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BARCLAYS CLASSIC MEDIA DAY
May 9, 2006
PETER MELE: We're going to begin the program today. We almost kept you dry for the full round, so not too bad. Thank you very much for coming today. This year celebrates our 40th anniversary of the Barclays Classic here at Westchester, and it's a very exciting time for the tournament. Over the 40-year history of the event, being able to generate in excess of $32 million for local area charities, 2005 was extremely successful. We were able to donate $1 million to our local benefiting charities in this area.
The only way tournaments like the Barclays Classic can succeed is through very successful partnerships with various different groups. First off I have to thank my staff: Sandy Diamond, director of sales; Marisa Fontana, travel services manager; Adam Sperling, operations manager; Pat Galvin, sales assistant and all of our many interns that volunteer their time here. We could never do it without any of those interns, and their help is invaluable to us.
Also from the PGA TOUR staff, James Cramer and Chris Reimer from the media department for helping organize today's Media Day. Again, it's all about people working together.
Community chairs and volunteers, they are invaluable. I'm going to use that word a lot, but it's true, the 1,500 volunteers that volunteer their time, take vacation time to come here and help, and really, they do it because of their love of the game and their willingness to try to raise many for charity.
The Westchester Country Club, one of the most storied and respected venues on the PGA TOUR. There's not a lot of courses like this that the PGA TOUR players get to play week-in and week-out. And Ronald O'Connor, president of the club and the entire board of directors, the director of golf John Kenny and his staff, Connie Winston, director of sales and catering and her staff, and last but not least Joe Alonzi, the course superintendent and his staff do a remarkable job. This is a massive facility, and keeping it all straight and getting the amateurs through here, getting the volunteers through here, getting the media through here, getting the spectators, it's all part of the team effort.
Also, the surrounding community, we derive a lot of services and need a lot of cooperation from the surrounding community. Andy Spano, the Westchester county executive and his staff has been extremely helpful to us; Town of Harrison, Mayor Malfitano; the police department, Chief Hall and Captain Mariccini, they are extremely important to the success of the event. Safety and security is a major concern for everybody.
Back to 2006. This is a great expectation for this year as we are the final tune-up to the U.S. Open 12 minutes away. That's a double-edged sword, by the way, having it so close. Padraig Harrington will be back to defend his title after his exciting victory last year.
One of the good things about having the Open just a few minutes away is the field strength. Players are looking to play Westchester. It's almost not an identical venue but the turf is the same, the grass is the same, it's an old-style golf course, the architecture is similar, although this is probably a little more hilly. So the field is going to be tremendous. I'll let Peter Goettler from Barclays get into specifics of individuals. But we fully expect that right now we have four of the top 5 on the PGA TOUR Money List are already committed to play. We fully expect that we'll have 13 of the Top 15 on the Money List here come the first week of June. We're going to have a very good representation of Ryder Cuppers, potential Ryder Cuppers here. If the Ryder Cup looks like it today, we'd have 9 of the 12 members of the Ryder Cup Team playing here this year. We're also going to have many members of the European Ryder Cup Team playing here this year. So we're very excited about the international flavor the event will have.
So I think this is a great year, and we're going to have a great week of golf and we just hope for good weather. That's all we can ask for.
Barclays. When I stood here last year, I stood in New York last year, we had not gone through a tournament with Barclays. We had a lot of discussion, we had been working together probably six or seven months at that point. Barclays was saying all the right things about what they are going to do as the title sponsor and what we could look forward to and it was all very exciting. If you went and Googled "title sponsor "today, looked it up in a dictionary, you'd see the Barclays logo.
You could not find a better title sponsor than Barclays. They are true to their word and then some. They have one mission with this event, and that's to make this the best event on the PGA TOUR and it's that simple. There's not anything that they have overlooked. There's not an area of the tournament they don't care about, and that says a lot. I've worked with a number of sponsors over the years and everyone is a little bit different and everyone has their own agenda; you know, they have favorite areas of the event. I can tell you that Barclays cares about every piece of this event, whether it be the media, whether it be the volunteers or whether it be the club relations, the spectators, the players obviously. Every piece of it is something that is very important to them.
So it's not just about what is good for them and their business and clients, but what's good for the events as a whole. You could not ask for a better title sponsor than Barclays. The whole Barclays team, Tim Pete who is here today, Padraig O'Reardon, Laura Herzog and their entire team here in New York, San Francisco and over in the U.K., it is wonderful, wonderful people.
At this point I would like to especially thank our first speaker today for joining us, that's Peter Goettler. He's head of investment banking and debt capital markets. Peter?
