Ryan Moore has opted out of this week’s PGA Championship at TPC Harding Park. In itself, not surprising: Due to myriad concerns, COVID-19 safety chief among them, Moore was the 12th player to withdraw from the proceedings as of Monday afternoon.
Moore’s stated reasoning for pulling out, however, is something you don’t see at such a prestigious event.
On Monday, the PGA of America announced Moore was out of the field due to a “scheduling conflict.”
Now, it’s not the first time a player couldn’t make the PGA due to previous engagements. Ben Hogan famously passed on the 1953 PGA Championship after winning the Masters and U.S. Open earlier in the year. Although the Hawk did have a noble reason: The Open Championship overlapped with the PGA, and Hogan decided to go for the claret jug instead of the Wanamaker (which he won, completing a triple crown season).
However, Moore was already in the area, playing at the Barracuda Championship in Truckee, Calif., just three hours away from San Francisco.
Now, it’s likely this is an upshot of a curious vernacular choice from Moore’s camp. Or, given that he was originally listed far down the alternate list, perhaps Moore believed he wouldn’t find his way into 2020’s first major and does have another obligation. After all, major or not, if your buddy asks you to play in the Member-Member, you play in the Member-Member.
Moore will be replaced by Xinjun Zhang, who will be making his major championship debut at Harding Park. Alex Noren is now the next alternate.