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BMW CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
July 26, 2007
RICH PETERSON: Welcome everybody. My name is Rich Peterson. I'm the chairman of the board of governors of the Western Golf Association. And a special welcome to media day of the first BMW Championship conducted by the Western Golf Association for the benefit of the Evans Scholarship Foundation.
We are proud that our tournament was chosen by the PGA TOUR to be one of the four tournaments included in the FedExCup Championship Series. In fact, our tournament is the third tournament in the Championship Series, directly preceding the TOUR Championship. We will have the top 70 players competing for our championship and those same 70 players will be positioning themselves to be among the 30 top players in the FedExCup points to qualify for the following weeks TOUR Championship.
I think we've got two stories going at once, our champion and who will the 30 be to go on to Atlanta.
We are extremely happy to be partnered with BMW, who is our title sponsor. BMW is very well respected throughout the world. Their brand stands for high performance and excellence in everything they do. You'll find that our tournament will meet that same criteria. This tournament is very important to the Western Golf Association.
As you know, the Evans Scholarship Foundation, which is administered by WGA, is the sole beneficiary of this tournament. We will have 830 young men and women caddies, every one of them in college this fall. Without the proceeds from this tournament we would not be able to support that number of caddies in college on an annual basis.
In the next 45 minutes we'll hear from Trevor Immelman, our defending champion, Tom Purves, Chairman and CEO of BMW North America and Bob Combs, senior vice president of communications from the PGA TOUR. Following the meeting each will be available for interviews prior to lunch.
Now, I'm very proud to introduce our defending champion from south Africa, Trevor Immelman. Trevor is going to deal with this as a question and answer type of a session and we have two young ladies on either side of the aisle who have some microphones. So if you will raise your hand and we will recognize you up here for questions, but to get everything started, Trevor, I'm going to start it off, all right?
First off, congratulations on your victory last year. It was terrific. And as I recall very vividly on the 18th hole, you sank quite a putt to nail -- to seal the victory. So what were you thinking about as you were lining up that putt and standing over that putt.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I was just trying my best not to three putt, to be honest with you, but obviously at that moment it was such an exciting time in the championship, obviously Tiger had just finished and finished with a flurry of birdies and everybody was excited about that and I managed to be one ahead playing the last hole and was obviously quite relieved hitting the green in regulation and I needed to find that -- once I got up to the green I probably had one of the toughest putts you could probably have on the whole Cog Hill golf course but, you know, I was really just trying to concentrate on my speed in that putt and roll it up there nice and close, and as you could see from my reaction, I was pretty thrilled once I saw it disappear.
Q. Trevor, I'm just wondering how much of a defending champion you feel you are due to the fact they changed the time of the tournament and changed the qualification for the tournament. Does it feel like you should be playing this in July or does this work for you?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think this is a great situation for this tournament. First of all, to have a tournament of this magnitude and this much history, to team up with a company like BMW who has had such great experience in running events -- golf events worldwide, I think it's a win-win situation for both parties. And to be playing here this year at Cog Hill, which is a golf course with a lot of rich history, as well, and you know guys have always supported this event and with it being -- so that's never been a problem. So I think with it being a playoff event and the third event in that playoff series, it's only going to add to its lust ure. And I anticipate a fantastic event and I feel very honored to be the defending championship.
And to answer your question, standing here in front of all you people, I definitely feel like a defending champion and I'm excited to be coming back in a month or so.
Q. What's the sense of the players as far as now that we're getting closer to the playoffs as far as are they paying more attention to where they're standing with the points? Are you feeling the anticipation building up? What's the sense in the locker room with the players?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'm definitely paying attention to it because right now I'm outside the top 30 and I want to make sure that, you know, I make sure that I get to this tournament so that I don't have to make up too much ground getting into the TOUR Championship. So, you know, I definitely think this is the point in the year where guys are going to start paying a lot of attention to it and maybe start even altering their schedules, throwing in an extra tournament if they can, possibly do that to maybe gain some points if they feel like they need to do that.
To answer the question, I think there is a buzz in the locker room with regards to the point system and the playoffs. Everybody wants to be a part of it and, you know, especially being the first season, and so I think it's helped the PGA TOUR, I think it's helped us as members, and I think that it's helped the sponsors involved. So it's been a great situation that's unfolded so far.
