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PRO TEAM GOLF LEAGUE MEDIA CONFERENCE
October 11, 2006
BILL NORRIS: I'd like to welcome everyone to today's press conference. My name is Bill Norris. I'd like to introduce our speakers and advise that we have several people joining us on the phone.
Joining us today are Dave Braun, Pro Team Golf League; Tom Belton, Pro Team Golf League; Rick Janes, Commissioner of the Canadian Tour; and Chad Campbell, PGA TOUR player and UNLV alum.
I'd also like to acknowledge some of the executive committee here today from Pro Team Golf League. That includes Mike Davis, director of player personnel; Bill McDowell, chief operating officer and executive committee; Brien Davis, director of player relations; Ed Ellis, director of operations and league development; Dick Newbert, director of team development.
At this time we'll hear from two executives at PTGL. First will be Dave Braun and Tom Belton, executive committee member.
DAVE BRAUN: Good afternoon. On behalf of the executive committee of PTGL, I'd like to welcome everybody to this exciting announcement about the future of golf.
Professional golf has come a long way in the last couple of decades. The sport has developed millions of fans who are very passionate and follow every stroke, every match, every tournament. We share that passion. But we felt that there was something missing, something more that could be offered to the fan.
The golf experience as we know it is about to change. Professional Team Golf League or PTGL is a new league with a game format putting golf fans and golf professionals together in a Ryder Cup style format.
Aside from being an all-professional match play league, PTGL is also taking the golf fan and bringing them inside the ropes for the first time ever, allowing them, the fans, to be the voice of the league, making crucial strategy decisions that will actually guide the on-course match and help to the conclusion, hopefully, for their team as a win.
PTGL is also dedicated to supporting the young pro golfers not currently competing on the PGA or Nationwide Tour. PTGL's structure allows young golfers to get the strategic and competition that they need to be competitive in head-to-head match play golf, also providing them with another revenue to making money and to allow them to develop their skills while working their way through the smaller tours up to earning their PGA cards.
Team sports has long been an important part of community. Fans have always wanted to associate with their home team and root for their home team. PTGL is going to take that competition and that team sport and bring it to golf. However, PTGL does not stop there. It takes the fans and makes them part of action. It gives them the opportunity to truly affect the outcome of the game. PTGL is creating an unprecedented relationship between the fan and the athlete, offering the potential to transform the very nature of team sports.
PTGL will be having its inaugural season in 2007, kicking off with eight teams throughout North America playing for eight weeks, 24 games, and then having a championship of the top four teams following that.
PTGL is based on the Ryder Cup, one-day game, three formats, nine holes of two-ball, alternate shot, nine holes of four-ball, nine holes singles, eight players a side.
This is only the start for PTGL. In the coming years, we plan to expand to the cities throughout the country and throughout North America wherever the fan base wants to have it and wants to be a part of it.
Right now we'd like to show you a short video clip to give you a taste of what Pro Team Golf League is about.
BILL NORRIS: Tom Belton will demonstrate and talk to you about strategy golf, one of the applications that you'll find at PTGL.com.
TOM BELTON: Hi, I'm Tom Belton. I'm a member of the executive committee of Pro Team Golf.
As Dave was alluding to, this is something brand-new. Pro Team Golf League is a new equation in golf for both players and fans. I'm here to talk about the fan piece.
Fans are the heart and soul and the lifeblood of PTGL. We're reaching out to fans that have a passion for sports, a passion for golf, but want more out of the game. In today's world of sports and golf, fans are generally passive spectators outside of the ropes, to use the analogy. What we're trying to do at PTGL is bring fans inside the ropes.
Dave mentioned some of the ways we're doing that. We're trying to bring fans in so they can have a voice in the outcome of the competition. They can select the pairings, the order of play, to have a real effect on the outcome of the match.
So we put together a management team of sports enthusiasts, business people, technology gurus, with I'm almost embarrassed to say over 200 years of collective experience, and we created something that we call at PTGL F2C, which stands for fan to competition. Our goal is to bring the fan directly into the competition and inside the ropes.
How do we do that? We've created an exciting technology platform that we call strat.e.golf. First part of that is the strategy piece. This is where the fans serve as a pro coach, like the team captain in the Ryder Cup, and they make all the prematch strategy decisions, the pairings, order of play, and something new that we've created called the 2X player where the fans can select players and pairings in each format and double their point total. The other team is trying to do the same thing in the competition.
PTGL is reaching out, it's a call to golfers and fantasy gamers to be involved in this exciting competition.
How does strat.e.golf work? Again, it involves prematch decisions as pro coach. It's not fantasy golf. This is reality golf. The fans actually have a real direct impact on the outcome of the competition.
