A flight to remember with Ryan Palmer

HONOLULU – After two weeks in the islands, I’m ready to get home. I usually grab a red-eye flight out of Honolulu on Sunday night after the Sony Open. This time, the flight went from Honolulu to L.A. Of course, with the Bob Hope Classic the next week, there usually are players on the flight as well. This time, I saw Charles Howell III and Carl Pettersson in the gate area. I usually try to steer clear of players outside of the course. They want privacy, and I do as well. So it wasn’t until the plane started boarding that I saw Charles and Carl. Charles was walking one of Pettersson's daughters on the plane. It turns out he needs the practice; he just found out that his wife is going to have a daughter in May.

Pettersson then got on with his wife and other child, rolling in a baby car seat. It was my turn, but just as I was giving my ticket to the agent, I heard my name called. It turned out that there was one seat left in first class, and I was upgraded. So I got my ticket, 3B, and got on the plane. As I walked to my seat, I saw Charles in 3C with Carl’s daughter in 3D. Charles and Carl’s wife were in 4A and 4B, with Carl and his other child behind that. I walked up to 3B and found that the person occupying 3A was none other than Ryan Palmer. Yes, the same Ryan Palmer who had just won the Sony Open.

So I sat down and immediately determined that Palmer had been celebrating his victory with the same zeal he used in winning earlier that day. He was not obnoxious but maybe a little louder than normal - nothing I couldn’t handle.

Unfortunately, a woman in first class thought Palmer was a little loud and expressed her displeasure to the flight attendant, who to his credit notified the woman of Palmer’s recent accomplishment. Then the flight attendant mentioned the woman’s complaint to Palmer, who apologized.

Outside of the normal chit-chat you have with a person on a plane, I learned that Palmer is a TV buff and loves to watch movies and TV shows over and over, to his wife’s dismay. He loves Rocky movies, Westerns and the movie “Dumb and Dumber.” I wouldn’t read too much into that.

The flight was relatively uneventful, outside of the headache I suspect Palmer had when we landed in L.A.

When we landed, I checked my e-mail. The Official World Golf Rankings popped up, and I saw that Palmer had moved up to 92. When I informed him of that, he asked where he had been before. I told him 282, and he looked at me and said with a smile, “Pretty big jump,” and then went back trying to set his new $40,000 Harry Winston watch he received from winning Sony.

Palmer and Howell are off to Palm Springs, Calif., and I’m off to Richmond, Va.

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