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THE PRESIDENTS CUP ANNOUNCEMENT
February 25, 2015
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Good morning from Quail Hollow Club, nice to have you here.Â I'm Gary Williams from Golf Channel, very pleased to be joined by the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Mr.Tim Finchem; Governor of the great state of North Carolina, Pat McCrory; president of Quail Hollow Club, Johnny Harris, and the 2015 United States Presidents Cup captain, Jay Haas.Â Welcome, gentlemen, to you all.
Commissioner Finchem I'm going to turn it over to you for this great announcement.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Thank you, and good morning, everyone, thanks for being here.Â I do want to thank Governor McCrory for being here, in particular.Â The Governor was mayor of Charlotte when we announced what's now the Wells Fargo in 2002, one of the very premiere events on the PGA TOUR.Â You spoke that day and you're back, Governor, in a new role.Â We appreciate that.
We have a couple of our finest players here, Johnson Wagner and Webb Simpson are here with us today, who both live here in Charlotte and we appreciate you guys coming over.
I want to thank Jay for coming down from Greenville to be here this morning.Â Jay has got a lot of duties this year as captain of the U.S. Team.
We are excited about being here and we are excited because we extended partnership that's been very special to the PGA TOUR.Â There has never been an event on the PGA TOUR that took off so quickly and went to the top of the list for all of our players in the space of a year.Â And that's what happened here with the Wells Fargo and their partnership with Johnny Harris and the membership and board at Quail Hollow.
The attention that has gone in every moment from the start to building the finest possible tournament has paid great dividends.Â They have been a leader from day one.
And I would just remark about one thing in particular; that in the first year of that tournament here at Quail, a record was set; it was the most money was ever raised in the first year of any tournament on the PGA TOUR for charity, over a million dollars for Teach For America, and every year it's grown.
It's just been a great partnership, and so we are very, very delighted because of that relationship and relationships to announce today that in 2021, Quail Hollow will be the host of The Presidents Cup played in that year.
We look at this as coming to Charlotte at a place that has a phenomenal golf course, one of the players' favorites.Â But also, we look at it as really coming to the Carolinas.Â And we are appreciative of the Governor being here to represent North Carolina.
We know that Nikki Haley, the Governor of South Carolina, who really worked overtime to help bring new sponsorship to Hilton Head in what is now the RBC tournament at Hilton Head, is going to be equally supportive from the South Carolina side.
It's appropriate that we think about it that way, because these two states have a great tradition in the game of golf and a great tradition of hosting big tournaments for our players.Â And right now, if you look around and look at Hilton Head and look at the Wyndham in Greensboro; one of the best Champions Tour events we have, the SAS in Raleigh; that the United States Golf Association comes to Pinehurst every few years; that the PGA comes to Kiawah every few years.Â So it's a rich tradition.
We'll be playing the Wells Fargo over in Wilmington, North Carolina in 2018 when the PGA Championship is here; in Wilmington, where I first saw Arnold palmer in person when I was ten years old play in Wilmington, play and win the old Azalea Classic; and four years later, he was captain of The Presidents Cup team for the U.S. in 1996.
So this is a great golfing area and we want to reach out to people all across both states as we move toward 2021.
When we talk about The Presidents Cup, I think you have to go back to the start and look at the evolution of it.Â It really was a very simple reason to start The Presidents Cup.Â In the early 1990s, Greg Norman was No. 1 in the world, and he was in that position for over 300 weeks, and he did not have the opportunity to play in those years on the stage of a Ryder Cup which is a unique format that captivates the interest of anybody who is either there or watches it on television.Â In my view, it's the best golf on television.
But it wasn't only Greg Norman.Â You had Ernie Els who had just won the United States Open in 1994; you had Vijay Singh who was at the top of his game; you had Retief Goosen coming forward to win a couple of Opens; you had a cadre; Nick Price, who won a couple major championships in the early 90s.
Our idea was, let's put our best international stars on that stage with a match against the United States, and that was really the driving purpose.
But then it quickly became so much more because to extend the philosophy of the PGA TOUR where you raise money to help people, The Presidents Cup became dedicated to taking all the net proceeds, parceling out to the captains and players and let them give it way to their favorite charities.
And since the inception, over $32million has been donated to charities by the players from the proceeds of The Presidents Cup.Â And then in the last ten years, really a recognition that The Presidents Cup helps grow the game, particularly internationally.
I'll give you‑‑ there are a lot of stories in that regard, and I just want to relate two because I think they are particularly salient in terms of the impact that these matches have.