The other part of strat.e.golf is the E, and that's the electronic piece. This is an exciting technology piece where we allow fans to use the Internet and mobile communication devices to serve as their electronic playbook where they can work together as a community. We're going to become the My Space of golf and sports. Fans on the same teamwork together as a community, they lobby, work together for strategy, make the pairings so they can put the best team possible on the course with the best chance to win.
The whole idea is to enhance the fan experience. They win prizes and gain valuable experience.
The last piece of strat.e.golf of course is the golf. Strat.e.golf lets the golf to the golfers. Once the golfers take the course, the golf stays pure. We abide by all the USGA rules.
Let's preview some of the strat.e.golf slides, some of the applications.
The first one is what we call the dashboard. That's the operations center for the fan. This is where we launch into all the different parts of being a pro coach.
The second part is the match analyzer. This is the playbook for the pro coach. It includes all kinds of information on the players, their statistics, the courses that are being involved, video demos, interviews with players, swing analysis. You get to feel like you're part of the team, you get to know your players on your team. We have a technology called strat.e.link where we make that all possible.
You can see, for example, the detail on the screen where each of the players will be profiled, statistics on their performance, how they've done in match play as the season progresses. This will assist the fans and the pro coach in deciding how to pair up the players. This is how the players are set. This is not a case where they have a suggestion they make to a team captain. The pro coaches are the team captains. The lineups that they decide are the way that the matches are set.
Then we have the game strategy. This is where it all happens. When all the homework is done, when all the lobbying is done, all the team fans have put together their strategy decisions, we create a platform where it's easy to use. It's a strategy game like chess, because it's complicated decisions that fans are taking into consideration. We make it easy to use. Drop-and-drag technology. The fans just take the players, put them in the orders and pairings they want, select the 2X players.
The final piece of the strat.e.golf platform is the communication. This is where the pro coaches share their experience together, share their ideas on strategy, on upcoming matches, talk about the players. The players can weigh in on this. This is something that's revolution in itself. This is the My Space of Pro Team Golf.
Thank you for coming. We believe what PTGL is what technology people call a killer application. Welcome to the future of golf.
BILL NORRIS: We'll have Rick Janes talk to us from the Canadian Tour perspective.
RICK JANES: Thanks, Bill, Tom, Dave.
The place that I come from is the players' perspective. The Canadian Tour has been around, for those who don't know, for more than 35 years. It's a tour that's helped in the development of players who have gone on to win over $200 million on the PGA TOUR, four major championships, and 52 PGA TOUR wins. It's helped in the development of players, not the least of which is our own Mike Weir, Masters champion, Chris Di Marco, Stuart Appelby, Tim Herron, on and on. That's a wonderful alumni to have from our tour.
The fact of the matter is every day in Canada, and you probably do it in your own hometown or in your own state, we open up magazines and we read headlines like in Canada, for example, Where is the next Mike Weir coming from? As I read those articles, I start to realize that's not really the question at all. The question, in fact, in Canada is, Where might the next Mike Weir have gone, how many have fallen through the cracks?
Professional golf isn't an easy sport to play. It's not an easy career to follow. It takes a great many tournaments, I've been told over a hundred tournaments, just to get battle hardened to play at a world class level. The last time I looked, there's 52 weeks in a year. There certainly aren't 52 events in the year that you can play. It also costs a lot of money. Professional golf, certainly the Canadian Tour, is $1,000, $1500 a week to play. If it takes you a hundred events to get battled hardened, that's quite a significant investment.
I know we all have our feelings about the recent Ryder Cup matches and the success or lack of success there. Again, in Canada we have a goal of putting more players into the World Golf rankings. We have one player, Mike Weir, a native Canadian, who is in the top 100. Thanks to his marriage to someone in Canada, Stephen Ames is other non-native Canadian in the world rankings. Obviously, that's not enough.
We can't achieve that objective unless we start supporting these young developing professionals when they are, in fact, young. We do a great job in North America supporting our athletes when they are amateurs, get them into good college, get them educations, NCAA competition. When they turn professional, we forget about them. A great many of them fall through the cracks for lack of resources.
One of the things that excites me most about PTGL is the fact it is an opportunity that fills an important void that exists in the marketplace in Canada. A great many players, certainly in our schedule, which obviously in Canada we have a limited season, we try to extend that by playing in the western United States during part of the winter months. But at the same time we're only going to have 16 to 18 events on our schedule next year. There's a lot of golf to play.
PTGL provides the opportunity to fill in some of those gaps, to give these players the opportunity to continue playing, to play at a high level, and a different type of competition, a competition that's got a lot of strategy involved and frankly a lot of pressure. It also gives them the opportunity to gain some financial resource to help expand their careers.