PETER GOETTLER: Peter, thanks so much and thanks for the kind words about our firm. We obviously could not do this without the support of you and your colleagues at the PGA TOUR, and the partnership we have is very gratifying.
Thanks for all joining us. We hope you're having a great day. Peter mentioned the weather. We had order ready a sunny day, today and something must have been fouled up, but we are hoping this portends good things for the tournament and we'll have four straight days of sun.
You may not know a lot about our company. You're probably familiar with Barclays, which is a large global bank. We are well known for retail banking, wealth management and corporate banking in the U.K. and Europe. You may not know, we have three very strong businesses that are rapidly growing in the U.S.: Our investment banking business is Barclays Capital, which I'm involved in our asset management business, and our credit card business. Both the Barclay Card in the U.S. and our investment bank, Barclays Capital, are amongst the fastest-growing in their fields in the U.S. our asset management division, Barclays Global Investors, is actually the largest asset management firm in the U.S. and the world.
Three things that we really try to bring to our business are excellence in the service of our clients, the exhilaration of competition we have with other firms in our field, and respect for our clients and our competitors. And really those three adjectives, excellence, respect, and in competition, when we think of those things, we think about professional golf and the PGA TOUR.
It was four years ago that Barclays began its sponsorship of professional golf. We sponsored the Scottish Open in Loch Lomond in the summer, which has been a fantastic events for us. Coincident with that, we began to sponsor Darren Clarke, one of the top golfers in Europe, who I'm sure you're all familiar with.
It wasn't until last year that we began our sponsorship, as Peter mentioned, of the Barclays Classic. It's really been a fantastic experience for us to be associated with a tournament that has a history of great competition and great memories at such an august club as Westchester. It's an association that we're very proud of.
When I spoke earlier about not being able to script the weather very well, we really could not have scripted the tournament any better last year. The finish was really, really storybook, a 65-foot eagle putt on the 18th hole to see Padraig Harrington beat Jim Furyk by a single stroke was really the stuff of great memories and legends. We're hoping for an even more spectacular finish this year, although I guess that's probably too much to hope for; 65-foot, maybe 70 feet.
We're glad to have Padraig with us a little later to say a few words, and we're very pleased that he's going to be back here. He was a great champion last year. He'll be back here this year to defend his championship against, as Peter mentioned, some very stiff: Retief Goosen, as you're aware, two-time U.S. Open Champion will be here; Vijay Singh, formerly No. 1 in the world will be competing with us this year; Phil Mickelson, two-time Masters Champion; and Sergio Garcia will be here.
So we're really looking forward to a great field, a great event, and couldn't be more delighted with the partnership that we have with the PGA. And also, thank you very much for your support. Really, thank you for being here today. Hope everyone had a great day. Thanks so much.
PETER MELE: We've had a lot of great finishes here, none better than last year, that's for sure. Padraig would loved to have been here today. He's at the British Masters over in the U.K. and hopefully winning a tournament, tuning up before he comes back over here to play us in June.
At this time I would like to -- we have a short video of Padraig that we would like to show and we'll hook Padraig in via teleconference. What we're going to do is because he is on teleconference, please, if you have questions for him, wait for somebody with a microphone to come over to you and ask the questions with the microphone so Padraig can hear and then answer it appropriately.
PETER MELE: At this time I'd like to have join us our 2005 Barclays Classic Champion via teleconference, Padraig Harrington.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Thank you very much. Do I really speak like that? (Laughter).
PETER MELE: If you could just tell us what it's like coming back to defend this year, that would be great.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I'm really looking forward to it. Obviously Westchester Country Club is just a great golf course, a very special course. We don't get an opportunity to play golf courses as mature as that on the Tour so often, and you can't beat maturity on a golf course.
Barclays does do everything for the players. It's not so clear what they do for everybody else; you said there earlier that they do look after the volunteers, the spectators. But for the players they are second to none in how to run a golf tournament. It's a good event to be at, whether you're playing well or not. Thankfully I've had a couple of runs at it and played very nicely.
PETER MELE: You got to hear the putt I think over there, but it kind of makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, seeing that putt go in again.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: You know what, I probably should have a recording of that and watch it every day, because it doesn't get any better than that putt. The way I approached it; the fact that I think what made it even more special was the fact that I hit a great putt the year before from six feet in the playoff to win, and it stayed dead straight on the right lip and missed; whereas this year, this putt was tracking the middle of the hole with six feet to go and it stayed dead straight and went in. It did what it should have done and it kind of made up for the year before.
PETER MELE: That's great. Let's start with questions.
