|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
JOHN DEERE CLASSIC MEDIA DAY
May 22, 2017
CLAIR PETERSON: This is one of my favorite days of the year. We thank all of the media for being here, for making us feel as if this is a big deal, which we always feel 365 days out of the year. I've been counseled, reminded, that I have a long history of rambling on to start this event and stealing the talking points of everyone that follows, so I'm only going to say a few things about those people that I know are not going to be behind the microphone here for a little while. The TPC at Deere Run staff, Todd Hajduk, the new golf professional Ron, and Alex, the superintendent, are unbelievably talented. They are award-winning themselves, and we're so privileged to always have TPC Deere Run as our host venue.
Our board members who are here, some of them are in golf shirts, some of them are in blue blazers. They are all volunteers that every month get together and try to pull this thing off, and then our staff, the gang of seven, who all year long do the same thing. We're so privileged to have a PGA TOUR event here, and we couldn't be more thankful.
So with that, I don't think I've stolen any talking points from anybody, and it really is my privilege, as Barry said, to introduce the chairman and chief executive officer of Deere & Company, Sam Allen.
SAM ALLEN: Thank you. Like Clair, I really look forward to this. I haven't had a chance to come to this in a few years, so this is a good opportunity for me. It always signifies that last-minute push between now and the Classic as everybody really gears up.
I do want to start by echoing what Clair said and thank all the volunteers for what they really do to make this a special tournament. You know, we had a little recognition event last night for Tournament of the Year, and we were commenting in there that Deere 20 years ago entered into this contract. Hans Becherer on 2 April signed a nine-year agreement. At that time, that was unheard of, a nine-year sponsorship agreement.
Fast forward 20 years, and we still have a contract now through 2023. Of the $79 million given to Birdies For Charity, about $77 of that has happened during the reign as the John Deere Classic. Finishing out last year in a phenomenal year of $10 and a half million which obviously we hope to duplicate, it is truly a great event that Deere is very, very proud to sponsor, and we look forward to bringing our customers and our friends in this summer and again having just a great event, and it's one of the reasons it's a great event is because we get great champions like Ryan. That's the type of person Deere likes to be associated with.
On behalf of John Deere, we are very proud to again be sponsoring the 2017 John Deere Classic.
CLAIR PETERSON: Thanks, Sam. It was a terrific event last night with volunteer chairs. Really starting in 1971, we had, I think, the '80s, '90s, 2000s, 2010s all represented there, and each of them have passed on the baton successfully as we've progressed and tried to improve the product over time.
Which brings us to 2017. We've talked about the universe always seems to deliver the right person for the right year, and it's already clear that Pat Shouse is the perfect person to be our volunteer chair this year. So I'd like to bring up to the podium Pat Shouse.
PAT SHOUSE: Thank you, Clair. Good morning, everybody. On behalf of our 1,700 volunteers, the board of directors and the tournament staff, thank you for joining us for the kickoff of the 2017 John Deere Classic. A very special thank you to Sam and John Deere for their 20 years of support for the John Deere Classic and their true commitment through 2023.
Our community is truly blessed to be associated with a company like John Deere and to have their name on our tournament year after year. And Ryan, we know how special time is to TOUR players, and we really thank you for joining us here today. And thank you for being part of the John Deere Classic family as a tournament champion. We look forward to more magic in July as you defend your title.
As we continue to celebrate the 2016 Tournament of the Year award, it reminds us that we need to continue to live the values of our tournament. Those values are to promote volunteerism, contribute positively to the way of life of our community, make a positive economic impact, and provide annual financial contributions to charity. I think we're doing a pretty good job on all those things.
But we are blessed to be able to do that on the platform of a PGA TOUR event, to help us achieve our goals and come together as a community in a common cause. We were proud to contribute $10.5 million to almost 500 charities in 2016 and make a 10 percent match the last four years. But to do this, it takes a lot of people that come together, and I'd like to thank a few of those people today.
First, it takes all the hard work of all those charities, their boards of directors and all their volunteers. It takes our 1,700 amazing volunteers. These are the unsung heroes that are the true heart and soul of the John Deere Classic. It takes our board of directors and our committee chairs and our past chairs, many of whom are here today. These are the people that work all year long and give generously of their time, their talent, and their treasures. It takes a dedicated and professional tournament staff led by Clair Peterson, leading new initiatives every single year. This team never ceases to amaze all of us with the great ideas that they continue to come up with to make this the best tournament ever.
