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February 4, 2006

Ryan Palmer


JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Thanks for joining us. Great round today, 7 under 64. Maybe some opening comments about a great day for you.

RYAN PALMER: Yeah, it was a great day. The key was getting of to a fast start. I birdied 3. And when I get under par early it gets my momentum going and I started getting excited about it.

I drove the ball great again. I've been driving the ball great these last few weeks. I'm back to my old putter and making some putts. When you drive the ball good and make some putts, you're going to compete.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: You had a great stretch on the back side, birdied 14, 15, 16 and 17. Maybe talk about that. Certainly nice to make a birdie on 16.

RYAN PALMER: Yeah, I left 13 disappointed, three putted for par there. Then kind of stole one on 14, I felt, made a good 20 footer for birdie.

The tee is up on 15, and it was kind of surprising. I hit driver, 6 iron and two putt.

Going into 15 after birdieing 14, I knew I had two pretty easy birdie holes, and if I could steal one on 16 and then on 18, that would be a great finish. I hit a 9 iron in there about two feet, and that was quite a deal.

After Jonathan made his putt, I start thinking, "Uh oh, don't miss this one because they're going to give you hell." I told James it's the hardest 9 iron in golf and it's the hardest two footer I've ever had to hit.

Then 17, I knew I could get a birdie there.

Then on 18, I thought I had that one for five in a row, and it just came up a little short.

JOEL SCHUCHMANN: Tomorrow you'll be playing in the final group with J. B. Holmes and J. J., your thoughts.

RYAN PALMER: It's going to be fun. I'll be the short hitter of the group. You know, J. B. has been playing great after winning Q school, and J. B. is a friend of mine from Fort Worth. It'll be a lot of fun. One back, and I'm not protecting anything so I'm going to keep attacking like I have all week, and keep driving the ball like I have been and make a few putts, it should be a good day.

Q. Obviously you've got to worry about the guys in your group, but how far down the leaderboard do you have to worry about?

RYAN PALMER: It's hard to say. You can sit back and say anybody within six shots can win this golf tournament. I've been there before and come back from five to win. There's got to be a low number shot for one of those guys to come back. If I go out and play well, shoot 3, 4, 5 under par and get to 20 under it's going to be hard for anybody to get there without shooting a low round. I want to try to focus on what I have to shoot and keep playing the way I've been playing. I think it's going to I have a good feeling you have to get to at least 18 to win this golf tournament.

Q. It's especially true on this course, though, isn't it?

RYAN PALMER: Yeah, it's a lot of birdies. Depending on where they have the pins tomorrow and of course playing Sunday, it adds plenty of pressure there, playing towards the end of the final groups. If I go out and keep doing what I've been doing, I know I'm driving the ball well and putting good, so it should be a good day.

Q. Did you have any near misses last year where you came close to winning?

RYAN PALMER: Yeah, BC, Jason Bohn, he won by one. Then NEC I actually had a chance to I missed some short putts probably on the last three holes from 10, 15 feet to get to 5, 6 under par and I birdied 18 to get to 3 under, but Tiger finished at 5 under. I remember some of the putts I had to get a chance.

Then at Disney again, I gave it a shot on Sunday, shot 64 and came up two shots shy. I had plenty of chances last year, had more chances last year than in '04. I'm getting better every year, and that's all I really want. It's been a great run so far, and I feel like I'm getting better now as we're going.

I struggled on the West Coast, and I'm finally playing well out here.

Q. Did Camilo's pants get any comments on 16?

RYAN PALMER: Which hole did it not get a comment? Yeah, he got it. It's fun, you expect it.

Q. Can you describe what it's like emerging from that tunnel on 16, and particularly being in contention on Saturday?

RYAN PALMER: Man, walking into a stadium. It's the hardest wedge or 9 iron you can hit because you know if you don't hit it good, they're going to boo you. It's fun. It's pretty neat to walk in there and everybody is screaming, yelling, chanting. I guess if you're from Florida, they know which college you're from and they start chanting. It's hard, especially when you hit a good one and everybody starts yelling and screaming.

Q. What did they yell at you?

RYAN PALMER: I don't think anybody yelled at me, which is good. I get Palmer thrown in there.

Q. Everybody thinks you're Arnold Palmer's son?

RYAN PALMER: I still get guys saying, "I met your grand dad last year." "I played with him last week." Oh, great (laughter). I signed Arnold Palmer's rookie card one time. Somebody said, "This is your granddad's card. Sign it for me." I don't want to spoil their fun. I had one guy last week say, "The greatest time of my life was I played nine holes with your granddad last year."

Q. Was your real granddad a golfer?

RYAN PALMER: I never knew them.

Q. What does Arnold say to you when he sees you?

RYAN PALMER: I went to get a flag signed last year at Bay Hill, and I said, "Good to see you again." He said, "Yeah, we'll see you, Cuz." The funny thing is he never had sons. He had all daughters.

Q. You know, length off the tee has always been an advantage out here. It seems like we're seeing yet another wave of new guys who hit it a mile like Bubba Watson and B. J. Holmes. Does that matter to you? You've played against long hitters before, but can you kind of comment on this latest

RYAN PALMER: I'll tell you what, I feel like I can hit it out there pretty good, but Camilo, he hit it 20 by me all day. I'm sure tomorrow won't be any different. Tomorrow J. B. will be knocking it by me all day and J. J. isn't short, either. These guys are killing it, and Bubba, it's ridiculous how far he's hitting it.

Q. Is that an eye opener for you because you're not a short hitter?

RYAN PALMER: No, I don't feel like I need to hit it any further. I get it out there pretty good. I feel like I've got the iron game to play, and with my length and the way I'm putting, I'll let them keep bombing it by me all day.

Q. Just give me your opinion of Camilo's game. Had you played with him before?

RYAN PALMER: He drives the ball excellent and his iron play is steady. He attacks the golf course. I think he went at every pin today. My caddie caught me and said he shots at every pin. He played solid today.

Q. Does he have a pretty good gallery of ladies following him?

RYAN PALMER: Oh, yeah, they were hollering at him all day.

Q. Did they make any comments about his slacks?

RYAN PALMER: About his rear end, and of course the pants. And a couple of them kept saying, "I love you." He's a pretty boy out there.


End of FastScripts.

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