Q. I guess you more than anyone could empathize with what Tiger Woods is going through now after the loss of his dad. How important was it for you to bring that championship home to your father last year, and how much did it take out of you the rest of the season after what you had to go through?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Well, you know, the two championships I won last year were, in hindsight, I didn't really know at the time, but were won at very unique times, I suppose. The first one when I won the Honda Classic, the following day my father was basically given the news that it was -- there was no more treatments, that was it; that he was going to, you know, pass on from cancer.
When I won Barclays, I came home, my father enjoyed the win. I had it on DVD. PGA TOUR Productions had given it to me straightaway. I brought it him, showed it to him and he enjoyed it as well. Very quickly afterwards, the pain got so much worse that he would have really lost a lot of his consciousness at that stage. So it was one of last things he would have been aware of, and it did give him a lot of happiness, which is great for me.
As regards Tiger Woods, the thing with his -- it's a very private matter. Today or last week or when Tiger's father passed on, it didn't make any difference that he was world No. 1. It affects everybody the same way when they lose somebody close to them. Being a good golfer doesn't cut it when it comes to losing someone close.
It's a very special matter, and probably the toughest part about it is it's a personal matter that's played out in public because that's who he is, and that can, you know, make it a little bit tougher on him. I do believe that, you know, certainly as it did with me, not going back for a good period of time; his body and mind are going to be stressed, which means he won't be 100% for a while through the grieving process. With Tiger Woods, he's such a great player, he's capable of playing through it and winning, there's no question about that. But, you know, it will take time for him to be 100% fit, and he just has to be patient.
You know, there's no -- last year after I won Barclays, it was a very big high, and then I got the very big low just afterwards because my dad did pass on quickly afterwards. There's no rushing. There's no solution to, I'm coming back to play, and there's no miracle cure for getting you 100% back out on the golf course. You just have to ride it out and be patient and go out and be professional on the golf course, but accept the fact that you made it and it may take time.
Q. Have you ever played Winged Foot? And second of all, is this tournament, the Barclays, even more important this year as a tune-up for the Open the next week?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I've got to say, I would love to play the Barclays Classic as a tune-up for the U.S. Open. The Barclays Classic is a big enough event in its own right that I would be there in the week that it is trying to win the Barclays Classic solely and not getting my game ready for the U.S. Open. Maybe the weeks previous to the Barclays Classic I'll be thinking of the U.S. Open, but come Thursday, I'm just thinking of the Barclays Classic. It's a big, big event and has a lot of heritage in its own right because it's played on such a fine golf course on Westchester; it really holds down as a tournament that you want to win.
So I won't be using the event itself as a tune-up. The fact that it's so close proximity, it does make it a lot easier. The fact that the turf and the weather are going to be very similar; the fact that we can eat in the same restaurants and stay in the same bed for two weeks, it's only going to help you at the U.S. Open. But I'll be focused on the Barclays Classic.
The first part of your question was?
Q. Have you ever played Winged Foot?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Yes. Winged Foot, I played my first two majors in the States, probably my first events in the States as a professional, the U.S. Open at Congressional and the PGA at Winged Foot in, '97, is that correct? They beat me up completely. They are the sole reason why I spent the last ten years trying to totally remodel my golf swing. I could not get around those golf courses to save my life; they were so difficult.
I went home from Winged Foot being absolutely, totally trodden on. There was nothing like it. It just took the life out of me when I was there; that these golf courses were just so difficult, so unfamiliar to my game of golf. I felt so, like I probably shot two 76s these golf courses and just felt like I couldn't do any better type thing. These were an absolute catalyst to my changing my golf swing so I could compete better.
When I thought about U.S. style golf courses at that time, I didn't actually know that Winged Foot -- I thought every course was like Winged Foot. I didn't realize it was a beast in its own right. But it's definitely the catalyst for me changing everything in my golf swing so that I could probably compete better in the U.S. Open, which Winged Foot when it was played for the PGA in '97 was set up exactly like a U.S. Open on a U.S. Open style golf course.
Q. Can you kind of elaborate on that? What was your game lacking, what did you decide you needed to do to overhaul your swing to be able to compete out here?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: At that time I was a very good -- probably a short game specialist, but you can't chip and putt very well out of six inches of rough. I found that out very quickly on fast and firm greens. I didn't hit it straight enough; I didn't hit it far enough; I didn't hit it high enough; I didn't strike the ball well enough; I didn't get enough strike on it to stop the ball with my sort of 5- 6- 7-iron into these greens. I just wasn't a good enough ball-striker.
