Some say it was the best season by an amateur since the days of Bobby Jones. Certainly, it was the most impressive showing in the modern era of amateur golf.
Plain and simple, 2004 belonged to Ryan Moore.
Among his highlights, the 22-year-old from Puyallup, Wash., won the NCAA Championship, the two most-coveted U.S. Golf Association amateur events and the Western Amateur.
“I think the best way to put it is that Ryan Moore ran the table this year in amateur golf,” said USGA executive director David Fay. “You couldn’t ask for more from him. To sustain that level of play from June through October is just phenomenal.”
Moore’s run earned him the No. 1 spot in the Golfweek/Titleist Amateur Rankings and yet another title – the 2004 Golfweek Amateur of the Year.
Paula Creamer of Pleasanton, Calif., landed Women’s Player of the Year honors, and Steve Earsley of Stuart, Fla., was Senior Player of the Year.
For Moore, a first-team All-American as a junior at UNLV, his stunning stretch began when he captured the NCAA Championship the first week of June at The Homestead Resort in Virginia.
The next month, he won his second U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship – his first came in 2002 – at Rush Creek Golf Club in Minnesota, making him the first player to win the NCAA and Public Links titles in the same year.
A month later, Moore secured amateur golf’s most prestigious crown when he won the U.S. Amateur Championship at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York, becoming the first player to win the U.S. Amateur and Public Links in the same year.
Moore then put an exclamation point on his season by capturing medalist honors at the World Amateur Team Championship in October in Puerto Rico.
“It’s still really hard to grasp the whole thing,” Moore said. “It may take a few years before it all sinks in.”
Creamer’s year began with a sixth place at Harder Hall and a tie for second at the Women’s South Atlantic (Sally). She won a pair of matches in helping lead the United States to victory at the Curtis Cup, and was a semifinalist at the U.S. Women’s Amateur. She tied for 13th at the U.S. Open, and closed the year with a seventh-place finish at the Women’s World Amateur Team Championship.
Still a high school senior, she accomplished all that in the midst of an impressive LPGA run, which saw her post five top-20 finishes in seven pro events. She then capped her final year as an amateur by being medalist at LPGA Qualifying School.
“It was a fun ride,” Creamer said. “I got to play with the best players in the world and it opened up my eyes to a lot of things. It was a great year. Hopefully it’s just the beginning.”