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May 6, 2008

Pete Dye

David Fay

Tim Finchem

Jack Peter

JACK PETER: Good afternoon, everyone. First I want to thank Ron Cross and the tournament staff for allowing us the opportunity to make what we think is a very special announcement this afternoon. Congratulations on what is shaping up to be a great week, and we look forward to the competition.
We're here today to make the first announcement for the World Golf Hall of Fame's Class of 2008, and before we get to that, I have just a couple of brief housekeeping items. The induction ceremony will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Monday, November 10th at the World Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine, Florida, and will air on The Golf Channel later that night.
We also have scheduled subsequent announcements for the 2008 class at the U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and the British Open at Royal Birkdale. We'll confirm today that no one was elected on The International ballot, and those percentages, as well as the PGA TOUR ballot results, will come at the U.S. Open.
Now, to make the announcement, it's my pleasure to introduce David Fay, the Chairman of the World Golf Foundation and the Executive Director of the USGA.
DAVID FAY: Thanks, Jack. Before I get to the specific announcement, I'll pull a little Professor Plum on you. You know, I love all sports, and I've been to most of the major sports' halls of fame. In fact, baseball I've been to over 35 times.
But I know that golf is unique in the way it treats its playgrounds and designers and architects. No other sport gives that much attention to the people who design their great golf courses. Anybody who plays golf understands why. I think that when it comes to golf courses, each one is unique. People feel passionate about golf courses, and there are more arguments about that than golf equipment.
And I think it's absolutely proper that this type of attention be given to golf courses and to golf course architects. The individual who I will be introducing is a golf course architect of great renown. I won't need to introduce him much, as soon as he walks in the room. I will say this: That he came along at a time when he really changed the nature of golf course architecture, and I think that's good.
You know, you go from a certain period of time in the '20s and into the '30s, and I would say that the recipient, the member of the 2008 World Golf Hall of Fame, was a designer of incredible ingenuity, imagination. You'll know when you see him some of the golf courses that he has designed.
He's been a friend for over 20 years. I regard him as sort of like the Will Rogers of the game of golf. I've enjoyed many, many days with him and his wife down at their place on a particular island in the Caribbean. He's got a lot of opinions; I listen very carefully, and you have to, because he'll express that. And again, I want to say both him and his wife, because in some ways I look at them as sort of like George and Gracie except maybe in this case there's a flip as far as who the straight person is in that relationship in terms of the jokes.
But without any further ado, it gives me great pleasure to introduce a man who is inducted in through the lifetime achievement category, the incomparable Pete Dye.
Before turning the microphone over to Pete, obviously given where we are, it's most appropriate to hear from Tim as far as his feelings about Pete. But again, Pete, congratulations. I've enjoyed our friendship for over 20 years. You've always got great opinions and I listen to them, but I was saying that you and Alice are more like golf architects' answer to George and Gracie, but in this case I think Alice is George.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Let me just say from a PGA TOUR perspective, obviously as David said, from where we're sitting, the quality of this golf course is THE PLAYERS. It's why we're all here. That's Pete Dye. But on the PGA TOUR, Pete has designed a number of layouts that have served us well over the years. One is up in Hilton Head, he's got some new ones. The one in New Orleans, TPC New Orleans, is done extremely well the last few years after being torn up the first year by Katrina.
Pete is now working on a fabulous course outside of San Antonio, which will be a new venue, tournament venue for us in San Antonio in a couple years. So just from a PGA TOUR perspective, Pete, we think this honor and recognition are well-deserved.
I would comment that Pete also has had an incredible impact on the growth of the game with his work worldwide. I believe I'm correct that over 30 current architects actively in the industry started with Pete and Alice, and it's like a family tree. It's like coaches and Coach K.
Pete has designed courses for universities and colleges and municipalities around the country, often times for no fee, because of his commitment to the game. And lastly, I'll just say that I suppose there may be more colorful characters in the Hall of Fame, but they need to move over when Pete shows up this fall. So with that I'll turn it over to Pete Dye.
PETE DYE: This was really a surprise when Mr. Finchem called me. I've come to the World Golf Hall of Fame with Alice. We've been coming 10 or 12 years. Last year we missed. The reason I missed is because when I went there two or three years ago, two years ago, I think, they used to have a big portrait of me and they took it down, and I said, well, I'm not going back there anymore.
So this is really a surprise. I guarantee, it might not be a surprise to you but it's a surprise to me. With all the great people that are in the Hall of Fame, it's an honor to be part of them because they've all given back to the game of golf and I'm certainly proud to be here as one of them.
Is that enough (laughter)?
LAURA HILL: We'll take some questions then.

Q. Pete, in your mind, why does this golf course present such an equal opportunity test for big guys, little guys, faders, drawers? Seems like it excludes nobody, and power players don't dominate, little guys don't dominate. Why is that?
PETE DYE: That's a secret (laughter). If I tried to tell you, I'd just be lying, so what the heck (laughter). I haven't any idea, to tell you the truth (laughter).

