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BMW CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
May 12, 2008
JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Tiger, if I can have the first question. Could you just tell us what it meant to you to win the FedExCup last year as well as the inaugural BMW Championship?
TIGER WOODS: It was great, Kaz. I love playing in Chicago - I just love Cog Hill, and the people came out and supported the event. I think BMW loved it. The new FedExCup series, I think everyone felt it was a positive success ... and we're looking forward to coming back to Bellerive.
Q. Can you say with 100 percent certainty that you'll be here at the BMW, and what are your memories of being in St. Louis and being on the course when 9/11 happened?
TIGER WOODS: I think the first part of the question was is it 100 percent that I will be there. Yeah, I want to be there. I'm looking forward to coming back.
I think the second part, you were cutting in and out, I think it was about -- last time I was there during 9/11?
Q. What are your memories of that? Do you remember what hole you were on?
TIGER WOODS: I don't remember the hole, no. I think the whole day was pretty much a blur. I know I was playing with Calc, and I remember Joe Corless, who was head of PGA TOUR security, came up to us and said that a plane had hit one of the towers, which we thought was -- could have been an accident, whatever, but then not too long after that we heard there was a second plane that hit, and we all knew what that meant.
We all went to the clubhouse and watched, basically, the horrific events that happened after that.
Q. Can you talk about your recovery with the knee? And also, given the last time you had this layoff like this before the U.S. Open, the results weren't what you were looking for. Do you think it's essential that you play before the U.S. Open?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the rehab is going well. I've been training hard. I'm getting sick and tired of riding the bike, though (laughing). That gets old fast.
But to be honest with you, when I took time off a couple years ago after my father had passed, that was a totally different mental situation than I am now. Even when I came back for the Open, I probably wasn't ready to play yet. I was eager to get back and play and be in a competitive environment, but I wasn't ready to deal with all the things you have to deal with inside the ropes and compete and play, and it showed, and I played terrible.
This time around it's totally different. Everything in my life is doing great. I'm just trying to get the leg organized enough to where I can play, and hopefully I can play before. If not, if I can't play before, then hopefully at the Open.
Q. How do you think the setup last year went with the BMW Championship? Do you like the format? You mentioned it worked well, but do you like the format? Is it something you enjoy, particularly the Playoffs?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that the tweaks and the changes they've made were for the best. I think having more volatility in the points and more swings that could happen, guys making up ground, I think that's what people were excited about and also concerned about, that that didn't happen. And hopefully it will happen this year, having the volatility where guys who are borderline whether or not they were going to make the next one. They had to win -- like Rich Beem I think had to finish in the top three or four, whatever it was, at Deutsche Bank to move on. I think that the more volatility, I think, will be more exciting for all the fans.
Q. Can you go into greater detail about the rehab you've done? What are you doing now, and how long before you get back to playing?
TIGER WOODS: I'm chipping and putting. I'm not doing anything beyond that. Hopefully I'll start hitting balls and start progressing soon and working my way up the bag.
Q. I'd like you to talk a little bit about the fact that golf is an individual game, but you have this remarkable, remarkable chemistry with the man from New Zealand, Steve Williams, and it's just been amazing to me to see you guys work together over the years.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think that we have very similar personalities. Stevie is very competitive, very feisty, and he always wants to win. People have gotten a glimpse of that, not only from caddying for me, but also all the dirt track racing that he does back in New Zealand in his off weeks.
We're very truthful, very honest, very up front, and whatever is on our minds, we say it. We've become like brothers, really. We can have the player-caddie relationship, we can switch it around it an instant and be great friends, and then have more of a brotherly relationship, and then switch right back to the player-caddie, all in a few minutes.
And that takes time, and that's happened over I think like ten years now we've been together. That takes time to develop that, but I think over that time, I built just an inordinate amount of respect and trust for Stevie, not only what he's done for me on the golf course, but also off the golf course, as well.
Q. This is the third surgery on this knee; is that correct? Do you see this as the sort of problem that will be long-term for you, that it's an issue to be concerned about?