Q. Trevor, can you run us through the whole food poisoning illness and where you are in your -- are you 100 percent back and where your health is and your game?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Do you want the long version or the medium version or the short version?
Q. Short version.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Okay. Good one. Definitely the short version, I'm 100 percent right now. I feel absolutely on top of the world. About ten pounds short, so that's what I'm working on right now is getting back to my fighting weight, if you will.
But yeah, it was a pretty crazy time, four or five-week period where I was just really ill and dropping weight at a rapid speed, so it was a little concerning. But, you know, for the last five or six weeks I've been feeling really good. My health has felt great and it's just a matter of me just working on my game and starting to improve the results on the golf course. So I think I've put all that behind me and I'm really looking forward to the remainder of the season and finishing off the year strong and, you know, trying to make my way into the President's Cup team and stuff like that and that's a lot for me to look forward to for the rest of the season and I'll be working hard and giving it my best shot.
Q. Trevor, over here again. What's the most tournaments that you play in a row during a season, and I ask that question because are you playing next week, Bridgestone?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Yes.
Q. So you're looking to play, if you go all the way to Atlanta, seven events in nine weeks, can you tackle that load and is that more than you would normally play at a regular point in the season?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I would say that at this point in my career it's probably more than what I would normally play, but if I had to take you back a few years, you know, there were stages where I was playing eight, nine, ten events in a row on the European Tour, so, you know, I'm not too concerned about playing that many events in a row. I think a lot of times it works out well for you for the simple fact you can gain some momentum and put in some good work in your game, you get to a tournament with competitive confidence. And what I mean by that is because you played the week before you may get rid of some of the nerves, you get rid of some of the cobwebs, by the time the gun goes off on Thursday you feel comfortable and going out there concentrating on shooting the low scores.
So my take on all of that is, you know, it's going to be demanding, but I think that's good in a way because for somebody to come away to win the FedExCup and to get that pot of gold at the end of those four weeks, you probably should go through some adversity and, you know, so I think it's going to work out well.
Q. Do you think that guys will welcome the opportunity to play that many weeks in a row, because I know many of those guys play two or three and take a couple weeks off and then you play the PGA and maybe a week off or maybe not and then you're playing all those tournaments in a row, it seems like a pretty tough stretch there and then you've got the President's Cup.
TREVOR IMMELMAN: It is tough, but I'm looking forward to it and welcoming it because I'm going to get to play so many great golf courses in such a stretch, as well, great golf courses, great tournaments against top fields, and at the end of the day that's what I want to do is I want to be testing my talent on the best golf courses against the best players, so the more opportunity I get to do that, the happier I am. So I'm definitely looking forward to it.
Q. Trevor, could you talk about the feeling you get from being with the other players on how the players understand or like the point system, if they embrace this type of format for the Playoff Series or if they might have preferred a different format?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, you know, I think it is what it is and the guys have embraced it because this is the decision that's been made and the decision has been made obviously in conjunction with the players and the Players Committee, and so we need to go ahead with this now and make sure that this is a success.
And, you know, everything the PGA TOUR has ever done has been a success, so I don't see why this wouldn't be. So we've got to push along and make sure that the public becomes aware of our new system of the FedExCup Series going into the playoffs and, you know, I think it's going to work well.
Obviously we all knew that the events running up against NFL was a bit of a struggle from a TV point of view and this was the system that was put into place. So we're all excited about it and looking forward, you know, to this first season unfolding, and I'm sure there's going to be little tweaks made here and there, but I think the overall system is a good one and one that's going to work for a long time.
Q. You mentioned the President's Cup, how do you feel that the emergence of the FedExCup and the focus it will put on the end of the season will affect the President's Cup, Ryder Cup in terms of the players' minds?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I think it's such -- I can only speak from my opinion and how I feel, but for me it's such a proud moment to represent my country in something like the President's Cup that they could play it any time of year in anyplace in the world and I would be excited about it and looking forward to it and trying to do my best to get into the team.
So we had a meeting last week at the Open Championship, Gary Player came down and we got the top 30 players on our list together and had a meeting and guys are excited about it and we're looking forward to it and so, you know, I think it's just one of those things that it's been put on the back of the end of the TOUR Championship or a couple weeks off the TOUR Championship and guys are going to be looking forward to playing it.
