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THE PRESIDENTS CUP MEDIA CONFERENCE
November 5, 2014
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you and welcome to this press conference as we spend time with these very special guests and learn more about the preparation and enthusiasm that is building towards The Presidents Cup 2015 in less than a year.
I would like to extend the PGA TOUR's appreciation for all of the media for joining us here this morning.¬† Your support of The Presidents Cup is vital to the success of this event.
When it makes its first appearance in Asia here in Korea, it's important that we let the fans know how they can get involved and be a part of this once‑in‑a‑lifetime tournament.
Joining us on stage we have five very special guests.¬† You'll hear from each of them shortly and you'll also have the opportunity to ask questions.
Please join me in a warm welcome for Incheon City Mayor Jeong‑bok Yoo; PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem; Captain of the International Team, Nick Price; Captain of the U.S. Team, Jay Haas; and International Team vice captain, K.J. Choi.
Thank you, gentlemen, for being with us here this morning to help mark this very special occasion.¬† As you know, Incheon City is the first city in Asia to welcome The Presidents Cup, which continues its long tradition of attracting large‑scale elite events and conferences, not the least of which was the recently completed and highly successful Asian Games.
The City of Incheon has welcomed the PGA TOUR and The Presidents Cup already with open arms, and the support of city officials and leaders has already created strong bonds that will ensure The Presidents Cup 2015 is the most successful in history.
Mayor Yoo from Incheon City has been an integral part of this partnership and the PGA TOUR would like to thank him for his dedication and support.¬† To say a few remarks on behalf of Incheon City, please welcome Mayor Yoo.
MAYOR YOO:¬† The time has come.¬† I am very pleased to announce that Incheon city will be hosting The Presidents Cup 2015, and I welcome all of you, captains, vice‑captain, PGA TOUR officials and journalists with open arms, in the name of 3 million Incheon citizens.¬† As you all may know, Incheon City has hosted Asian Games and Asian Para Games this year.¬† It is a great honor to host The Presidents Cup 2015, which is as big of an event as the Asian Games, and we promise to fully prepare for a successful staging of the event.¬† Several distinguished guests have attended the press conference today.¬†
Thank you PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, U.S. Team Captain Jay Haas, International Team Captain Nick Price and International Team Vice Captain K.J. Choi for your presence today.
We visited Blue House yesterday, and President Park officially accepted our invitation for her to be the Honorary Chairperson for The Presidents Cup 2015.¬† Her formal acceptance signaled an official start of the event.¬† The Presidents Cup 2015 will be the first Presidents Cup held in Asia and in non‑English speaking country.¬†
This is why, for Incheon or a Korean citizen, The Presidents Cup 2015 is more meaningful than any other sports events.¬† I believe that you already know about all the different meanings The Presidents Cup 2015 has, so I won't mention about them.¬†
However, I want to emphasize that I will make sure that Incheon City will thoroughly prepare for a successful staging of the event, since The Presidents Cup 2015 is the first Presidents Cup held in Asia or in non‑English‑speaking country, and the host city is Songdo IBD, Incheon, which is becoming a world‑class city.¬† I believe that all of us, including myself and Commissioner Tim Finchem, will work together to successfully stage the event.¬† I highly appreciate your interest and support for The Presidents Cup 2015, and thank you all for your presence today.¬† Thank you.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you again, Mayor Yoo.¬† Your partnership is greatly appreciated and I know our next speaker will only echo those sentiments.¬† We are pleased to have PGA TOUR Tim Finchem.
The Presidents Cup was created in 1994 under the leadership of Commissioner Finchem to bring together the world's best non‑ European players in team competition against their American counterparts.¬† After ten stagings, The Presidents Cup has become one of the most coveted and highly‑anticipated events on golf's calendar, and I know that he is thrilled that the 2015 Presidents Cup will be played in Asia for the very first time, marking an important milestone in not only the history of this event, but in that of this great golfing nation.
