home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 15, 2005

Tim Finchem

Francoise Gauthier

Michael Richards

Stephen Ross

Mike Weir

THE MODERATOR: It's an honor for me to introduce the Commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Mr. Tim Finchem. Welcome to Montreal, Mr. Finchem.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you and good afternoon. I am delighted to be here in Montreal on such a beautiful day with the PGA Championship just having ended a few hours ago and the captains of the 2005 Presidents Cup just having announced their picks for this year's Presidents Cup here in a few weeks. I am here to make formal what most people already know, and that is to announce formally that the seventh Presidents Cup will be played at the oldest golf club in North America, Royal Montreal Golf Club on September 18-23, 2007. We are delighted to be coming to Montreal. This marks the third time that the Presidents Cup matches will be played outside the United States. We traveled in 1998 to Australia to play Royal Melbourne, and of course in 2003 we were in South Africa at Fancourt and we are delighted now to come to Montreal. We believe that Royal Montreal with its rich tradition and wonderful golf history will provide a spectacular setting for these matches. I do want to thank the club and everyone involved at Royal Montreal for their gracious agreement to host the matches, and we are confident that they are prepared to make the Presidents Cup a memorable experience for the fans, for the media, for our guests, dignitaries and people who come from around the world. Let me just speak for a moment about the Presidents Cup. It is truly a global competition. Over the years we have had players from all over the world outside of Europe competing for the United States and International Teams. The international players on their team have represented nine different countries in those matches. In 2003, we were in South Africa as I mentioned, and Captain Gary Player at that time remarked that the Presidents Cup was like a walking United Nations, because so many diverse cultures came together during these wonderful matches. Over these first five matches, we have had a tremendous increase in the international interest in the Presidents Cup as it has continued to grow. Over 700 worldwide media were credentialed in 2003 in South Africa. Media representatives came from the United States, Japan, Australia, England, France, Canada and South Africa. Our broadcast now reaches over 40 countries worldwide with millions and millions of golf fans and others tuning in to the matches. The Presidents Cup epitomizes what is great about the game of golf. Since its inception in 1994, it has garnered a reputation as a team competition, where sportsmanship, honor and integrity are of the utmost importance to the captains and the players. We have seen these traits exhibited during the first five Presidents Cups. We only have to look back as far as South Africa in 2003 where there was fierce competition between two evenly-balanced teams that completed the matches deadlocked at 17-17. Sportsmanship exhibited by both captains and both teams led to an agreement to share the Cup for the last two years. In fact, in many ways, we look at the matches to be played here in a few weeks as a playoff to those matches. We had enthusiastic involvement by South African President Mbeki and former President Mandela. When you look at the Presidents Cup, it is what it represents: Great competition, great sportsmanship, a way to bring a focus on the game of golf around the world. And also, I should mention that the players who play in the Presidents Cup dedicate all of the proceeds from the Cup to the individual charities they select. Since the start of the Presidents Cup over $10 million now has been generated by the players given to charity. That impact has been felt worldwide, and charitable distributions have gone to beneficiaries, charities and countries from Australia to Zimbabwe. This year's event will be at the Robert Trent Jones Club in Washington, D.C. on September 22-25. President Bush is the honorary chairman. Players and the captains and the fans are awaiting eagerly to an event where new pages will be written as the history of the Presidents Cup continues to be written. But this today is about the Presidents Cup coming to Montreal, Canada. We are so pleased to be able to play at this great golf course, and to be able to come to a country where the intensity of the fans and the focus on the fans and the game of golf is so special that we witness on the PGA TOUR; and in their interest and in their favorite son golfer, Mike Weir, who we are delighted to have with us today. As we look forward to these matches in two years, we confident that with the leadership of the government, the corporate sector, and the members of Royal Montreal, the 2007 Presidents Cup will continue the tradition of excellence that the Presidents Cup has enjoyed since its inception. Thank you very much.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Finchem. I would like now to introduce the Prime Minister of Canada's Economic Development Ministry, Jacques Saada.

HONOURABLE JACQUES SAADA: It is with pleasure to be applauded before you speak because you never know if you will be applaud at the end of the speech. Mr. Finchem, Mr. Ross, Mike Weir, Mr. Richards, members of the press, ladies and gentlemen. I want to start by telling you how much of an inspiration you are to our youth here in Canada and how much of a role model you are, and I want to acknowledge you here. The announcement that brings us together here today confirms beyond all doubt Montreal is a growing presence in the global world and is a world class first nation. Montreal does enjoy a stellar reputation worldwide. It is home to the headquarters of many international economic, social and culture organizations. Montreal is also known as a City of Festivals, as well as a host of numerous sports events, Formula I in Canada, and in September 2007, the seventh edition of the prestigious Presidents Cup golf tournament, all events that are a test to Montreal's international character. With some 300 journalists on hand, 150 are from abroad, TV coverage watched by some 190 million households in more than 140 countries around the world, this major golf tournament will be an amazing window on the world. As well, it will play host to some 9,000 international tourists and generate significant economic benefit estimated at more than $60 million. I would like to congratulate the organizers, and a special thank you to all of those who fulfill the dream and contributed to the success of Montreal. And I would like to especially congratulate Mr. Mike Weir and Mr. Michael Richards who through their dedication and determination make us all so proud today.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much, and now the Ministry of Tourism, Francoise Gauthier.

FRANCOISE GAUTHIER: (Speaking in French.)

THE MODERATOR: I would like now to introduce the Executive Director of the Royal Canadian Golf Association, Mr. Stephen Ross.

STEPHEN ROSS: Ladies and gentlemen, first of all, thank you for the invitation to be here with you today. Let me be one of the first Canadians to officially welcome the 2007 Presidents Cup to Canada. I stand in front of everybody today, but beside you as a very proud Canadian. I'm proud of this moment. I have had the good fortune, the privilege of attending actually working each of the first five Presidents Cups; three at the Robert Trent Jones Golf Club, one at Melbourne and one at Fancourt in George, South Africa. Of the first three, I can tell you firsthand, I was the lone Canadian representing the country as an official. It made me particularly proud in 2003, the first event when Mike was on his way to be on the International Team; and if you recall that year, Mike was the star of the international side by a large margin. He did us all proud. We are particularly proud for me to be able to say to all of you that we are going to host the 2007 Presidents Cup. I have to say that since the first one was conducted, I have been on the phone to Tim, slapping him a couple of times urging him to come to Canada as an international destination. It's not very far from the U.S., you know, so thank you for the opportunity. All Canadians will see 24 of the very best golfers around the world; what an opportunity. It will be a real opportunity for the development, the further development of golf in this country, showcased in 140 countries, introducing golf to young people who have probably will have never have had the opportunity to either watch it on television or come to Royal Montreal to watch it firsthand. I think it's only appropriate that the first Presidents Cup, the first Presidents Cup in Canada be held at the North America's oldest and most prestigious golf club, Royal Montreal. Mike, congratulations for being selected and on behalf of the full board, please extend our thanks to your members, and to your personally for accepting the event. To Mike Weir, I'm as proud of you as I am of everybody in this room, but many of you won't know that I have been around with the RCGA a long time and Mike was our Canadian Juvenile Champion a few years ago, and I can remember him develop, he's developed into a fine young man, not just a fine young golfer. We're proud of you, Mike. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to be here. And what people might not know is in the last particular four years since Mike first became a member of the team on the international side, he has worked very hard to make this moment happen. On behalf of all Canadians, thanks for your efforts. Last message to Tim, proud Canadians; you will not be disappointed to stage the 2007 Presidents Cup in Canada and Montreal, at Royal Montreal. It will only be too soon before the second one is staged here. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Ross. I would like to introduce now a good friend, a good friend of everybody as a matter of fact, and he is a good friend of golf. He is a member of Royal Montreal Golf Club and he's going to be the 2007 tournament chairman, Mr. Michael Richards.

MICHAEL RICHARDS: Others more qualified than me have commented on the economic benefits to Canada, but let me add that you cannot measure the value of the media coverage around the world that Canada, Quebec and Montreal will receive in 2007. Not to mention the promotional activities for the event that will go on for the next two years. We are also thankful that Mike Weir has become the international golf star that he is, because otherwise, this event would not be coming to Canada. Let me say a few words about Royal Montreal's Blue Course, which was the course played in 1975, 1980, 1997 and 2001 Canadian Opens. The game of golf as played by the professionals has changed in the last seven or eight years. The technology and physical conditioning, the players are hitting the ball further than ever before. Our Blue Course will be up to the challenge. We have recently engaged Mr. Rees Jones, one of the leading golf architects in the world, often referred to as the "Open Doctor" for the number of U.S. Open courses he has worked on, to upgrade to the modern game of our Dick Wilson design, and we are already halfway there. The front nine changes will completed last fall, and the back nine of the Blue Course will be closed shortly with the changes to be completed this fall.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Richards. You know, it's always interesting to know the feelings of a PGA TOUR player regarding an event like that, regarding a great competition like the Presidents Cup, and that's one of the reasons why he is here with us today. And he will again represent Canada next month at the Presidents Cup, he is the winner of seven PGA TOUR events, including, of course, The Masters, Mr. Mike Weir.

MIKE WEIR: Pardon the smile on my face. I'm a little bit excited that the event is coming here. I'm very proud and excited that the 2007 Presidents Cup is coming to Canada. It's been a long time, I've wanted to be here and have this announcement, as I've talked to Mike Bodney for a long time, when are we going to do this. I'm so excited to announce it. I'm glad we're finally here. I would like to express my gratitude on behalf of the players to the government of Canada, the province of Quebec, the City of Montreal and the Royal Montreal Golf Club, and to Mr. Finchem, who in 1994 created this great event. The Presidents Cup is a great event that as competitors we look forward to every two years. As Commissioner Finchem said, it epitomizes what golf is all about: Fierce competition, camaraderie and sportsmanship. And that's probably the thing I'm most proud of in the past two Presidents Cups I've played is the sportsmanship along with the fierce competition that goes along with that. And for one week every two years, the International Team, the players get to be part of something that's rare in an individual sport, which is being on a team. I mean, the Americans have it every year. Along with the Presidents Cup, they have the Ryder Cup, with myself and Vijay, Ernie, Retief and the other players, we have to wait 24 months to play this great event, so it's fantastic. Being Canadian, to represent this 2007 Presidents Cup, I can't quite put it into words. It means so much to me to have this event, to just showcase Canada and Canadian golf and Royal Montreal to the world, what a great golf nation we are; we're not just about hockey. We're very passionate for golf, as well. It's an honor to me to represent Canada in the Presidents Cup being Canadian. We have a great captain, Gary Player, at the last event in South Africa was a fantastic event, obviously a tie has Mr. Finchem said. We're going to break the tie this year, but hopefully we'll have the Cup for 2007 and we'll be trying to retain the Cup in 2007. When I was down in South Africa in 2003, to see Ernie and Retief, Nick Price, Tim Clark, you feel proud the guys to have an event in their home country, to see people rally behind the event, it was really special. Again I'm very proud to be here on behalf of the players on the International Team and look forward to a great event in 2007. Thank you.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Weir.

Q. Good afternoon, Mr. Finchem. Question for you. How many other golf courses were being considered and which ones were they?


Q. In Canada.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I think our focus on Royal Montreal goes back a year probably. Originally when we were looking at Canada as a possible international venue, we looked at everything, the golf courses you would assume we would look at, and we narrowed it down and we were looking at other countries as well. I think as Steve mentioned, the one of the compelling factors about Royal Montreal is we've had experience there with the Canadian Open, a superb golf course, and it has so much history and tradition. Of course, the RCGA was part of our discussions. It just worked out. But we did look initially at lots of different courses.

Q. For Mr. Finchem and also for Mike Weir, if he could, just do you think that with the international status of golf now that it's time to have a real meaningful World Cup of Golf, because you have two tournaments, one that excludes the Mike Weirs and Retief Goosens and Ernie Els', and the other one that excludes the Europeans, and is it time for one that has the whole world playing?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I'll let Mike answer for himself. I think there's always discussions about the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup and which one is better. We never really look at it that way, just like we don't necessarily compare The Masters and the PGA Championship; what's the point. The Presidents Cup came about because there were so many good players from around the world coming to the international scene in the 1990s. Greg Norman was the No. 1 player in the world, Ernie Els had just won the Open, etc., etc., and of course you've seen what's happened since. There are 78 or 80 players on the PGA TOUR from 23 different countries. Five years ago, there were 19 or 20 from eight or nine countries. So it is a global game, and we wanted the best players from outside Europe and the United States to have the opportunity to play in this type of competition. I think that if I'm a fan, I like watching the Ryder Cup, I like watching the Presidents Cup. Maybe at some time in the future they might be combined somehow, but for now I think that the Ryder Cup has its own history, and certainly a very strong nationalistic fervor in Europe around it. The Presidents Cup is much younger, but it's certainly made great strides in terms of popularity. They are different; they have a different feel, I think the players attest to that often. But in both cases, they create great golf, great shot-making, great matches and certainly a terrific telecast watching these players compete in this kind of arena, which is great for the game and great for the individual players. At least for the time being I think we are comfortable staying the course.

MIKE WEIR: I agree. I obviously have not had a chance to play in the Ryder Cup. But playing on two Presidents Cup teams and this being my third, as Tim said, it's still in its infancy as far as getting some history to the Presidents Cup. I think the last one in South Africa really elevated the status of the Presidents Cup. I can't imagine there being any more drama and any more pressure than what unfolded the last day and with Ernie and Tiger and the putts they made and how exciting it was. It was awesome. So to combine the three teams somehow, I don't know, maybe in the future, but I think as Tim said, they have their different feels and the Presidents Cup has a fantastic feel to it and it's a great competition. I don't see that there's any reason to change it.

Q. Mike, it was mentioned that you did a lot of behind the scenes lobbying to try to get the Presidents Cup here in 2007. Give us just an idea of what exactly went on behind the scenes and how instrumental your role was in bringing the Presidents Cup here.

MIKE WEIR: Well, I think my role really was just to, on behalf of the players, get information about the golf courses to them. I mean, a lot of guys wanted to know about where possibly we might be playing, and then you're talking with Steve and talking with Tim and just making sure the timing was right, the year being 2007 was right. I happened to be playing well at the time when we were considering coming here, so I think all of those factors played a role. That's the bottom line. That's pretty much it.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: If I could add to that, Mike commands a great deal of respect among his fellow players on the PGA TOUR and among all of us who work behind the scenes in the game he is a great representative for what hopefully our athletes are; and everybody you up here knows that, I don't need to say that. In his own quiet way, he's been a strong advocate for considering and respectfully requesting that Canada be considered. Again, he has had a great effect on the International Team, and he's well-liked by the Americans on the American team, too. I would say that his involvement in the process has been very important indeed.

Q. Commissioner, two questions. Was this announcement, it would appear that it's been delayed for several months, any particular reason for that?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No, no particular reason. We wanted to be ready. We wanted to have a lot of the details completed and we weren't in any particular rush. It's still two years away, so frankly, the juxtaposition with the captains today, bringing some attention in the next few weeks at Presidents Cup worked well.

Q. And we all have been told about the amount of money that this event generates and that the players donate their proceeds to charity. How much does it cost the PGA TOUR, if you can give us a figure, to put this event on?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, the PGA TOUR takes -- sells the television rights and puts all of the dollars of the television rights into the preparation and conduct of the tournament. There is no purse. The players don't play for any prize money as they typically would on the PGA TOUR where our average purse is several million dollars. Then we run the tournament, we promote it and work on it for two or three years, we have staff working with the host venue, and then we take all of the revenue and then in addition to the costs of running that revenue is distributed equally to the captains of last year -- in 2003, that was $2.8 million, I believe, and it's gone up every year. Hopefully we can exceed that this year, but it's very much in the tradition of what the PGA TOUR is all about. We have 110, 112 tournaments on three Tours now, and virtually all of them are organized in the same fashion where the proceeds go to charity. This year that figure will exceed $90 million. We never discuss the television rights specifically for any particular tournament, but we do account for all of the television rights in this particular tournament into the overall revenue in addition to ticket sales and corporate hospitality.

Q. Mike Richards, congratulations, a lot of work on your heart behind this, can you give us an idea of how many people are you expecting, are you going to limit it like the Canadian Open spectators on site for today and tickets, are they available from Royal Montreal or the PGA TOUR and when might they be going on sale?

MICHAEL RICHARDS: The first answer is that we haven't exactly fixed the number, but we want to make sure that the spectators have a good experience and not be overcrowded. We are thinking in the area of maybe 20,000 to 25,000 tickets a day. In terms of when they will go on sale, the sales committee is organized, the brochures are now available. The phone number and setup has been organized. So I would suggest that as soon as this current Presidents Cup in 2005 has ended that they will be hitting the pavement and the sales will be going on.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: The advertising will begin during this year's Presidents Cup and the details on tickets. Our commitment to everyone here in Montreal is to promote very heavily for two years so that we honestly believe this will be the best Presidents Cup in history, and we intend to make something that works for the people up here who worked so hard to make this come together.

Q. For Mike, the U.S. Team are all guys from one country and you guys are from various countries, how do you get a team spirit, or how could you match the American team spirit when you're from tens of thousands of kilometers away from each other?

MIKE WEIR: I think that's one of the fun things about our team is that we are from all over the place. But most of us do play on the United States PGA TOUR, so we know one another. Everybody knows one another. We all get together each and every night, we have dinners together, we get to know each and everybody's family, their kids, so we really bond quickly. We play different practice rounds and we play each and every day, Monday through Wednesday are the practice rounds days, and we may pair up different guys to see who really gets along well and who may be paired together and give our input to Captain Player. You know, we come together quickly. The last two teams I've been on, everybody gets along great and we have a lot of fun. So that's pretty easy to create camaraderie on our team.

End of FastScripts�.

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297