TIGER WOODS: I hope not. I said after the first surgery I said I probably wouldn't have another one, then after the second one I wouldn't have another one, and now here I am having three. It is what it is; it's the nature of playing sports.
Q. Along those same lines, do you anticipate having to change the way you prepare for golf tournaments, the way you play, anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: I hope not. I think what I've done historically as far as work, I enjoy practicing, I enjoy playing, I enjoying preparing and being ready. That's one of the reasons why I've made changes in my swing over the years is to alleviate the stress I put on my legs. It's gotten better, and hopefully it will continue to get better.
Q. You've played all over the world. What's it like to play in St. Louis in front of an audience you've never really played in front of before. Does that matter to you? Do you know much about St. Louis or anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: I've been there, did a clinic there in St. Louis. I've been to a couple games, a couple Cardinal games. But I've never played -- the only time I ever played there was one practice round the last time the American Express Championship was held there. Other than that, I haven't really done anything in St. Louis besides that. But I'm really looking forward to getting back and seeing the golf course and the changes they've made.
Q. I'm curious how you feel about the change in the FedExCup schedule, where after the PGA you have a lot of golf tournaments ending with the BMW, then you get the week off, then Ryder Cup and then straight to the TOUR Championship. Is that a tough schedule for you?
TIGER WOODS: As of right now, yes (laughing). Hopefully by then it won't be.
Q. Some athletes consider injuries just part of the deal. They're unfazed by it but can handle it. How do you feel when there's a tournament going on? Do you handle not being able to play very well?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't have a problem with that at all because I couldn't play, I couldn't compete against those guys, unless we were playing a putt-putt course. All I could do was chip and putt. I think they would have a distinct advantage over me for anything over 30 yards. No, it doesn't really bother me that I wasn't able to play, just given the condition that I'm in right now.
Q. It's either been nine or ten, I'm not sure of the number, but many guys in their 20s have won this year. I'm just curious about your thoughts on that and if you anticipated something like this happening on TOUR.
TIGER WOODS: You know, we went through that two years ago, I believe, a bunch of guys in their 40s winning. But then those guys obviously are getting a little bit older now, and this is, I think, the new wave of players, guys who are in their 20s and going to be out here for quite a long time, and basically it's the next generation of players. It's good to see. We need to have turnover and we need to have guys that are younger playing well and drawing more attention to our sport and influxing new blood into the sport. Some of the top players that we know of are getting a little bit older now or have left and already moved on to the Senior Tour.
Q. Coming back to a tournament as the defending champion, does that ever come into play at all? Is that in your mind? Do you block that out? Do you think about that beforehand or during the rounds of the tournament?
TIGER WOODS: No, once you're into the week it's up for grabs. I've always said you're defending champion 51 weeks, that's it. Once that week rolls around, it's up for grabs and anyone can win. That's basically how I've always approached it. Hopefully I can get it done in the end.
Q. Back to 2001, 9/11, I'm curious, the golf course underwent a remake, a lot of changes. I wonder if you remember anything about Bellerive. I'm curious how you got home that week because I remember nobody could get home, get back to where they needed to go.
TIGER WOODS: I guess the first part of the question is I remember the golf course not in great detail, no. I just remember a lot of greens had fingers and corner placements that were going to be difficult to get to. A very straightforward golf course, one that I really liked when I first went around it and played it.
As far as getting home, I basically stole a Buick and drove it home (laughing). I drove nonstop. I believe they cancelled the tournament on the 13th I think it was, and I drove home, I think, that night. It took me 18 hours to get home, just nonstop.
Q. After Sergio won the tournament yesterday, he said he'd like to thank you for not going up. When you hear something like that, it kind of goes to the intimidation level that the other players have regarding your game. What do you think when you hear something like that?
TIGER WOODS: I think he was just poking fun.
Q. Do you find it's a little bit invigorating while you're sitting at home with all the young guys winning? Does it perk your interest or is it sort of refreshing for you?
