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JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE SHRINERS HOSPITALS FOR CHILDREN OPEN MEDIA DAY
September 9, 2008
GARY DAVIS: Good morning. My name is Gary Davis. I'm Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Justin Timberlake Shriners Hospitals for Children Open. And it's indeed a pleasure to be here this morning with all of you.
It's a beautiful morning. It was looking a little suspect yesterday afternoon with all the rain, but we're happy to see the sun shining here this morning, so thanks for joining us.
I'd like to first of all express to you George McNeill's sympathy for not being able to be here today. He had some other previous commitments and didn't work out in the schedule. So for personal reasons he couldn't be here. But wanted to say hello and looking forward to coming back to defend. So we'll welcome him back.
We're very pleased to have a couple of our good friends of Las Vegas, tour professionals Charley Hoffman and Chris Riley with us. We look forward to hearing from them, and you'll have the opportunity to ask some questions and talk to them as the morning goes on.
We're also very pleased to have on the panel Doug Maxwell who is the imperial potentate of the Shriners of North America and also Katie Walker who is our Ambassador for the Shriners Hospitals and for this tournament particularly. We'll get to talk more with them.
Charley has had a great year. Starting a year ago actually in 2007, he won the Bob Hope Chrysler Classic in Palm Springs. He's had three top-10 finishes this year on the PGA TOUR, in addition, to finishing 68th overall in the FedEx Cup Standings and played in the first three weeks of the Championship Series. So good run for Charley this year. And a 2000 graduate of UNLV. So we're very proud to have him with us. (Applause.)
Chris Riley won the 2002 Reno Tahoe Open on the PGA TOUR and was also a member of the 2004 U.S. Ryder Cup Team and a 1996 graduate of UNLV. We're very proud to have him. He's participated this year in both Nationwide events and the PGA TOUR; most recently finishing tied for third place at the U.S. Bank Championship in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In addition to having four top-25 finishes this year, he's had a couple of top-10 finishes on the Nationwide Tour, and last year won at Rochester.
So welcome, Chris. Pleasure to have you.
After we get done with the questions and answers this morning, we're going to be going out to the golf course. Chris and Katie will be challenging all of you to a little competition out there at the back of the driving range. So if you haven't brought your clubs, we've got clubs for you. We'd like everybody to have a chance to participate in that, and we'll put their skills to the test.
This has been a great year, starting a year ago at the completion of the tournament. We were very, very pleased to announce last year on the final day that the Shriners Hospitals for Children had become the new title sponsor and had indeed signed a five-year commitment to become both the host and the title for this event here in Las Vegas.
The big goal for the Shriners Hospitals is obviously to showcase the work that they do, which involves treating children at 22 orthopedic and burn hospitals around North America. And so this gives them an opportunity to show the work that's been done, and that they continue to do, and we're very pleased to have them as the title sponsor and as the host organization for that commitment for five years. We hope it will be much longer than that even.
As a third generation Shriners, I'm very proud to be part of it. My family's been involved in this community forever basically, and been part of the Shrine, and I'm very excited to be involved with this event.
We're also excited as a committee to talk about bringing back the celebrity element into this tournament, which has been apart for so many years. And we made an agreement with Justin Timberlake to be the celebrity host.
Justin -- you'd have so almost be under a rock not to know who Justin Timberlake is -- brings back a big element to this tournament. He is very, very excited about being here and about participating. And we've been working very closely with his entire team during the year to make this a very special event not only for the PGA TOUR players but for the spectators that come out here, and to be a good partner with Shriners Hospitals. So that's going to be something that we're really looking forward to and his involvement.
And the city of Las Vegas couldn't be a better place to host a professional golf tournament. The city is -- we've had a lot of support out in the community this year; people coming forward and wanting to be involved. And we look forward to continued support from both the resort industry, the convention and visitors authority, UNLV golf, and many people who will be out here to participate. Whether you are a lover of golf or a celebrity or just want to see Justin Timberlake, we expect a lot of people to come out this year and enjoy what we have to offer.
We've made some changes in addition to the sponsorship and the title and celebrity host this year. This year the tournament will be played on one course, TPC Summerlin. We've moved to the one-course format. There will be a Pro-Am on Monday and on Wednesday. Wednesday will be our major celebrity Pro-Am with celebrities, professionals, and amateurs playing. And then once Thursday morning starts it will be professional play only for the four days. So we're excited to change to this format. It should welcome a lot of the professional golfers who want to get serious about golf and not play with professionals or amateurs during the week.
One of the comments that Justin made during the initial negotiations to get involved with this tournament that I thought was very appropriate was that, You know, when I am up on stage performing, the last thing I want is a PGA TOUR chipping up on stage; so I'd like to come out and participate, but I don't want to be in their way when professional play starts on Thursday morning. So I thought that was a pretty professional attitude, and one that I think is embraced overall. So we're looking forward to that.
For those of you who were here last year, as you look out the window you can see the base of "The Hill." "The Hill" will be back this year. That's a 10,000-square foot tent with big screen TVs in there. So if you are interested in making sure you watch your favorite football game, you can be out here watching football and enjoying some great food and beverage of choice as well as watching some of the greatest golf played.
Restaurant row will be back with many of the great restaurant people here in town. And we look forward to that being a real good experience as well.
In addition to having the normal events, Butch Harmon has agreed to put on a clinic again on Saturday afternoon at the completion of professional play. So we look forward to that.