First was in 2003 in South Africa.Â Nelson Mandela attended the matches, and he and President Mbeki at that time made it very clear that they embraced where golf was coming from in South Africa and where it could go.
They also indicated publically that they felt that their chances of bringing the World Cup of soccer to South Africa had been significantly enhanced because The Presidents Cup had made a decision to go to South Africa after the end of apartheid.Â And lo and behold, that happened.Â And golf really had a positive impact because of that.
More recently, just in the last few weeks, President Park of Korea, where The Presidents Cup will be played in Seoul in just a few months now, attended a cabinet meeting.Â President Park had met Captains Price and Haas, when she agreed to the Honorary Chair a few months ago.
And she flew from that meeting a few days later to meet with President Obama in Myanmar, and she opened the conversation with President Obama in front of all the media with this statement.Â She said, "Mr.President, I think we have something in common."
And he said, "What's that?"
She said, "Well, I'm the Honorary Chairman of The Presidents Cup in Korea, and you are Honorary Chairman in the United States."
At which point they entered into this dialogue about how the game of golf in Korea has been generating champions, particularly among women but also among men.
Then two weeks ago at a cabinet meeting in Korea, and I think that you have to understand that in a lot of Asian countries, golf is viewed as an elitist sport, and it's frowned upon in Korea for members of the public sector to play the game of golf.Â It's not banned but it frowned upon.
And she took note of this in a cabinet meeting and she said:Â "We can't do that.Â We are hosting one of the biggest events in golf.Â We recognize that golf is a good thing for our economy.Â It's a good thing for economic impact and it's certainly a good thing for the people that play it.Â So I'm directing my director of tourism and culture to take steps to even more invigorate the game of golf here in Korea," which is a great signal to Korea for the future of the game, and also something that's rippled through conversations around Asia.
So when these players, these great players go forth to play these matches, it really will have an impact to help people and to help grow the game of golf.Â And you all here in Charlotte have demonstrated that through the Wells Fargo over the years and we are really, really excited to see that continue.
Now, I'll just conclude this by one admonition here, if I could.Â The tradition of The Presidents Cup is that every single year it's been played since 1996, which was the second Cup, it has been bigger and better than the previous Cup.
And that challenge was thrown down to Jack Nicklaus and his team when the Cup went to Columbus in 2013, and even with bad weather, they had the biggest and best Presidents Cup yet.
We expect that to be the case this year in Korea.Â We expect it to be the case in 2017 when it's played at Liberty National in New York, and it will played overseas again in 2019 and then it will be here.
I just want to say, Johnny, and Governor, you have a bigger and bigger challenge, because the bar keeps going up.Â But we think you're up to it and we look forward to it.Â I just want to thank all of you for this commitment.Â This is a big commitment.
Johnny Harris asked me about having The Presidents Cup come to Quail, I think it was 1996.Â Arnold Palmer was the captain of the team, and Johnny said, "This would work so great at Quail."Â Â Â And I apologize it's taken us a few years to get here, but we're delighted to be here.Â Thank you very much.
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Thank you, Mr.Commissioner.
Governor, the Commissioner alluded to your time here as being the mayor.Â What does this signify for the state of normal Carolina?
GOVERNOR McCRORY:Â WELL, the Carolinas, as the Commissioner stated, has such a rich golf history.Â In fact, it seems like yesterday when I was nine years old trying to get the autographs of Arnold Palmer and Sam Snead at the GGO at Sedgefield in Greensboro.
Since then, I got to see the U.S. Open and the Wyndham and here the great course at Wells Fargo and what they have done here with this great tournament, and the list goes on and on and on.
And Nikki Haley, by the way, is a very good friend of mine; and we understand the importance of the Carolinas working together, especially during these cold winter months to just imagine beautiful, green fairways, thousands of spectators and international audience putting their eyes on the Carolinas, which Mayor Clodfelter and I know will help us with great travel and tourism dollars and bringing people from all over the world to watch the greatest golfers in the world.Â But it's also going to help sell the Carolinas, and especially North Carolina; to see the quality of life and the beauty that we have here.
So this is a big‑time announcement, not only for golf and entertainment, because I love golf, and I've been watching golf since I was nine years old and been a fan of the golfers that you mentioned.Â But it's also huge for our economy,Â Â and talking about the great, rich resources that we have here in North Carolina.
So I'm excited to show off our state.Â I'm excited to show off our city, and this great golf course that Johnny and the membership have helped build is second to none.Â We're very, very proud of this announcement and I'm going to appreciate all the visitors from across the world that will have their eyes on Charlotte, North Carolina.