The really exciting thing and now I'm becoming a fan of the online fantasy side of the equation as I look at the mixture of teams, I'm not really sure how I would do that. The inaugural event and a wonderful event for our tour is the PTGL Canada-U.S. matches in Jamaica in early December, which is right after the early stages of PTGL qualifying. It's the top 11 Canadian-born players and top 11 U.S.-born players from the Canadian Tour. It's going to be a wonderful match and a wonderful experience. We have a great golf course. It's going to be a great chance to see this in action. It's a great prototype. We're very proud to be part of it.
Thank you very much.
BILL NORRIS: Next we'll hear from Chad Campbell. I'd also like to advise media that Tom Lehman is also on board, very actively involved, as a spokesperson for the league. Tom is not here today, but he'll be available tomorrow. You can contact the media representatives listed on your media later if you'd like to schedule an interview.
CHAD CAMPBELL: I'm obviously very excited to be a part of the PTGL, excited to be here today. There's a lot of guys out on tour, most of the guys out on tour didn't get their PGA TOUR card right out of college. A lot of guys came up through the mini tours, through the ranks. It's basically the proving ground for everybody. Likewise, I did it myself. I spent four years on the Hooter's Tour and also one year on the Nationwide Tour. It takes a while before everybody gets to the PGA TOUR. Not everybody is Tiger Woods or people like him.
I think the PTGL is going to be a great proving ground for that. The lower tours, whenever people just come out of college, they're so important. There's so many good golfers out there. I think it's going to be a great way to showcase their talent. It's also a unique formula. It's a match play, which is commonly seen in Ryder Cup and Presidents Cups, on TV, always very exciting. I think it's going to be a great way to prove themselves maybe faster than the normal stroke play events. Match play, so much emphasis on each hole as opposed to over a course of 18 holes. Each hole is so important. Also the PTGL has an accelerating scoring, which is kind of unique as well, making them even more emphasis put on the amount of holes you win, how much you win by.
Also going along with the match play, to be able to -- another unique thing about it is being paid consistently. A lot of times when you're out on the smaller tours, a lot of your worries are how you're going to get to next week, how you're going to pay for this and that. There's only a select few guys on those mini tours that are pretty financially set. A couple guys on each tour maybe. Most of the guys sit there, they're worried week in, week out about money. Whenever you're out there playing golf, the last thing you want to be doing is worrying about other things other than just playing golf. So I think it's great you're going to receive a set salary, receive money every week. That's going to be taken off your mind so you can really go out there and focus on just playing golf.
I think that's one of the most beneficial parts of the PTGL. I think it's going to be great. I think it's also going to be huge for guys that come on and get on the PGA TOUR and then become part of the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams. I think it's really going to help them improve their games and be more focused on match play when they get in those situations, hopefully be part of a winning Ryder Cup or Presidents Cups team.
I want to say thanks. I'm very excited to be associated with the PTGL. I'm looking for great things in the future.
DAVE BRAUN: On behalf of PTGL, we thank everybody for coming, listening to what we have to say. PTGL in short is about golf. It's about fans. It's about giving control of the game to people who believe in the game. We feel it's about time. Thank you very much.
BILL NORRIS: Thank you. We'll have a short question and answer period.
Q. What sort of cities do you see the growth of the PTGL going to? Clustering cities in a certain part of the country? Large cities? Medium cities? How do you see the growth from a city standpoint?
DAVE BRAUN: That's a good question. The growth will basically be by the fan base, and that won't be limited to any specific cities. I think Houston is certainly a wonderful spot for a team, along with many other ones throughout the United States and North America. But we don't certainly have any limitations on what cities could participate.
Q. You don't see warm weather versus cold weather bias?
DAVE BRAUN: No, not at all. As a matter of fact, Canada is certainly one of the places this we're looking for a few teams up there minimum. I believe there's some cold weather there, as well.
Q. (No microphone.)
CHAD CAMPBELL: Yeah, it's always great to come back to Las Vegas. I kind of consider it my second home. Spent two almost three years out here. Still have a lot of ties to the city. Owe a lot to the city and the golf program and Coach as well. He means the world to me. I don't think I could be where I'm at today without his help.
Q. You started out the year so hot winning Bob Hope, second in Hawaii. Are you okay with how this year went or disappointed at the drop-off?
CHAD CAMPBELL: Obviously I would have liked to have kept up the pace I was going at the first of the year. Golf's a crazy game. It goes in cycles. Hopefully I'm on the upward swing of one of those spirals now.
I've been working hard. Haven't really changed things. Had a few other things going on this year. Feel like I'm playing well. Just waiting to have a good week and put four good rounds together.
BILL NORRIS: Thank you for coming and we'll look for brighter things soon.
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