Introverted Moore a breath of fresh air for U.S. squad?

By Rex HoggardSeptember 27, 2016, 9:52 pm

CHASKA, Minn. – When Ryan Moore bolted East Lake on Sunday his travel plans were best described as open ended.

“Well, I was going to play Napa,” Moore said of his next planned PGA Tour start in California in two weeks, “but we’ll see.”

Like everyone else, Moore was waiting to find out if he’d gotten the nod from Davis Love III to play this week’s Ryder Cup.

The call came at about 7:30 p.m. (ET) as he loaded his courtesy card.

“Hey, you want to go to Minnesota next week?” Love asked.

Perhaps Phil Mickelson was correct when he suggested a few weeks back that the team, and pairings, were all but set for the U.S. team; but Moore’s play at East Lake – where he dueled Europe’s top player, Rory McIlroy, to a draw for 21 holes – and selection has made the U.S. side alter that script.

“We obviously had a group of guys that we were plugging in and out of the lineups, and that's what Phil was saying when we were finally going to get to go play golf today,” Love said.

Moore is quiet, quirky even, and doesn’t spend much time on Tour mixing with the frat brothers; which isn’t a bad thing but it does create a challenge when it’s time to start partnering up at golf’s most intense team event.

On Tuesday at Hazeltine, Moore played with Brandt Snedeker, Brooks Koepka and J.B. Holmes, although Wednesday’s practice session will likely give a clearer picture of what Love & Co. are thinking regarding pairings.

What did emerge on a cold and windy day outside Minneapolis was something of a myth buster.

Ryder Cup: Articles, photos and videos

Throughout Tuesday’s abbreviated practice round Moore mixed and mingled with ease, trading a laugh with Koepka as the group teed off on the fourth hole, talking strategy with Snedeker at the sixth and generally easing his way into the Ryder Cup experience.

“I met him in the hall last night at 4 [p.m.], and we're just guiding him to where he's supposed to be and what he's supposed to be doing next, breaking him in,” Love said. “Obviously last night in the team room, Ryan Moore and Steve Stricker weren't saying a whole lot. It was mostly Phil. That’s the way it should be, and they will both have their time to speak up.”

But then letting Moore find his place in the U.S. team room may not be as much of a challenge as finding a partner for him.

Love referred to Moore as “Sleepy,” another Tour type went so far as to call the 33-year-old, “boring,” but his match play resume is best described as moxie.

His amateur record in match play events is a testament to whatever gene makes a good head-to-head competitor. In 2004, he won the U.S. Amateur, U.S. Public Links, NCAA Championship and Western Amateur; the single-season Grand Slam of amateur golf.

But that singular focus is born from a fierce independence and an indifference to everything and everyone around him while he’s on the clock. While those traits have served Moore well in a career that includes five Tour titles it’s not exactly a recipe for inclusion in the game’s most exclusive locker room.

“I'm not really sure how to put it. I'm anti-social, maybe,” Moore said. “I don't play golf to be best buddies and hang out and all that kind of stuff. Now, I do enjoy playing golf with people and I'm not a jerk or anything, I don't think. Well, maybe I am, I don't know.”

If all this paints a picture of a self-absorbed loner it should be noted that making a U.S. team, any U.S. team, has been a priority for Moore for years. But each year the selections came and went and he found himself watching the action from his couch.

“I've wanted to be a part of one of these events, was beginning to think it might not happen,” he said.

With so many missed opportunities Moore would be forgiven if he viewed this current cup cycle with a dollop of cynicism. He wasn’t invited to the team bonding dinner at Jack Nicklaus’ home during the Honda Classic, wasn’t on Love’s short list of potential picks until winning the John Deere Classic in August and wasn’t even fitted for a team uniform, which in a twisted way was fine with Moore.

“I’ve been fitted for every team event, I think, for about the last 10 years,” he laughed. “Every single one until this year, I had done the fitting. So I did not do the fitting this year. So apparently I'm not going to do it from now on, ever.”

In recent weeks as the pressure built, Moore seemed uninterested in the selection process and declined Love’s invitation last week to play a practice round at Hazeltine before heading to the Tour Championship. He said he needed rest, not face time with the captain and his potential teammates.

Moore was excited when he got the call from Love on Sunday night, although he did miss the captain’s first attempt to call him, and even though he hasn’t played with a partner since the 2004 Palmer Cup he largely dismissed any concerns as only he can.

“It's different than what we do. But I don't think it will be a crazy adjustment,” he shrugged. “It's different having someone be dependent on you a little bit, especially if you're playing alternate shot, wanting to get up and hit good shots. But the most important thing is that it's a golf shot.”

Moore will be a rookie this week at Hazeltine, a curiosity for a number of reasons, a teammate for the first time in more than a decade and, if Tuesday’s press conference was any indication, a breath of fresh air for Team USA.

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M. Jutanugarn eyeing first win with L.A. Open lead

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:50 am

LOS ANGELES - Moriya Jutanugarn took the lead into the weekend at the Hugel-JTBC L.A. Open in her latest bid to join younger sister Ariya as an LPGA winner.

Moriya Jutanugarn shot a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Friday at Wilshire Country Club to get to 8-under 134 in the LPGA Tour's first event in Los Angeles since 2005. The 23-year-old from Thailand started fast with birdies on the par-5 second, par-4 third and par-3 fourth and added two more on the par-4 11th and par-5 13th.

Ariya Jutanugarn has seven LPGA victories.

Marina Alex was second after a 68.

Full-field scores from the Hugel-JTBC Open

So Yeon Ryu was 6 under after a 69, and fellow South Korean players Inbee Park(71) and Eun-Hee Ji (69). Park was the first-round leader at 66. Lexi Thompsonwas 3 under after a 71.

Top-ranked Shanshan Feng followed her opening 74 with a 67 to get to 1 under.

Ariya Jutanugarn (71) was even par, and Michelle Wie (70) was 1 over. Brooke Henderson, the Canadian star who won last week in Hawaii, had a 79 to miss the cut.

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Johnson, Moore co-lead Valero Texas Open through 36

By Associated PressApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

SAN ANTONIO - Zach Johnson was going nowhere in the Valero Texas Open when it all changed with one putt.

He made an 8-foot par putt on the 13th hole of the opening round to stay at 2 under. He followed with a big drive, a hybrid into 12 feet and an eagle. Johnson was on his way, and he kept right on going Friday to a 7-under 65 and a share of the 36-hole lead with Ryan Moore.

''You just never know. That's the beauty of this game,'' Johnson said. ''I felt like I was hitting some solid shots and wasn't getting rewarded, and you've just got to stay in it. You've got to persevere, grind it out, fight for pars. You just never know.''

Moore had three birdies over his last five holes for a 67 and joined Johnson at 9-under 135.

They had a one-shot lead over Grayson Murray (69) and Andrew Landry (67).

Ben Crane (66), Martin Laird (65) and David Hearn (68) were three shots behind. Billy Horschel and Keegan Bradley shot 71 and were four shots behind at 5-under 139.

Full-field scores from the Valero Texas Open

Valero Texas Open: Articles, photos and videos

Sergio Garcia, who consulted Greg Norman on the design of the AT&T Oaks Course at the TPC San Antonio, had a short stay in his first time at the Texas Open since 2010. Garcia shot an even-par 72, and at one point became so frustrated he threw his driver into the shrubs.

Garcia finished at 2-over 146 and missed the cut.

It was the first time since 2010 that Garcia missed the cut in successive starts. That was the PGA Championship and, 10 weeks later, the Castello Masters in Spain. This time, he missed the cut in the Masters and Texas Open three weeks apart.

Johnson, a two-time winner of the Texas Open, appeared to be headed to a short week until the key par save on the 13th hole, followed by his eagle, par and three straight birdies. He began the second round Friday with five birdies in a six-hole stretch on the back nine, a sixth birdie on the par-4 first hole, and then an eagle on the short par-4 fifth when he holed out from a greenside bunker.

The only sour taste to his second round was a three-putt bogey from about 30 feet on his final hole. Even so, the view was much better than it was Thursday afternoon.

Moore thought he had wasted a good birdie opportunity on the par-5 14th hole when he left his 50-foot eagle putt about 6 feet short. But he made that, and then holed a similar putt from 8 feet for birdie on the next hole and capped his good finish with a 15-foot putt on the 17th.

''That was a huge momentum putt there,'' Moore said of the 14th. ''It was a tough putt from down there with a lot of wind. That green is pretty exposed and ... yeah, really short and committed to that second putt really well and knocked it right in the middle.''

