EDISON, NEW JERSEY | For Ryan Palmer, there’s peace inside the ropes at the Barclays this week.
Last week, Palmer’s 71-year old father – Butch to his friends – died when the car he was driving rolled over near his home in Amarillo, Texas. The family held a service for Butch Palmer last week and his son is close to the lead at the midway point of the first event in the FedEx Cup playoffs.
“It’s been difficult obviously,” Palmer said after shooting 67 Friday at Plainfield Country Club. “Inside the ropes it’s been a little easier because I’m able to get away and play with some ease and some peace I think. Not allow shots to affect me as much just because, at the end of the day, we are just playing golf.”
Palmer started the week 56th in FedEx Cup points and a good finish at The Barclays will move him higher and closer to securing himself a spot in the 30-player Tour Championship field in four weeks.
As a 9-year old, Palmer began playing golf with his father’s guidance. Palmer’s dad was never better than a 6-handicap but, along with Palmer’s mother, made sure Ryan got around to as many junior events as he could play.
Asked about specific memories he has of his father, Palmer recalled the day in 2005 when he took his dad to play Augusta National. They took the usual photos and Palmer said his father never stopped talking about that day.
This week, Palmer is carrying a metal badge with him that belonged to his father, one small way of keeping his father close.
“I’m able to go out there with a little bit of calmness,” Palmer said. “Talk to mom every day. She’s at home. She’s good. She’s got so many people around her. That’s comforting knowing that I can be out here doing this and knowing she’s got a lot of people around her.
“At night, it’s tough sometimes when I’m alone. But you try to just think about the good times and knowing he’s peaceful and happy.”