As the sun began slowly dipping Tuesday, Puyallup’s Ryan Moore’s day was just beginning.
The last man to register for the 116th U.S. Open, at 6:30 p.m., the Puyallup golfer speed walked to the driving range at Oakmont Country Club, laid down a half bucket of golf balls and began warming up.
Twenty minutes later, Moore, caddie J.J. Jakovac, former caddie Kirk Brown and Moore’s older brother, Jeremy, hopped in a cart to the 10th tee where the former UNLV All-American could get in a quick nine holes.
By the time Ryan Moore reached the final few holes at dusk, grounds crew members were setting the practice-round pin placements for Wednesday.
Moore’s life had turned a little crazy in the past couple of months. On May 25 he and his wife, Nichole, welcomed their second son, Sullivan.
“Obviously, golf hasn’t been the priority. But still I am sneaking away and working on stuff, and am here trying to win a golf tournament,” Moore said. “I am not here showing up just to show up.
“I have never showed up on Tuesday afternoon to a major before. There was a reason behind it. I wasn’t doing it because I was lazy and didn’t want to be here. Obviously, spending a little more time at home is important.”
The world’s 51st-ranked player took a month off after missing the cut at the Masters.
He originally had planned to play the Valero Texas Open in San Antonio two weeks after the Masters, but at the last minute decided to skip it and tend to family business.
He had back-to-back missed cuts at the Wells Fargo championship and The Players Championship in May.
In the week before the Memorial — one of his favorite PGA Tour stops — Nichole was ready to give birth.
“(Birth) is a different experience every time, that is for sure,” Moore said. “This guy, he doesn’t sleep very much, so I haven’t slept very much for a while.”
For two days, the couple could not settle on a name. The newborn was referred to as “Baby Moore.”
Finally, they chose Sullivan.
“Or as my son (Tucker) called him — ‘Sully Iron Man,’ ” Moore said.
Five days later, Moore left to play in the Memorial, where he tied for 48th.
“It was … very hard leaving,” Moore said. “But (Nichole) knows and understands. I need to play. It is my job. It is what I do.”
Jakovac arrived at Oakmont on Sunday to scout the layout, and devise a game plan. Moore’s flight from Las Vegas, where he and his family live, landed at 4:30 p.m. local time Tuesday. It was time to go to work.
“It has been a little weird … not playing as much. But I am actually excited. I am feeling good about my game, about my swing — and I am more positive about it than I have been in a while,” Moore said.
“You know, I’ve played a U.S. Open here, played a U.S. Amateur here. So it is a place where I am comfortable. So just having the simplicity of going out and playing was the mindset this year.”