Ryan Moore has played some of the best golf on the PGA Tour since the PGA Championship at the end of July, and he concluded the PGA Tour season on Sunday with a close call at the Tour Championship.
That 45-day stretch of top-tier golf was enough to convince U.S. Ryder Cup captain Davis Love III to make Moore his fourth wild-card pick on Sunday night, making the UNLV product the 12th and final member of the Ryder Cup team heading to Hazeltine National in Minnesota. The pick was revealed at halftime of Sunday Night Football amid the backdrop of remembering Arnold Palmer, who passed away in Pittsburgh on Sunday afternoon at the age of 87.
After finishing tied for 70th place at the PGA Championship, Moore made seven starts, winning the John Deere Classic, and finishing tied for 7th at The Barclays and tied for eighth place at the Deutsche Bank Championship.
Moore delivered on Sunday at East Lake in the Tour Championship, as well, finishing regulation tied with McIlroy and Kevin Chappell at 12-under 268. The five-time PGA Tour winner kept up with McIlroy for four holes in what seemed somewhat like a Ryder Cup preview. That playoff battle may well have locked up Moore’s spot on the Ryder Cup team.
Love named Moore to the team with a final pick, which was stretched out to await the end of the PGA Tour season after Billy Horschel won the BMW Championship, Tour Championship and FedEx Cup in 2014 after captain Tom Watson named his three wild-card selections.
Going into the week, it seemed Bubba Watson, Justin Thomas and Daniel Berger were in the spotlight for the pick. All three appeared at Hazeltine on Monday in a voluntary, informal practice at the Ryder Cup host site. The thinking was that Watson may have been in the driver’s seat for the slot, ranked seventh in the world and winding up just on the outside of an automatic spot on the team. Moore’s play, particularly on Sunday, however, compelled Love to pick him instead.