To say a few words on behalf of The Presidents Cup and PGA TOUR, Commissioner Tim Finchem.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:¬† Thank you, Laura, and thank you everyone for being here today.¬† Mayor Yoo, it is truly an honor to be here in Incheon City this morning, and not the least of which are its ideal setting, ideal location, welcoming people and an incredible history of opening Korea to the world.
The Presidents Cup is proud to be contested in a city that has become not only a center stage for global sporting events, such as the Asian Games, but also one that has gained a strong reputation for attracting top businesses and international organizations.
Mayor Yoo, you are a great supporter of sports throughout Korea and in Incheon City specifically, and the partnership we have forged will only continue to grow under your leadership as we work together to showcase Incheon City and Songdo to the world.
I would also like to make special acknowledgment to Chairman Rory Yoo, who was with us yesterday at the Blue House, but is traveling today.¬† He is the chairman of The Presidents Cup 2015 organizing committee.
SBS, our long‑term television partner of the PGA TOUR here in Korea, and SBS, I should note, is going to be very involved in our television transmission and preparation as we get into next year.¬† Chairman Yeong is a great friend of the PGA TOUR's, and we're delighted to be able to work with him on this project.
Stan Gale of Stan Gale International, Stan who is sitting right up here was the visionary behind the development of Songdo, IBD and Incheon and the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club Korea where we will be playing these matches.
A special thank you to Citi and Rolex, the Global Partners of The Presidents Cup now for some period of time; two companies that are knowledgeable about sports marketing and have the interest of The Presidents Cup as one of their top priorities. And several additional partners who have already committed their support to the event, including POSCO, Asiana, Poongsan and Incheon City itself.
As you know, 2015 marks the first time The Presidents Cup will be held in Asia.¬† Even though there has been strong representation from Asia and Korea specifically, on virtually every team since the event's inception in 1994.¬† To bring The Presidents Cup here, shows not only the global appeal of this great event, but also the stature that Korea has taken on on the world stage in hosting competitions of the highest calibre with tremendous success.
In addition to what I know will be an incredible competition, and a great week for fans and visitors alike, we look forward to utilizing The Presidents Cup as a way to tell the story about the very strong relationship, partnership, friendship and alliance that the United States has with Korea.
The many years of partnership between our two nations is a compelling historic story that the world will see illustrated by the sportsmanship, camaraderie and international goodwill that are hallmarks of The Presidents Cup.
Along those lines, we were thrilled yesterday to announce President Park as honorary chair of The Presidents Cup 2015.¬† Since its inception in 1994, we have been fortunate to have sitting or former heads of state serve as Honorary Chair of The Presidents Cup and President Park's acceptance of the honorary chairman role further strengthens that important aspect of this competition.¬† Her support is an incredible endorsement in this important and historic moment in The Presidents Cup history and that of the sporting culture of Korea.
And I might add that President Park was very effusive yesterday in our meeting in her support of what this is going to be all about and when we unveil The Presidents Cup trophy for her to keep at the Blue House, her first comment was that she was going to make sure that it was on display for all guests coming to the Blue House over the next year.
While captains Jay Haas, Nick Price and advice captain K.J. Choi will be doing everything they can to win The Presidents Cup, I have no doubt they will also ensure The Presidents Cup and its participants showcase all that is good about the game of golf.
All three of these gentleman bring tremendous experience enthusiasm and knowledge to The Presidents Cup.¬† Nick has the distinction of being the captain with the most Presidents Cup experience as a player.
As a captain in 2013, his sincere love and passion for this event was definitely on display and he was a hugely popular and respected leader earning high praise from every member of his team.¬† We are thrilled that he is leading the International Team here again in 2015.
Jay Haas brings an impressive resum√© as a player and assistant captain to the event.¬† His rapport with the group of potential team members is second to none.¬† As Fred Couples' right‑hand man throughout the past three Presidents Cups, there was no better choice to take on the role as captain in 2015.
