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Palmer Set to Defend in Sony Open
Ryan Palmer notched his third career win on the PGA Tour in last year's Sony Open. The Texan is back in Hawaii for this week's event, which returns to Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, the tournament site since its inception as the Hawaiian Open in 1965.
In last year's event, Palmer was on the final hole tied for the lead with Australia's Robert Allenby. Chipping from 50 feet off the green, Palmer hit his approach too hard but, luckily, instead of going past the hole it banged into the pin and stopped inches from the cup, setting up his winning birdie.
He closed with a 4-under 66 for a 15-under total. Allenby had a chance to extend the tournament into a sudden-death session, but his second shot out of the rough on the par-5 18th flew over the green, and he missed a 10-foot birdie attempt that would have forced more holes.
"It was a good chip," Palmer said then. "The grain was running against me. I was either going to hit it fat or do what I did. Fortunately, I got the good break."
On Tuesday, the 34-year-old Palmer, whose previous victories came in the 2004 FUNAI Classic at the Walt Disney World Resort and the 2008 Ginn sur Mer Classic, met with reporters and discussed last year's Sony Open win and his chances to repeat this year in the $5.5 million event.
He tied for 15th in last week's Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort in Maui with a 12-under 280 total, 12 shots behind winner Jonathan Byrd.
MODERATOR: We'd like to welcome Ryan Palmer into the interview room, the defending champion here at the Sony Open in Hawaii. Ryan, thanks for coming by and spending a few minutes with us. Let's get you to start off by looking back at last year and the win here.
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, it's great to be back here and remembering those moments from last year. Walking up to the 18th with Robert, and pulling the chip and tap it in for the win. What better win? I've never led wire to wire like that. It's a moment I'll never forget, and hopefully we'll relive some of those moments this year.
MODERATOR: Do a little recap of your 2010 season and also your expectations for the upcoming year?
RYAN PALMER: I came in last year not knowing what to expect. Had some good practices a couple days before and got here and kind of read an article and learned how to take each day for that day, and that was it. I started off with a 56 and a 55, I believe. Was one of the leaders, woke up the next day and just tried to tell myself it was a new day and not worry about it.
Fortunately, I kept getting better and better each day and led wire to wire. So, basically, after that, to win the event but to win your first tournament of the year is pretty special. I'm excited to be back here. Had a good week last week at Kapalua and the Hyundai Tournament of Champions, and I'm excited about trying to repeat.
Q. Last year right in the middle of the summer, things didn't go as well. Was it equipment issues? Then you kind of turned it around lately, but what happened in the middle?
RYAN PALMER: Yeah, I had made one cut out of 12 events. Pretty interesting couple months there. But halfway through I got a new set of irons at The Players, a new set. Had them matched up, I thought, but it was my first cut after that stretch I had to go in and take a look at my wedges to make sure. And he came back and said they were a degree off on the lie. So I had them all checked and every one of them were about a degree and a half up right to what the numbers were on the Taylor-Made truck. So we made them all flat, and took off from there. And I think I made 12 or 13 straight cuts since then, and had the second place at Bridgestone and two Top 10s. I think it helped me out more than anything. I was hitting the ball better and more Crisp. But in my mind, mentally, it definitely proved to be a turning point.
Q. What were the shots doing with your irons that were off? Were you moving them right?
RYAN PALMER: Honestly, I didn't even pay attention to it. I was only missing the cut by one or two shots it seemed like. I wasn't playing bad or terrible, but then something went off. When I fixed them, it was like this feels a lot better now.
RYAN PALMER: No, we talked about it, and he said watching the patterns and all that stuff. Yeah, it was a good lesson. Learned to check my equipment more often, and, you know the guys in the truck have them at the number I want them at so, we'll keep an eye on that for a couple of weeks.
Q. Is there anyway to safeguard? You said you checked them at some point. When you get a set, no matter what, make sure right then and there that they're exactly what you want?
RYAN PALMER: And I did. I didn't get them from the guys at Taylor-Made. I've been using them the last two years, which I probably should have done, honestly. But I think it's just over time as well and the use, that's why it takes a couple of weeks just to double check and give me peace of mind that knowing your clubs are the way you want them to be, so lesson learned.
Q. You didn't expect to play in foul weather here in Hawaii, do you?
RYAN PALMER: No, you don't come here expecting this. You come here expecting to get in the water and get a tan. It's unfortunate for Sony and this great tournament. Hopefully, we'll get out there tomorrow and get the tournament going. It's too bad the Pro-Am guys aren't able to play today. I think we'll go over to the hotel and hang out with them a little bit and visit with the guys. So, yeah, it's unfortunate not to get to play today.
The transcript for the above interview is courtesy of ASAP Sports.