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June 15, 2015

Ryan Moore


BETH MAJOR: Good afternoon. It is my pleasure to welcome everyone to the 2015 U.S. Open Championship at Chambers Bay. My name is Beth Major, and on behalf of the U.S. Golf Association, it's a pleasure to have you here this week. It is also my pleasure to introduce Ryan Moore, three-time USGA champion, who is from nearby Puyallup. Can you talk a little bit about being in this area, what it means to have the U.S. Open in this area for everyone.

RYAN MOORE: Well, I mean it's huge. It's huge for us players that are from around here. I remember when it was announced not too long ago, and it was incredible to think that it was really going to be a U.S. Open, truly where I grew up, not just in Washington or the Pacific Northwest, but truly -- I grew up, my home was 10 to 12 miles from here, where I lived and grew up. And where I went to high school is 15 miles away from here, so it's so close to home for me have. And it's huge for this area. I think this is a very golf starved area, especially for professional golf. We don't get events up here very often. So it's huge to have an event like this for the rest of the world to get to see how great this area is.

BETH MAJOR: And you said earlier you've played the last few days here and have played a few rounds in the past at Chambers Bay, can you give us some quick impressions on the course.

RYAN MOORE: I've really enjoyed it this last week. I've played it a bunch. I was here the whole week before the tournament just so I could get out there and play the course and just get comfortable with it. I had played it maybe five or six times over the years in the past. But I was kind of waiting until a week before the tournament because I felt like it would start getting firmer, faster, and getting closer to where they were going to have it for the tournament. So I played it a bunch last week. Honestly, I think it's one of those courses, the more you play it, the more you get to enjoy it, the more you get to know it. It's a fun golf course. It's a very challenging, it's very tough. But I feel like it kind of gives you -- it gives you a chance, even when you miss it in certain areas, depending obviously on where they're going to put the pins. There's a lot of swales and slopes, and you actually can get in a little bit of trouble and you can still recover because there might be a slope that will kick it back towards the pin or -- so it's been fun. It's fun kind of seeing that and messing around with that on the course and kind of seeing where to miss it, where not to miss it, all that good stuff. I've really enjoyed the course, and I've actually talked to a lot of people the last few days that have kind of said the same thing, that they weren't sure what to think, they'd heard some negatives about it, and they love it. So it's been great to hear.

Q. Do you think it's going to set up primarily for the bombers simply because of the distance of the course and how important it will be to get as close as you can to the green to get some loft on your approach?
RYAN MOORE: Well, as firm as it is already, I don't think it really matters to have a lofted club into a green, because you're not going to stop it anyways. You can hit a full sand wedge and it's rolling 10 or 15 yards, at least. So I think that's what can be a great equalizer is the type of conditions that we're going to be playing in. It's not necessarily an advantage to get it way down there, it's not easy to get it around the hole even if you have a pitching wedge. You have just as good a chance hitting a 7-iron and bouncing it and rolling it in there. It's more about being at the right angle and giving yourself the right approach to the green, so you can use the swales and use the slopes to your advantage. Where if you get it off line a little bit, those slopes and swales will then be kicking the ball really, really far away from the hole. So, no, I don't think that it sets up for favors too much one way or the other. Also because it's going to be very firm and fast, for a guy like me that doesn't flight the ball that far, I can still roll the ball probably almost 50 yards on these fairways if you hit the right shot and get it out there rolling. I am hitting it much farther down there than I normally do.

Q. How many friends and family members do you have coming out? Is it unusual to have so many at such a local location for you?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I think I'm going to have a pretty good crowd out there. My whole family does live right here, actually all within about five miles of this golf course. So, yeah, I'm going to get a good crowd out there. I've been asking guys for -- if they have extra tickets. I mean, I can use them. There are a lot of people asking. It will be great. It will be great to get that local support, something I've never experienced before. So I almost don't really know what to expect when I get out there.

