"Off the Course" is where we talk to the players, learn about who they are, and get their thoughts about playing the game. From time to time we'll also interview college players about their junior careers and how college golf is different. We welcome your comments and suggestions. E-mail us or call toll free- 888-549-4653.
2001 AJGA All American - First Team
2001 Oregon Men's Amateur Champion
Medalist - 2001 Western Junior
Medalist - 2001 AJGA Robert Trent Jones
Medalist - 2001 AJGA Ashworth Junior Classic
Jonathan is a sophomore at the David Leadbetter Academy in Florida and we sat down with him at the 2001 Doral Junior.
Welcome Jonathan. Thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Well, lets get right to it with the most important question. How was the fishing? People come to Doral to fish all the time, did you and your father have any luck?
It was great. They have those rocks right there, and the bass love to hide right in those rocks. I caught one fish tonight. My Dad caught three though. He’s the fisherman. I’m not as good as he is, that’s for sure.
Do you fish up in Oregon? We know you live nine months a year down here in Florida at the Leadbetter Academy.
We try. In Oregon the thing that is big is trout fishing. People just love to fly fish. I’m not that good at it. I really haven’t done it that much.
Have you fished with your Dad always? Does he take you?
Yes. We always did growing up.
What do you like about fishing?
We always compete when we fish. How many did we get, get the scoreboard going. It’s just nice and relaxing, something different and I enjoy it. It’s not very mentally intense.
As opposed to?
Oh…golf! Yes I suppose we should talk about that. Let me ask you the standard question. How did you get started?
I was eight years old. I had an older big brother who played baseball. I was four years younger than him and I followed what he did. But then he died of a heart attack when he was almost 12. He had been born with a heart defect, which they had repaired when he was real young. But then later it gave out on him. But after he died I dropped baseball. I was never really good at it anyway. We belonged to a club and I starting watch my Dad hit a few. I just sort of putted on the putting green but it was a chance to do something I really liked doing. So I chose golf. My Dad was supportive and he got me some lessons. And I loved it.
At what age did you start playing in a tournament?
Nine years old. I was pretty dedicated. That’s what I thank my brother for. He was a focused kid. We had a batting cage set up in our garage and at age 11 he would go out there and hit 100 balls off a tee with a weighted bat and then 100 without a weight. It was pretty amazing. So I picked that up and I practiced everyday. I was really into it. I did that for a year when I took up the game. There were older kids at the course and I played with them. My Dad would come out and play with me. My first tournament was the Peter Jacobson up in Portland. I shot 63 for nine holes in the Pee-Wee Division.
Do you remember the day?
Yes. My first shot went out of bounds.
Your first competitive tee shot went out of bounds?
Yes. I still don’t like that golf hole. Even today it still has my number. That was my first tournament and later that summer I won my first event on a par three course. My 10 and 11-year-old summers I played more events and when I was 11 I played national tournaments and played Doral for the first time. Things went from there. After the summer when I was 14, I got the chance to go to the Leadbetter School. With the drive I had it was the best move for me. I got to try it for a semester on my own at age 14. Then my parents said, “Well, we’re coming to live there too during the school year.” We have this small condo just down the street from the Academy.
So your whole school has been at Leadbetter since eighth grade?
Yes. Ever since. I go to the Pendleton Academy. Paula (Creamer) and I are in a lot of classes together.
Blue. I don’t know why.
Gladiator. Russell Crowe is a good actor.
“What we do in life, echoes in eternity.”
Yes. That was a great line. There were a lot of great lines in that movie.
Well tell us about the sport and what it means to Jonathan Moore.
The sport for me is meaningful because I get to compete and I know I am a competitor. It’s really good, because my family travels with me and we get to spend time together. That’s a great thing. With my brother dying my parents missed out on that with him so we do so much together. That’s golf for me,the competition and the family time.
Do you think with your bother passing on that you’re competing for the two of you. Is it that heavy a thing?
Not really. Do I do it for him? No. I just enjoy it like he enjoyed baseball. I do it with the same intensity he did with baseball. That’s what he taught me the most. To play with real enthusiasm.
How tall are you now?
Did you hit a real growth spurt and what did that do to your golf swing?
Oh yes. I was 5”5 when I was 13 and grew 7 inches real quickly. You see kids go through that phase and their golf swings are all over the place. I was fortunate to be at the golf academy and had real great instructors to get me through all that.
Close friends at school?
Trent and Tyler Leon and Casey Wittenberg. We all came at the same time to Leadbetter.
If I take those guys and put them in a room and kick you out, what are they going to say about you?
I’d hope they would say I have good morals. I stand up for what I believe in. I strive not to do certain things. They’d probably give me grief too. Trent and Tyler are the “cowboys”, I’m the “tree hugger” and Casey is the “redneck”.
Lets talk about your golf game a little. What parts do you feel the most confident about?
I have always felt good about my putting and my short game has been pretty good. But the last few months my long game has really been coming around, long irons and woods.
Are you a 2-iron guy or a 5-wood player?
I’m a 2-iron guy. I use it off the tee, you can do so much more with it. I’ve learned how to hit it higher and so I don’t have to worry about it stopping.
Johnny Miller once said to be a great player you have to be able to hit nine shots: low-middle and high, left, straight and right. How many of those do you have?
I have all of them I think. I have all those.
Tell us about the physical part of the game. Can you share your workouts with us.
Sure. I mean Tiger has changed all that. If you don’t work out you’re losing ground.We’re fortunate to have the International Performance Institute and they have 8 or so weight trainers. We go there three nights per week. I also work with a personal trainer three days a week. We really focus on the core, your abs, etc. to make that really stable. Back and stomach exercises are really important.
Can you talk a little about your mental focus? How you approach a round?
I work with Robert Winters at Champions Gate. He emphasizes being really ready to hit the shot. Working yourself into a state where you’re totally ready to go. For me, I’ll say a phrase of words before every shot as part of my routine. You can’t fake confidence so he works very hard on that. I’ll call him tonight and we’ll go over the round.
What is the biggest thing about playing the game competitively versus another sport?
I like the control I have. I like believing that I can do it, hit that great shot, make that putt. The biggest thing for me is that I feel confident I can do it.
What are your goals going forward? Are you a goal setter?
Yes. I’d like to be player of the year this year and first Team All- American. In the next two years I’d like to make the Walker Cup.
Well I think that’s all the questions we have. Thanks for taking the time and best of luck this year.
You’re welcome and thank you. I enjoyed the time.