And I also think it might work as an advantage for the simple fact that because the tour season or the FedExCup season has ended guys know that they can go play the President's Cup and take some time off after that so it will kind of be the last big stretch and then they can have some time off.
Once again, we'll just have to see how that unfolds, but from my point of view, like I said, it could be held any time, anywhere and I'd be there.
Q. Trevor, the $10 million bonus to the winner is going to be deferred into a retirement account, as is the $35 million bonus money all the way through. A couple questions regarding that; would you prefer the cash rather than being deferred to age 60, whatever, and secondly, do you think there's going to be a disconnect with the public knowing that it's going to be going into a retirement account rather than into your pocket?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, my son is probably really happy that it's going to be deferred until I'm 60, but I would probably rather have the money now.
But no, I mean, it's just one of the ways the TOUR sets up the system for our retirement and we're all thankful for that because at the end of the day, you know, we're not in a situation like a lot of past players who have played golf at the top level and by the time they get into their late 50s and 60s they're almost at the point where they need to go and do something else, find another job. So we're all very thankful for what's been done for us from a retirement point of view, so I don't think it really matters because either way you're going to see the money, just depends on what point in your life you're going to see it.
And the second part of your question I don't think it really matters. I don't think the public, you know, I don't think that will deter from the Playoff Series and from who's winning the playoffs at all. And my opinion is that I hope people don't get stuck on the whole money issue and how much money we're making and how much money we stand to win anyway, because at the end of the day we're athletes that are out there trying to compete to win trophies and win championships and, you know, achieve our goals.
So I really don't think the public gets stuck on the money side of it. They look forward to us holding up trophies and setting records and stuff like that.
Q. Trevor, I got a couple questions. I'm just wondering how many takes did it take for you to do that commercial, do you still have the comb and what was the reaction of the players in the locker room to that commercial?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: We spent it was actually the week of -- well before it became the PODS Championship it was the last Chrysler down in Tampa and so Vijay and I spent Tuesday afternoon only two hours and, you know, we had some great fun doing it.
A lot of people who don't know Vijay might not see that side of him, but the players know that side of him. He's a funny guy and always quick to tell a joke and have a laugh for those around him, so he was great to have around. He was really up for it and wanting to make it a real good experience.
We only spent a couple hours doing it and we had a bunch of different scenarios, but I guess that's the one that came out best. I think the players have really enjoyed it and the fans have really enjoyed it. A lot of people come up to me and tell me they enjoyed the commercial and had a good laugh, so that was nice because that was one of the first times I've done something like in that capacity in a joking manner. I mean, a lot of commercials I've done for Rolex and Nike have been a serious matter, so for me it was nice for the public to see that side of me too, a light-hearted side.
But I think the guys enjoyed it and I think all the other FedEx commercials have gone down well too. So I think that's a great idea to involve the players and to show a lighter side of the players just to lighten things up a bit.
Q. You mentioned Gary Player. He caused quite a stir at Carnoustie. Have you ever seen or suspected anybody of using performance-enhancing drugs? Would you prefer to have a testing policy and do you think it's necessary?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, I've never seen anybody do anything, but I must say that I don't really look at people when I walk into the locker room. But I don't suspect we've got any problem.
I think in Mr. Player's defense, I don't think he was trying to be vindictive to anybody or trying to take any attention away from the Open Championship. I think he was speaking from, you know, his heart and trying the uphold the integrity of the sport and so I think maybe it was blown out of proportion in that manner, but I don't think we have a problem at all.
Like I said, I haven't heard or seen anything to give me evidence that there is a problem but, you know, I think we should just go ahead and do the testing and get it over and done with, that way you guys can stop asking questions, whoever in the public is wondering can stop asking questions and know we are a clean sport and that's the way it is.
Q. Trevor, I'm sure with winning last year you love Cog Hill just the way it is, but after the Championship this year they're going to shut the course down and do renovations, you'll see a different golf course in 09. Any thoughts of what they might do, any suggestions for Reece Jones and what the players like and don't like about Cog Hill?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I'm sure they're only freshening it up by redoing the greens and bunkers and tees because this golf course doesn't need any altering at all, it's just a fantastic facility, great golf course, and that's testament to why they always draw such a fantastic field for this tournament, one of the reasons, because the players love coming here, they love playing this golf course, especially here in the Chicago area, and so I don't think any changes really need to be made.
