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June 11, 2020

Ryan Palmer

Fort Worth, Texas

Q. It's a pretty symbolic moment hitting that tee shot that gets golf going. Was there any nervousness, any difference to what a normal opening tee shot would be in a tournament?
RYAN PALMER: It was early. But no, I was a little nervous, obviously, but very exciting. I'm honored that they asked me to do it. I'm proud to be a member of this great club in Fort Worth, Colonial, and I'm pretty honored to be asked to hit the first shot for the return to golf for sure.

Not the day I wanted, but overall some good things happened out there today. Yeah, I was a little nervous obviously going to hit that first shot and hit it good, but it was a great feeling to be that person.

Q. The silence was deafening frankly. They announce your name and there's nothing.
RYAN PALMER: Well, Thursday mornings early are kind of like that. There's not a lot of fans out that early. You've got your volunteers, and you hear a few claps, but overall it wasn't too bad. But just excited to be back out here for sure. I know I was ready to get going, and hopefully everybody at home who's watching is going to enjoy it.

Q. You hoped with three birdies on the front nine; what was it like with no fans, the fact that you make a putt and --
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, you hit a putt and it goes in, and you're talking to yourself, making the crowd noise yourself, I guess. But no, it was a little different because I'm used to having a lot of friends and family out watching, so that was obviously different. But it was nice to get off to a good start like that. Making putts, you don't hear much from it, so a little different. But it was just great to be out there playing.

Q. 90 days between official competitions; did it feel like it?
RYAN PALMER: Not too bad. Not really. I've been putting in the work, so I was ready to go this week. The game is weird, that's for sure. It's a strange game. But I didn't feel nothing as far as rust.

Q. Not so much rust, but just the actual competition, being in a TOUR event, did March 12 really feel like three months ago?
RYAN PALMER: No, it did. In fact, it felt like it was the Sony Open almost when you take November and December off and you have an off-season. It was an off-season we had during the season. So that's kind of the feeling, I guess, it had. I took a month and a half off without doing much and then spent the last three weeks grinding like I would in December but doing it in almost the middle of the summertime. But that's kind of the feeling that I had coming into the week, see where my game is at and take it from there.

Q. There was a lot of talk in the return-to-golf packet about handling your own clubs, about caddies wiping down flagsticks and bunker rakes. We haven't seen much of that. Is that something you're conscious of?
RYAN PALMER: I mean, we're conscious of it as far as standing next to each other. The only time we're close to each other is over golf shots. Today I noticed everybody is walking four, five, six feet away while we're talking. It's hard to separate when you're on tee boxes. Everybody was pretty cautious of it. As far as rakes, I never paid attention. After I'd hit it out of the bunker I'd just kind of take off which I normally do.

Q. The handling of clubs, what you've done for 20-odd years now, is that something that's just going to take some adjustment?
RYAN PALMER: Well, I'm always going to pull the club out, and I'm always going to hand it to James. You're going to see it every day. That's just the way the game is. We're all taking risks playing golf, obviously. Being back out here, everybody leaves the club, they're going out to dinner and doing things, so everybody is taking that risk to be here. Everybody is pretty confident that we're going to all be safe.

Q. In your eyes, even Jay has said there's always going to be risk, you can't be comfortable until you're told you can be. How would you describe the level of risk that this is taking by returning?
RYAN PALMER: I think everything has been done the right way. I think there was over 1,400 tests taken and I haven't heard of any positive tests at all. I know there's none out here. So to me, that's a great sign. Everyone who's out here playing who's in our bubble is negative, so that's a good sign. Moving forward, everyone is going to do the right thing. I think the tournament directors and the tournament committees are doing the right things inside the clubhouse, and I think we're -- I see nothing but success here on out.

Q. What's a successful week for the TOUR, not so much you?
RYAN PALMER: I think just being out here is successful, to be honest with you, getting started. I don't see anything holding us back moving forward. I think today was the biggest day, just getting this first day off. You know, people are going to watch golf back home and be interested to watch it tomorrow, and that's a great thing.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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