Ryan Moore’s preference has been to take the week off from PGA Tour play before a major, particularly the Masters Tournament.
But two months ago, the Puyallup golfer tweaked his schedule to include an extra tournament on the Florida swing and last week’s Shell Houston Open in Humble, Texas.
The reason behind that, he said, was more about the “flow” of his schedule, and less about playing a tune-up tournament before the year’s first major. He tied for 57th at the Golf Club of Houston.
“I had never played (before the Masters). It was a little bit of a scheduling decision as much as anything as to how I am trying to make my year flow — being a couple weeks on, and taking a couple weeks off,” Moore said.
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“It wasn’t necessarily a get-ready-for-Augusta week. It was a, ‘Hey-this-tournament-fits-and-makes-sense week.’ ”
With three victories in his past three PGA Tour seasons, Moore has been able to set a favorable schedule that allows for plenty of rest.
The way he divided up his tournament time and rest time has changed this season.
Normally, Moore has been a big fan of the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines in San Diego, but he elected to skip it this year to play more in Florida.
And instead of playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitational — normally a staple on his schedule — he opted to take that week off as the early part of a two-week break. He missed the Valero Texas Open, too, before returning at Houston.
“Taking two weeks off keeps me refreshed and motivated to play every single tournament,” Moore said. “I had tried to do that in the past but did not pull it off. So this year I am sticking to it.”
One of the perks for touring professionals, especially the European Tour players, to play the Shell Houston Open is that its tournament conditions are similar to what the golfers will see at Augusta National Golf Club.
“The turf hitting off in the fairways is very similar to Augusta,” Moore said. “And it is primarily a right-to-left course, so there are some similarities in that regard.”
Moore said he struggled in the third round Saturday with shot-shaping off the tee.
“I’d aim to hit a cut, and I’d hit a little bit of a draw,” Moore said. “Any time you double-cross like that, it is not good.”
Not surprisingly, that has been a big focus with swing instructor Troy Denton the first couple of days on the practice range this week.
But at Augusta National, it is all about making putts. Moore has improved in that area, going from 110th in putting strokes gained in 2013 to 68th this season.
“I’ve made a lot of putts. I still do,” Moore said. “I miss one here and there, but I feel good about my putting. It has been solid.”