And K.J. Choi is such an incredible ambassador to the game, especially here in Korea; to lend his leadership and stature as vice captain, the first in Presidents Cup history to hold that title makes the momentous occasion of Asia's first Presidents Cup even more special.
Gentlemen, thank you for being here, and best of luck to you as you enter this final year of preparations for the 2015 event.
I want to thank everybody who has helped us so far and the many who will help us going forward to prepare for the event, and I note that last night, we had a terrific turnout of over 70 businesses from the Seoul area to learn more about The Presidents Cup and become more involved as we move forward.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you, Commissioner.¬† At this time we are excited to hear from the captains and our vice captain themselves, Nick Price, Jay Haas, and of course K.J. Choi.
It is truly an honor to have these three champions here with us today.¬† Amongst them, they have played in ten Presidents Cups as pretty tors with both Nick Price and Jay Haas on the very first teams in 1994.¬† They have won more than 100 professional golf tournaments around the world combined and they have been true gentlemen and ambassadors of the game.
But most importantly for us, they have each shown a dedication and a passion for The Presidents Cup that is evident in all they have done and all they will do to prepare for the event here in less than a year.
Let's take a moment to learn a bit more about our captains and vice captain.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Quite an impressive collection of resum√©s among these three gentlemen.
Let's begin by hearing from our International Team captain, Nick Price.¬† Nick is returning as captain of the International Team for the second time, but he also has the distinction of being the captain with the most experience as a player as he played on five previous international teams.¬† His accomplishments on and off the golf course are too many to name, as evidenced by his induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2003.
Nick, you've been a part of The Presidents Cup since its inception, both as a player and as a captain.¬† Could you talk a bit about the Presidents Cup and what it has meant to your career?
NICK PRICE:¬† First off, Mr.Mayor, thank you very much for your hospitality and it's an absolute pleasure for me to be here in Incheon, and we are very much looking forward to coming back here and competing for what is one of my favorite events.
I remember back to the early 90s, in fact, even earlier than that, back in the 80s, when The Ryder Cup took off and Greg Norman and myself and Ernie Els, we had no event to play in.¬† And I think the idea to have The Presidents Cup or to form The Presidents Cup came from Commissioner Finchem and Commissioner Beman back in the late 80s and we started talking about it in sincerity in the early 90s.
What is the most amazing thing about The Presidents Cup and The Ryder Cup for that matter is that it's not about the money.¬† It is about pride.¬† It is about playing for a team and having 11 teammates and going out there and showing the people how we compete head‑to‑head.
And when I look back on my experiences in The Presidents Cup, it's the camaraderie and the team spirit that supersedes everything to be honest.¬† It's not about whether you win your match for yourself.¬† It's the point that you made that contributes to your team.
And nothing was more important to us as the International Team than having that opportunity to win in Melbourne in 1998, which I was a part of that team.¬† There was a spread, we had a Japanese guy, New Zealanders, Australians, South Africans, Zimbabweans and Fijians on the team.¬† For the 12 of us to come together as a group for that week, it's very hard to put into words to explain how important and how much fun it was.
I'm so excited that K.J. accepted the vice captaincy because I know that he is going to be a huge asset to, not only for me but to the team, but his presence in Korea and what he's done in international golf circles is phenomenal.
So I want to thank K.J. for agreeing to be my assistant captain, and also I know he's going to take a lot of pressure off me here because he's going to be able to do some of the press conferences and explain I think in Korean a lot better to the media than I can in English.
But we got a lot of work ahead of us.¬† We have got to come up with a team that can take on the might of America.¬† I've got a few tricks up my sleeve this year, this coming year.¬† K.J. and I are going to spend a lot of time on the road together meeting with the team, with the prospective team.
Members but more than anything else, I think as I said last night when I spoke is that I've been fortunate enough to go to a lot of places in this world but just like everything, including our team, it's made up of the people that you meet and the way that you are received and the hospitality that is extended to you.¬†
I honestly feel that this is going to be a very special Presidents Cup, because the people have been so hospitable and have received us so well, and meeting President Park yesterday was truly an honor.