TIGER WOODS: I can't say that it is or I can't say that it isn't. I've been so focused on just getting my health good enough where I can get back out and play and compete against those guys. I miss being out there to mix it up with them. But in this condition right now, as I said, the only chance I have is from 30 yards and in, until I get the leg strong enough and my game ready so I can compete and play again.
Q. You are well noted for doing so much for charity, and of course, you know the Western Golf Association for so many years has had the Evans Scholarship program. I know that it must be kind of special for you to have the success you've had in this event and know that all of the charitable monies will go to this great scholarship program that sends kids to college and hopefully gets them to do some caddying. It's a great experience, isn't it?
TIGER WOODS: I think it's one -- I grew up and played the WGA events, so for me to see the evolution from the Western Junior to the Western Am to now the Western Open and now the BMW Championship, to see the evolution of this and how it's developed, I think it's been great to be a part of, to see all these kids get an opportunity to go to school.
As we all he know, the golf cart has basically replaced caddies. For these kids to have an opportunity to be a part of the game, learn the game, and then on top of that to get a chance to go to college and develop as a person, you couldn't ask for anything more than that.
I think the Evans Scholarship has been phenomenal in doing that. We've got so many kids who have caddied for us over the years that have gone on to do some great things. I think it's just -- we just wish more tournaments would do things like this.
Q. I guess a few weeks ago you had Van Halen play at Tiger Jam out in Las Vegas. I wondered what you thought of that show.
TIGER WOODS: It was incredible, absolutely incredible. I liked it for about the first half and then I struggled towards the end. My pain meds wore off. It was a tough show at the end.
Eddie and I are good friends, and to have those guys come and support what we're trying to do, man, it was just incredible. I've always been a huge Van Halen fan -- basically most of my favorite bands are from the '80s. So to see them play, I think this is my fourth time I've seen them play, and man, it was incredible.
Q. You have such an extraordinary relationship with your father, and now you're a father. He obviously was very influential in your game of golf. Do you see yourself encouraging your daughter to develop?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'll certainly encourage her to try different sports. It won't just be golf only. My parents provided an opportunity where I played everything. I liked playing other sports, but I didn't love it. I loved golf. Something about it kept bringing me back. Maybe I didn't like running track and cross country because I was puking every day (laughing); baseball, I liked baseball, always like playing it, but just never loved it. For some reason I just kept gravitating towards golf. It was just so much fun to play.
I think that's why I'm here and doing the things I'm doing, because I absolutely love playing it.
Q. I just wanted to get a couple thoughts from you about Torrey Pines, about the U.S. Open, how that golf course is set up for the U.S. Open, how much confidence you will have going there.
TIGER WOODS: Well, I'm looking forward to it. I don't know what -- when we played the Buick, the fairway lines were -- they were experimenting with them. The USGA wasn't 100 percent set up on the fairway lines. I'm sure they're probably narrower. The rough will certainly be deeper and the greens will be dried out and baked out that time of year. I'm really looking forward to it, looking forward to getting back there and playing. I haven't played in those conditions, dry and fast, since probably the Junior World days. But it was nowhere near as difficult as it will be during the U.S. Open.
We never know that time of year. We can get the ocean breezes, we can get the Santa Anas blowing, you get the fog rolling in. You never know until you get there. But the golf course will be set up fair and it will be set up difficult, and you're going to have to play well. You can't just scrape around that golf course and win a U.S. Open; you've got to play well.
JOHN KACZKOWSKI: We appreciate your time this morning. Thank you very much for joining us, and we certainly look forward to seeing you later this year, and we wish you the best with your knee surgery recovery, and we'll see you in September.
Now we'd like to get on with our short program today and hear from people we've assembled. We've assembled a nice group to tell you a little bit about the tournament and specifically some of the initiatives we're putting together. First I'd like to introduce the chairman of the Western Golf Association, Mr. John Fix.
JOHN FIX: Thanks, John. First of all, let me say, to follow up Tiger is a tough deal here. I would say if you look what he said about the Western Golf Association, Evans Scholarship Foundation, and encapsuled that, that's about what we're all about.
