Puyallup’s Ryan Moore lost the Tour Championship in dramatic fashion Sunday — in a four-hole, sudden-death playoff to Northern Ireland superstar Rory McIlroy at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta, Georgia.
But he won something greater — the final spot on the U.S. Ryder Cup squad.
Just hours after suffering a disappointing loss, Moore got the news from U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III that he was being added as the 12th man to the squad.
The prestigious biennial Ryder Cup, which pits the best U.S. golfers against the top Europeans in match-play competition. starts Friday at Hazeltine Golf Club in Chaska, Minnesota.
Love contacted Moore on Sunday night. just before he took off on a charter flight back home to Las Vegas.
“I am excited to be selected for the team,” Moore said via text message from the airplane.
“It’s an honor, and one I am pumped up for. I cannot wait to head to Minnesota next week and try to bring home the (Ryder) Cup.”
Considered a longshot to be one of the captain’s picks when the FedEx Cup playoffs started, Moore surged into serious consideration with an unmatched hot streak among American players.
He tied for seventh at The Barclays Championship — the first FedEx playoff event. And the next week, he followed it up with a tied-for-eighth showing at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Moore had been playing so well, Love invited him to attend a pre-Ryder Cup showcase event last week — which the Cascade Christian graduate declined because of prior family commitments.
“I wasn’t thinking about the Ryder Cup (all week),” Moore said. “I was just thinking about the one thing I could do today, and that was win a golf tournament.”
Tied at 12-under with McIlroy and Kevin Chappell — another U.S. Ryder Cup hopeful — Moore had a chance to win The Tour Championship outright in regulation with an 8-foot birdie putt on the finishing hole. But it caught the right lip and spun out.
He tapped in for his par and a bogey-free 6-under 64 – his lowest round ever at East Lake Golf Club.
Perhaps the putt that did seal up Moore’s spot on the U.S. squad came on the first extra hole.
With McIlroy facing a 5-foot eagle putt to win the tournament, Moore faced another 8-footer for birdie. He made it; McIlroy missed. So did Chappell, who was eliminated from the playoff.
For the next three holes, Moore and McIlroy squared off in what felt like high-stakes match play.
McIroy rolled in a 7-footer to match Moore’s par on the third playoff hole.
And Moore did the same thing on the fourth extra hole, draining a 20-footer for par. But right after that, McIlroy won the tournament on his 16-footer for birdie.
“It was just a great battle,” Moore said. “It was a great match.”
For the next couple hours — before Love’s announcement — some of the world’s best golfers, notably Graeme McDowell and Hunter Mahan, voiced their support for Moore to be selected to the U.S. squad.
And he was —and will play in a Ryder Cup for the first time in his career.
He is also just the second golfer from Pierce County to play in a Ryder Cup. Fircrest’s Ken Still played on the U.S. team in the 1969 Ryder Cup at Royal Birkdale Golf Club in England.
“I am so happy for him,” said Still, now 81. “It’s fantastic. Davis made the right choice.”