Crowne Plaza interview: Ryan Palmer

May 23, 2013

MORE INTERVIEWS: Crowne Plaza Invitational at Colonial

MODERATOR: I would like to welcome Ryan Palmer. A fantastic round, 8-under today, here on the course that you are a member of. I don't know if that helped you out any today. But if you want to talk about your first round and then we will have a few questions.

RYAN PALMER: Yes, it's pretty neat. A lot of fun. Being a member here, we played it so many times, James and I. I felt comfortable over every tee shot. I hit driver almost everywhere that I could. I drove it perfectly today I felt. I hit it close a lot and made a lot of putts from about five or six feet. I didn't make a whole lot of long ones. Except for 14, about a 20-footer. I'm just comfortable on this golf course obviously. I think Brian Stuard's caddy even made a comment on how comfortable I was because I've done it so many times. Where guys are hitting rescues, I'm hitting drivers and as close as I can. It worked today. That's about it.

MODERATOR: Questions?

Q. Ryan, that's your best round ever, 63 back in '09, second round?

RYAN PALMER: That's my lowest, 63?

Q. 62 now.

RYAN PALMER: Well, the funny thing is I was told on 8 and 9 fairway by James, you know if you birdie, you'll tie my low round. (Laughter). What do you do when you get that thrown at you? We had a good laugh on that one. Of course, I did, so now I can share the lowest round with James, me and him are tied, I guess.

Q. It was important to get that out of the way?

RYAN PALMER: I thought it was lower than that. Somebody thought it was an 8. I knew 9 was the record. I thought someone had lower than 7. I think it's 7. I said, okay, we will go with that. It was a nice little challenge he put on the fairway on 9.

Q. Did you hit 14 drivers or did you actually pull something else on one of the driving holes?

RYAN PALMER: I hit a 3-iron on 17. 5-wood on 10. 3-iron on 17 and then I hit 5-wood on 5. I hit a driver everywhere else.

Q. Was this one of your better driving rounds of the year?

RYAN PALMER: There is no doubt. The way I hit it, I drew it up perfectly like I wanted to. Again, I've been on this golf course many times. Every different wind that is blowing. That's what I love about this place. When we are playing a bunch, it blows different every time. It's plays different every time we play it. It benefited me in the last few years from my ball striking. I've been able to improve on that a lot I think. That goes with playing here as much as I have. These old men here make me grind because I have to give them so many shots. Maybe that helps.

Q. Ryan, you have been on a pretty good stretch. I know you were disappointed over Byron Nelson. Is this one of these things you came out and envisioned you would be going this low today?

RYAN PALMER: You never can just come out expecting to shoot low. I made a point to rest up. I pulled out of the British Open qualifier on Saturday of last week. I knew I had an outing on Tuesday with a sponsor. I knew if I played Monday I wouldn't be very good. I wanted to be really rested for this week. That was an easy decision. I was able to get some rest last night. Yesterday I was still tired, but I got some good sleep last night and felt great this morning. And actually made a goal with myself driving over here, it's funny it happened this way, but I made a point to try to not make any bogeys and see how long I go. I played the golf course enough. I have made bogeys and birdies from every spot on this golf course you can find. If I just keep the driver, and play like I had been, this could be a special day tomorrow as well.

Q. You and your caddy seem to get along really well, can you talk about that relationship and what makes that work?

RYAN PALMER: Well we meet in high school at regionals out in Lubbock, Texas. He went on to play at Houston. We met back up in 2000 on the Hooters Tour and we traveled together and played. He played a couple of years and then he quit playing. And then I played on the Titleist Tour in '02. He actually came for a few events for fun. He went on to do some real estate work in Vegas, and when I got on the finals at Tour school in '02. I called and said do you want to go to finals? We went to finals and we got our Tour card, and said, do you want to keep going? He said, let's do it. We won the second event. Here we are 11 years later. 10 years on TOUR. It's pretty special. We are close. His daughter is three weeks younger than my son. They are like brother and sister when they play with each other. And the wives are close. We are very tight, very close.

Q. There aren't many guys that would have their caddy say, you just got my record, something like that?

RYAN PALMER: I don't know how many guys caddies have won the club championship three times. That could be something else too.

Q. He is not calling the shots this week like he does at Byron Nelson?

RYAN PALMER: No, no, that's the way we do it each year. This week -- he doesn't need to say anything. I don't even pull out my yardage book except to fill out the scorecard. When I see the pins I can tell you, I know everything about the greens. It's a matter of what's the yardage, get the wind. I know there are certainly holes out here that I saw some guys that play shorter. You have to play them a little shorter than what it says. I know there are some shots I could hit one less club than most guys probably think, because I know how it plays, the wind, no, it's not, if it's not windy, no it's not, because of the way I played it. It helps obviously the experience I have had here. I hope we keep going.

