March 5, 2010–The Las Vegas Golf Region is home to more than 50 Las Vegas golf courses, and there are no less than 30 PGA Tour, LPGA Tour, Champions Tour, and Nationwide Tour golfers who have strong ties to those Las Vegas golf layouts. And in the recent Sports Illustrated Golf Plus, two of those Las Vegas golfers, Rickie Fowler and Ryan Moore, were featured prominently, giving Las Vegas golf representation on about 33 percent of the 28-page section, including Fowler on the cover.–By Brian Hurlburt.
"This kid is for real," was the tagline adorning the cover next to a full-page photo of Fowler, who moved to Las Vegas in the fall of 2010. Fowler is labeled as one of the best young golfers in the world–he turned 21 in December–and has captured the interest of the golf world both for his style and ability. Fowler is a former motocross rider who now endorses Puma, wearing loud colors and a baseball hat over his ears with locks of hair flowing out, similar to how the motocross stars of the day wear caps. Fowler was featured on the cover, in an ad for Titleist, and in a two-page breakdown of his swing.
Mike Perpich, a GOLF Magazine Top 100 pro, used words such as impeccable, perfect, and right-on-the-mark in the article which was entitled "Four keys to a super swing." Among the more interesting notes about the swing was the following: "His setup and posture are impeccable, but his hands are positioned unusually low, probably the result of using clubs that were too long at an early age." Fowler, who plays and practices at TPC Las Vegas when in town, finished as the runner-up at the recent Waste Management Phoenix Open to fellow Oklahoma State golfer Hunter Mahan. TPC Las Vegas is known as the home of pro golf in Las Vegas because of the many tour players from Las Vegas who play and practice at the Las Vegas golf course.
"We have some great young players, which I think is critical to the long-term success of the game," says none other than Phil Mickelson in the article about Fowler and his fellow youngsters. "Rory McIlroy is one of best players I've seen at such a young age, along with Ryo Ishikawa. And Rickie Fowler is just as exciting. The level these guys play at is mind-boggling. I couldn't imagine hitting it as long and straight as then do and having impeccable short games at such a young age." Mickelson himself has some ties to Las Vegas golf courses because he works on his swing with Las Vegas resident Butch Harmon, who operates the Butch Harmon School of Golf at Las Vegas golf course Rio Secco Golf Club.
There was also a large feature article called "Being Ryan Moore" in the pages of the Golf Plus section dated March 8, 2010. Moore was a 4-time All-American at UNLV, and in 2004 he earned the NCAA individual title in addition to winning the U.S. Amateur and the U.S. Publinx in addition to various other high-level amateur tournaments. Many compare his summer of 2004 to the likes of Bobby Jones and Tiger Woods' amateur accomplishments. Moore now splits time between his native state of Washington and new digs in Scottsdale, Arizona.
"Slowed early by a painful wrist injury, the most decorated amateur since Tiger is quietly showing he can play with the big boys, and he's doing it his own way–largely logoless and without handlers or a big-time swing guru," was the intro text to the article which took up four full pages. Moore won last season's Wyndham Championship for his first PGA Tour victory, and has been playing very well of late. Part of the credit goes to former UNLV teammate Troy Denton, who now works with Moore on his swing and various drills, but maybe his most important contribution is just being a trusted friend.
"We talk golf, how it works; just how we do with life," Denton told Sports Illustrated writer Stephanie Wei. Moore's brother, Jason also says that Moore is loyal and wanted Denton to help him because he was comfortable with him as a friend first. "Most guys go to big names for their swing methods," Jason tells Wei. "Ryan didn't want to change his game for someone else's swing theory so he could become another clone of theirs. He wanted someone like Troy, who knows his swing, has watched him play forever and won't say you need to swing like Tiger."
Moore has already earned more than $7 million on Tour since turning pro, and with a healthy wrist, the future is bright, just like his former head coach always knew it would be for Moore. "“During Ryan’s Rebels career, he achieved things that no amateur player had ever done before and may never do again,” said Knight last year when Moore won the Wyndham. “After today, he can add PGA Tour Champion next to his name and all of us at UNLV are so proud of that.” Other Rebels playing on the PGA Tour include Chris Riley, Adam Scott, Charley Hoffman, Bill Lunde, Skip Kendall and Chad Campbell.