Q. Is there anything like a home field advantage for the local players at a championship of this caliber?
RYAN MOORE: I don't really think so. I think, you know, you're playing against the best players in the world. These guys are all really good and really good at figuring out golf courses really fast and getting comfortable with them. And like I said, I mean, really up until last week, I had never played the course like we're going to play it. So it's great to be comfortable with tee shots and to have seen the golf course lots of times, but it's a completely different golf course than any time I had played it in the past. So it's almost like you can just kind of throw that all out the window and just kind of relearn what the course is going to be like this week. It certainly doesn't hurt being from around here, being comfortable. It might have been a little bit more of an advantage if it was going to be cold and rainy, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen, which I'm okay with.

Q. You've had, I'm sure, a number of your fellow competitors and others who have never been here ask you questions about this course. What's been the weirdest, funniest, oddest thing you've been hearing about what Chambers Bay is like?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I have been getting a lot of questions, really starting from January I've had people asking me about the course already. Nothing too much out of the ordinary. I had plenty of guys ask me if they could stay in Seattle. I said you can if you really want to, if you want to drive an hour and a half or something like that. So just people not comfortable enough, not familiar, don't know the area. And you see Washington, you just assume or think it might be right next to Seattle. Well, that wasn't the case. But, no, nothing too much out of the ordinary.

Q. Wondering if you've taken a close look at the hole locations or potential hole locations and what do you see from what you can learn from the golf course in relation to where those hole locations might be, how you can play some certain shots?
RYAN MOORE: I've played it a lot last week and I definitely studied the greens and looked at kind of where they might put them. I've seen some of the locations where they put them during the a.m. that kind of gives me an indication of at least the areas they were testing out and I know some of the greens have been redone since then. Some of the spaces, as well, have changed. But it's just so hard to say, honestly. There's a lot of contour, but there's still really six or seven places they could put a pin on each hole. So it's hard to really figure out what they might do with it, depending on whether it's a southwest wind or a north wind, where they might change and put those pins and the tee boxes, for that matter. They can do so much with the tee boxes here and make holes just play completely different day-to-day. So I think for all of us, we're kind of preparing and taking guesses, but until Thursday happens, it's so hard to tell where they might go with it. Obviously, yeah, I'm observing the course, I'm looking at it, hey, for this type of pin or a pin somewhere in this location, I know I want to be on this side of the fairway, I know this slope kicks it down there. Just like you would very much in a British Open, where you study those contours and slopes and where things kind of kick and feed the ball to. But, again, until Thursday rolls around, it's just -- it's a lot of speculation.

Q. You mentioned a lot of family going to be in town, the comforts of being close to home. Is that kind of an extra motivation for you or on the other side could it be a distraction? At the end of the day is it just golf? Any changes to how you approach it?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, it's definitely a balance of both. I mean, it's great. I still own a home here, maybe just seven or eight miles away from the golf course. I mean, it really does feel like I'm at home when I'm here, which is great. It's actually a little bit odd feeling. I was kind of noticing that just really driving in today, it's officially Monday of the U.S. Open and it felt odd, actually. I'm not sure why. But at the same time, I prepared a lot last week on the course, so that I can kind of take it easy this Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, just get out on the course a little bit, make sure I'm up with the conditions and how it's getting firmer. But in the end, it's a golf tournament and you've just got to go out there and play. There's certainly extra motivation, I'd love to play well here, but I also really want to enjoy this week. This could be the one time in my entire life I get to play a tournament in my backyard, where I grew up. So just really trying to enjoy this experience, enjoy this event, being here is kind of a priority to me.

Q. Would you talk about your experiences on fescue greens? Are we going to see a whole lot of missed putts this week?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, just like every tournament, we miss a lot of putts (laughter). We make a lot, too. But honestly, they're definitely not the prettiest greens in the world, but no fescue greens are that pretty. But it actually rolls a lot better than it looks, and I've been really impressed with my rounds of golf. I played nine holes with Charley Hoffman the other day and he kind of assessed the same thing. They don't look -- they look like they're going to bounce a lot, they look like they're going to bounce off line, if you hit a good putt, it goes in. It really rolls true. It breaks how you think it's going to break. And so, you know, mentally it's getting over that a little bit. And again, it's not too dissimilar to what we play in British Open championships, it looks very much like this. So it's just different, it's a different surface, it's a different type of grass. But I found it to roll actually very true. It's the mental side of it sometimes of just -- you feel like it's going to be bumpy, or you try and jam it in there instead of trusting it and hitting your putt. That's what I'm going to try to do all week.