It takes the PGA TOUR players, who are willing to make this their tournament stop, and we thank them. It takes TPC Deere Run, as Clair said, and the great grounds crew that we have to make this an exceptional event, and it takes the support of our community businesses, the small ones and the large ones that support our tournament year after year, and of course it takes the John Deere Foundation, for their committed partnership and support that makes the Birdies For Charity program such a success. The impact of this tournament continues with close to $81 million in charity since we began, 79 of that since the partnership with Deere began. John Deere remains in the top four of all PGA events in charitable giving and No. 1 in per capita giving.
This tournament has received what I feel is the most important award of all, and it's received the Most Engaged Community award four times in the last eight years on the PGA TOUR, and you can see why when you look at all of these people that it takes to come together to make this event a success.
We also want to thank each of you, the media, because there are great stories during this tournament, and you're the ones that bring those stories to life, whether it's about our volunteers, our players, or the charities themselves. You help make us successful. These results are a testament to our community coming together to improve the quality of life for all, and I know I speak for our board and our volunteers when I say we are each truly humbled and proud to be part of this tournament.
We're excited to see more magic happen in 2017 and look forward to seeing everyone there. Thank you.
CLAIR PETERSON: Thanks, Pat. So now, what you've all been waiting for. We are so fortunate, quite honestly, every year to have our defending champion come back for media day. It doesn't happen all the time, and Ryan is one of our kinds of guys. It's been so enjoyable spending time with him since 8:00 this morning, being reminded of what a terrific person he is, what a great family man he is, what a humble champion he is, and we've been lucky to have a lot of those kinds of champions. Maybe like the universe delivers the right volunteer chair, the universe has been good to us in delivering the kinds of champions that we really, really, really appreciate.
His story, you can look it up on Google or the PGA TOUR website, is so -- it's such one of accomplishment, I think. He really, back in 2004, was the amateur golfer that everyone talked about in the same terms as they did Bobby Jones. He had a Grand Slam accomplishment in 2004 if you can imagine this, of winning the NCAA championship, winning the U.S. Amateur, winning the Western Amateur, and winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links, the four biggest amateur events, all in one year. It's just unbelievable.
You know what he's done on TOUR. He's won five times. Obviously he won here last year, launched an end-of-the-year finish that got him, rightfully so, named to the Ryder Cup, and that was such an amazing story, as well, birdieing two of the last three holes to beat Lee Westwood and deliver the winning point for the Ryder Cup U.S. Team, which so needed a victory, so focused on his match that he didn't even realize that that was the winning Ryder Cup point. I think I read that his wife had to tell him there on that green, and had Jaime Diaz, a writer, remembering that in the 2004 U.S. Amateur he birdied three of the last four holes to win that championship. So he's steely and he's tough, but he's such a kind individual, father of two young children, married to Nicole, lives in Las Vegas now, and we're just so fortunate to have him here.
I think one final thing that I remember in re-reading his biography was at the Ryder Cup, sinking that final putt, pandemonium ensues, Davis Love remembers that in 1993 when he sunk the winning putt at the Ryder Cup, he lost track of the golf ball that he was playing with and never did retrieve it. Davis as captain, while everyone is congratulating Ryan, goes and picks up that golf ball and gives it to Ryan saying, listen, I didn't get mine back in '93, but you are going to want to keep this.
At the awards ceremony, Ryan gave that ball to Davis saying, this is your team, you picked me, you deserve it. I get kind of goosebumps just retelling the story.
Anyway, we couldn't be more proud of our 2016 champion. Please welcome back Ryan Moore.
RYAN MOORE: Well, you basically stole everything I was about to say. (Laughter.)
I don't even know where to start. But thank you so much. It's great to be back. It's always interesting, we go somewhere once a year, and you have a whole year of time between when you return somewhere, so it's interesting everything that happened between when you won the tournament and when you get to come back and have all these memories and have everything kind of rush back to you. But you know, this tournament meant so much to me last year, and it really is the reason I ended up on the Ryder Cup team. To finish my year off the way I did, it was this event that started that. I mean, I will be forever thankful for that. That was one of the greatest experiences of my life, and it all really comes back to here and the week here to -- if I really think about it.
