Q&A with PGA Pro Ryan Palmer
Apr 29, 2015 05:19PM ● Published by Dia
North Texas is home to more than a handful of golfing pros, and each May they enjoy an extended homecoming of sorts thanks to not one, but two stellar PGA events—the Crowne Plaza Invitational at Fort Worth’s Colonial Country Club and the AT&T Byron Nelson Championship at the TPC Four Seasons Resort in Las Colinas. Before stepping onto the tee box at Colonial, we caught up with one of the world’s top golfers—Texas A&M Aggie Alum and Colleyville resident Ryan Palmer— on golf, family and giving back to kids across Texas.
What does it mean to play in front of the hometown crowds in North Texas?
Coming home to play the Colonial and Byron Nelson is special to me. Not only am I staying home those two weeks with my family, I'm playing in front of lots of friends and family. I am a member at Colonial and spend most of my time playing there. Colonial is the best!
What will you do with your free time while at home?
While at home I enjoy spending a few days doing nothing when I return from a trip. I love taking my daughter Maddy to gymnastics and my son Mason to hockey and baseball. I always love those times when my wife Jennifer and I get out together and with friends. Truluck’s has to be our favorite spot for a glass of wine— love the bar area there.
How does being home affect your day-to-day preparation?
I try and get my workouts and practice times with Randy Smith while my kids are in school and also time on the range at Vaquero. I try and get a few rounds in at Vaquero and of course the big game at Colonial. And I always make sure I'm home for dinner.
Where does Colonial CC rank amongst all the great courses you’ve played? What are your favorite courses? (Any in North Texas?)
Colonial is definitely in the top three just because of what the place means to me. Pebble Beach is probably my favorite place to visit. Aside from playing Colonial, the Masters is the one tournament you have to and want to play—the coolest event by far.
You earned a PGA Tour Card in 2003 and your first Tour win shortly thereafter in 2004. What has been your most memorable moment in golf?
You remember every moment that stands out. Shooting 62 to win my first event, making a 10-footer on last hole to win in '08, winning the Sony Open in '10. But I will say, I will always cherish the day I was given my PGA Tour card in '03 at the Web.Com Tour Championship.
You didn’t waste much time in earning your first win, or in starting the Ryan Palmer Foundation (RPF). Please tell us more.
We started the Ryan Palmer Foundation in 2003. I started thinking about ways for me to give back to the area where I was raised. I have always thought about what the people of Amarillo, Texas, mean to me and wanted to give back to them and the city. We started out by doing little things with kids in the area. We really started big by giving to the Northwest Texas Health Care Children's Hospital. We Built the RPF Healing Garden for those kids to go out and enjoy the outdoors while in the hospital. Also, we built the Palmer sports zone and Palmer Playhouse in the hospital for those kids who could not be outside. Computers, video game systems and numerous books and games were added to the rooms.
What is the Ryan Palmer Foundation currently up to?
Our drive now is “Birdies 4 Brighter Smiles.” People can go online and donate any amount for every birdie I make during the season. The money for this program goes toward providing young kids with the proper dental care they need, whether it be braces, implants, or restorative care—what kids need to help boost their self esteem and to give them better dental health. I feel very blessed to give this to these kids. It puts the biggest smile on my face, and most importantly, it gives the kids something to smile about.
Your partnership with Southlake based Kids Matter International has helped many children here in North Texas and abroad.
I wanted to get more involved in the area Jen and I call home. We brought the idea to give school backpacks to KMI’s Around the Block event to a good friend of mine Coye Conner. Jen and I love being able to give to the kids and we have even taken our son to help pass them out. The partnership has been awesome!
Through the partnership you were recognized as the KMI 2015 Synergy Award recipient. How did that feel?
Jen and I were shocked when we received the Synergy Award. It was totally unexpected. I was very happy for Jen to be recognized because I know the time she puts into our foundation and our family, and how much she cherishes helping Kids Matter. I am hoping for some big plans to happen with Kids Matter and our plans to give back even more in the future to the DFW area.
We have to ask, what is your favorite North Texas Burger Joint?
Favorite burger is Kincaid’s. I order the half-pound Cowtown style—sautéed jalapeños and onions. Wow!