I've gone away and become obsessive about that over the years to try and change things and I'm happy I've done it. I would not have been comfortable unless I had gone away and done that sort of stuff. Now I've got to the stage that I've got to realize that now it's more to do with getting my short game back to what it would have been like at that time and getting my mental game stronger. It definitely was a big catalyst in my career to change because I just felt I didn't hit the golf ball well enough. I just wasn't a good enough player to compete.
I think I played with Carlos Franco in the first two rounds, and Carlos was just coming from Japan, might have been his first year in the States, and I wouldn't have been that familiar with him. And wow, could he hit the golf ball. I just felt so inferior. I played with Duffy Waldorf, and Duffy was hitting a 2-wood 20 yards past me off the tee and hitting all the fairways. I felt like little kid to be honest and I knew I had to go and change a few things.
Q. Can you talk about what it's like playing in front of a crowd in the New York area?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Can't beat it. I've always liked playing in front of loud, noisy crowds, crowds that generate an atmosphere all over the golf course; so that when you're on your hole, there's noise coming from other holes, noise, sounds, reverberating around the golf course. You get it a little bit around Open Championships in Britain because there's no trees or anything blocking the sounds; the sound travels all the way across the golf course.
I love that sort of atmosphere. Bethpage was the best atmosphere ever on a golf course. It was exciting, exhilarating, the noise that was there. If you did something right, you know, they cheered and roared and it was just fantastic. You just can't beat that.
As well as that, the crowd -- I think some of the more memorable golfing quotes come from the New York crowd, whether it's in support or against a player. They do say some very funny things and comments come from them, whether you can have -- what often happens is you have kids 10, 12 years of age talk with the players like they are fully-seasoned adults, you know, encouraging them, and it's like you look around and all of a sudden when it looked like it was going to be a man doing whatever it was. It's just interesting, they are very forthright in their opinions, and that can make it even more fun for us. You know, we enjoy ourselves and we often think what they are saying, but we don't say it.
Q. Back in '97 at Winged Foot, you mentioned that the course beat you up, how do you forget that, the next time you're at a Winged Foot, and talk about the mental aspect.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I look forward to going back, I really do. This is a good way of measuring my game. And not necessarily, like if I turn up, I could shoot two 77s and do worse than I did the last time. But the question would be for me is as I'm going around the golf course, do I feel like I'm capable of playing this course, because I didn't the last time. I was making up the numbers the last time I was there.
So I'm looking forward to going back and seeing, well, how do I feel on this course. Do I feel comfortable, do I feel like I have a chance. And, you know, I know my game has changed. I'm quite confident, I'm not the same player that was there in '97. I'm just not even close to the same player. So I am looking forward to going back and giving myself, even though I know it, but to give myself another little marker to say, yes, you are a different player, you are capable of playing a different form of golf than you did back then. That doesn't necessarily result in better results, but I know I'll be more comfortable on the golf course.
If I find it tough, I'm sure everybody else will find it tough. That my attitude this time around, whereas last time I found it tough and was looking at the other guys and saying, these guys look a lot better than me.
Q. What's your schedule between now and the Barclays and winged foot?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I play three events here in Britain. We had a bit of rain like you guys today at the moment. And then I play, then I have a week off and then I come to Barclays. Hopefully play a bit -- my own form this year, whereas I've been playing good golf, I haven't scored very well.
So hopefully I get it right one of these three weeks, get some confidence going, because, you know, I'd like to be confident going into Westchester because I have done so well there but I do want to go in with form. It is a golf course that obviously really suited me in the past, and, you know, it's an event -- I say it is an event, even if you don't play well -- like last year, Barclays, we went into the city, watched a baseball game. You know, things like that, they really look after the players.
So you can enjoy it regardless if you're golfing well that week. There's a lot of golf events that we play in, that if you don't play well, you're really not having a good time that week. Whereas at the Barclays Classic, you're on a good golf course, and if you don't play well, well, you're having a good time anyway, you're so close to New York, there's so much to do.
So it's a good week no matter what. And then obviously hoping to bring some form into it and play well and if I play well, obviously I would go again and win it and that would bring it's own confidence for the U.S. Open.
Q. Just wondering if you kind of feel a bit of the Irish heritage around here being around New York?
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: I feel a lot of support from the Irish community, from the American Irish community. Yeah, I do feel it, I do see it. There's a lot of Irish names in the locker room. Yeah, definitely, definitely, and it is encouraging. It's always encouraging to have that support out there and it's always interesting.
PETER MELE: I know I speak for everybody in the room wishing you well this week at the British Masters, and the next couple of weeks and looking forward to having you back here the first week of June.
PADRAIG HARRINGTON: Thank you very much.
PETER MELE: Thanks very much for being here today.
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