With only two more events left in the FedEx Cup Playoffs, it's fair to expect that the audience's eyes will gravitate towards the big guns -- Tiger, Phil, Adam Scott -- one last time before the season draws to a close. But for golfers still trying to shave those last few strokes off their game before season's end, they'd be better off casting their eyes toward a different pro: Ryan Moore.
Moore's swing may not be as pretty as, say, Adam Scott's, or as fluid as Ernie Els', but therein lies its genius: It doesn't need to be. All his quirks, some of which are common among average golfers at your local club, never hinder his ability to square the club at impact.
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Moore's swing is entirely homegrown. By conventional standards, his stance is too open and probably too wide. His grip is too strong. His hands hang too low. His clubhead is too outside on the way back, too steep at the top, and his downswing is a frantic (and much-needed) race to neutralize all these moves.
Yet with those ingredients, what results is a player with two PGA Tour wins before the age of 30, four top-15s in majors, and one of the finest amateur careers in the modern era.
According to Trent Wearner, a Golf Digest Best Young Teacher, Moore is the perfect example of a guy who deviates far from textbook norms in acceptable ways.
His grip is perhaps the best example. For most amateurs, the problem with their grip is that it's too weak. While a too-strong grip forces Moore -- and the others who employ them -- to swing from in-to-out to create space, golfers with weak grips have to throw it over-the-top to make room, which usually results in a power-draining slice.
"Having a grip that's too strong is like having a car that goes 80 miles an hour that you want to go 60. You know you can always dial it back if you want to," Wearner said. "A grip that's too weak is like having a car that's stuck in 40. Not only do you have to figure out why it's stuck at the same speed, you also have to make it go faster."
Another example is Moore's stance. It's open, which means his feet point left to his clubface's target rather than parallel to it. When golfers have a stance too closed they are usually coached back to center, Wearner said, because it's hard for them to release their body and keep their hands from swinging too far out -- all nasty hook moves. A player with a stance too open, like Ryan Moore or Ben Hogan, isn't always a major issue, because he'll still have more than enough room for his arms and body to swing uninterrupted.
That's essentially why Ryan Moore, with all his swing's imperfections, can win on the PGA Tour -- because not all swing kinks are created equal. Some things, like a weak grip or coming over-the-top, are things that most coaches usually address immediately. Others, like a stance that's slightly too wide, probably aren't worth losing sleep over.
"A guy like Ryan Moore is a good reminder for me as a coach," Wearner said. "Coaching should kind of come down to cranking on some things early on, and after that, just helping players figure out stuff out on their own."