But I want to thank the people in St. Louis and particularly Bellerive because this has been really a wonderful experience for us. It's been a wonderful experience because you've greeted us, you've made us feel at home, and I will assure you that we will probably have one of the best golf tournaments in the world in September.
Number two is I'd like to thank BMW. We could not have a better partner to be with, and when you talk about the ultimate driving experience, we've created basically the ultimate golf tournament at the same time.
PGA TOUR, what can I say about that? If it wasn't for the PGA TOUR, we wouldn't be here, we wouldn't be a part of the FedExCup. We've got a wonderful position in the FedExCup. We're the third leg of this, and you couldn't be in a better position in September to have that, that's for sure.
Just a few things. Just one thing about the Western Golf Association. We started in 1899. We started with championships, in 1930 Chick Evans came to us and said we'd like to set up a caddie program where we have caddies go to school. Today there's 8,600 alumni. We've financed 825 kids, give them a full ride, give them a place to stay, give them a place to live and send them through four years of college.
In reality it probably today is the PGA TOUR's largest charity for what we do. We kind of look at it that we are an organization that develops championships for scholarships. I guess that's what you could possibly say.
So I thank everybody for coming. I thank you very much for being hosts to this event, and we'll look forward to seeing you in September. Thanks.
JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Now I'd like to introduce someone that's very familiar to all of you here. He's been involved in every major golf tournament here in St. Louis in recent memory, the general chairman of the Bellerive local organizing committee, I'd like to bring up Jerry Ritter to say a few words.
JERRY RITTER: Thanks, John, and what a great day this is. It's typical of St. Louis weather in May, and it's typical of St. Louis weather in August and September, and it's what I think we can all look forward to for the BMW Championship.
As chairman of the BMW Championship and on behalf of the membership of Bellerive Country Club, I welcome all of you to St. Louis and the 2008 BMW Championship.
I thank Tiger Woods for spending time with us this morning, and I promise Tiger and all of you that a world-class experience will be had in September of this year.
You heard Tiger talk about the memories of Bellerive in September of '01. Understandably the sadness of that experience will never be forgotten by any of us.
Having said that, we're excited to welcome the world's best golfers to St. Louis and Bellerive for the first time since the PGA Championship in 1992. We've waited a long time, and as you will see today, Bellerive is ready.
Also, St. Louis is ready. Our corporate community, once again, has expressed its love for world championship golf by purchasing more than $5 million in corporate hospitality. We've sold out our Pro-Am on Wednesday of the championship. We're already 40 percent sold out on daily grounds passes. By the way, daily grounds passes can be ordered on the website at bmwchampionshipusa.com.
And as for the volunteers, we have a waiting list for a waiting list. That kind of support once again proves that there's no better sports talent in America than St. Louis.
What also makes our community special is how our professional teams and athletes rally behind community events such as the BMW Championship. For example, today, we have a team president, head coach and a star player joining us to welcome our friends from BMW, the PGA TOUR and the Western Golf Association. From the St. Louis Rams, head coach Scott Linehan. Scott?
And from the St. Louis Blues, future Hall-of-Famer Keith Tkachuk. Keith?
Joining us later this morning will be the president of the St. Louis Cardinals, Bill DeWitt III.
Later today, we will be asking three of our resident Hall-of-Famers to join us for a ceremony that will officially kick off the countdown to the BMW Championship. So please welcome today, Hall of Fame hockey player Bernie Federko. Bernie?
And our baseball Hall-of-Famer, Ozzie Smith.
Again, Dan Dierdorf will be joining us later this morning.
We thank all of our local team athletes and Hall-of-Famers for standing behind our efforts, and as importantly, we are very fortunate to have the support of our public officials. With that I would like to invite to the podium two very special guests, the mayor of St. Louis, the honorable Francis Slay, and the mayor of Town and Country, Mr. Jon Dalton.
HON. FRANCIS SLAY: Thank you, Jerry, and good morning, everyone. It's a pleasure to join with Mayor Jon Dalton of Town and Country and all of you for this wonderful announcement for St. Louis. It's no surprise to me that St. Louis has really stepped up in helping support this event here at Bellerive.
