Haley Moore Arrives in Style

Haley Moore Beats Odds Everywhere She Goes

From being a child golf prodigy to member of the LPGA Tour is a long road, and a lot of things can go wrong. It’s even harder when you’re bigger and taller than your peers, and you have to deal with their immaturity on a daily basis. Worst of all is when it happens later, at a time when those peers are supposed to have grown up. Haley Moore, from Crystal Lake, Illinois, has gotten her LPGA card, and opened her rookie year with a seven under 66 in the first round of the ISPS Handa Vic Open. She stands at nearly six feet, and is heavy-set, much like Laura Davies. But, she bore a lot of cruelty to get the chance.

The road through high school was a cruel one for Haley, and she almost didn’t make it through the coach interview process at the University of Arizona, where she went on to succeed in an incredible display of championship nerves. Some bad mac and cheese at Cracker Barrel caught up with her halfway through the session, and she lost it…really lost it. However, coming in to the college years, she could count on the support of a close family, and when she began her college career with the Arizona Wildcats, coach Laura Ianello appeared and picked up the torch of supporting this special player. Now, Haley has her card from the world’s flagship women’s tour. One would think troubles such as those who plagued her in school would be over.

Coach Ianello certainly hopes so, but reminds us that the pro game is an environment where competition is cutthroat. In terms of golf, Haley’s new peers will have plenty to fear. I watched some video of her yesterday, and came up with two immediate conclusions. She is a long hitter with a finely-honed sense of finesse, not just a long-drive contest wannabe. I also listened to her discuss the years of peer bullying as she struggled to put enough confidence together to keep going. My takeaway from that is although she acknowledged the abuse, there was no trace of venom in her voice. Although her tormentors probably don’t know it, she was giving them a free lesson in being the better person. In just a few seconds, it struck me that this is probably a lovely person to know.

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Moore has been a godsend to the Wildcat golf team on two particular occasions, leading them to national championships through clutch performances, playing from behind. She didn’t do it just through long drives. The short game and the very short game have come through on multiple occasions. The Haley Moore story is getting out, and a Go Fund Me page has helped to minimize the devastation reaching the LPGA can inflict on a family wallet.

I certainly hope that Coach Ianello’s fears are not realized. I’m sure that she is correct about the competitive ferocity of the tour. On the other side, the field of women who have made it there are now professionals, among the best in the world. At some point, though, it doesn’t matter how good your golf is. If you’re still acting like a junior high kid, you’re still an amateur in my book. The pattern that Haley Moore has shown grows clearer all the time, and I don’t believe that she can or will be stopped at this point. Everywhere she has gone, obstacles have stood in her way, and in every case, she has gone on to the next step, having gained friends and fans.

A first round 66 in what promises to be an exciting pro career is just the kind of poetic justice that can give Moore the sort of respect she deserves. It’s  not enough for the bullying to end and have the normal adult behavior start shining through. She deserves to feel an ongoing sense of joy in her work that was for so long denied her.

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