Q. Can you talk a little bit about your approach to Sunday before a U.S. Open, how much work you put in? And secondly, a couple of guys were saying that maybe Mike Davis had kind of scared people to come out early and actually start working really hard even on a Sunday before a U.S. Open. Have you seen that and is that a little bit different here than other U.S. Opens that you're accustomed to?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I think over the years I feel like more and more people are practicing earlier and getting into courses earlier. I did it last year, even with Pinehurst. I went and played a couple different times before. I know the course had changed. It was just one of those things, I just wanted to see it and I wanted to get comfortable with it. And I think it's kind of getting that way more and more. I saw a lot of guys out here very early in the week this week. As I said, I was out here Wednesday and I was not the only person on the golf course. There was quite a few other guys out there playing and practicing. So I think anytime you have a completely new golf course that no one's played, there's definitely going to be guys coming quite a bit earlier. And then obviously with some of Mike Davis' comments about the golf course, about you really are going to need to see this golf course, I'm sure that convinced a few more people that they probably needed to come out, at least over the weekend a little bit early. I always enjoy the weekend before the tournament just because it's quieter, there's no crowds, you kind of can get out there and be by yourself a little bit, soak up the golf course, soak up the facility a little bit more without all the hustle and bustle and all the hectic -- it's crazy on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, with your practice rounds and all the crowds out there. So I've done it definitely over the years where it's nice to get out the weekend before. And I think more and more guys are doing that, where you'll see them practice over the weekend a little more, take it a little more easy on Monday and Tuesday, when it's a little crazier out there, and practice a little bit more Wednesday to kind of get going.

Q. As a player, second as an owner/operator of golf courses in the area, do the bounces and character of the golf course, does it make sense to you? Is it sort of predictable? Or is it so arbitrary that you just have to adjust? The second part is, as an owner/operator of other courses, has Chambers Bay and its design had an impact on what you see with other customers in the market?
RYAN MOORE: As far as the golf course and the way it bounces and the way it plays, it's something -- I actually enjoy it. It's not what we play week in and week out. It's a very different type of golf. Again, it's much more like what we play at a British Open every year. I remember playing at Muirfield a couple of years ago where it got so firm and fast over the weekend, I was hitting sand wedges from 190 yards, because you could always fly it. It would roll 80 yards, even with a sand wedge. If you had any breeze behind you, you just could not stop the golf ball. I remember hitting over the green once, hitting a perfect sand wedge from 190 yards, thinking I don't know what I could do besides that. But that's just the nature of this type of golf. It's a lot more you kind of have to let the golf course dictate what you can do. You can't force your will on the golf course. You kind of have to let the golf course kind of give you what it can. And I've gotten better at that. I've played a lot better in the British Opens in the last few years, just getting good at just kind of picking a spot, hitting it to it and then you kind of have to let it go. You did everything you can, you have to let the golf ball go where the golf course wants to take it. There's certainly a lot of skill involved in it, and mentally it's a little bit tougher because you can't just get up and do what you want to do. You have to kind of really take your time and be more patient and hit it 25, 30 feet away from pins a lot instead of trying to maybe fly one on the front edge of the green and squeeze one back there. It's okay to just be 20, 25 feet short, just because you can't run the risk of ending up off a swale and an impossible chip. And I personally, I like that kind of golf course. You have to think your way through it, and you have to think your way through every golf shot. And I enjoy that. And as far as an owner/operator, no, it hasn't made me rethink or see golf courses really any differently, because I've played a lot of golf courses like this.