And it's kind of crazy, even throughout all that process, you don't realize it until kind of now looking back at it and the timing of everything and how it all worked out. It was incredible. But being back and getting to relive the week, and Clair and I talked about a few stories coming in about just funny things that happened throughout the week, and you look at what led to that victory and stuff, it's funny. Every victory is different on the PGA TOUR, and this one definitely is to me, of my five, has been the most special. It's probably meant the most to me as far as an event I've always enjoyed coming to and an event that I really wanted to win, and then just everything that it propelled me to last year. It was just so impactful.
I think we're going to open it up for some questions.
Q. Has being back here brought back memories, and have you re-watched your victory?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, this definitely has, just being back here and kind of talking about the event last year. No, I don't, I don't sit down and re-watch stuff very often. I think we're all a little different about that, but I'm one of those people who don't really like watching myself, like oh, man, that's what I look like over putts every time? That's so annoying, stop doing that, and then I can't stop doing it.
And it was in the middle of a very crazy stretch of golf for me, as well. I was playing seven weeks in a row at the time, and so I think by the time I actually got home, I didn't even remember that I won this tournament. I mean, it was such a crazy span of golf, and I was exhausted kind of by the end of it.
But yeah, since being back, it's definitely -- we were talking about the weather and how it kind of -- we had to keep finishing every night, and I think it was Saturday, right, where we were trying to finish and get done, and I was playing with Steve Marino, and he was running up to the 18th tee trying to tee off just to make sure we could finish our round. We finished in the dark. Actually I totally forgot about that. We couldn't see anything. If it wasn't for the scoreboard, we couldn't have even hit a putt. I think I ended up like lipping out a putt even in the dark. But yeah, it's fun to kind of sit back and relive some of that.
Q. Will your family be coming with you this year?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, yeah, my family will be coming to this one. I don't know why for the last couple years it just hasn't worked out where -- we kind of plan that stuff out, but yeah, my son will have an absolute blast here this year. He's almost five, so I think he's that perfect age to -- he's going to be tearing that Big Dig up, that's for sure. He's going to be the life of the party. He usually is.
Q. How long did it take you to settle down from the year you had last year?
RYAN MOORE: You know, I'm not even sure if it has yet. Maybe when I'm done playing at some point in my career it'll all get to sink in, everything I've gotten to do. You know, it's with our schedules, we're so busy and we keep going and going and going and going, and you almost don't really get time to sit back and reflect. I mean, honestly, that Ryder Cup experience was the most exhausting experience I've ever had in my entire life. I mean, I enjoyed it. It was a lot of fun. But man, that was the most stressful environment, it was the most stressful golf I have ever played. The closest thing I can describe it to would be playing the 72nd hole of a tournament tied for the lead every single golf shot you have somehow. Like that's what it feels like. Every shot means so much.
I think it took me two or three weeks to recover just from that one event, let alone the whole end of my season.
I had a nice time. I take a lot of December and a lot of January off, so it was probably around that time where I actually kind of got to sit back and enjoy everything that happened the end of last year, really starting here and forward.
But you know, I'm a constantly-moving-forward person. I don't like to dwell too much on what's happened. I'm more assess it and look at what I did positive, look at what I did negative, try to do better and just keep moving forward. I don't like to sit back and -- the only thing, I did watch the final round of the Ryder Cup. I actually did watch that on TV, and it just made me more exhausted. I shouldn't have done it. It just wore me back out. I had to take a nap after I watched it. I was so stressed out watching it. But I had to watch those last few holes because that was actually pretty fun and probably some of the best golf I've ever played in my life, those last few, making an eagle on 16, birdied 17, and then was able -- honestly, I would have made the putt on 18, but I only had to two-putt to win the match, and so I was like, okay, don't do something stupid and run this like five feet by right now and then be really nervous over a five-footer, so I just kind of lagged my 12-footer up there. It would have been a lot more dramatic if I'd made the putt. In hindsight now, I look at it and I'm like, man, I should have just knocked in that putt. What was I thinking?