Obviously, you know, redoing the greens is a great idea and I think it's a great idea to redo the bunkers and make sure the tees are freshened up and stuff like that, and once you do those kind of things it really adds to a golf course that already is a great golf course. There's no change in my opinion needs to be made to the rooting whatsoever or any of the golf holes that are out there, so I think it's one of my favorites as it is and I think it will only just take it that one step higher once it's been freshened up, so to speak.
Q. Trevor, I have a couple of things. One, how have things changed for you since that victory last year?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Well, it's for me, as an international player and as a South African who, you know, I used to sit up -- from the age of five years old I used to sit up all hours of the night watching the PGA TOUR coverage on TV and always watching the best players play and compete in all these events, so for me to come over here to this tournament to get my first victory was just such a thrill for me. It really was. To use a cliche, it was a dream come true and there's no lie whatsoever. I always dreamt of playing on the PGA TOUR and winning a tournament on the PGA TOUR, so winning that first victory was such a fantastic feeling for me.
And I think the main thing that has changed for me is just the realization that I can come over here and compete with the best players on the best golf courses and, you know, so it's just a matter of for me. It was a matter of getting over that stump and realizing that I could come over here and do that. So I would say mentally that's the main change that's changed for me.
And obviously it's just fantastic to be part of such a great tradition. When you look at this trophy, it's kind of hard to believe that my name is on that trophy with all those great players. It really is a great feeling.
Q. Having said that, now you're a winner in Chicago and part of the group that has come in for so many years, how do you guys feel about the fact that you won't be through Chicago except for every third year the way it's set up?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think it's the way it's worked out. I think the guys who run this event have done such a great job with the Evans Scholarship program, and so I think to move the event around a little bit and make sure that word gets out about the great program and more money gets raised in the midwest area is really a great idea. I don't think it's going to hurt the event whatsoever.
Obviously then when it comes back periodically here to Cog Hill guys are still going to come and play. This has always been one of the best events. So I don't think it's going to affect the tournament adversely whatsoever.
Q. Trevor, the playoff system, do you think it will benefit guys like maybe Vijay who is used to playing seven in a row and you talked about playing, eight, nine, ten in a row in Europe years ago as opposed to we're in a situation where players are going to be asked maybe to play six or seven or seven to nine with the President's Cup. With the playoff system if you're playing six or seven, is it going to benefit a grinder like Vijay or somebody like Tiger, although he could beat people tired, but he's not used to playing more than two in a row, what's your take on that?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: I think that's a fair assessment. I mean, Vijay plays more tournaments than the rest of us, but I guess it's all speculation at this point because we don't know exactly what's going to happen, you know? We could go ahead and I could say yes and you could write yes and Tiger will come out and win all four events and then we both look like idiots. Right now it's speculation. We don't know how they're going to be about it. I know Tiger is fit enough to play four or ten in a row or could play every damn week. He's ready for whatever gets thrown at him.
So I think we're just going to have to wait and see on that one and decide after that if we think it's worked or hasn't worked for them.
Q. Trevor, you mentioned the greens here at Cog Hill and I suppose that's the one maybe criticism, that they're not as firm as they could be. Can you talk about this course if they do get those firm greens and put the SubAir System, how that will change the way this course plays for the players?
TREVOR IMMELMAN: Obviously it's going to become more challenging. Once you put the SubAir System in you really can't control the firmness of the turf. For instance, if you had a situation like this morning with all the rain early this morning, by the time the guys got on the golf course the greens would be rock hard as this table with the SubAir System. Obviously that adds a new dynamic to it and it's going to improve the golf course and improve the event, so I think it's a fantastic idea that they've decided to go ahead and, as I said earlier, freshen up the golf course and it's just going to add even more to the masterpiece that's out there already.
RICH PETERSON: Trevor, thank you very, very much.
I want you to know it was all I could do not to have a hair brush up here to hand him as he came up and I didn't think it would be quite befitting of the day. Thank you, very much and he will be available for more questions at the closing meeting.
Now it's my personal and professional pleasure to introduce to you a good friend of the Western Golf Association, a wonderful supporter of the Evans Scholarship Foundation from Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, representing our title sponsor BMW, is the president and CEO of BMW North America, Mr. Tom Purves.
TOM PURVES: Thank you, very much indeed, Rich. Good morning ladies and gentlemen.
I was deeply impressed by the defending champion, Trevor, for a Spring Bock man you're extremely eloquent.
I also want to say thank you, very much for your nice words about our involvement in international events, BMW does have a tremendously strong heritage around the world in golf. This is the first time we've been involved in the PGA TOUR and we're delighted to be a part of it.
Actually, we are really delighted to be a part of this particular event for a number of reasons. Maybe one of the most important is that the Western Golf Association has the Evans Scholarship program, and I'm going to come back to that in a moment, but when I was looking at the trophy here I couldn't help but look down at some of the names of the winners, and there are some great names there. There's Laurie Auchterlonie. I remember looking into what must be his great grandson's shop when he was a kid in St. Andrews.
There are three names on this trophy that represent history, tradition, importance and something that's relevant to what we are about as an organization and as an involvement in sport. The first one I saw was Willy Anderson, and I picked it out because I am Scottish and I still at member of North Berwick Golf Club, he is the most famous son of that town. Many of you don't know anything about it. He won four US Opens and four Western Opens in eight years. He was the most successful golfer of his time. Trevor Immelman will tell you that very few people have done that since. He died destitute, probably an alcoholic, and nobody has yet written a book about it, so here's a suggestion to all the journalists and golf scholars, here is something to write about. I mention him simply at the very beginning because he represents the tenacity and energy that great players do today, but he did so for a lot less money and much more difficult circumstances.
Further down the list there's the name of Byron Nelson. Why do I pick out Byron Nelson? I don't think there's an American golfer who stands for tradition, who stands for the values of the sport more than Byron Nelson. He used to be a pro member of the club I am a member of in New Jersey. People talk highly of him in that involvement.
Lastly but not least on the list, Nick Price. A fellow South African. Why do I mention Nick Price? A personal thing I witnessed when I was at Wentworth on match play and I was standing 300 yards, 250 yards down the hole, Nick Price sliced his ball down the rough. In front of me there was a little boy and the little boy ran out to see the ball and he picked up the boy and said, "Listen, if you go over there and sit quietly let's see if I can hit this over onto the green." He sat the boy down, and of course Nick Price hit the ball on the green, and he looked at the boy and said, "What do you think of that?" Do you think that boy will ever forget that experience? That will mean more to him in his appreciation of the sport than all the other things. Just like we heard Trevor talking about watching the PGA TOUR on television. People's experiences are extremely important when it comes to their attitude about a sport.
I can also mention Tom Watson, Jim Furyk, Tiger Woods, Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, this is a phenomenally important event and BMW is very proud to be involved and taking it to the next level and being involved with the FedExCup.
I mentioned the Evans Scholarship program, that is extremely important to us because in some ways it's a perfect match for one of our core values, and that is what we refer to as sustainability or the obligation of a company beyond offering goods and services to make an economic, environmental and social investment, as well, to make a commitment in society. And by partnering with the Western Golf Association, BMW will join 100,000 individual golfers at the WGA's 500 member clubs as an enthusiastic supporter of the Evans Scholars.
Our support has a number of different directions. There's one that's absolutely traditional and we have two new initiatives to announce today. We're going to support the WGA's tradition at the Western Open to have all the proceeds of the BMW Championship go to the Evans Scholarship Foundation.
At the same time we will forego another tradition beloved of automobile companies involved in golf, and instead of awarding one of our vehicles to a player scoring a hole-in-one during a championship on Hole No. 14, we're going to instead award a four-year scholarship in that player's name to an Evans Scholar. This applies, by the way, if I'm not wrong, Tom, today at the Pro Am and in the championship itself.
We've also added a personal dimension that is really very rewarding to everybody involved. With us today we have three Evans Scholars, Kenny McCormick from Northwestern, Josh Gonzales from Missouri and Matt Stumpf of Illinois. Gentlemen, stand and make yourself known to the group.
These three young gentlemen aren't caddying this summer, instead they're interns at BMW North America and Kenny and Matt are in our regional office here in Schaumburg, Illinois, working on events and promotions for our Mini and BMW brands and Josh is in our engineering department at our headquarters in New Jersey.
