AUGUSTA, Ga. — Puyallup’s Ryan Moore certainly wasn’t disappointed with the time slot or the company for today’s start of the 77th Masters golf tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
The Cascade Christian and UNLV graduate has off-handedly shared a few thoughts with eight-time major champion Tom Watson from time-to-time. Moore has never played a round of golf with him — but will for the first two rounds at the Masters.
“That is pretty huge to get to play with a legend like him and get to watch him play around this golf course — a course he knows very well,” Moore said. “It will be fun.”
Moore, Watson and American Kevin Streelman will be the fifth group out on the course today. They tee off at 5:44 a.m. (PDT) today, and 8:40 a.m. on Friday.
Watson, 63, won the Masters in 1977 and 1981 — the second one coming 18 months before Moore was born. Today marks the start of Watson’s 40th Masters appearance.
“Bigger golfers have an influence on you in some way, shape or form, whether it is watching them win a tournament or hearing them talk about golf and how they’ve approached it their whole life,” Moore said.
“You always pick up little things here and there, and he is definitely one of those people that’s easy to learn a lot from.”
Adding more smiles to Moore’s face was the presence of his 6-month-old son, Tucker.
As Moore came off the practice putting green, greeting him under the large oak tree in front of the Augusta National clubhouse was his wife, Nichole, and Tucker.
Tucker came to Augusta with his parents last weekend, but did not come out to the golf course until Tuesday. On Wednesday, he was decked out in a blue golf beret, a blue-and-white checkerboard shirt, green pants — and an accessory that Moore can certainly relate to.
“Man, I love ties,” Moore said with a big smile as Tucker wore a navy-colored tie.
There was golf, too.
Moore played in the Par 3 Tournament and shot even-par 27 — four strokes out of the five-man tie between Ernie Els, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Ted Potter Jr. and Nick Watney.
It was a heck of a nine-hole journey for Moore, starting with his near-ace at the fourth hole. He shot stopped 10 inches from the cup for his lone birdie.
Then things got interesting.
At No. 5, playing partner Ian Woosnam putted Moore’s golf ball, mistakenly, off the fringe. The two golfers shared a laugh.
And at the sixth hole, Moore met former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who is now an Augusta National Golf Club member. Rice greeted all the golfers on the tee box and was introduced to Moore’s son.Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ thenewstribune.com