Moore Ready to Make Mark


KAPALUA, Hawaii – Ryan Moore has always been an iconoclast with his train conductor hats, homemade swing and reluctance to pursue traditional endorsement deals.

He’s also ready to rejoin the ranks of best young American players. Remember, he was the best in 2004 when he unfurled one of the greatest amateur seasons in history.

But a wrist injury derailed his professional start.

“I hadn’t been 100 percent healthy until last summer,” he said.

That’s when he won the Wyndham Championship in Greensboro. “When I made the winning putt I thought about the Masters,” he said.

His only appearance at Augusta came in 2005 as the reigning U.S. Amateur champion when he finished 13th. He had to pull out in 2006 because of his nagging wrist issue.

Now that he’s healed, he’s as excited about playing as he’s ever been.

“I practiced more in the offseason than normal,” he revealed.

Not surprisingly, those sessions were not under the watchful eye of a traditional swing guru.

Moore had always worked with his dad, Mike, but time constraints made it difficult for Mike to provide his son with consistent input. So Ryan brought in his former UNLV teammate, Troy Denton. Denton is 27 years old and plays some mini-tours while teaching out of Stevens Park in Dallas.

“We were doing lots of chipping drills,” Moore explained.  “He just wore me out, especially with one-handed, left-hand-only drills.”

Those drills got his left hand leading again, and it translated to the full shots.

“It got me balanced and centered over the ball,” Moore said. “Things clicked, started making sense.”

Those drills also served to strengthen that left wrist.

Denton and Moore began their work at Turning Stone. The results came quickly, with a seventh-place finish in Vegas, eigh-place finish in Scottsdale and a third-place finish at the WGC event in China.

Finally, the ’09 tournaments had ended, but the fun didn’t.

“I didn’t want to stop,” Moore said.  “For the first time I was having fun. I just wanted to keep playing.”

And that’s what he did back home in Scottsdale in December, with the exception of a few days for a visit to New York to see his girlfriend and Seattle to see his parents.

By the way, the iconoclast wants people to know that despite appearances, he’s not wearing sneakers on the golf course.

“They’re golf shoes with full tread souls,” he said.

One of the best amateurs in history at last is poised to leave the sizable professional footprint so many figured he’d make.