Lovelady, who continued his shirtless trend.

    The gang played all the hits, including shoeless golf in baketball jerseys and late nights with Casamigos tequila.

    Image via tom.lovelady on Instagram.

    In conclusion, it's still good to be these guys.

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    Awards season: Handing out the 2017 Rexys

    By Rex HoggardDecember 14, 2017, 7:00 pm

    After careful consideration and an exhaustive review of 2017 we present The Rexys, a wildly incomplete and arbitrary line up following one of the most eventful years in golf.

     There will be omissions – just keep your calls, concerns and even e-mails to yourself. We appreciate your patronage, but not your feedback.

    It’s Not You, It’s Me Award. You know the deal: You can’t be a part of two until you’re a better one; but on this front it’s really just a desire to find a better two.

    It was a tough year for caddies, and not just any caddies. In June, Phil Mickelson split with longtime bagman Jim “Bones” Mackay. Both player and caddie cited the need for “change,” but the move reverberated throughout the game.

    “The fairytale is over,” mused one caddie when told of the high-profile split.

    In the wake of the Lefty/Bones break, Rory McIlroy split with his caddie J.P Fitzgerald, and Jason Day replaced looper/swing coach Colin Swatton on his bag. It all proves yet again that there are only two kinds of caddies, those who have been fired and those who are about to be fired.

    Run for the Rose Cup. Sergio Garcia got the green jacket, a lifetime exemption to the game’s most coveted member-member and a long-awaited major, but Justin Rose took home the slightly less prestigious “Rose Cup.”

    Following a frenzied afternoon at Augusta National in April, Rose lost to Garcia on the first playoff hole, but he won so much more with his honesty and class.

    “You're going to win majors and you're going to lose majors, but you've got to be willing to lose them,” Rose figured following the final round. “You've got to put yourself out there. You've got to hit the top of the leaderboard. There's a lot of pressure out there and if you're not willing to enjoy it, then you're not ready to win these tournaments. I loved it out there.”

    Few have made losing look so dignified and fewer still are as easy to root for.

    Half-Empty Cup. It was the perfect setting, with sweeping views of the Manhattan skyline and the promise of the Tristate masses descending on this fall’s Presidents Cup.

    If only all those rowdy New Yorkers had something to cheer.

    For the sixth time in the last seven matches, the U.S. team rolled to a victory of at least three points. This particular edition was even in danger of ending on Saturday afternoon thanks to a particularly dominant performance by a young American squad led by Steve Stricker.

    Officials spoke of the purity of the competition and the attention the ’17 cup generated, but however you spin the 19-11 rout, this cup is half empty.

    Enigma Award. The actual hardware is simply an oversized question mark and was sent directly to Tiger Woods’ South Florida compound following the most curious of seasons.

    While it’s become customary in recent years to consider the uncertain path that awaits the 14-time major winner, this most recent calendar brought an entirely new collection of questions following fusion surgery on his lower back in April, his arrest for DUI on Memorial Day and, finally, a glimmer of hope born from his tie for ninth at the Hero World Challenge earlier this month.

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    After Further Review Chalice. In April, Lexi Thompson endured a heartbreaking loss at the ANA Inspiration, the byproduct of a surreal ruling that arrived a day late via a viewer e-mail and cost the would-be winner a major championship.

    The entire event was so unsavory that the USGA and R&A made not one but two alterations to the rules and created a “working group” to avoid similar snafus in the future.

    That working group – it turns out the U.S. Ryder Cup team has some sort of copyright on “task force” – initially issued a decision that introduced a “reasonable judgment” and a “naked eye” standard to video reviews, and last week the rule makers kept the changes coming.

    The new protocols on video review will now include an official to monitor tournament broadcasts and ended the practice of allowing fans to call in, or in this case e-mail, possible infractions to officials. The USGA and R&A also eliminated the two-stroke penalty for players who sign incorrect scorecards when the player is unaware of the penalty.

    While all this might be a step in the right direction, it does nothing to change Thompson’s fate. The AFR Chalice won’t change the harsh reality, but at least it will serve as a reminder of how she helped altered the rulemaking landscape.

    Nothing Runs Like a Deere Award. Nothing gets fans fired up like officials turning fields of fescue rough into hay on the eve of a major championship, and the USGA’s decision to do some 11th-hour trimming at Erin Hills in June certainly caught many by surprise.

    Officials said the nip/tuck on four holes was in reaction to a particularly foreboding forecast that never materialized, and the maintenance drew the ire of some players.

    “We have 60 yards from left line to right line,” Rory McIlroy said. “You’ve got 156 of the best players in the world here; if we can’t hit it within that avenue, you might as well pack your bags and go home.”

    The record low scoring at the U.S. Open – winner Brooks Koepka finished with a 16-under total – didn’t help ease the fervor and had some questioning whether the softer side of the USGA has gone a bit too far?

    Getty Images

    Podcast: Daly takes big pride in 'Little John'

    By Golf Channel DigitalDecember 14, 2017, 5:28 pm

    John Daly is a two-time major champion, but the newest trophy in his household belongs to someone else.

    That’s because Daly’s son, 14-year-old Little John “LJ” Daly, rallied to capture an IJGT junior golf event over the weekend. The younger Daly birdied the first extra hole to win a five-person playoff at Harbour Town Golf Links, site of the PGA Tour’s RBC Heritage.

    Daly recently sat down for a Golf Channel podcast to describe what it’s like to cheer for his son and PNC Father-Son Challenge partner, share the unique challenge presented by the upcoming Diamond Resorts Invitational and reflect on some of the notable highs of a career that has now spanned more than 25 years.

    Sneds starts slowly in Masters invite bid

    By Will GrayDecember 14, 2017, 4:22 pm

    Brandt Snedeker flew halfway around the world in search of a Masters invite, but after one round of the Indonesian Masters it appears he'll likely return home empty-handed.

    Snedeker made only two birdies during his opening round in Indonesia, shooting an even-par 72 that left him in a tie for 77th and 10 shots behind leader Justin Rose. This is the final OWGR-rated event of 2017, and as a result it has drawn several notable entrants, including Snedeker, who hope to crack the top 50 in the world rankings by year's end to secure a trip to Augusta National.

    Full-field scores from the Indonesian Masters

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    World No. 55 Dylan Frittelli also struggled, shooting a 4-over 76 in the opening round, while No. 56 Kiradech Aphibarnrat is tied for 14th at 4 under. Yusaku Miyazato, currently 58th in the world, is tied for ninth and five shots behind Rose.

    Should Snedeker and the other hopefuls fail to crack the top 50 by the end of the year, two paths to the Masters remain: win a full-point event on the PGA Tour in early 2018 or be inside the top 50 in the world rankings when the final cutoff is made on March 25.