Survival stories: Moore, Garrigus celebratetext sizeSeptember 09, 2012
Helen Ross, PGATOUR.COM
CARMEL, Ind. -- The double fist pump said it all.
Ryan Moore was about to climb the stairs to the scorer's trailer on this cool, breezy Sunday afternoon when someone told him it was official -- he had played his way into the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola. Hence, the brief show of spontaneity from the outwardly reserved 29-year-old.
Interestingly, though, Moore later said what looked like jubilation was also tinged with a large measure of relief.
After all, his spot among the top 30 in the FedExCup standings wasn't assured until he played his last hole in the BMW Championship. The 8-footer Moore made for birdie there propelled him to 28th and guaranteed he'd be playing at East Lake for the second time in his career.
"It was a tough day, and it's definitely in the back of your mind," Moore said.
Moore seemingly had been in control when he tapped in from 18 inches for an eagle on the ninth hole to turn in 32. But he made three bogeys over his next seven holes and needed clutch putts on the last three -- a 9-footer to save par at the 16th hole and a 6-footer for the final bogey at the 17th, as well as the all-important birdie -- to come in under the wire.
"At the beginning of the Playoffs I was well out of it," said Moore, who ranked 64th after the Wyndham Championship. "... But in the end, this was my goal, and I feel good, I achieved it."
And now? Moore has nothing to lose.
"I just barely snuck my way in," he said. "I know those top five guys control their own fate, but I'm going to do what I can to at least make it interesting."
Robert Garrigus, on the other hand, will be making his debut at East Lake after tying for fourth at Crooked Stick on Sunday. He battled back after making a double bogey on the eighth hole when a fan belched -- Garrigus thinks intentionally -- in his backswing to close with four straight birdies on the back.
Garrigus, who drained putts of 60 and 35 feet during that spurt, moved from 31st to 20th in the FedExCup with his sixth top-10 finish of the season.
"After I made double on 8, I'm like, here we go, boys," Garrigus said. "I had to suck it up because I knew I was right on the bubble. I'm like, you know what, I've come too far and too long and worked way too hard to get to the TOUR Championship and play in all the majors next year.
"I'll suck it up on the back side, and it feels good, and I'm pretty happy about that."
For all the joy those two felt, though, others were bitterly disappointed.
Bill Haas becomes the fifth straight FedExCup champion who won't return to the TOUR Championship to defend his title. Haas won the FedExCup last year with a signature shot, his ball partially submerged in the water beside the 17th green.
Moore eagles No. 9
Ryan Moore hits his 236-yard second shot to a foot and would go on to tap in for eagle.
Garrigus birdies No. 13
Robert Garrigus holes a 60-foot birdie putt on the par-3 13th hole.
Haas came to Indiana ranked 28th in the FedExCup and appeared to put himself in solid position with a second-round 64. But he closed with a 78 that included bogeys on four of his last five holes and sent him tumbling down the FedExCup standings to 32nd.
Turns out, a 77 would have enabled Haas, who held off Phil Mickelson and Keegan Bradley in a playoff to win the Northern Trust Open earlier this season, to advance -- and he missed a 6-footer for par on the 72nd hole. When he did, Haas ended up 32nd and John Senden moved back inside the top 30 at No. 29.
"Honestly it seems like the same old story, something I've been doing a lot this year," Haas said. "Under the gun haven't been able to get it done. It's something I've got to address and get better. When there's some pressure and there's a pressure situation I've got to be able to bear down and shoot a good number and not just blow up.
"I seem to do it often. It's frustrating. I've got to take it as ... something to build on. I don't know what else to say."
Kyle Stanley, who won the Waste Management Phoenix Open in February but hadn't had a top-10 since, entered the BMW Championship as the bubble boy, occupying the 30th spot in the FedExCup for the second straight week. Like Haas, he bogeyed the 72nd hole on the way to a 75 and ended up dropping one spot.
"I don't know what I feel right now," Stanley said, making the rounds of interviews with faint hope while he waited for Moore and Vijay Singh to finish. "I've felt pretty stale, I guess, for quite some time now."
Singh, who started the week ranked 49th in the FedExCup, ended up controlling Scott Piercy's Playoffs future, as well as his own.
Piercy, who started the week ranked 29th, finished his round of 68 shortly before 2 p.m. He needed to go low after starting the day projected No. 34 -- and he did, making the turn in 31 -- but a three-putt bogey on the 18th hole appeared to cost him the shot at his first TOUR Championship.
As he spoke with three reporters after the round, Piercy had lamented what he called a "bonehead" move at the 14th hole on Saturday where he moved an out-of-bounds stake and incurred a two-stroke penalty that seemed particularly costly given the situation. He joked about needing the wind to blow and the greens to spike up on Sunday afternoon.
"It's being tired, not being mentally clear, having enough energy to know what's going on," said Piercy, who had played nine of the last 11 weeks. "It sucks because I've played well all year. Sucks that I'm 15th going into the Playoffs and don't get there.
"If I do get there, I'll be ecstatic, but it's enough to push it over the edge for right now."
Turns out, Piercy, who won the RBC Canadian Open, will be headed home to Las Vegas for some R&R before heading to East Lake. When Singh, who had started the day tied for the lead with Phil Mickelson, bogeyed the 14th hole, he fell outside the top 30 and propelled Piercy back into the East Lake picture.
Piercy, watching the proceedings with increasing relief in the player's lounge, held steady at that spot for five more holes as Singh shot 73 and finished eighth.