We have a dealer body of 350 individual entrepreneurs around the country. Many of them are interested and involved in golf, many of them are involved in our own scholarship programs, but we wish to open up the opportunity to Evans Scholars to have internships across the country. And I think that's one of the ways we can provide some benefit to the scholarship program in addition to the financial and monetary input.
Over our six-year relationship with the Western Golf Association we will expand our involvement with the Evans Scholars, including the number of interns, and from my point of view it seems to me a terrific opportunity also to spread the word that the retail automobile business offers a phenomenal career opportunity for young people today. It's something that I personally have been involved with through the Automotive Youth Education Services Program where we encourage educators and parents to consider the retail motor business as a career opportunity for young people.
Too often today there is an assumption that only college is the answer and too often today we have a shortage of absolute skilled people involved in the business, which is not exportable which, frankly, is extremely stable and which can provide some fascinating and properly remunerated employment opportunities.
We're involved in sport at the highest level in three fields. Many of you will know of our involvement in motorsport. We are involved with the Formula 1 program around the world with our Cyberteam, our own BMW Cyberteam. I'm delighted to say we've owned the team, this is our second year, and we are the top in pure competitiveness.
In sailing we're involved at the highest level in the America's Cup and BMW is involved in racing to capture the America's Cup and bring it back to the United States for the 32nd Cup. We were unsuccessful, but we are delighted with our involvement in that sport.
And of course our expansion of our existing international golf involvement in the states is critical for us to provide pinnacle sports representation wherever we are. And of course this is in addition to our involvement with the Amateur Golf Cup, which we've been doing for years.
I actually think the FedEx involvement, the whole program that PGA TOUR have embarked upon is immensely good sense. We're very happy to be part of it. With our involvement in motorsports we are familiar with some of these kinds of programs and in our experience it adds more drama and excitement to what is already an extremely competitive event and competitive sport.
So in closing, ladies and gentlemen, we're really thrilled to be in partnership with the Western Golf Association and the PGA TOUR. We look forward to great golf, great drama in September and all going to the benefit of the Evans Scholars.
And Trevor, I wish you every success. It would be great to see you repeat your victory in 2007. Thank you, very much.
RICH PETERSON: Thank you, Tom. As I said earlier, WGA is enthusiastically looking forward to an exciting and bright, mutually rewarding partnership with and our tournament. You are and BMW are wonderful friends of Western Golf and the Evans Scholars and we appreciate you very much.
Tom Purves will be available for questions afterward prior to lunch.
Our next speaker is the senior vice president for communications from the PGA TOUR from Ponte Vedra, please welcome Bob Combs.
BOB COMBS: Good morning. Thank you, Rich, very much, and thanks to the Western Golf Association and the Evans Scholars for their long-standing support of golf and golf's inherent values. It's really a unique organization and unique program.
One of my earliest memories of golf is tagging along with my father to the golf course and I noticed every year he would have hanging from his golf bag a different Evans Golf Scholar bag tag and each year there would be a new one and as teen I asked him to explain the program. I admired him and thought it was fascinating. And to this day it stands out as a program that's unique to golf and wonderful in the lives of so many young people. My dad recently passed and I found in his collection of things all the bag tags for many of years and it's a pleasure to have them.
Particular thanks to Trevor. I think, Trevor, you -- and I think everybody here would share that you represent all that's good about golf and it's values. Terrific competitor. When you outlined your schedule and your intention to play, there's no doubt you'll achieve a couple of goals. I know we'll see you at Eastlake in Atlanta among those final 30 and at the Royal Montreal and representing the international team at the President's Cup. So great luck over the next few weeks.
Tom Purves, we have a very strong roster of sponsors, but it's hard to think of a better match up or marriage of a sponsorship in a tournament and the TOUR than the one with BMW and this tournament. What your organization stands for represents innovation is second to none and I really enjoyed hearing details this morning about the internship program. I think it's a fascinating development. It's a nice extension of the Evans Scholars program, the caddy program. If a member of the media gets a hole-in-one today, they may be momentarily disappointed there's no car involved, but I think when they reflect on it they will be very pleased to find out there will be a four-year scholarship involved.
