A week after his father's death, Ryan Palmer in contention at Barclays
By Doug Ferguson
EDISON, N.J. (AP) – In what is supposed to be a chaotic chase for big money in the FedExCup, Ryan Palmer is finding a small measure of solace on the golf course.
It's a reminder that it's a game he gets to play for a living. And it's a chance to take his mind off the man who introduced him to golf.
Palmer's father, Butch, was killed last week just north of Amarillo, Texas, when he lost control of his SUV and was thrown from the vehicle when it rolled several times. His 71-year-old father died at the scene.
Palmer knew it was best to play The Barclays, and he's been playing well. He had a 3-under 67 on Friday and was in the mix going into the week at the opening FedExCup playoff event at Plainfield Country Club.
"It's been difficult, obviously," Palmer said. "Inside the ropes it's been a little easier because I'm able to kind of get away and play with some ease and some peace, not allow shots to affect me as much, just because I think at the end of the day we're just playing golf. I'm able to go out there with a little bit of calmness."
Palmer said he speaks every day with his mother, who is home in Amarillo and doing well, with plenty of support around her. That helps.
Nights are the hard part.
"It's tough sometimes when I'm alone," he said. "But you try to just think about the good times and knowing he's peaceful and happy."
There is abundance of those.
Palmer spoke Friday about when he was 9 years old and his father took him out to play for the first time. His father loved the game and played off a 6 handicap. He left the fundamentals to a golf pro. The father simply introduced him to the game, and Palmer went with it.
He has three PGA Tour wins – two in Florida, one in Hawaii – has played in the Masters five times. Nothing was more special than when Palmer arranged to play Augusta National ahead of time with his father.
"His shining moment," Palmer said. "I remember him talking about it when we got done playing back in 2005. Of course, he's been to every Masters, but I would say that was one his more special moments we had together."
Palmer said he never gave a second thought to not playing the FedExCup opener, mainly because his father would have wanted him to.
"He was one of those stubborn guys," Palmer said. "The last thing he wanted was anybody standing over him. He didn't want to be in a box, he said, and everybody looking down at him. Not playing was really not a question. My mom wouldn't have wanted me not to play. It would be a lot more memorable if something was to happen this week. But I'm able to just play with some peace and quiet out there. Feels good."
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