Q. What does it mean to you to represent this tournament?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, and you know, I've been able to do that proudly over the last year. It's such a great event and it's one that I've enjoyed. I've only missed it a couple times in my 13 seasons out here. It's such a great community event. I grew up in a smaller town in the state of Washington, and something about being here kind of reminds me of that, reminds me of home, and just to see everybody come together and put on a great event and see how much this means to this area, it's fun to be a part of that when. You have a tournament in LA and not that many people care because there's so many other things and so much stuff -- you have a great community area and just everybody gets involved. It's really fun to represent that and just to see the tournament grow over the years and see the impact it's making and the amazing amount of money they raise for charity every year. Yeah, I'm very proud to be this champion and to have gotten to represent it over the last year.
Q. Did it mean a lot to you to win this tournament?
RYAN MOORE: Yeah, absolutely. Like I said, I've gotten to see the tournament over the years and to see just the great event it's turned into. You know, it takes some time to see those things. If you come out the first couple events or something like that, it's hard to have that perspective. It definitely meant more to me than if I would have won it probably one of my first couple years on TOUR, just being part of it over the years and just knowing in the back of my mind -- you have some tournaments you enjoy, you enjoy playing, you enjoy the area, the courses, and to actually go back win and one of those events that you really enjoy, I think it has a little more impact. This is one that I probably felt like I could win. I was always very comfortable on the golf course over the week. I enjoyed it, but just never quite put it all together until last year.
Q. Did winning this event change you?
RYAN MOORE: I mean, not really. You know, a huge goal of mine as a golfer, kind of a bucket list thing, was the Ryder Cup, and so in that regard, yes, it changed me because it really caused me to be on that team. But then to come here and have the success I had this week, to kind of spur my good play at the end of the year, you know, there's a very good chance that that wouldn't have happened. So in that regard it changed that outcome and allowed me to have that amazing experience.
But you know, as a golfer, no, I think I'm constantly just trying to get better. That's what we all do every single week. That's when I'm home, while I'm practicing and doing everything is you're just trying to get better at everything. If I'm not practicing trying to get better, somebody else is and they're getting better than me.
You know, that's kind of how I try and take every single week every single year is how do I improve and how do I have a better year than I had last year, and last year is going to be tough to compete with, but I'm trying to do what I can to see if I can have even a better season this year, and coming back and defending here would definitely help that.
Q. What are some of the things you like about this area?
RYAN MOORE: Clair and I were talking about this earlier. It's just a very fair, straightforward golf course. I think there's a lot of courses we play throughout the year that might favor one type of shot shape or a person that hits it longer or a person that hits it a little shorter, and there's a lot of different things that courses can kind of favor, and I don't feel like this golf course favors one type of player. I think you have a wide variety of champions, guys that hit it shorter, guys that hit it longer, right to left, left to right, younger, older. I think when you have a variety of champions like that, it kind of shows that it's a good, versatile golf course, that it has a lot of different aspects to it.
I just enjoy that it's a fair test of golf, but you still have to execute and hit, hit the right golf shot. You know, there's some courses that don't punish you as much, and this has just the right amount of punishment, where if you get out of position, if you hit a bad shot, you get punished for it and you going to make a bogey, but if you keep it in the fairway, you keep hitting it on the greens, you're going to give yourself a chance to score and you can shoot 5-under, 6-under, 7-under on this golf course if you play it the right way and you put it in the right position.
I enjoy courses like that, where you can shoot a low score, but at the same time you get a little bit off, you will go shoot 2-under just as easily as you can go shoot 5-under sometimes.
Q. Do the shot shapes on this course fit your eye?
RYAN MOORE: It's not necessarily a shot shape thing. I mean, there's some places that, you know, usually is more of a left-to-right golf course or a right-to-left golf course. But there's a lot of -- I like to hit a fade. I like to hit it left to right, and there's a lot of left-to-right holes that don't fit my eye, but it's more of a bunker position, tree position, angle, it's a matter of just being comfortable -- I would say that's more tee shot oriented than anything. It's more of visually just how you see the tee shots, are you comfortable on tee shots and know you have the right shot to get it in the fairway, which is so important on the PGA TOUR with the conditions. You need to be in the fairways to score.
You know, for me, I'm very comfortable with a lot of these tee shots. I think I'm comfortable with the club selection and the angles and the visuals, so to me, that's what fitting your eye means. It's just kind of more of a comfort with the visual off the tee and just knowing you have the right clubs, and there's some courses -- it has to do with length and angles and stuff like that, but there's some golf courses that there's three or four tees throughout the day I stand on and I'm like, I don't know how I can get it on this fairway because I don't quite carry it far enough to get over that and I hit it a little short with this club so I don't want to have this club going into the green. It's chess a little bit. You're trying to put it in that right spot to give you a chance to score, and this course I'm very, very comfortable off the tee.