We all know that St. Louis is a great sports town, and I think that this tournament is going to be an outstanding event for St. Louis. I want to thank BMW, I want to thank the Western Golf Association for bringing this event to St. Louis, and I want to really thank the Bellerive Country Club members for hosting this event this year.
This is something that I think all of St. Louis will benefit by from the national media attention that we've received, and I know the golf course is a great one, and I know it'll be a great place to have an event here, and I'm certainly looking forward to a fun week of golf in September. So thank you all for making this a reality. Certainly thank you to the volunteers, as well, and at this time I'll introduce the mayor of Town and Country, Jon Dalton.
HON. JON DALTON: Mayor Slay, Mr. Ritter, distinguished guests, welcome to Town and Country. Bellerive Country Club makes this city a better place. The prominence of the PGA, the WGA, the Evans Scholars Foundation, and certainly the BMW Championship, along with the sacrifice of the membership of this fine country club brings an enhanced quality of life and economic activity and development to our community and our region that is truly unparalleled.
Town and Country is here to serve you. Please call on us early and call on us often as you prepare for and host a world-class golf tournament and all of your associated events. Best wishes to each of your respective organizations and to Bellerive Country Club as you prepare for and enjoy a terrific week of golf. Thank you for being here, and thank you for including the city of Town and Country.
JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Thank you, Jerry, thank you, Mayor Dalton, Mayor Slay. Now I'd to bring up a partner of the Western Golf Association, a proud partner, and really the driving force obviously behind the BMW Championship, the president of BMW North America, Jim O'Donnell.
JIM O'DONNELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen, and a very warm welcome to the BMW Championship's media day. Since I joined BMW on the 1st of April this year, it has been work, work, work and more work, so I can't say how happy I am to be here today and have the opportunity to have a Monday playing golf.
I would like to thank Jerry Ritter and Bellerive Country Club for inviting us to this event. I'm sure it will be a great privilege to play, as well. To thank Mayor Francis Slay of St. Louis, and Mayor Jon Dalton of Town and Country for welcoming us into their neighborhood. Also, thanks to our partners at the Western Golf Association and the PGA.
As most of you know, this is our second year of sponsoring the Western Open, and from all accounts, last year's event was truly outstanding. We want to build on that foundation and make this year's event even more successful. Although this is only our second year of sponsoring a major tournament in the U.S., we have a long history of involvement in the sport of golf, both at the amateur and at the professional level.
We recently held the BMW Asian Open in Shanghai, where I was delighted that my old friend Darren Clarke picked up his first trophy since the sad death of his wife Heather a couple of years ago. Darren is not only a great golf fan and a great guy, but he is also a bit of a car nut and is currently driving a BMW M6 I'm happy to say, and he's a great ambassador for the BMW brand. It's a pity Tiger's not (laughter).
Back in the UK, where I come from, we took our responsibility for the PGA Championship three years ago, and this is the second largest golf tournament in Europe, after only the Open Championship itself. I fortunately am planning to be there for the final two days of the Championship at the end of this month.
From a personal perspective, I am a keen golf fan, but sadly, my skills don't match my enthusiasm for the golf. It is fortunate, though, that at BMW, golf is one of three pillars of sports marketing that we support throughout the year. Sailing, and I suppose not surprisingly, motorsport, are the other two pillars of our sports marketing program.
Golf is also the No. 1 pastime of our owners, and we hope to attract as many as possible to Bellerive. Any BMW driver coming to Bellerive will receive priority parking for their cars or motorcycles, and they will also have access to the BMW owners' pavilion which will be situated alongside the 16th green. These are two privileges that my colleagues in the USA borrowed from the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth. As they say, imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
And for one lucky BMW owner, there will be an opportunity to play in the Pro-Am in a competition that is now being run on our Internet site. I think it's bmwna.com. So if any of you are BMW drivers, get onto the Internet.