So I want to congratulate Jay for being captain.¬† We have been friends for a long time, but our friendship may take sort of a bit of a back seat for a week or so next year.¬† But we have both played enough golf together to know that it's not about the individuals out there.¬† It's about the team and how well you come together as a team, and he knows that better than I do.¬† So thank you all very much.¬† Really, really looking forward to coming back in October.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you, Captain Price.¬† Your passion for this event is more than evident and I know you have an equally enthusiastic vice captain to assist you in your effort to win the Cup in 2015.
K.J. Choi is the first in Presidents Cup history to earn the title of vice captain and to serve in this role in The Presidents Cup 2015 here in his home country must be quite an honor.¬† K.J. was the first South Korean to make The Presidents Cup team and he has been an International Team member three times.
K.J., as the first vice captain in The Presidents Cup history, please tell us, what does it mean to you to see The Presidents Cup played in Asia for the first time and played here in your home country of Korea?
K.J. CHOI:¬† Thank you for your presence today:¬† All journalists, Commissioner Finchem, Mayor Yoo, Jay Haas and Nick Price.¬† After all those years of maintaining a good companionship with fellow golfers, I will be serving as the Vice Captain of the International Team.¬† It is very meaningful for me to have such title.¬† When I left Atlanta to go to the Republic of South Africa, I had many thoughts in my mind during my 18‑hour flight.¬†
First, I thought that the flight took forever, and I thought about my ceremony as well.¬† The most memorable part of the ceremony was that I felt very proud when the national flag went up and national anthem came on.¬† Each competition, I have heard from other golfers that we are fellow golfers, a team, and a family.¬†
As you all may know, golf is an individual sports.¬† However, during the competition, we eat together, wear same clothes, talk and discuss about our strategies for the next day.¬† My thoughts have changed from when I entered the PGA TOUR to when I participated in The Presidents Cup 2003.
I have participated in three Presidents Cups so far, and this will be my fourth time participating.¬† From the previous experiences I have had, I learned an important lesson:¬† We need to understand each other, not by speaking the same language, but by listening to each others' hearts.
This is the only way to a successful teamwork, and I pay a great attention on this aspect.¬† It took two and a half years for me to really make a big name for myself to other PGA TOUR players.¬† Now, everyone has been encouraging me.¬† I am thankful for having them as my fellow players, and I will encourage and lead them well, so we can have a good match.¬† I am very grateful that Korea is hosting The Presidents Cup 2015, as the first Asian country to host such event.
This could not have happened without your support, encouragement and leadership.¬† You have given tremendous opportunities to younger players.¬† Thanks to all the sponsors, this has become possible.¬† Now it is our turn to show you our gratitude by doing our best to make the best event.¬† One team will win, and the other will lose.¬† Even though the International Team lost eight times in the past, the ninth defeat will not be welcomed.
So, we will do our best to win this time.¬† The time has come for people to know about The Presidents Cup 2015, and I will do my best to let people know about this event.¬† We will definitely prepare today for a better tomorrow, and we are ready to impress Koreans with an event that everyone can participate.¬† Our future will be bright if we finish The Presidents Cup 2015, which is held at JNGCK, Songdo IBD, strong and make it a role model for future Presidents Cups held in Asia.
Because The Presidents Cup 2015 is a great opportunity for us to improve the national image, and images on the golf industry, I feel the responsibility to balance well between the position of a player and that of a Korean citizen.¬† Please show us your support with an active and positive PR in media.¬† We will make sure to repay by making The Presidents Cup 2015 an event that everyone can enjoy.
Thank you for your time today, and please support us for successful Presidents Cup.¬† Many other players are excited about the fact that Korea is the host country of The Presidents Cup 2015, and we will do our best to make it an impressive event for you all.
