Ryan Palmer recruited Scottie Scheffler for the Zurich Classic with a genius tactic

ryan palmer walks ahead of scottie scheffler

Ryan Palmer has always been an ace recruiter when it comes to the Zurich Classic, but to land Scottie Scheffler, he took it to another level.

Getty Images

Ryan Palmer is notorious for snatching up the best talent in golf when it comes to the Zurich Classic. The PGA Tour’s only team event allows players to form two-man teams each spring, and Palmer doesn’t let the opportunity go to waste.

In 2017, the first year the Zurich was a team event, Palmer teamed up with fellow Texan Jordan Spieth, who was then the 5th-ranked player in the world. The duo finished solo fourth.

Jay Haas and his son, Bill Haas, at the 2018 U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills.
Why a team with the longest odds to win this week is also the best story
By: Josh Berhow

Their team missed the cut in 2018, and when Spieth elected to skip the event the following season, Palmer switched it up. This time, he joined up with World No. 4 Jon Rahm. Palmer and Rahm blitzed the field that week, shooting three consecutive sub-65 rounds before a Sunday 69 to win by three strokes.

“Jordan and Wesley [Bryan],” Rahm said at the conclusion of the week. “Sorry, we already have a partner for next year.”

The defending champs did not get a chance to defend their title in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, but they did team up once again in 2021, finishing in solo seventh.

With Rahm opting not to return to New Orleans this season, Palmer has been forced to find another teammate. He shot for the stars again, this time enlisting the services of Masters champ Scottie Scheffler.

And although a couple of Texans pairing up for the week is a logical occurrence, it didn’t stop fellow Tour pro Justin Thomas from poking fun at Palmer’s recruiting efforts.

“So I want to play with guys that I know real well, good friends of mine,” Palmer said this week. “Not just because obviously the big talk around is I keep playing with guys that are top-ranked players. Well, they want to play with me, which is a good thing.”

Palmer and Scheffler both reside in the Dallas area, and they regularly play together when the two are home. Palmer got to know Scheffler when the latter was a junior golfer, and the two are both pupils of GOLF Top 100 Teacher Randy Smith.

However, that doesn’t mean Palmer didn’t use a bit of his recruiting magic to secure the commitment of the top-ranked player in the world.

“The thing that really sealed it was I sent a picture of me and Jon with the trophy, but I imposed his face on it,” Palmer said. “Photoshop. I think that got him.”

We’ve done our best to recreate the photo below.

ryan palmer holds trophy with another man
Getty Images

“We play a lot of golf at home with Jordan [Spieth] and [Tony] Romo and stuff,” Palmer said. “We have a good time doing it. Just good friends. We play a lot of practice rounds together, and that’s kind of about it.”

The two might be good friends, but Palmer’s dedication to recruiting can’t be undersold. Although there are no world ranking points on the line this week, there are FedEx Cup points available. Not to mention $8.3 million in prize money.

This partnership has been in the works since mid February — when Scheffler was fresh off his first Tour victory. Palmer sure knows how to pick a solid partner.

“I kind of had a good way in there, I thought,” Palmer said. “I knew he wouldn’t play in Hilton Head, wasn’t going to Mexico, wasn’t playing the week before the Nelson, so I was like there’s no way he takes four weeks off.”

That prescient thinking certainly paid off. Now, Palmer is teamed up with the hottest golfer in the world. And if Scheffler continues his current form, Palmer could be in line for his first victory in three years.


Zephyr Melton

Golf.com Editor

Zephyr Melton is an assistant editor for GOLF.com where he spends his days blogging, producing and editing. Prior to joining the team at GOLF, he attended the University of Texas followed by stops with the Texas Golf Association, Team USA, the Green Bay Packers and the PGA Tour. He assists on all things instruction and covers amateur and women’s golf. He can be reached at zephyr_melton@golf.com.