Q. Player after player comes in here and raves about the golf course and how much they like it and like coming here. Of course, as you might remember, that wasn't always the case, especially in the early years. I'm wondering how you feel about how the course has grown and how they've come to like and accept it, what that means to you.
PETE DYE: Well, you know, the first year we played, we just barely got by, and then the second year when they played, they had a revolution out here, and they wanted to kill me.
I think that what happened in the first year, it's hard for you young fellows to remember this, but Fred will tell you, that they grew the grass about a quarter of an inch and they had a Stimpmeter reading of about 7 or 8. About that time the manufacturers came in with a lot of new equipment, and we cut the grass down and got a little faster, and the greens were a little too severe to start with. So when they cut them down it made it way too severe, and that changed it.
But what's changed over the years is that to keep up with the new innovations that have come into the way to maintain a golf course, you've got to keep slightly modifying them, the greens and everything else, to make it work. Like Harbour Town, the first year they played up there, they were going to kill me up there, too. Palmer won the tournament and they changed it around overnight. Well, he just won the tournament and now it's good (laughter).
After a few years when they got rid of Pate and a few others, it was good. That's just the way it works (laughter).

Q. Where were you when you got the call from Tim, and what was your initial reaction?
PETE DYE: Really, you know, I was -- when I came back, Alice told me in the evening that Mr. Finchem had called, and I said -- all I could say is, I wonder what the heck has gone wrong now. So it was the next morning, and I was utterly surprised to be taken into the Hall, I really was.

Q. You thought it was another crisis?
PETE DYE: Another small crisis down there, what I done wrong somewhere. I'm trying to think of all the things I've done wrong. It's about 1,300,000, and I figured it was 1,300,001.

Q. Where would you rank this in your career, being in the Hall of Fame; and secondly, do you consider yourself a Hall of Famer?
PETE DYE: Well, I never considered myself a Hall of Famer, and to be taken in, all the great players and people who are in there, it's kind of funny to be sticking a dirt digger in there along with them (laughter). It's really an honor to be taken into the Hall of Fame. You look who's there, Mr. McDonald and Mr. Jones and Mr. Ross, as far as the golf industry and design business, that's a pretty elite group.

Q. I think everybody in this room may not know the story of your first golf course design, which was in Indiana; is that correct?

Q. El Dorado?

Q. Why don't you tell them that.
PETE DYE: Alice and I were thinking of being in the golf business. I was peddling life insurance at that time. We kept fussing around. We had a couple drawings and nothing ever happened. Finally this farmer south of town wanted to build a nine-hole golf course. So he called me, and we talked about it. Maybe he might want somebody else, but then he finally decided to have us do it.
We went down, the two of us, and looked at this nice piece of ground south of Indianapolis, and he was the contractor, so we built the golf course. We grew the grass for the greens in our front yard and things like that. I remember Allie going down across town, and we had an Oldsmobile and all the grass in the back end, the car was going down like this (indicating downward).
But we built the nine holes and got it open, and the following winter, Alice made a nice rendition of the golf course, showing how the golf course was routed, et cetera, and sent it to all her friends and thought maybe we might get some business. But she sent it to everybody. She sent it to Mr. Tufts. Mr. Tufts is past president of the United States Golf Association, and he was one of the prime owners of Pinehurst, and Alice had won the North and South Championship there at Pinehurst, so she knew Mr. Tufts quite well.
He wrote back and said he thought it was wonderful. This was quite a few years ago, but he said, "I think it's wonderful of you kids to build this nine-hole golf course. But don't you think crossing a creek 13 times in nine holes is just a little too much?"
Really what happened, the following fall, Dr. Harlan Hatcher from the University of Michigan was driving from Ann Arbor down through Indianapolis. He stopped and played this nine-hole golf course, and he's, at the best, a good 18-handicap player, a wonderful man. Ben Hogan and Tiger and Jack all had great rounds of golf, but he must have had the greatest round of golf that's ever been played, because he had been interviewing Mr. Jones and Dick Wilson to build the University of Michigan course, and for some reason or another he called me up, and I said I was in the insurance business, don't know how to draw plans, couldn't get a bond, this and that. We ended up building the University of Michigan golf course, and we've been digging up other people's property ever since.

Q. Can you talk about when you got the call from Deane Beman to do this course? What was his mandate? What did he tell you he wanted to see in this golf course?
PETE DYE: Well, I've known Deane through golf for a long time, and we were friends for many, many years prior to that when we were in amateur golf. I think Deane, when he played on The Presidents Cup and everything -- the Eisenhower Cup rather. He called me, and I had finished Harbour Town at that time, and I came down, and of course he was commissioner and running the show. He said, I want you to build a stadium golf course.
We flew at that time up to Canada, someplace up there, and looked at a golf course that Jack Nicklaus had built in Canada, Toronto or somewhere. They had some mounds around it that were just big rounded mounds around some of the greens for spectators. I had worked with Jack, believe it or not, when he found Muirfield and made the first routing of Muirfield.
Anyway, when we came back, I was elated I was going to get a chance to build a golf course for The Players Club. We looked in Orlando, all over the Jacksonville area, from north to south, every place. I looked at every piece of property within miles of this area. And then Vernon Kelly -- he's not here, so I can say what I think (laughter) -- and the Fletcher boys made a real deal. They made a big sale, and they sold this 400 acres to Mr. Beman for a dollar, everybody knows. Then Kelly drove me out here in the middle of it and found the only dry spot out here.
After a year of working out here, I was thinking I was going to get killed because they couldn't ever get this place dried up. Eventually they did. But the honor billing for the TOUR, you can't get any better than that. I was really flattered to be asked, and Deane is probably wondering why he did it right now. Outside of that, it's been okay (laughter).
LAURA HILL: Mr. Dye, congratulations. Thank you.

End of FastScripts

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