Interview with Ryan Moore as he prepares to defend his CIMB Classic title at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club this week:
RYAN MOORE (RM): Well, for me, obviously I won it last year, so it has a great place in my heart as a tournament that means something to me. I love the trip, and I’ve loved going there every single year. I missed it one year only because my son was born literally the same weekend of the tournament, so I couldn’t play that year, but I’ve played it every other year, and I love going there. Kind of the same thing, I love traveling there. It’s a great experience every time. They treat us so well the whole time we’re there, and we’re so taken care of. It’s fun to go to a new place and be in a different culture. I love the course and everything about it. Honestly, it’s one of my favourite tournaments of the year.
What specifically do you like about the tournament and the city itself?
RM: You know, I’ve enjoyed the hospitality is amazing. Kuala Lumpur is a great city. I always have fun there. It’s nice staying downtown and seeing different things, experiencing great food and great people. I’ve really enjoyed the golf course last year, and really just every aspect of it. It’s just different. We have our normal events we play on the PGA Tour, and I’ve been doing that for 10 years now, and so it’s fun to just go to a new place and play new events, and this one has only been around for a few years now, but I think it’s getting better and better every single year.
Did winning the CIMB title change how you approached the PGA Tour events for this year?
RM: Well, yeah, after winning last year, it’s such a great start to your year, this being a part of the official PGA Tour and FedExCup schedule. I mean, it’s so valuable to get off to a great start like I did last year and have that win early, it allowed me to really set up my entire year after that and be able to really pick the tournaments I wanted to play, and it really just helped me set my schedule for the year, just having that great success at this tournament early on in my season.
It’s kind of making me want to do the same thing this year and focus in on these fall ‑‑ well, fall for us, events to start our season, and just want to get off to a great start again.
The field this year looks very competitive with the likes of Sergio Garcia and Lee Westwood. Who do you think would pose the biggest threat in your title defence this year?
RM: You know, it’s so hard because every week is so competitive. Obviously having some great names like that in the field, they’re obviously great players, and they’re coming there to try and win a tournament and start their season off and get a PGA Tour win. But that’s what’s tough in general playing professional golf at this level. Everyone is so good. Every single person in an event can win the event.
For me, I try not to worry about that as much as much as just focus on what I need to do to win the tournament, and I won it last year, so I understand really what it takes, and it’s all about me just focusing on what I need to do and prepare and be ready to go play that tournament.
What do you think of Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club’s West Course and what does it take to score well there? How does it hold up against other PGA Tour venues?
RM: I really enjoyed it last year. It was our first year having it there, and I thought it was great. It’s very demanding off the tee. Tee shots are very, very important on the golf course. It’s very narrow, and I don’t know what the conditioning is going to be like this year. It changes every single year you play a golf course, but I think the rough was very long last year, so I mean, you really got penalized if you missed the fairway. So for me, I’m a very good driver of the golf ball, so that’s a very good thing for me playing a golf course like that because it was so important to be in the fairway to give yourself a chance to score. I mean, really that’s almost the most important thing on the golf course was just getting it in the fairway, and it allows you to have reasonable second shots into the greens.
And I enjoyed the greens. I putted really well on them last year. I like the type of grass that they are. Yeah, I thought overall it’s a very good golf course. It’s very similar and comfortable to things we play all year on the PGA Tour.
I suppose moving high up in the rankings and getting into Majors is good motivation for you. What do you think will get you to the next level and winning Majors?
RM: You know, it’s just keep on doing what I’m doing. Golf is a very complicated sport, and there are so many different parts and so many different aspects. For me it’s about just constantly getting a little bit better at every little aspect, whether that’s physical conditioning or whether that’s the mental side of the game and just thinking your way around the golf course or whether that’s physically just working on my golf swing so it repeats better and better and better. I mean, it’s just constantly working on little things, not some big major change. It’s about just doing all the little things to just make you more consistent. That’s what gets you there.
What do you think of the PGA Tour expanding into Malaysia and into Asia? What that means for the growth of the game here?
RM: Well, I think it’s great. I think it’s expanding our brand and our product and just getting it out there to an area and a region that isn’t as exposed to it, I think it’s fantastic. We always get great crowds and great support for the event, and that’s what it’s about. It’s about people coming out and enjoying a great event and seeing something that they usually just get to see on TV halfway across the world and it’s right there in front of them, and these people that you see all the time, they’re right there. I think it’s great for the PGA Tour, and I hope we keep expanding in that way.
What do you think of players from Asia like Hideki Matsuyama and Kiradech Aphibarnrat and the growth of the game in this part of the world?
RM: Yeah, I mean, obviously they’re great golfers. I’ve been fortunate enough to play with Kiradech a few times, and he’s great. I mean, he’s absolutely a PGA Tour calibre golfer, which means there’s a lot more guys like him playing down there and being competitive, and it’s great to see those guys getting out and being in the events and having success.
But it just speaks to golf in general. I mean, it’s growing, and everybody is just getting better and better everywhere. It’s great to see. That’s what we want. This is the industry we’re in, and I love to see the game of golf just keep growing and more people get exposed to it and enjoy the game that I love and get to do it for a living.