Lastly, I will assist Captain Nick Price well and do my best, so International Team can win this time in Korea.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you, K.J.¬† it will be an exciting year as you prepare for your role of vice captain but also prepare to possibly make the team.¬† Good luck to you.
And last but not least it is my pleasure to introduce to you U.S. captain, Jay Haas.¬† Jay has served as Fred Couples' assistant in the past three events and has been victorious in that role each and every time.¬† He was also a player on the 1994 and 2003 U.S. Teams so his connection to the event is very strong.
Jay, I know it's an honor for you to have been player, and captain's assistant, and now captain, 20 years after your very first appearance in event.¬† How will all of these experiences help guide you in your role as captain in 2015?
JAY HAAS:¬† It sure does not seem like 20 years has passed since that first Presidents Cup.¬† Being here the last couple days, the magnitude of the event has hit home I think for me personally, I think for Nick perhaps also.
What's been accomplished here in just a few short years is really beyond belief as we have looked out from the 37th floor here to this unbelievable facility.¬† I was here in 2010 for a Champions Tour event and just since then, the growth of the area is incredible.
The golf course has matured so nicely.¬† But as far as my past experience, I don't know that that will help us in any way.¬† Fred Couples is my assistant this time, as well as Davis Love, and perhaps some of their past experiences will help us.
But as these gentlemen have said here today, the camaraderie, the sportsmanship, what golf gives all of us, there's no other sport like it.¬† It brings the world together as it has here.¬† You have a gentleman from Zimbabwe, one from South Korea, one from the United States, and we are all legitimately good friends, best friends and not many sports can claim something anywhere near that.
So when these two teams meet in 11 months' time, you will see that out there on the golf course, certainly the competition and certainly the drive and the want to.¬† As you look at the videos that you've seen here and seen the best players and the Who's Who of golf, to see the passion that they display when they are out there; and as Nick said, there's no money involved.¬† This is about pride.¬† This is about country, team. ¬†The individual side of it is put aside, and you are striving to do your best for your team.
And that's something on a personal level, probably my greatest gift that's been given to me in my career as a golfer, to be on those teams; to be in the team rooms with the best players in the world.¬† When you see this event in 11 months, with 24 of the best players in the world, it's just kind of hard to fathom that at times I have been one of those 24 players.
And now to be on the captain's side is beyond believe.¬† I have enjoyed my three previous terms as assistant captain, had some great support from my captain Fred, but also Commissioner Finchem and all the staff at PGA TOUR headquarters.
Again, the magnitude of the event has kind of hit home to me this trip over here just to see this room filled with so many energetic, eager people, and I can assure you that we will do our best to uncover just what is up Nick's sleeve, the tricks that he has in store for us.
I think I speak on behalf of all the players in our anticipation coming over here for an unbelievable show.¬† Like I said, the golf course will be an unbelievable venue for this event and the people of south Korea have opened their arms to me, to Nick and to K.J., and they will do the same when we show up here next October.¬† Thank you.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you, Jay, and best wishes as you prepare to what we are sure will be another strong U.S. Team.
Q.¬† Looking at The International's record over the past ten events, it's not been that good.¬† Do you think the nature of the International Team where you have to bring players from the four corners of the globe, speaking different languages, playing on different tours; do you think that can affect the cohesiveness of a team in does it make it more difficult to build a team?
NICK PRICE:¬† It definitely does.¬† However, last year, or 2012 going into last year, I made a concerted effort to go out and meet all the players in the 15 months preceding the event and started talking to them as to what each‑‑ especially the guy who is were the veterans, the Ernies and the Adam Scotts and the Jason Days who had played multiple Presidents Cups, and asked them what they felt was lacking or what was going to be the best way for us to motivate the team to get them fired up to play against the Americans in America.
And when we arrived at Columbus, the unusual thing is the only time we were all in the same room for the first time was on the Monday on the eve of the event.¬† So even though we had had a lot of communication, it was the first time that everyone got together in the same room.¬† It was really kind of strange.
