Moore welcomes nation’s best junior golfers

Staff writerJuly 2, 2013 

Puyallup’s Ryan Moore has to be careful in deciding what golf-related products to attach his name to.

But allowing an American Junior Golf Association tournament in his home state of Washington to be named after him – that was as easy a choice as he could make.

A field of 96 junior golfers – boys and girls from ages 12 to 18 – will tee it up Tuesday for the inaugural 54-hole AJGA Ryan Moore Junior Championship at the RMG Club at Oakbrook in Lakewood.

“Something (AJGA officials) do so well – every tournament is run top-notch. They do it right, and make sure every kid has a great experience, and a great week,” Moore said. “For me, it was a no-brainer to get involved with them, and get an event like this back up here.”

What the Georgia-based AJGA surely provides – high-level competition and national exposure – is a big reason why Moore, 30, is able to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle from his performances on the PGA Tour.

When Moore began winning local tournaments as a teenager, his family began looking at traveling to AJGA tournaments to give him more opportunities.

Before his junior year in golf for Puyallup High School, in the summer of 1999, Moore traveled to his first national event – the AJGA Las Vegas Founders’ Legacy.

“It had such a big impact on me,” Moore said. “It was in Las Vegas. Honestly, it was probably a large part of why I went to UNLV with it being a national event, and how I enjoyed the city and the tournament.”

Later that summer, he played in his second national event at the AJGA Boise Junior Classic. He won, and that really began a burgeoning junior career in which he captured three AJGA tournament titles and was twice named a Rolex All-American.

“To that point, I was a complete outsider,” Moore said. “That probably … had the largest impact on my junior, amateur and collegiate career because I played so well, and won that tournament right away.”

The AJGA last visited Washington in 2010. Since then, junior golf’s largest association and Moore had been in informal discussions about bringing a tournament back.

Late last year, AJGA officials contacted Moore not only about hosting a tournament, but having it named after him.

Other PGA Tour golfers host AJGA tournaments all over the country, and have events named after them. They include Hunter Mahan (Under Armour/Hunter Mahan Championship), Brandt Snedeker (Bridgestone Golf/Brandt Snedeker Music City Junior), David Toms (David Toms Foundation Shreveport Junior), Davis Love III (David Love III Junior Open), Scott Stallings (Under Armour/Scott Stallings Championship), Jeff Overton (Under Armour/Jeff Overton Championship), Bob Estes (Aaron’s/Bob Estes Abilene Junior), Brian Harman (Brian Harman Junior Championship) and Steve Marino (Under Armour/Steve Marino Championship).

Moore flew home this week to really be involved in his tournament, too. He spent a half-hour Monday night in a question-and-answer session with junior golfers and their parents inside the RMG Club at Oakbrook clubhouse.

And Tuesday afternoon, Moore will host an hour-long junior clinic at the course’s driving range.

“I want them to ask me anything they’d ever want to ask,” Moore said. “I want to make it as interactive as possible, and fun.”

Todd Milles: 253-597-8442 todd.milles@ @ManyHatsMilles

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