Of course, the real stars of any tournament are the players, and rest assured, we shall do our best to look after them, as well. Each player will be given the keys to a brand new BMW X6, which we have just launched to worldwide acclaim. It is a home run, as they say, in this country. I suppose it's the only time that I personally feel sorry for Tiger as his deal with Buick prohibits him from enjoying it himself.
As well as supporting the great game of golf, I am delighted that once again we shall be teaming up with the Western Golf Association to support the Evans Scholarship. Education is one of the greatest gifts we can give to our kids, and sadly, even in this great country of yours, there are still too many individuals who don't have the means to support themselves through higher education.
There are over 800 Evans Scholars attending college this academic year, and we are proud to help to fund this worthwhile program. Last year $2.4 million was raised for the program.
This year we'll also fund a four-year Evans Scholarship in the name of any player who has a hole-in-one in Bellerive's 16th hole during the tournament. The same offer will be made to anyone in the Pro-Am, whether they're professional or amateurs.
I am sure you will agree that this is even more worthwhile than donating a car to the top player, who probably already has three or four cars in his garage.
Just to add a bit more spice to this afternoon's game, we will also extend the offer to any member of the media who has a hole-in-one this afternoon. There will be a four-year scholarship in your name, so gentlemen and ladies joining us today, it will be a great opportunity to help this great foundation.
Now I'm delighted that we have with us today one of last year's interns, because at BMW we also offer three places during the summer holidays at BMW, where they can gain some work experience, very little money, but at least good experience, and I'm sure Josh can testify to that. So we've got Josh Gonzales with us this morning to help explain what it means to be a scholar. Thank you, Josh.
JOSH GONZALES: Thank you, Mr. O'Donnell. On behalf of the Missouri Evans Scholars, welcome to St. Louis. When I received the Evans Scholarship, my family and I were initially excited about the monetary portion of the scholarship. I soon realized that the most significant facets of this award are the less tangible ones. When I arrived at school as a freshman, I found that I was part of an academic, social and professional support group. Any problem or issue I encountered with the new school, others had dealt with before and were there to offer help and guidance.
As my first experience with the professional support group, I applied for and received an internship with BMW brought exclusively to Evans Scholars through partnership with the Western Golf Association. As an engineer and a car lover, I went to work every day like a kid in a candy shop. Over the course of the summer, I learned an immense amount about what it was like to be an engineer in a corporate setting, whether it was how to start and complete a study on some issue, or how to properly report my findings in a technical manner. It was definitely a rewarding and valuable experience.
Finally, as I looked forward, I did not have just two more years to be considered an Evans Scholar but a lifetime membership to one of the greatest organizations in golf, and it is for that I consider myself a very privileged person. Thank you.
JOHN KACZKOWSKI: Josh, great job. Jim, thank you very much for your kind words. We look forward to a wonderful 2008 BMW Championship, as well, and a long-term partnership that's going to last well into the future.
I'd also like to take this opportunity just to point out that we talked a little bit about Evans Scholars Foundation. 100 percent of the proceeds of this event go to support the Evans Scholars Foundation. You've heard Josh speak. Josh is an Evans Scholar at the University of Missouri. I'd also like to take this opportunity to introduce the president of the University of Missouri chapter, John Daniels. John?
We've got a third partner in this event. It's BMW, Western Golf and the PGA TOUR, of course. We're proud to be part of the FedExCup Playoffs. We feel we've got a great position in the FedExCup Playoffs. We'd like to show a very quick video that kind of illustrates last year's event and talks a little bit about the future of this event this year and going forward.
Now I'd like to introduce a gentleman who's from St. Louis originally. He's gone on to a career in golf, and currently he's the executive vice president and chief of operations for the PGA TOUR. Welcome Rick George.
RICK GEORGE: Before I get started, I'd like to thank both Mayors Slay and Dalton for being here today. I think your presence really speaks to the significance of this championship that we're having this September.
I also had a couple thoughts that I didn't write down that I thought I would say after listening. Being a St. Louis guy, to see some of my heroes here that are in this room, it's kind of daunting for me to come up and follow some of the people that I follow speaking today, but seeing some of our stars and Ozzie Smith and what he did at shortstop for the Cardinals in those great years with Whitey Ball was really fun to see.