But the cohesiveness of that team and the morale, the team spirit, was to evident in that first meeting, and they were so keen and that night said that this was going to be the one that we were going to turn it around.
What happened over the next five days, six days, can only be surmised by saying, that's golf.¬† I don't know how best to explain it.¬† Those guys played their hearts out.¬† They played their tails off.¬† They did everything they possibly could on the golf course to stop the American Team from winning again, but we lost.
So it leaves me in a bit of dilemma this year as to how to approach 2015's Presidents Cup.¬† I think I'm going to do a lot of the same things in that travel and spend time with the guys, have dinners with them and like I say, I have a few ideas.¬† I think K.J. and I will get together and talk, discuss frequently as to, particularly as the time gets closer.
The teams are really up for grabs right now.¬† The players are all over the place and it will only really be roundabout May, June, when the team are starts taking shape, which is a difficult thing, because sometimes you go and meet three or four of the guys and they don't get on the team.
Logistically where our players are from makes it definitely.¬† But we need to get that camaraderie and morale again, and you know, golf, as I say, is a fickle game and it's all about momentum.¬† These team events are about momentum.¬† But hopefully there will be some changes made and we will be able to come up with winning that Cup again.
Q.¬† Can you talk about the economic impact of The Presidents Cup in Korea?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:¬† Finish well from an economic standpoint, any time you have a sporting event, it's an immediate positive economic impact on the area.
And actually, your President Park referenced this year in our meeting; that she was aware that golf has a long‑term impact on economic development and what she was referring to was that our telecast of this event will reach into over 230 countries, over a billion people.
And as I think most of you are aware, our television audience is very high in terms of reaching decision makers, corporate leaders, people that make business decisions and also people in the public sector and that translates into when you tell the story of what's happened here in Incheon, what's happened in Korea, hopefully to some extent the relationship of the United States and Korea, it's a very positive message that will help stimulate additional trade, travel, visits, etc., going forward.
So it's a short‑term and a long‑term impact, but I think your president already expects it will be very positive and we anticipate that will be the case.
Q.¬† What are the chances for your son, Bill Haas, to be on the team?
JAY HAAS:¬† Well, he's obviously been a wonderful player on the PGA TOUR for about ten years now.¬† He played in the event in Australia and he played last year in Columbus, Ohio.
Being the assistant captain on those teams with him as a team member, you can imagine the pride that Jan and I felt watching him be amongst those, as I said, about 24 of the best players in the world; I imagine any parent out there and in the world today can imagine the pride that we felt to see him on that team.
He's in decent position this year, I think his 20th, 21st right now, and I think as Nick said, that can change and will change quite a bit; as I think Ryan Moore last week was 26th and now he's fifth perhaps in the points.
So the qualifications will jump around quite a bit between now and the middle of next year.¬† Like Nick, I'll be watching the players who are hot and who are available, and hopefully Bill will be one of those players.
It will be a dream to have him on the team here without question, but you know, he's in a good position to do that, but without stating the obvious, he has to play well to be on the team; any of the 12 players that are on either team have to be on top of their game to qualify.
But it's been quite a thrill for me as a golfer, and certainly as a father to watch Bill's progress and his successes.
LAURA NEAL:¬† Thank you, gentlemen, for joining us today.
Before we close the formal portion of the press conference I'd like to briefly mention 2015 Presidents Cup tickets.¬† As you may have seen yesterday when President Park accepted the role of honorary chairperson for the 2015 event she also received the very first ticket to The Presidents Cup.
Fans who are interested in reserving their own spot for the event can now visit our now Korean-specific Presidents Cup: 2015PresidentsCup.com.¬†
The first 1,000 fans who reserve and fulfill their reservation will receive a special commemorative edition Presidents Cup coin.
I would like to introduce Mayor Yoo who has a special and traditional Korean toast.¬† The Makkoli, Korean rice wine celebrating unity will commemorate Captain's Day in our official countdown to the 2015 Presidents Cup.
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