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    Once-bullied Haley Moore, one of golf's most inspiring players, steps away from tour life

    By Beth Ann Nichols,

    Haley Moore has decided to step away from tour golf. (courtesy photo)

    Every player on the LPGA has a story, but few had one like Haley Moore. The hero of the 2018 NCAA Championship, Moore overcame childhood bullying to reach the biggest stage in golf. Friends and strangers alike came together on GoFundMe to help an inspirational Moore chase her dream.

    Now, after several seasons of grinding on both the LPGA and Epson Tour, 25-year-old Moore’s path has taken a detour.

    “These last couple years, I didn’t have my best stuff,” said Moore from her new digs in Tucson, Arizona.

    Last week, Moore began working full-time as an assistant pro at Canoa Ranch Golf Club in Green Valley, Arizona. She plans to become a PGA member and work her way into teaching. She’s especially excited about working some upcoming junior camps.
    Haley Moore hugs the NCAA trophy. (Photo courtesy of Michele Moore)

    Moore hasn’t completely shut the door on getting back to the LPGA, but she’s excited about sprinkling in some Cactus Tour events and state opens in the coming years. Maybe there’s a start in the KPMG Women’s PGA in her future through the teaching division.

    Moving back to Tucson was an easy decision for Moore after her playing days at the University of Arizona. The nearly 6-foot-2-inch Moore graduated from college at the age of 20 and advanced through LPGA Q-School in December 2019, beginning her professional career in the midst of a global pandemic.

    She made five cuts in 12 starts in 2020 and had a second rookie season in 2021, which didn’t go much better. Moore finished 142nd on the LPGA money list that season and began toiling on the Epson Tour the following year.

    “Even though she always said ‘No, I’m fine, I’m fine,’ ” said Moore’s mother, Michele, “ there was just something in her head, and we were just never able to figure that out.”

    Over the next two seasons, Moore made only 10 cuts on the Epson Tour, with her 2023 season coming to an abrupt end with a back injury. She made only $18,735 in official money on the Epson Tour, and the financial stress took its toll.

    In 2024, Moore played the Casino Del Sol Golf Classic in Tucson on a sponsor exemption for her only start on the Epson Tour this season, missing the cut.

    “The last couple years, I felt like I was doing well in the practice rounds – hitting the ball great – and then when the tournament days came, it’s not like I froze up, but I think it’s an actual competition, you’re worried. You have to perform and make the cut to make money – losing $2,000, $2,500 every week because of expenses.”

    Figuring out to block out the stress of money in the heat of competition was something Moore never quite conquered. Eventually she thought, I can’t keep going on like this.

    And so, it’s with a mixture of sadness and excitement that Moore enters a new chapter. Already, quite a number of people who have come into the pro shop at Canoa Ranch have recognized Moore from her time as a Wildcat and on the LPGA.

    “She’s a freaking legend in Tucson,” said Michele. “We’re on campus for five minutes and she’s recognized. People literally kiss her feet.”
    Haley Moore and her mother, Michele, pose with their artwork, a recent hobby for the pair. (courtesy photo)

    When Moore was a rookie on the LPGA, the tour created a 30-second video spot on her as part of its Drive On marketing campaign, along with first-person accounts written by Moore and her mother.

    “Being bigger, stronger and better than boys on the soccer field didn’t make me popular when I was a kid,” Haley wrote. “Continuing to grow didn’t put me in the popular girls’ club, either. Throughout my school years, I heard every taunt and laugh; I endured every insult and rejection. I tried to brush it off.”

    As a pro, Moore created a foundation to help end bullying. Once she gets settled into her new role at Canoa Ranch, she’d like to continue those efforts.

    No doubt she’ll continue to inspire.

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