As Trevor mentioned, it's a great time for the PGA TOUR. We're coming down to the wire as 144 guys are pursuing that beautiful trophy made by Tiffanys. We're only three weeks away from our start of the first ever playoffs. From mid August to mid September golf is going to have something they've never had, playoffs. It's going to be a dramatic finish to our season that we've lacked.
Now we're at the time of year players, media and fans are starting to focus and reflect on it. It's now getting to the point where a player stands on a FedExCup point list is meaningful and it's critical and there are only a few weeks left to accumulate points and get in. We think the intensity is going to ratchet up and it's going to continue.
Trevor is a good example. He talked about his health issues earlier this year and right now he's outside but not well off the top 30. And why is that important? There are 144 places after all. Thousands of computer models of how this point system plays out, there are a series of four back-to-back events at the end of year. Consistently the model shows the people that start the playoffs in the top 30 go into a we see situation. Of the players in the top 30, 90 percent of the time or more the winner is going to come from that pool. Even higher in the top 15.
Occasionally the model shows that you're going to have a Cinderella story, somebody coming from down the pack, have a strong performance and they're in the playoffs. No matter how you cut it, every player wants to be seeded as high as they can coming in.
Trevor, the good news is unlike some sports that have a point system, the golf system is weighted toward winning and having a high finish. You've had some of those this year. I'm confident you'll have more. You'll be seeded in that top 30.
I think it was Rich that started off by saying that in a way we have a dual event. The playoffs for four straight weeks, we're going to have a dual event. We'll have somebody trying to win the gorgeous trophy on my left with all its history and trying to be the champion of the BMW Championship. At the same time we're going to have a tournament within a tournament, trying to move and ultimately claim the FedExCup trophy.
When they start playing, those 144 at the Barclays in Westchester in mid August, you're going to have a full field event. 24 of those guys will go home.
At the Deutsche Bank Championship at TPC Boston it will be a field of 120. After that week 50 more guys go home and come here to Chicago and play Cog Hill.
In my mind, the BMW Championship is where the drama is really going to take center stage and begin unfolding. Because the field is more than cut in half, those 70 become the last 30 to go to Eastlake and the only guys left with any chance to win the FedExCup trophy. The guy that wins the BMW Championship is clearly going to be a guy that's battling it out Sunday at Eastlake to take the total prize. I think as fans see this thing unfold in golf, there's no way not to be riveted.
As our season previously got in the middle of college football, professional football, now you're into late October, early November, it's hard to keep the golf fan trailing with you all the time, but it's not hard to keep a golf fan from mid August to mid September focused on this is competition at the highest level week after week.
We're very pleased with where we're at right now. Just like you we're not sure how it's going to play out, but it will be exciting. We can't wait for it to start. I think those of you who will be at the event covering this event, you'll see the BMW Championship is at a level it's never been at before and makes it special.
At the end whoever takes that home will take home a new definition in golf and a season of success. Thank you all very much.
RICH PETERSON: Thank you, Bob. Bob will be available for questions at the close of this meeting.
There are a few housekeeping things that I have to share with you before we finish for the day.
First off, the rain has been guaranteed to stay away. I don't know who guaranteed it, they haven't made themselves public, but it's guaranteed to stay away. The brunch will be in the main dining room of the Cog Hill Clubhouse, so it's in the main dining room and will be right after this conference.
The bag drop area and the cart area is on the west side of the main parking lot, so as you're driving up Parker Road you take a left into that parking lot and then it's on the far left-hand side of that parking lot. Basically across the street from the 2/4 building.
I have a special treat today. Each group will have an Evans Scholar caddying and fore caddy. Those Scholars are in the back of the room and they've got their smock on. Why don't you guys step forward a little bit. Each one of you will have one. So what I would suggest you do is ask them about the Evans Scholarship while you're playing.
We'll have a shotgun start at 11:00 in the morning. There is no competition other than the closest to the pin on the par 3s and a long drive contest on the 11th hole. Complimentary refreshments will be at the halfway house on the golf course and at the 2/4 building, which is right off the 10th tee.
After golf at around 3:30 there will be a reception in the front bar of the main clubhouse.
Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of BMW, on behalf of the PGA TOUR, Trevor Immelman and the Western Golf Association, thank you for attending our media conference today and thank you for your support for the Western Golf Association and our charity and our tournament. Now let's go play some golf. Thank you.
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