It's great to be here. I also had a thought about Tiger. Do you think he's happy he made the decision to play golf? I think that was probably one of the best decisions. I'm surprised nobody followed up with that.
And then it was John that said it was very tough following Tiger to the podium, and it's pretty hard following all of you, and especially Josh. Very well said, Josh. Very well said.
But I'm excited to be back in St. Louis, and I can tell you that the PGA TOUR is very excited to be back in St. Louis with the BMW Championship. Somebody said earlier, it's one of the great sports cities in America. I think it's one of the great sports cities in the world. This community comes out and supports all sports, but specifically golf, and to play at the prestigious Bellerive Country Club, I think it's going to offer an exciting championship for all of us.
On behalf of the PGA TOUR, we want to join in thanking Jim O'Donnell and BMW for your partnership with the PGA TOUR and the Western Golf Association. BMW is an outstanding sponsor, and we're very grateful for their ongoing support.
We'd also like to thank our general chairman Jerry Ritter for what you do and the leadership and the membership at Bellerive Country Club for playing host to the BMW Championship. And I want to thank all the media for being here today to tell the story of what this community is going to see in the next few months. It's going to really unfold here at Bellerive September 1st through the 7th.
The BMW Championship is an extremely important event for the PGA TOUR in the race for the FedExCup. There will be a tremendous amount of focus on this championship, given that this event will determine the final 30 players who will play in the year-ending TOUR Championship presented by Coca-Cola, as well as the right to win the revered FedExCup, which still hasn't been kissed, by the way. Some of you probably didn't watch that, but Tiger didn't kiss it last year.
Anyway, the playoffs in the year-long race for the FedExCup were a great success in 2007. Both brought our tournaments, our sponsors, and our TOUR more exposure throughout the year. That time of the year we also achieved some of our best TV ratings in our history, so we think it was a tremendous success.
As good as it was in 2007, we made a few minor changes to our points structure for the playoff events that we think will provide more volatility in the playoff standings, giving additional players the opportunity to move up in the FedExCup standings during the playoffs. We think these small changes will really make the FedExCup and the BMW Championship even more compelling.
We don't believe there's a better stage to host the BMW Championship this year than the storied Bellerive Country Club. I don't think it's been said in here, but I'm sure most of you know that this club has played host to the 1965 U.S. Open won by Gary Player, the 1992 PGA Championship won by Nick Price, and the 2004 U.S. Senior Open won by Peter Jacobson, but it has not hosted a PGA TOUR event since 1992. Unfortunately the horrific acts of September 11, 2001, didn't allow us to play the American Express Championship. And I was also here for that event on the driving range when everything occurred. My car dealer in New Orleans brought me a car so I could drive home to New Orleans because I couldn't get a rental car.
But this city, we expect great things in this city for this championship, and I think John has already said that they've exceeded sales of tickets. I'm telling the players, I was here in 2004 for the U.S. Senior Open, as well, and the galleries that we attracted and the corporate support from this city were unprecedented. We feel pretty strongly, and the reason we wanted to be back here at the PGA TOUR is because of that outstanding support that this community has given golf.
As John had mentioned, all proceeds from the BMW Championship benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation. The Western Golf Association sponsors the Evans Scholars Foundation and administers the nation's largest privately funded college scholarship program. Since 1930, more than 8,500 deserving young caddies have earned their college degrees through Evans Scholarships.
Again, on behalf of all of us at the PGA TOUR, we want to thank both mayors for being here today, Jim O'Donnell at BMW for their partnership, Bellerive Country Club for providing the stage for this important championship, and John Kaczkowski, John Fix and the Western Golf Association for all their efforts to make the upcoming BMW Championship a truly outstanding event.
I know we have a mixed crowd in here today, but the Cardinals got a big game tonight playing Milwaukee with Wainwright on the hill, so I'll end by saying, "Go, Cardinals."
End of FastScripts