CLAIR PETERSON: You know the process; Ryan is here for -- well, until you guys go tee off, and if you'd like to do one-on-ones, I think Barry is the choreographer for that. But again, we really appreciate all of you being here. We hope you enjoy the golf course this afternoon. I know you will. And one more time, we really appreciate Sam and Pat and Ryan being with us this morning.
Q. What makes the John Deere Classic such a great story?
SAM ALLEN: It has so many angles, so thanks for that question. You know, we said last night, through the -- since 1971, you've got to recognize everybody that's been involved with it, and for the first so many years -- well, it's all about survival. It's a great story from that perspective, that they were able to keep this tournament going without a title sponsor or the same title sponsor. And so in a lot of ways, that part of the journey was the hardest part of the journey.
But we're certainly very, very proud since we've had this opportunity, and I early on in 2001, when I became a senior officer, I went on the executive board here and was a part of it, and we had -- Clair and I used to talk, we had all these visions of how we can continue to make it better, and we really were -- we've always emphasized this is not the Quad City Open sponsored by John Deere. It's the John Deere Classic. So the brand is first and foremost, and it's got to end up shining the brand, not tarnishing the brand, and it has done that in spades.
While we're very proud of the course, the tournament and our association with the PGA TOUR, it's about the volunteers and about the Birdies For Charity. You know, to think back, we used to think a great year was a million dollars or $2 million, and you take the last five years, the way this community has really turned it up -- last year to do $10 and a half million in a year when attendance was way down because of the rains, and eyes also on TV were way down because of the Olympics, and then to blow it away a couple million more than the year before, that kind of just was the cherry on top of the frosting.
We are very proud of it. We also are proud of what it does for the business, as you indicated. I'll make a comment to -- I was actually talking to the Commissioner, Jay Monahan, a while back. I was with him, and he said, well, we've got three out of the four majors with John Deere equipment. We don't have the Masters. He said, no, you have four out of five because THE PLAYERS is also one of the -- yes, I'm sorry, Commissioner, I'm sorry I misspoke. But to have four of the five major tournaments this year using John Deere equipment, there's no doubt that our association with the PGA TOUR, the John Deere Classic, has been a positive influence on that, so both from a business standpoint as well as from a community standpoint, we're extremely proud of where it's at right now, and we hope to take it a little bit further in the future, as well.
Q. How would you evaluate the job Clair and his team are doing?
SAM ALLEN: I don't evaluate Clair and his team. The board does that. But he's still an employee on loan, so I take care of his pension check.
Q. Does that make you realize how businesses often can be great partners with golf?
SAM ALLEN: No, because I was an Evans Scholar, which is based on academics, financial need, and you had to caddie but you didn't have to play golf. Now, I did play golf.
My dad gave me a love for the game, so I did early on, I started playing as a seven-year old, and I had that love for the game, and that was there. Hans Becherer is the one that really got us to do this, along with Duke Butler, who was working with the TOUR at the time. They really came up with it. But thanks to my predecessor Bob Lane, in 2001 when I became a senior officer, he asked me to take over from a senior officer standpoint the leadership dealing with the TOUR with this event, and I think having grown up around golf was a benefit from that standpoint and appreciating the game and what it all means. CEOs have a -- you don't want to have a reputation of playing golf all the time, so I haven't played a lot of golf, but I truly love the tournament and love what golf represents.
Q. Do you have a grand vision for the future of this tournament?
SAM ALLEN: I think as opposed to a grand vision, I think between us all we have an approach that let's just try and make each year better and better, and that's certainly what we'll want to do, and then make sure that there's success to the point there's no question that when 2023 is done that people know that, yeah, we're going to go ahead and re-up it because it means so much and because we're so successful, and the best way to assure that will happen is just to continue to make each year better and better, and that's what we'll try to do.
Thank you very much.
CLAIR PETERSON: I think that's it. As a future pensioner, thanks for those second-quarter results, but anyway, Barry, you're going to choreograph, I think, the one-on-ones. We do have plenty of time, so thanks again, and we'll move on to the next phase.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports