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AT&T NATIONAL MEDIA DAY
May 29, 2007
GREG McLAUGHLIN: Welcome everyone thank you very much for coming to the 2007 we are here at Congressional I'm Greg McLaughlin, the president of the Tiger Woods Foundation. We wanted to begin by thanking AT&T, our title sponsor, and great partner of the Foundation. They began a relationship with us over four years ago in support of our Tiger Woods Learning Center in Anaheim and have continued on, as well, now sponsoring this golf tournament. So we are very pleased to have them as a partner; certainly a brand that we feel mirrors this tournament and what we are trying to do here in the greater Washington, D.C. area, so we are very happy to have them.
We are also pleased to -- hopefully everyone has our press kit -- to announce four founding partners, BearingPoint Management and Technology Consultants, SNP Staisil Norris Partners, Stanford, CVS Caremark, and we thank them for the support of the tournament, as well.
I'd like to now introduce the president of Congressional Country Club for a few remarks, Mr. Stu Long.
STUART LONG: Thank you, Greg. I just want to say it's with great pleasure that Congressional and its membership is able to host these first two years of Tiger's tournament, and what an honor it is for us to be associated with his charitable foundation and hoping that he is able to do in the larger Washington metropolitan area what he already has done in Anaheim, California. We look forward to the opening of any Learning Center that he builds here. And I just want to say that our main job here was to take care of the weather for the media and I know a lot of you guys from my days at RFK, I just realized that many of you still new my cell phone number, that you're always calling after midnight for interviews.
Having said that I just want to let you know that it's a great honor for Congressional to host this tournament. Thank you, Tiger.
GREG McLAUGHLIN: Before we turn it over to Tiger, I just wanted to address a couple of things. We had one of our announcements which hopefully you all had an opportunity to review which details some of the initial commitments that we had including past U.S. Open winner Jim Furyk, as well as Darren Clarke, Adam Scott, Justin Rose, Steve Stricker, Davis Love, Fred Funk, Stuart Appleby and Charles Howell. So we're delighted to have the commitments actually come in so early.
One of the challenges that we've had with this tournament being 84 days old is what we calculated, we have approximately about 34 days to go before the first shot is hit on July 2nd, is recruiting players, trying to build up a field. And it's taken a fair amount of effort on our part because so many players' schedule is usually set, which I'm sure Tiger will probably tell you that his schedule is set typically in September the year prior to. So we are delighted to have this quality of field this early and we hope to continue filling it out the remaining few weeks as the schedule comes and shortly after the U.S. Open.
But there's a press release in there which announces a preliminary military plan. One of the things we discussed at the Press Club when we announced it on March 7th which we felt was a very comprehensive military plan that allows this tournament, this club, our sponsor, our foundation to really honor the men and women that are serving our country. And we've got about ten items in cooperation with the PGA TOUR and the Pentagon that we've been working on, and these details will come out later this week and the remaining weeks leading up to the tournament.
A couple of things we wanted to just address right now is the relationship through the Pentagon that we have with the Morale, Welfare and Recreation Office of the U.S. military. And this division is really going to help us distribute some 30,000 tickets to men and women, active military and their guests that will attend the tournament during the week. And that's effectively Tuesday through Sunday, 5,000 tickets per day that will be awarded to service men and women and their guests, friends, spouse. We'll have a separate entrance where they will be able to come in and they will be bussed from various bases in the greater Washington D.C. area. But again, it's our intent to honor and really thank the people that protect us, so we have more information that we really want to provide.
One of the other elements is some discounted concessions and this is just the beginning. It's our goal long term to grow that and build that. (Applause).
Before I turn it over to Tiger, he's fighting off a little strep throat, so don't be too rough on him, members of the media, with your questions. And we do have a lot of guests that are with us today, and I would like to ask that questions of anyone that's sitting up here that's just come from members of the media, and we would ask others to refrain and just have questions only from the members of the media.
With that, I'd like to turn it over to Tiger for some comments and then he'll open it up for some questions.
TIGER WOODS: We're very excited to be here. It's always been a dream of my father and I to have one day host a PGA TOUR event, and we've been extremely lucky and very fortunate to have had an opportunity to do it here at Congressional. This is a very historic site; and one in which has hosted four major championships, and one that I did play in, didn't do very well in, but did play. I just found it to be just a wonderful golf course, a golf course that I always wanted to come back and play again. And here we are, and thanks to Stu here and all of the board and all of the members, everyone here has made it possible.
We are extremely ecstatic to come here to the D.C. area. I know that it hasn't had a tournament in a little bit, but here we are and we're going to try to put on a memorable event and one that I think all of you will be proud of. Hopefully we'll produce something that will be historic in nature just like this golf course.
Q. Wondering where Elin is -- (inaudible).
TIGER WOODS: I'm going to try and play. My intent is to play. Whether my wife has something to say about that, but my intent is to play, there's no doubt about that. I want to play here. I love this golf course, and especially an inaugural event; I want to be here.
But you know, as everyone understands, our No. 1 priority in our lives is our child. So you only get to witness it for the first time only once and I want to be there to be with her in that moment.
Q. What are you doing to recruit other players, and what kind of reception have you been getting from other players to play in this event?
TIGER WOODS: I have asked some of my friends whether they want to play or not. Some of them have committed, i.e., Jim and Charles and Darren. But it's hard. This time of the year, a lot of the Europeans are already over in Europe playing, getting ready for the British Open and they have a commitment to their Tour.
And as Greg said, this tournament is only 84 days old. And because of that, a lot of guys have already made up their schedules. Maybe the field will get better as it gets a little closer, but right now it's a little difficult.
Q. This time of year, you're usually gearing up for the U.S. Open, and this year you have to do that, get ready to host your inaugural tournament, and expecting a new family member. What kind of challenge has that presented for you?
TIGER WOODS: Quite a few challenges. Probably time management skills are certainly tested. Then again, these are all things that are very exciting, hosting your first TOUR event, playing the U.S. Open, and above all, having the birth of your first child. These are all very exciting things. So from that standpoint, it's something that I look forward to each and every day is experiencing these things.
Q. With the tournament having your name on it, I'm curious as to how detail-involved you are in the tournament as far as, say, deciding whether it's a par 70, 72; and how involved you are in things such as that in preparing for this tournament and how much time does it take to do this.
TIGER WOODS: Quite a bit of time. Unfortunately all of the players can blame me for the par 70. I think that we should play it just like how we did in the U.S. Open in '97. I just think that was such a tremendous test and it produced a great champion in Ernie Els. I think that everyone here who played it back then thoroughly enjoyed the layout and thoroughly enjoyed the test, and above all, everyone thought it was fair; it was difficult, but fair. I think that's what we want to provide to all of the players is a very difficult test but also one that they said that it was ultimately very fair in nature.
Q. As a budding architect, have you given any thought to building your own course to host your own tournament, especially given the fact that you're flying from here to Memorial; like Jack built Muirfield Village, have you given any thought to that?
TIGER WOODS: I don't know. I'm just getting started. I'm still working on my very first golf course, and it is a lot harder than I thought it would be. I don't know how Jack has designed over 250 golf courses around the world. It's mind-boggling because this first one is very difficult.
Who knows what the future holds, but right now we are so happy and so excited to be here at Congressional that we can't really get a better place. And ultimately it would be great to have a home here, but it's up to the members of the board. We would love to come back here for many years.
Q. You're talking about time management, but you had the big Jam over the weekend in Vegas; now you're here; and then off to Ohio. Congressional and Oakmont will play very similar, traditional courses, but you've got the British in there, as well. How are you keeping not just time management, but how are you keeping your golf in focus at all?
TIGER WOODS: It's hard. Still got to have my workouts, my daily workouts, as well as practice. It's certainly been tested. Thankfully I don't sleep much. There are 24 hours in the day so get a few, you're all good to go for the next day.
Q. In your own words, what's the significance of staging the tournament on July 4 week in the Washington area?
TIGER WOODS: It's our nation's birthday. It can't get any better than that. Also one of the reasons why that I want to make a very hard outreach to the men and women who serve our country; it's something that -- I grew up in that household; I know what it's like, my father being in the military, and I know the commitment that it takes. I have friends who are in the military, as well. I know the level of commitment that it takes, and I don't think it can be any better than having all of the various men and women coming out and have it on this golf course. The package doesn't get any better than that.
Q. You talked about you and your dad had a vision for putting the tournament on; when did you guys start having those talks and how did that kind of come about?
TIGER WOODS: Probably started, oh, about ten or 11 years ago when the Foundation first took its baby steps. We wanted to have ultimately a golf tournament that would benefit our foundation, and that's one of the reasons why we have the Target World Challenge out in southern California.
But ultimately we want to have a PGA TOUR event, and it's a goal and a dream of my father and I, and we're lucky enough to have had here. I just wish he could have been here to see it because he would have been so proud of what we're going to put on and what we have been putting on. So it's something that's near and dear to my heart and something that's been ultimately very close to me, very passionate -- I've been very passionate about because of, you know, going back to those days of thinking that maybe one day; and here we are.
Q. Just a hypothetical, let's say you do play, you're on 18, you've got a one-stroke lead, and all of a sudden you get the page and it's time for Elin. (Laughter) What do you do?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I have to play real quick, won't I? (Laughter) Real quick.
Q. Any funny or annoying stories about people suggesting baby names to you over the last few months?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, dude (laughter) southern Cal, all right. It's been unreal. Names, suggestions, anything and everything. I've got more advice than -- I get a lot of advice about how to play golf when I'm out there playing from the gallery, but this has been infinitely more. It's been very interesting. Everyone always tells their own story, too, of what happened. Sometimes a little more grotesque than I would like to hear, but they still tell it anyways. (Laughter).
Q. Did you look at the venue first and say, I want to go find the best venue I can in the country for my tournament, or did you look first to Washington and find the best venue in the area?
TIGER WOODS: I went to D.C. first and once you say D.C., you automatically think Congressional. That was the whole basis and all of the people here made it into a reality.
Q. You love this course; is there a favorite hole you have here at Congressional, and why?
TIGER WOODS: I think that -- I thought the 17th hole, now the 18th hole, is just a wonderful hole. It's one that has cost a couple of guys the U.S. Open. It's extremely fair but it's a tremendous challenge because people don't realize how much it swirls down -- how much the swirls and you have to try to pick a club and be committed to it. And if you tug it a little bit, long, you're wet; block it over to the right in that bunker. You have to hit a precise shot with everything on the line, and now with it being the 18th hole, it makes it even more difficult.
Q. Do you have it set up now the way you want it set especially, and what plans do you have for the rough that you may still be hacking?
TIGER WOODS: It's not the way it is right now -- we're going to get that thing up. I know you guys don't like that but you have to -- we'll have it up, more of a test, more of a challenge. The green speed will definitely be picked up, but also it's all dependent on the weather, too. You get some rain and some nice, warm weather, then that rough will perk up real quickly.
But if you don't, then you're going to have to try to make the golf course a little more difficult somehow some other way and that's going to be probably pin locations. You can always make the golf course more difficult just by tucking the pins. I know the TOUR has made an effort in the last three, four years to put some of the pins three from the side. Three from the side, that's not a whole lot to work with.
Q. If it's up to you after the first two-year commitment with Congressional is up, where will this tournament be played after that?
TIGER WOODS: Right here. (Laughter).
Q. Any second choices?
TIGER WOODS: Right here. (Applause.)
After that we'll look but right now -- you always can consider, but it's one of the most historic sites in all of golf and it's really hard to actually go somewhere else when you look at historically what they have done here.
Q. With your wanting to play here in the first inaugural event and the baby coming, logistically, is Elin going to be here, or is she going to be close by so you can try to gauge?
TIGER WOODS: No, she's not going to be here. She'll be at home. You know, we'll play it by ear, basically day by day, and see what happens. She may come early on time or late, we don't know. But whenever that day is, I will be there.
Q. Obviously everyone is hoping this tournament will be a success, both financially and for your foundation. Have you learned anything over the last two or three months about the Washington area that makes you believe that this will be successful?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've been here a few times. Actually, an awful lot of times. But golf-wise, the reception we got at the Presidents Cup the few times I've played it, it's been unreal. And you know, I think it's just that it's been -- I just think this is an area that is a-sports mad area. They love their sport here. The reception we got here during the U.S. Open was one that I'll never forget, and also one of the reasons why I wanted to come back, as well.
Q. A number of big-name players have already committed to the tournament, can you update us some of your rivals, Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh and Ernie Els, if you feel optimistic that they'll be playing, as well?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I don't think Phil is going to play. Vijay I think is still up in the air, and Ernie is not going to play.
Q. Have you talked with Jack or Arnie about the ABCs of running a tournament?
TIGER WOODS: A little bit. Not a TOUR event, but running an event, yes. We've been running the Target World Challenge for years, and logistically it's the same, but now it's on a bigger scale. I've talked to Jack probably once.
Q. Piggybacking on that, hosting a tournament, I assume that you would give out whatever trophy there is at the end, if it's not to yourself; is it fair to win your own tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Yes. Always. (Laughter).
Q. Thank you for pondering that one.
TIGER WOODS: (Laughter).
Q. Can you talk a little about the Foundation running the event versus your IMG or somebody like that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we wanted to keep it close to home. This is our event. The Foundation is the beneficiary. We run the Target World Challenge out there in Los Angeles and we have an understanding. Greg has been in tournament golf and running tournaments for 18 years now. Can't get a better tournament director than Greg, so Greg understands the logistics and the things that go along with it. We want to have it as our own tournament. And we didn't want anybody coming in from the outside.
Q. You've talked about how important your relationship with your father was in terms of golf, with your own family coming, have you thought at all about whether golf will play the same relationship between you and your kids or whether you're hopeful that will occur?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'll provide the environment if they should choose to play. My parents always wanted me to play other sports and try other things. I kept coming back to golf. I just loved it. I played baseball, ran track, ran cross-country, but I just kept coming back to golf. Now, our child may not like it. Maybe can't stand it. But so what? So be it. Just as long as they find an interest that they like and go ahead and do it to the fullest of their ability?
Q. A chance to give your tournament a plug here, but the ticket prices looked very reasonable for this event. Were you involved in setting that at all?
TIGER WOODS: Well, we wanted to make this a family atmosphere, something that everyone in their family could come out and participate. A lot of times I've played tournaments around the world basically, prices of tickets are just basically out of control and you can only bring maybe one or two people. We wanted to have had this for however many children you have, you can bring them. Basically it's one big picnic, kind of how you want to look at it.
Q. So you had a personal hand in setting the prices?
TIGER WOODS: Correct.
Q. Does the reigning Colonial champion have an invite?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, yeah.
Q. Everything you do on the golf course is so well-planned out and strategic, and with life you're doing it that way, and with the low ticket price for children and with giving the free entry to the military, it's all so politically correct and so perfect. Are you thinking even now about running for the presidency one day? (Laughter)
TIGER WOODS: Hell no. (Laughter) Noooooo. No. Uh-uh. Next. (Laughter).
Q. This is actually probably more for Greg. Back during the Press Club event, you all had announced that you were looking to do a second Tiger Woods Learning Center. Where are you all at in that process and have you even started because you've been so focused on this? Have you again gotten to a point where you started nailing down a location?
GREG McLAUGHLIN: We had a handful of location that is have approached us with exciting opportunities. We probably have deployed a team of about five people, educators, on our staff are that have been having conversations and now what we've done is we're really getting into a feasibility study to find out what the best location is, and it's our goal to hopefully have one of these sights that will emerge as the site that we're going to select and we're hoping to announce that sometime in early '08.
But we're hopeful that one of the sites will emerge. And the key thing is to try and find a model that is very similar to what we did in southern California because that model is very successful for us. There's some really great sights -- every site that came to us with an option and an opportunity to make it work, and what is really the best site for the center, and it's not always necessarily land or it's not always necessarily a particular neighborhood. It's really kind of everything coming together that fits the model that works for us. We're hopeful that we'll have some information, again, early '08.
Q. (No microphone.)
GREG McLAUGHLIN: Our goal was to -- that was kind of our goal and the goal also was to find something that could really provide opportunities for not only Maryland, Virginia, and we feel that each one of these sights we're very viewing can do that.
Q. You chose D.C. to have this event, but the latest ratings show that the ratings in D.C. were lowest for any major market; do you have any concern.
TIGER WOODS: No. I mean, I think that the field that we have and the golf course and the venue that we have for this golf tournament, I think that will change.
Q. Were you ever concerned about pulling this off in only four months, given that most tournaments are put together in 12?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, definitely, I think we all were. You know, without the help of Stu and the entire staff, Greg, they have all worked very diligently and it's hard to do, you don't do that with golf tournaments, especially on this scale, it doesn't happen. It takes an effort level that is unmatched and certainly the commitment to excellence and everybody here who has been involved has been tremendous in making it all happen.
Q. You've had some issues with technology, the ball, the club, some talk of wanting to dial it back thinking it's getting out of control; getting involved with the tournament, do you look at it as a way to get more involved in that end of it, controlling that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, you can't control that. That's something that the tournament really can't do. All you can do is -- technology is where it's at right now. You just keep lengthening golf courses. That's the only thing you can do right now because everything is going towards the ball that goes further and guys -- you can't limit guys from training. Guys are getting bigger, stronger, faster and agronomy has certainly changed. Greens have certainly gotten faster. Try and dry them out to make them even faster which makes them smaller, but still, the ball is going down the right side of the fairways with speed, guys are bigger and faster and more athletic, they are going to hit big drives.
Q. Are you looking at saying, if you want to play my tournament, it's an Invitational, you have to play this kind of ball, nothing like that?
TIGER WOODS: No.
GREG McLAUGHLIN: Thank you all very much for coming out. This is exciting for us. It's delightful to have everyone out, wonderful turnout. I wanted to thank the club, those of you that played golf today. You had an opportunity to see it and it's wonderful, John Lyberger and his staff, as well as Michael Leemhuis, Mike Giuffre, superintendent, as well as the board members for hosting us today.
End of FastScripts