Q. How many times do you think you have played here like in a given year, how many times would you play here?

RYAN PALMER: It's hard to say, wintertime, when the weather is nice, it's two or three times a weak easy. Off weeks, it's at least once or twice. So the off season, we are out here a bunch, playing with the guys at 12:30, the big game. They don't like to miss shots, as usual. I have so much fun with these guys. These guys took me in four or five years ago, they have thrown some parties for me when I won. After the second one, 2010, I let them know I joined fully. They give some guys some honorary memberships. I took advantage of it. And, of course, when I won in '10, and we had a party, it was my way of saying thanks. So we joined fully as a full member, so I'm proud to be a member of this club.

Q. Ryan, obviously you have had a lot of good rounds here. I don't remember you ever being like a solo leader after any round. What does it mean if it finishes that way and puts you in good shape to contend for one of those jackets?

RYAN PALMER: I think Hawaii I was tied for the lead after one round. I don't know if I've done it. I don't think I've ever done it on TOUR. I know in the past, I have had pretty good success when I've been up to the front early. I've been able to hold on and hang on for the whole week. And I think I was either tied for the leading, or leading in Hawaii all week that year. Ginsomara, (phn), I was one back in the final round. I lead after the second and third round. Forbidden (phn) I came back. Nationwide Tour I was up there. I shot 63 on Friday and lead from there on when I won the New Zealand,, excuse me. And when I play the mini tours, the tournaments I won on the Titleist Tour, I was leading after the first and second round and always held on. I got some pretty good experience and confidence that I've been up there that I've been able to stay close to the top.

Q. To be leading here, what does that mean?

RYAN PALMER: Yes, this is what I dream about when I play here every year. This is the one tournament I gear up for the most. If I get in the four Majors, this tournament will be the most meaningful to me to be on that wall on 1 tee. I dream about it all the time. I can't begin to tell you what it would mean if it happens. Hopefully I will be able to tell you on Sunday.

Q. Ryan, your confidence must really be built up after how well you played at THE PLAYERS because you got rid of some so-called demons there, I guess?

RYAN PALMER: You can call them that, and then some on that golf course. One for seven. And 1/75ths. Yes, I left there -- I had confidence going in that week. I just changed it up that week. That's my third Wednesday in a row to show up. I think one of the tournament guys call me Mr. Wednesday. It's easy to do that because you play the course so many times. The confidence has been riding high all year long, I have been playing well. It's just a matter of getting over that hump and getting over the top. I've been making a lot of birdies today and been making a lot of small mistakes. I've been eliminating the mistakes the last few weeks. Hopefully we can keep them to a minimum and keep making birdies.

Q. You shot 8-under and I don't believe you parred both par-5s, how close did you come making birdies on them?

RYAN PALMER: I birdied one. I hit a bad second shot on 11. I had a really tough up and down. I had a 2 putt for par. No. 1, I was able to birdie, 5-wood and 2-putted for birdie on 1.

Q. Did you have any sand blows or gig'em Aggies out there today?

RYAN PALMER: There was some sand blows, there are always gig'em Aggies wherever I go which is kind of cool. It's nice for the sport. I know the guys on the committee probably hate me and James because of the tickets we got. They've been very nice with us in that egard. I tell them, I promise, everybody I give tickets to are going to go in there and drink beer and spend money so you will make some money on this.

Q. As many times as you've played here outside of TOUR events, have you shot this kind of round in practice rounds. Have you gone any lower than 62?

RYAN PALMER: That's my lowest. Usually in a practice round I don't think I shot below 65 playing. You just don't grind as much. In this situation, you get and grind a little harder. You are able to focus more. When I am out here with the guys, I mean half the time I might grab a few for the back 9 and drink it myself. (Laughter.) You can tell on 9 what I am going to do on the back.

MODERATOR: Anything else? Before we end, I don't know if this is karma but The TOUR wives 25th anniversary is this year. We're celebrating all year. The wives have put together a nice cookbook. It just so happens Ryan, and his wife couldn't be here, she is dealing with her kids, are supplying lunch for everyone in the media, so we got some samples for every one. Here is a copy of the cookbook. We want to get a couple of comments on all of the work your wife has done to put into this cookbook and what it means to the TOUR wives and the charities they support.

RYAN PALMER: It is pretty remarkable what the wives do, a lot of people outside of the golf world don't realize what they put up, what stubborn old golfers we are. The travel we do, and the time we spend away from home and the kids. They do an unbelievable things from a charity standpoint. With this cookbook, they asked a lot of different players to find a recipe, and tell a story about us. We put something pretty simple. It's not hard to do. Buffalo blue cheese sliders. It's pretty neat to look through all of the different recipes. I 'm sure ours is probably the simplest. But it's okay. It's pretty good. The cookbook is pretty special. I have heard they have done some great things and I hear they sold a lot of them. We wouldn't be here without the wives and the association they have together and what they do for charity is unbelievable.

Q. Do you fire up the grill and do the Buffalo in the backyard every now and then?

RYAN PALMER: Yes, but I don't like blue cheese. Is that bad? I'm a big fan of the grill. That's my specialty. I'm confident I make a pretty good steak.

Q. Where can we buy one of those?

MODERATOR: We'll have it on TOUR wives, there is a website. We will have some information afterwards for you. Everybody good? Thank you for your time. Good luck the rest of the week.