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Johnny, vision is required to think about and having the thought about having a PGA TOUR event, which you've done and done at the highest level.Â You have a major championship on the horizon, but you shared a story with me early this morning about your dad and Mr.Palmer.Â I would imagine Mr.Palmer down at Bay Hill this morning has got a wide smile to see where this club is present day and where it's going.
JOHNNY HARRIS:Â Absolutely you're right.Â He and I had a wonderful conversation.Â I sort of avoided talking to him because I can't keep a secret.Â As most of y'all know, I can't keep a secret.Â So I called him and I said, "Arnold, you know, all that we've done here with golf" ‑‑ started that night when he told my father, "if you build a golf course and it's a good one, we'll bring the best players in the world here."Â Â
So that's the thing that we continue to build on and I think the interesting thing, and I just was thinking about the history of the game for me and Charlotte and in the Carolinas, and the names that you think about, Harvey Ward and some of the older names, and the fact that Arnold Palmer was here and so much a part of it.
But there's a name that we lost this year in the last year, that a lot of people don't understand was from Charlotte and was really someone who blazed a trail for the game, and that's Charlie Sifford.
I want you to know that I'm sure he's looking do you know here at us with that cigar sticking out of his mouth, saying, you know, you turned out all right, too, Johnny.
But I had the great good fortune to play with Charlie in a senior tournament here and we used to talk about the old days.Â He was a man who stood up for what he believed.Â But he also began to bring this game to other people, and this is nothing more than taking the game and putting it on an international platform and continuing the fine work that Arnold and Charlie and all the great players on the TOUR do.
So we are excited about that.Â On behalf of the board of governors and the membership here, we really look forward to doing the best job ever for The Presidents Cup.
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Jay, this is personal on a couple of levels, because I was with you when you were announced as the 2015 United States Presidents Cup captain out at Missouri, but you're also a member here.
So you understand as somebody who has seen where this club started, where it currently is, and where it's going; The Presidents Cup is about the players, but the venue allows the players to shine at their brightest.Â What about this venue for a match‑play, team international competition?
JAY HAAS:Â I've seen it grow since I guess 1978.Â Jan and I moved here and still have some great friends here that we come see.Â But the growth of the club itself kind of mirrors the growth of The Presidents Cup, I believe.Â It's amazing.Â I've been around the country‑‑ I haven't been to every city or anything like that but just what has gone on here with this man, what he's done here at this club, it's one of the top clubs in the entire country and it will be an unbelievable venue for this; I think showcasing not only the city, but the people.
I'm a transplant here, I grew up in Illinois but I was welcomed here, going to Wake Forest just up the road, and to this day, I feel like this is such a big part of our lives and is somewhat a home.Â Our two sons were born here in Charlotte, just down the road now in Greenville, but it just has a great feel about it.
As I said, the people have been to me the top of the shelf.Â They have made it so much better in my life to have lived here and know the people here.
But as far as the players and the club itself, as you've seen over the years with the Wells Fargo tournament and what Johnny said about the best players in the world coming here, and that's been true.Â You've seen them walk up and down these fairways and seeing all the great shots that they have created; Rory winning here; Phil and Tiger being here; and you'll see that in 2021 in spades with 24 of the greatest players in the world.
There's nothing like team golf.Â I've been fortunate enough to experience that over the years, and for anybody who says the players don't care, as you saw that video, they are pretty intense when they get right down to it, and to make a putt to win the match or to win the entire Presidents Cup.
There's just no other feel like that to than to have 11 guys have your back.Â There's just nothing like it and you will see it here.Â It will be wonderful.
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Johnny, last thing.Â You have great relationships with today's current players.Â Word travels fast.Â Have you heard from anybody?Â Is there a level of excitement already that this has been announced?
JOHNNY HARRIS:Â There's a lot of excitement and a lot of people who have been friends of Charlotte for a long time.Â I think there's a Tweet out there right now from Phil that's pretty spectacular; that's just awesome, just awesome, about hearing when he was told.Â I tried to get to him, I left word on Bones‑‑ I've been trying to find them all.
But we really appreciate the players coming here and the support they have shown for the Wells Fargo.Â You think back, we had a seniors tournament and before that we had the Kemper Open, and this place has been a great place to watch players grow and become the great players in the world today.
So we just look forward; this is an extension of that, and we deeply appreciate Tim Finchem and his team allowing us this opportunity.
GARY WILLIAMS:Â Gentlemen, thank you all for being here this morning, and we thank this assembled crowd, as well.Â We look forward to 2021.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports