Ryan Moore won the Wyndham Championship, his first victory on the PGA Tour, in a 3-hole playoff on Sunday. There was never a doubt he would come through. No, really. Ryan loves match play and that’s essentially what a playoff is. He’s good at it, too. He’s calm. He’s cool. He thrives on the pressure.
That’s exactly what we saw from the golfer who had one of the most impressive amateur careers in history. He never flinched. Meanwhile, Kevin Stadler looked like he was shaking in his shoes. It took Ryan 5 years for him to reach this winner’s circle, but he did it in fine fashion. He drained a 15-foot birdie putt for the win — it certainly made it all the more satisfying.
He’ll be the first to tell you putting was the key to his success this week. This summer he has repeatedly told me, “It’s what drives confidence and momentum. Even when you’re not striking the ball well, if you make a putt, you move on to the next hole feeling great.”
Ryan is a guy you want to cheer for. He’s different than most players on Tour. This season he decided to play sponsor-free golf. Why would he forgo hundreds of thousands? Well, he just wanted to play golf again. It’s very admirable considering nowadays most pros look like they’ve stepped onto a NASCAR track instead of a golf course. But he’s not against sponsors — he just wants the right fit (which he might have found recently).
And, he enjoys wearing the clothes and playing the clubs he’s comfortable with. He sports Urban Outfitters, H&M and American Apparel and his signature “trucker hat.” PUMA shoes are the only brand name he wears. Fans heckle him for looking like a scrub, but it doesn’t bother him because he’s comfortable in his own skin and that’s what is important at the end of the day.
Don’t expect him to change even with the fat paycheck and first win. Get this — wait for it — Ryan was offered the Wyndham private jet and a police escort and he politely turned them down. He’s celebrating the victory by having a quiet dinner at P.F. Chang’s* with his girlfriend and caddie (who is a friend that he enjoys having around). No, seriously! I mean, how do you turn down a private jet and ride coach? That’s just standard Ryan style.
It’s precisely why we love and root for him.
Now, he has a big week coming up at Liberty National for the first round of the FedEx Cup playoffs. Look for his name near the top of the leaderboard — don’t forget, it’s all about confidence and momentum.
*Update: The three decided to dine at Fleming’s Steak House instead. Ryan felt like a good steak was a more appropriate way to celebrate.
[Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images]