NEWTOWN SQUARE, Pa. – Ryan Moore is off to St. Andrews.
He had the game to get to the British Open, he just needs to find his passport to start the trip.
Moore finished second, a stroke behind winner Justin Rose, on Sunday in the AT&T National at Aronimink Golf Club to lock up a spot in the British Open.
Moore earned a spot because he was the leading player not already eligible among the top five at the AT&T National. Moore got in over Jeff Overton, who shot 67 to finish third; and Charlie Wi, who shot 69 to finish fourth.
“That’s a bonus,” Moore said. “I try not to think about that stuff or worrying about all the exemptions.”
Rose and Bubba Watson, who did not play this week, qualified through a special money list, that ended Sunday.
Moore has played in only one British Open, and that was played at Carnoustie.
“It’s still golf,” Moore said. “It’s just a little different type of golf.”
Moore hadn’t expected to qualify and could only guess where he kept his passport.
“I think it might be in Phoenix,” he said. “I’m going to have to go try and find it, although I wasn’t planning on going there. But now I think I have to go make a pit stop there on the way home.”
Moore won’t pass up this chance to play a major.
Turning pro in 2005 as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion meant that he had to forfeit his slot in the British Open, played that year at St. Andrews.
“I felt that it was kind of my priority to get on the PGA Tour at that time, and it was hard for me to wait another month and pass up a few good tournaments,” he said.
GOOD POINTS: D.A Points saw the fans stuffed four deep, all around the tee, all down the fairway and all around the green just to catch a glimpse of Tiger Woods.
He knew Tigermania would become a phenomenon on the PGA Tour.
This time, though, was at the U.S. Amateur quarterfinals at Pumpkin Ridge back in 1996. Fourteen years later, they were paired again for the first time on Tour Sunday at Aronimink Golf Club.
Points remembers crowds following Woods like his shadow, all craning their necks just for a peek at the future star.
“I couldn’t get to the tee,” Points said. “I was like, ‘excuse me’ and they wouldn’t let me through. They were like, ‘get away, I’m trying to watch Tiger.’ Obviously, we knew he was pretty good.”
Woods and Points live about 2 1/2 miles away from each in the Orlando, Fla., area but don’t really run into each other.
Points, who shot a 3-over 73 on his final round, got a colorful refresher of what it was like to play with Woods. It seems at times almost all the fans follow Woods from one hole to the next, and the crowd gets so deep, kids on their dad’s shoulders have the only clear view.
Points enjoyed playing in front of the crowd.
“Oddly enough, 2,000 people following you is way better than 12 people following you,” Points said. “If one of the 12 people moves, you see them. With 2,000 people moving, 20 people can move and they all kind of blend in.”
He had a harder time Saturday when he played in front of Woods.
“There’d be times where I’d be on the next tee and he’d be hitting a shot into the green,” Points said. “If you were going to hit, you could theoretically hit while everybody’s clapping and going nuts. They’re not paying attention to us, they’re just waiting for his shot.”
Points said he would have shot the same on Sunday even without Woods by his side.
“I played almost flawless golf for almost eight straight holes and only made one putt,” Points said.
Points plays next in the John Deere Classic, then it’s off to the British Open where he’ll see St. Andrews for the first time.
“They say it’s crazy there. You just can’t see anything,” he said. “You can’t see any of the bunkers and you’ve just kind of got to know where to hit.”
BANNER MISTAKE: Caddies were reminded Sunday not to set the pins on the ground during the final round because of the American flags attached to them for the Fourth of July.
Some habits die hard.
As Tiger Woods was lining up a putt on the fourth hole, a lone voice from the gallery said, “Can you pick the flag up?” The fan didn’t say it loud enough to cause a distraction, just loud enough for Steve Williams to hear him.
Williams was holding the pin from the bottom, the U.S. flag grazing the ground. Realizing what he had done, Williams quickly picked it up and grasped the pin at the top.
WILD ABOUT WOODS: Beer, hot dogs, Tiger’s ball. Tiger Woods, the defending champion, got real close with his fans on the ninth hole when he sent a shot sailing over a white picket fence and into a concession area. Fans held their sodas in one hand and snapped photos in the other while stepping back to make room for him. Woods ended his round by flipping a ball to a little girl, who squealed in delight, then spent several minutes signing autographs.
“This is a huge sports town,” Woods said. “They were loud, boisterous and extremely respectful, and that’s all any tournament would want to have.”
DAD! Justin Rose was the winner at Aronimink. His 16-month-old son, Leo, was the star of the show.
Waiting for his dad to finish the 18th hold, Leo Rose took a break from running around to stop in his tracks and shout “Dad!” and point at the TV when he saw the final putt.
Leo kept running on the green during the trophy presentation and had to be corralled from behind by his Guns N’ Roses T-shirt. He smiled and posed for pictures for laughing photographers.
O’HAIR’s BACK: Sean O’Hair gutted through a back injury to shoot a 1-under 69 Sunday and finish tied for 11th at Aronimink Golf Club.
O’Hair will have an MRI on Tuesday to find out what’s causing him discomfort in his back. He suspects it could be a bulging disc.
O’Hair, a member at Aronimink, will skip next week’s John Deere Classic but is going to St. Andrews for the British Open “no matter what.”
“If you were to tell me I’d get 10th, or somewhere around there, with the way I was feeling Wednesday, I’d probably be happy with it,” he said. “I’d like to have played better on my home course and I think I had the capability of doing that. The putter just wasn’t cooperating.”
CHIP SHOTS: Justin Rose’s win by the numbers: It’s the 11th win this season by a player in his 20s, compared to only seven in 2009. … It’s the 14th this season by an international player (12 players), and the eight in the last 10 events. … Jeff Overton (third) was the only player in the field to post all four rounds in the 60s this week (68-68-69-67).