MORE INTERVIEWS: HP Byron Nelson transcripts
THE MODERATOR: 5‑under par 65 for Ryan Palmer today. Ryan, it's been a tough week for you, but great start to the tournament today, if we can get some comments.
RYAN PALMER: It was a good day, obviously. A little rough yesterday morning, pretty worn out since Sunday night, spent some good days resting and we had the burial in San Antonio Tuesday. But I practiced with Randy yesterday morning and came out and hit good today, missed one green, made some long putts, missed some short once, but 6 birdies and a bogey on Thursday is always good.
Q. Comment on the conditions that you faced.
RYAN PALMER: It was soft, greens were receptive and a little slow, too with a lot of moisture. They weren't rolling out quite as much but I was able to get the speed down pretty good and made a lot of long putts on my front nine, which was my back nine. Hit good all day. Making long putts, that's how you shoot, 5‑under and hopefully keep going.
Q. How have you been able to hold it together? You've been through so much and traveling down here and coming back up here and playing great golf.
RYAN PALMER: All day Monday I did nothing, stayed around the house with the kids and just hung out and tried to get a little sleep Monday night and Tuesday we flew up and flew back the same evening and had a nice dinner with Jennifer on Tuesday night and got a little sleep for a 4:30 wake‑up call for the Pro‑Am. Trying to get back in the swing of things. Being at home is nice, in my own bed so that made it easier when I got back Tuesday night, and got a little more rest last night. Felt good this morning.
Q. Ryan, I know you had the initials on your hat last night, is there anything more you're doing to recognize‑‑
RYAN PALMER: No, I gave the white hat I wore Sunday to Allison, Clay's wife and I signed it to his little boy Reid who is 4 and I gave the black one to Clay's Dad, who I grew up knowing as well. After Tuesday, I know they've got a long road ahead of them and they have a lot of support and love there in SanAntonio, and I think it was time for me to get back into the swing of things here but we will always remember him and maybe we can honor him even more on Sunday afternoon.
Q. You played really well last week. Were you able to get lost in golf and did you do the same thing today?
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, I did. I was pretty‑‑ James and‑‑ I probably felt more irritated than I was just because I was really slow and calm out there, not much expression, but just tried to stay calm, relaxed all morning and I was probably half asleep, too, but I was confident with my swing. I felt great all morning, on the range and in the warm‑up and teed off and went through 18 holes so it was a good day.
Q. Are you and your caddy doing the normal thing this week, him calling the club?
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, this is the one week, his swan song, his week, he should be up here every day. He might as well be in here. (Laughter.)
Q. Where there any surprises?
RYAN PALMER: No, no surprises. I found myself looking at the yardage a little more, trying to see what's the yardage, he wouldn't give it to me, he would say "hit this 8‑iron" and I was like "how far is it?" Because that helps a little bit.
No, kept the same thing. It seems to work here, it's kind of a strange thing.
Q. I think you had one bogey, what happened there?
RYAN PALMER: It was just a‑‑ I actually had a 15, 18‑footer for birdie and a 3‑footer, like I said I was still asleep. I think I was asleep the first five holes. It was kind of those "brain farts" made a long putt on 17 to get under par and, you know, made some good putts on the front nine.
Q. I think you had three putts over 30 feet, that's pretty good for you, isn't it?
RYAN PALMER: That's pretty good for anybody. I think because of the slowness of the greens you're able to "bang 'em" a little more and they didn't take the break as much. A few probably ran for about 4 or 5 feet, they wouldn't hit the hole and I made the last one and looked at John and giggled a little bit, and I said "I'm sorry, I've got to giggle about that one" because he was banging right and left and I was just makin' any putt, and I was kind of like, "sorry".
Q. The first few years you were here you didn't do as well. The last two Nelsons you have done well. What are you doing?
RYAN PALMER: We did this thing were doing the first year I lost in the playoffs. Of course, it carries over each year, and I think I've been able to keep that feeling the last couple of years and, you know, I think I've shot 65 Thursday every year, I think, or 64 maybe, but it's starting to look better to my eye. Obviously it didn't look good at all for seven years. (Laughter.) Now I can say I love this golf course.
Q. Rolling in so many long putts today does that get the juices flowing, you feel like‑‑ I'm not trying to get ahead here but you drain that many, you kinda think, hey, this may be something.
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, and I get irritated. I had a 12, 15‑footer on 8 that I left short and I probably showed a little anger there a little bit.
You know, it's hard to say, James is always there telling me you can't win today, you can't win today, just calm down, calm down. Obviously you can lose on Thursday but when you can get a low round on Thursday and give you breathing room because you're always thinking about the cut for some reason, it's hard not to but it's nice going into Friday 5‑under knowing you're right there in contention and you don't think about the cut you worry about that round of golf and get thinking about the weekend.
Q. On No. 3 do you feel like you're kind of stealing on that hole getting birdie, especially I think you hit it to 10 feet according to ShotLink.
RYAN PALMER: Fortunately‑‑ I'm hitting driver so I'm trying to put it down there to get a short iron in, I hit a 9‑iron to 12, 15 feet, but you almost feel like you can gain a stroke on that hole for sure.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you.