Q. This is a local boy, come home story. Talk about your journey, your dream.
RYAN MOORE: Well, my journey through --


Q. From high school.
RYAN MOORE: From high school. Well, this is going to be a while. Do you guys have a couple of hours? It was great. This area, I get asked a lot like why did a handful of us, why do you see so many pros from Washington really make it on to the PGA Tour? You don't think of this as a golf mecca or a place where golfers would thrive. I was fortunate my dad taught me to golf and would take me golfing and practicing a lot and we were in the golf business and he owned a driving range growing up, so I went and hit balls every day all day. But coming from here, what it did for me is it made me a very much smarter, more efficient practicer. I wasn't spoiled with perfect weather every single day. I didn't know it was going to be sunny and nice and perfect. So in February, March, April, if there was a nice day, I got a lot out of it, and then you might not be able to practice for the next four or five days unless you wanted to go play in 40 degrees and rain, which I would do if I needed to or had to, preparing for a tournament. But, yeah, I think it just kind of prepared me, obviously to be a little bit tougher golfer, conditions-wise and playing in a lot of stuff. And when I went and started playing big, national, junior stuff, the courses up here are narrow, there's a lot of trouble. You're hitting it in trees a lot. You would go play another golf courses, these aren't very hard. There's so much space to it, and I'm not hitting it behind trees every single time. So it almost made tournament golf a little bit easier in a way, I feel like, growing up here. And then obviously it got me into college and that got me out here on Tour.

Q. Would it be an overstatement to say that you guys are at the mercy of Mike Davis this weekend?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I guess, I don't know. I'm not really sure. I mean, yeah, the golf course, it's getting really firm and fast. You could definitely put pins in locations where it would be hard to make pars on some holes, honestly, even hitting pretty darned good golf shots. I think he sets up golf courses in a way that he likes to reward good golf shots. I don't think he wants to see guys get punished for hitting good shots. And I've appreciated over the years of him setting up courses, I feel like he gets the course to the condition, to the place where he wants it and then you kind of just can let it go from there. But I think -- yeah, it just depends on how firm and fast it's going to get. But I think they'll keep it reasonable.

Q. Talk about the trains. How much of a distraction are they?
RYAN MOORE: The trains? I don't know. I was practicing out there the other day and a couple of them went by. It actually was a little bit weird, I was hitting a putt, I think I was on the second green, kind of facing that direction, I was hitting the putt and you could see the train going by. It was actually really weird seeing something moving in your peripheral vision. But it could definitely get you, because they don't mind honking their horn or whatever you call it on the train. They definitely do it at least a couple of times going by. You you'll have to be mindful of that, especially if you're on 2 or down there on 16, 17 or 18, 18 tee box. But, I mean, we play with a lot of distractions week in and week out with a lot of people. And we played in Harding Park for the match play this year and you're right along a big road and cars driving by and honking horns. That's just stuff you do, and you deal with it. But I don't think it should be too bad. I think it's actually kind of cool.

Q. You've been coming closer and closer at the majors. Would you be able to put in words kind of the significance, how sweet it would be to get one in your backyard, your first one, here?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, I've thought about it a lot. And it's -- man, this would mean a lot to me. To win any major would be incredible, but to be able to do it potentially where you're born and raised and in front of a local crowd and your family and friends, it would be -- it would be incredible. I don't want to get too much ahead of myself and really start thinking about it too much. There's a lot of golf ahead of me. So I'm just trying to go out there and just play golf and just kind of see what happens. I've played better and better at British Opens the last few times I've played British Opens and this is very much that type of golf tournament. So I think I understand this type of golf a lot better. I've gotten a lot better at this type of golf, but there's still a lot of variables in this type of golf. You've just got to go out there and hit shots and see what the course gives you. And I'm going to try to be patient and go play as good as I can, and hopefully late Sunday afternoon I'm somewhere there in the mix.

BETH MAJOR: We certainly wish you well and look forward to watching this week. Ryan, thanks for joining us today.

RYAN MOORE: Thank you.
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