The birdies on the 14th and 15th were important to Moore because he missed a pair of 10-foot birdie tries to start the back nine.

''So it was nice to get those and get going in the right direction on the back,'' he said.

The cut was at 1-over 145, and because 80 players made the cut, there will be a 54-hole cut on Saturday.

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Garcia tosses driver, misses Valero cut

By Will GrayApril 21, 2018, 1:00 am

It wasn't quite to the level of his watery meltdown earlier this month at the Masters, but Sergio Garcia still got frustrated during the second round of the Valero Texas Open - and his driver paid the price.

Garcia had a hand in redesigning the AT&T Oaks Course along with Greg Norman several years ago, but this marked his first return to TPC San Antonio since 2010. After an opening-round 74, Garcia arrived to the tee of the short par-4 fifth hole and decided to get aggressive with driver in hand.

When his shot sailed well left, a heated Garcia chucked the club deep into the bushes that lined the tee box:

It took considerable effort for Garcia to find and retrieve the club amid the branches, and once he did things only got worse. He appeared to shank a chip once he got up to his ball, leading to a bogey on one of the easiest holes on a demanding track.

Garcia closed out his round with four straight pars, and at 2 over he eventually missed the cut by a shot. It marks the first time he has missed consecutive cuts on the PGA Tour since 2003, when he sat out the weekend at the AT&T Byron Nelson, Fort Worth Invitational and Memorial Tournament in successive weeks.

Garcia entered the week ranked No. 10 in the world, and he was the only top-20 player among the 156-man field. He missed the cut at the Masters in defense of his title after carding an octuple-bogey 13 on the 15th hole during the opening round.

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Daly-Allen team grabs Legends of Golf lead on Day 2

By Associated PressApril 20, 2018, 11:14 pm

RIDGEDALE, Mo. - John Daly and Michael Allen took the second-round lead Friday in the cool and breezy Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf.

Daly and Allen shot an 8-under 46 on the Top of the Rock par-3 course with wind gusting to 15 mph and the temperature only in the high-50s at Big Cedar Lodge. They had three birdies on the front nine in alternate-shot play and added five more on the back in better-ball play to get to 13 under.

''Michael and I go back to the South African days in the late 80s and playing that tour,'' Daly said. ''We've been buddies since. He's just fun to play with. We feed off each other pretty good. And if he's not comfortable guinea-pigging on one hole, I'll go first.''

On Thursday, they opened with a 66 on the regulation Buffalo Ridge course. They will rotate to the 13-hole Mountain Top par-3 course on Saturday, and return to Top of the Rock for the final round Sunday.

''I went to high school in Jeff City, so it's cool to have the fans behind us,'' Daly said.

Allen won the PGA Tour Champions team event with David Frost in 2012 and Woody Austin in 2016.

''I'm just here to free up John,'' Allen said. ''It was fun. Luckily, I started making good putts today. We just want to keep the good times rolling.''

Full-field scores from the Bass Pro Shops Legends of Golf

Defending champions Vijay Singh and Carlos Franco were a stroke back along with Bernhard Langer-Tom Lehman and Paul Broadhurst-Kirk Triplett. Singh and Franco had a 7-under 32 in best-ball play at Mountain Top, and Lehman-Langer and Broadhurst-Tripplet each shot 6-under 48 at Top of the Rock.

''Part of the issue here is all the tees are elevated, so you're up high hitting to a green that's down below and the wind is blowing, and there is more time for that wind to affect it,'' Lehman said. ''If you guess wrong on the wind, you can hit a really good shot and kind of look stupid.''

Former UCLA teammates Scott McCarron and Brandt Jobe were two strokes back at 11 under with Steve Flesch and David Toms and the Spanish side of Jose Maria Olazabal and Miguel Angel Jimenez. McCarron-Jobe had a 47, and Jimenez-Olazabal a 48 at Top of the Rock, and Tom Flesch shot 34 at Mountain Top.

First-round leaders Jeff Maggert and Jesper Parnevik had a 52 at Top of the Rock to fall three shots back at 10 under. Madison, Wisconsin, friends Steve Stricker and Jerry Kelly also were 10 under after a 32 at Mountain Top. Jay Haas aced the 131-yard seventh hole at Mountain Top with a gap wedge. Haas and fellow 64-year-old Peter Jacobsen were 8 under after a 32.