At the recent Valspar Championship held on the Copperhead course at Innisbrook Resort in Florida, Garrett Johnston (Twitter: @JohnstonGarrett) sat down with Puyallup, Wash.-native and five-time PGA Tour winner Ryan Moore.
Favorite memory in Washington State as an amateur?
You guys ask for a favorite memory all the time. I’ve played like hundreds of golf tournaments up there, having grown up there, playing all the events. As far as winning, winning the AJGA State Championship was obviously really huge growing up. It was an important win early in my career as a competitive golfer, so I would say that would be pretty high up there for me.
Best moment in your pro career?
There’s no way to really answer it. We hit so many shots, there’s not one moment that’s been so much bigger than the others. Each win has been unique and amazing. To play on the Ryder Cup was very different than that and an amazing experience in and of itself. Being in the Tour Championship a few times. All those things are great and they’re what you want to do. When you accomplish them you obviously feel good about it.
I have no favorites, there’s not one thing that sticks out to me as my favorite experience or moment.
The first win (at the Wyndham Championship in 2009) was probably one of the hugest moments for me. To finally break through and win after being on Tour for that many years. As far as giving me confidence moving forward, of course you can’t do that without a win. That was a pretty important one.
Any advice for young juniors and amateurs in Washington?
I think I’m a good testament to even make it at all (as a pro), growing up there. I went and found some sun and warmth for college (attending UNLV), but I grew up there and really played most of my golf there, I didn’t really go outside the state a lot until I was 16 and 17 to play a lot of the junior golf events, so I’m a testament that it’s possible growing up in that region and coming out and being able to be a successful PGA Tour player.
As far as advice I’d say you always try to get a little bit better. You don’t have to be a lot better, but as long as you get a little bit better it’s amazing what that can do.
What was the level of competition like in Washington growing up?
It’s obviously smaller than an area like California, Texas, or junior golf in Arizona. But there was great competition. I remember enjoying the events a lot. But you had to play good golf to win tournaments. That’s what matters. But yeah it’s been a very long time.
You’re not yet in the U.S. Open, but if you get in, what do make of Pebble Beach as a venue?
It’s great. I played there once. I thought it was horrendous the time I played there. They were the worst greens I’d ever played on. It was just their treatment of the greens, half dead, half green. So much luck is involved. But that’s one of the most beautiful places in the world and I love the golf course itself so I hope they do a better job with how they prepare it and how they get it ready this time around.
It’s one of those places where you’ve always got your fingers crossed. You just hope they don’t ruin it. They definitely tend to do that every now and again. It’s hard to, around there, but we’ll see.
We’ll see, I’ve got to play good golf to make it in this year. And we’ll see if I’m there. I’ve played a lot of U.S. Opens (10 so far). If I’m there, great; if I’m not, I get to hang out with my kids and that’s not the worst thing in the world.
For us amateurs in the Northwest coming from work to play golf, but only have 10 minutes to prepare for a round, what should we focus on?
I would say loosen up, hit balls, get moving. That’s the most important thing. Get your body moving and your blood flowing, especially if it’s hot or cold. Your body needs to get loose so you have flexibility during your round to hit good golf shots.
Obviously it’s important to get the feel of the greens with a few putts, but you also don’t want to hurt yourself. So stepping on a tee in cooler weather and trying to rip a driver is not really a good recipe for success. So I’d say hit some balls and get moving.