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Amarillo native Palmer embraces veteran status entering year 17 on tour

Ryan Palmer opens his 17th season on the PGA Tour during Thursday‘s opening round of the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Hawaii. [Photo credit USA Today]

Amarillo native Ryan Palmer begins his 17th year on the PGA Tour when he tees it up during golf’s first event of 2020, at the Sentry Tournament of Champions in Kapalua, Hawaii.

The Amarillo High graduate will tee off at 3:30 p.m., during Thursday’s opening round.

Palmer, 43, is eligible to play in this tournament thanks to his PGA victory at the Zurich Classic Of New Orleans with his playing partner Jon Rahm last April.

The victory was the fourth of Palmer’s career on the PGA Tour, but his first since winning the Sony Open in 2010.

Palmer saw a successful season on the course in 2019. He qualified for the FedExCup Playoffs for the 11th time. He ended his year ranked 35th in the FedExCup standings, recording six Top-10 finishes, while making 15 of 21 cuts, clearing $2.8 million dollars.

For his career, Palmer, has made 261 cuts in 405 career starts, racking up a total of $26.5 million dollars.

Palmer took time out of his busy schedule to speak with Press Pass Sports about his upcoming season, his career, and his future expectations.

How is your game right now, and how excited are you to get this PGA season going?

“I’m excited. I had good start in the fall playing in Las Vegas, Korea and Japan. I’m feeling great, my body is feeling great for being 43-years old. I have a good mindset, and I just want to keep getting better.”

How much has the game of golf changed for you in 17 years on tour?

“I like the harder golf courses more than I used to. I’ve learned how to practice the right way, and I love the competition. Being one of the older guys now, I take pride in that. I love playing the young guys and beating them, and they love to beat us.”

With all of the young guys out there, do you have to change the way you prepare?

“The age on tour is going down every year. But it’s cool to be the veteran. It’s wild how good and how strong these young guys are. Charlie Hoffman and I were talking about how they keep us young. We have to stay young to be competitive. Those guys keep us in the gym, and have us taking care of our bodies.”

Do you still love playing golf as much as you always have?

“I do. I live for playing, practicing, and being on a golf course. I’ve been fortunate to be healthy, and not suffer a lot of injuries and play at a high level. I’ve gotten to play on some of the greatest courses in the world. I love this game, and I still love teeing it up Thursday through Sunday.”

I know you’ve been asked this a lot, but you snapped a near decade drought by winning the Zurich Classic last year. How big of a relief was that?

“I was on the green, and Jon (Rahm) and I just won, and I said ‘finally’. It had been nine years since it had happened. It was a team event but I’m not taking away from what Jon and I did. We were both on top of our games that weekend, and it was great to get my fourth win on the tour.”

It’s a long season, but what goals do you set for 2020?

“The first goal is always to win. I’m a competitor, and I want to win anytime I’m out there playing. I want to putt it better than I have. Putting is something I’m always working on. Another goal is to crack the Top 50 of the World Golf Rankings, and I’d like to play in all four majors, as well as getting to Atlanta for the Tour Championship. If those things happen, then you never know, the Ryder Cup is there at the end of the year.”

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