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Sean Payton Talks about Caddying for Ryan Palmer at the 2013 Greenbrier Classic

Posted Jul 3, 2013

Transcript provided by PGA TOUR Communications

Sean Payton (AP Photo)


2013 GREENBRIER CLASSIC INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT:  RYAN PALMER AND SEAN PAYTON Wednesday, July 3, 2013    

MODERATOR:  We would like to welcome Ryan Palmer, PGA TOUR player, into the interview room, and New Orleans Saints Head Coach Sean Payton here, who will be caddying this week for Ryan at the Greenbrier Classic.  Ryan, you've played here one other time missing the cut I believe two years ago, but you're in the midst of a very fine season, quite a few Top 10s, and if you could talk a little about just the way your season's gone, the course.  And then Sean, if you'll talk about your opportunity to caddie, we'll open it up to some questions.  

RYAN PALMER:  It's been a great year, it's been very consistent on making cuts a lot and having three Top 5 finishes, 6th place, the 5th place at the Players was pretty special.  It's just been nice to be able to play more consistent.  My ball striking, the work Randy Smith and I have put into my game, it's starting to show a lot more on the golf course and I'm becoming a lot more I guess calmer out there and you take the bad shots with the good shots and I'm able to stay calm all day and relax out there.  It's been good, been playing well, having fun.  It's always fun when you play well obviously.  I came here a couple years ago and when I got here I was really -- I forgot how beautiful it was here, pretty special place.  The golf course, after playing the last two days I was starting to see how good of a golf course this is.  I'm excited for the opportunity and the unique week this week.  It's going to be fun to get the advice from a hard-nosed football coach.  Gave James the week off to relax, so I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun and try to win this thing.

MODERATOR:  Coach?  

SEAN PAYTON:  First off, just after two rounds yesterday, we had a practice round today, the pro-am, I certainly have a great appreciation for the job that these caddies have.  All of a sudden it starts raining a little bit, you're one hand short, you've got umbrellas going, towels going everywhere.  It is beautiful here, it's the first time for me to be at the Greenbrier.  People have been great.  Ryan and I have been friends for quite a while.  We met back in Dallas, certainly have had a chance to follow his career and kind of root for him from afar.  Every year we'll see each other in New Orleans at the Zurich and he usually makes a game or two and we might play during the summer whenever he's got some time when we're off.  This time of year for us in the NFL is very quiet, mini camps.  All of the organized team activities usually conclude middle to the latter part of June and then pretty much those next four weeks leading up to training camp, which for us starts July 25th, is some down time and vacation time.  So what started as a plan of vacationing here at the Greenbrier for a week, after two days I've quickly realized, this isn't a vacation.  But I'm excited about it.  It worked out and James is someone -- James Edmondson, Ryan's caddie, is someone I'm good friends with as well and we were just talking at dinner one night and it ended up working out.  So the last two days have been good, but I take the opportunity very seriously in that this is how he makes a living.  It's interesting to be on the course and to watch these guys, the athletes, the consistency, the way they hit the ball, it's pretty amazing.  I think I said last night at dinner, if there was two things guys would want to be able to do, I think unanimously it would be one, golf, and two, sing, not in any order.  99 percent of us can't do either.  But it's been a good start and I've enjoyed the first two days.  The weather held up for us today in the pro-am and hopefully our score that we posted holds up as well.  

Q.  Coach, can you talk about the contrast of the noise and the craziness of the NFL versus kind of having to stay calm and collected and quiet in the hush of the golf course?  

SEAN PAYTON:  Yeah, it's much different from that standpoint.  I think throughout the last two and a half, three days there's been a few parallels we've drawn maybe just in regards to specifically quarterback play, thought process with regards to visualizing a round or visualizing how a quarterback might see a game going.  But they are entirely different sports.  Nonetheless, there's still a discipline involved that involves a lot of hard work, a lot of tedious work that goes for the most part unnoticed, and it's pretty interesting to be around this venue and just see how these guys get around the course and what's going through their mind.  I think the challenge, and you take it for granted, but 18 holes, however many shots, however many days in a row, the ability to have 100 percent of your focus on that shot, I mean, I know when we jump in golf carts and drive around a course and shoot in the 90s, we might have great focus on eight shots total, but to do that and force yourself to have that same discipline I think is probably a big challenge for these guys.  

Q.  Coach, at what point are you going to allow him to serve as your defensive coordinator for a game, will it be this year, maybe 2014?  You owe him one, right?  

SEAN PAYTON:  Well, that's if he's allowing me to club his round tomorrow.  He can carry the headset cord.   

RYAN PALMER:  I'm trying to teach him the yardage right now.   

SEAN PAYTON:  I've got the yardage book down pretty good right now, comfortable with that. 

Q. Coach, how often do you get to golf generally in the year, and Ryan, what type of golfer is Coach?

SEAN PAYTON:  I'm going to answer both questions.  I'm not very good.  I really enjoy playing and enjoy practicing, maybe the range just as much as playing just as a release that it provides.  We might play one or two rounds a year separate from any type of pro-am back in Dallas where he lives.  But as a hobby, we don't have many hobbies, at least I don't have many, but that's something that's somewhat relaxing.  It's like that unattainable goal that just keeps avoiding you.  I felt that after the suspension, whatever my handicap was, it was certainly never going to get better than that moving forward.  So I had a chance to play a little bit during this time away, but it is a release and it's relaxing.  

Q.  Coach, kind of a two-part question for both you and Ryan.  First off, how was the reaction among your peers, the other caddies out there on TOUR right now?  And Ryan have you seen some of the golfers react as well just having Sean here this week?  

RYAN PALMER:  I know the caddies' reaction because a friend of mine, DJ Nelson, who caddies for Chad Campbell, sent me a text saying make sure you tell Sean where our caddie dining is because I came here and got him a family credential, so he's my father-in-law this week.  Make sure we see him in the dining room, so make sure he knows where caddie dining room is this week.  And we're staying down at the Quality Inn, so we expect to see him there later this week, too.  They've enjoyed it, they've talked to him on the range, some players and some guys as well.  You need to have somebody like that amongst us that we look up to and watch and follow low in a sport we love in the game of football.  It's pretty cool to hear the mindset of one of the great coaches in the game, Super Bowl winning coach.  It's a lot of fun to hear -- to have a coach like that is pretty cool.   

SEAN PAYTON:  I think it's pretty common that you would find the athlete interaction with these two sports, for instance, you know, Coach Beamer was out here today in the pro-am.  There's so many I know, so many football players, different athletes that all like playing golf.  One great thing about this sport is it kind of transcends cultures, professions, it's something everyone can play and there's a unique way to make it even with the handicap system.  That being said, you have some interaction with different players through your career and there's a handful of these golfers I've met and gotten to know, maybe not as close as Ryan, so there's always kind of been I think in athletics a little bit of tie to golf, especially with the professional athletes.  Sure, this is a little unique in that it's a TOUR event.  Ryan and I were talking, yesterday was a practice round and today's the pro-am, but again, I understand and completely appreciate that this is game week, and I know what game week feels like for me in the fall and I know what it will feel like for him and what it does feel like for all these golfers.  Just to be invisible as a caddie and do your job and be supportive, those are the things that I look at as being important for me this week.  

RYAN PALMER:  Just shut up and keep up, that's it.  

SEAN PAYTON:  That's right.

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