Saturday will once again be our day to honor the military as Military Appreciation Day. We have a good working relationship with Nellis Air Force Base, and they're very excited. They provide a lot of the volunteers to help out during the tournament, and we are extending a lot of special invitations out to the military to invite them to come out, participate and be honored for what they do for our country. So we look forward to recognizing them.
We also are going to have a concert which is open to the public. Tickets are on sale at the present time. The concert will be on Friday night during tournament week at the Planet Hollywood -- Justin Timberlake & Friends. That will be a very special evening with Justin bringing some of his friends to perform in concert. The TOUR professionals will be invited to that concert as well as the amateurs that play in the Pro-Am, then tickets are on sale to the public as well. So looks to be a real fun evening. We look forward to that.
To start this morning, we want to announce a few of the players that are going to be here. In addition to our special guests we've had a commitment from Mike Weir, Jesper Parnevik, Bubba Watson and Chris DiMarco to name a few.
I was back recently at several other tournaments visiting with TOUR players, many of whom have said they're going to be here they just haven't signed the commitment list yet. So in the next few weeks we'll be announcing a lot of the other players that are joining us this year. It looks to be a real fine line-up. And, you know, for a fall event, we're excited of the enthusiasm that the players have to come here and participate. So hopefully the weather is as good as it is today and we'll have a fine week.
I'd like to again introduce to you Doug Maxwell for a few words. In the Shrine organization you have the fraternal side, which is all of the Shriners, and you might have seen them in the parades and different functions around the community and different communities in America. And Doug is the Imperial Potentate which heads up all of that side.
Then in a little bit you're welcome to ask any questions you might also have of Ralph Semb who is with us today. Ralph is the Chairman of Shriners Hospitals, so he is on the hospital side, and is here to answer any questions as well.
But, Doug, we'd like you to have an opportunity to address if you will.
DOUG MAXWELL: Thank you, Gary. Very pleased to be here on behalf of the almost 400,000 Shriners world wide.
I thought I would just give you a thumbnail sketch of who are we Shriners. You hopefully have a minor familiarity with our red fez, and maybe you've seen us as clowns or in a parade or driving little cars in a community parade.
Shriners began 136 years ago in New York City as the continuation of Free Masonry. Free masons had been around for 600 years, but they said, you know, that's a wonderful organization, but we'd like to have fun. So Shrinedom was formed. And our two founders said we need something unique. And so they had been traveling to Morocco and they saw this Arabic look, and they said, that's for us. And so we adopted the fez from way back then.
We included titles like potentate and the Chief Ferban (ph.) Not common titles. We'd all know them as Presidents and Vice Presidents. Yes, my title says Imperial Potentate. Actually, I'm the Chairman of the Board; a little more familiar term.
Anyhow, 136 years ago we formed. And we had a wonderful time. And we did all those things that Shriners became known for. When motorcycles were invented, we use to ride them through the lobbies and we use to throw water balloons out the windows and bands would play at all hours of the night and the fraternity grew exponentially.
About 50 years into our existence, this organization at one of its annual meetings said, Nobody is taking care of children who have Polio in the United States. And so they passed the hat amongst the fraternity, and they started building some buildings. And they went to the medical schools and said, Somebody needs to take care of these kids; we'll build the buildings; we'll take care of this cost how about you being the doctors for them. And that was the beginning of Shriners Hospitals in 1922.
Since then, we've grown to 22 hospitals around North America. We have 20 in the continental -- well 19 in the continental United States. We have one in Montreal, one in Mexico city, and one in Honolulu. Very active construction going on right now, which I'm leaving here to go to the ground breaking for a big addition in Portland. We're building a new hospital in Honolulu.
We have taken care of over 800,000 children in our 86 years of existence. And the key thing about this is we've never charged anybody in all that. We've never taken any third party pay. We've never taken any government money. We are pure philanthropy of giving out need where needed. That's why we look for this tournament to help us continue to tell that story that Shriners are here to take care of your children, succeed in that. And by you all being present today, that's wonderful. Because you can help us tell that story that we're Shriners, we want to take care of your children.
I know from this area in Las Vegas we've transported a lot of kids to our hospitals in either Sacramento or Los Angeles. We do this on a regular basis. Anyhow, that's who Shriners are. Thanks. (Applause.)
GARY DAVIS: Thank you, Doug.
During this past year I took our Executive Committee here in Las Vegas up to the Shriners Hospital in Sacramento to give them a feel for what we actually do at the hospitals. Many of the board members that participate with me are not Shriners and also didn't know to the extent that they do know now what Shriners Hospitals does.
And in Sacramento, which is one of our flagship hospitals, they do not only the orthopedic work there, but burn care as well as research. And if you have never had an opportunity to visit a Shriners Hospital it's something that you really ought to take the time to do. It's a wonderful experience.
And every time I go the hospital to visit with the families and visit with the children and see the work that we do, it makes me proud that I am a Shriners and involved in the activities to help the Shriners Hospitals get more recognition.
We took with us this -- during that trip we took a college student that wants to enter the medical field. And as soon as he got there that day they put him in medical scrubs-- found out that he was applying for medical school -- and he was able to witness surgery that day, and is now there doing an internship while he is waiting to get into medical school.
He wrote me a thank you note. The note said basically, It's refreshing to go to a hospital where doctors practice medicine where their focus is on helping children.
And it's so refreshing for me to get notes like that and to realize the difference between that hospital and regular hospitals that we're commonly accustom to and some of the problems that they have.
I first met Katie Walker a little over a year ago when we were looking for an ambassador child to help us out with the golf tournament. And it's such a delight to spend time with her. She was very disappointed last year in that she could not play in the Pro-Am. And the reason she couldn't is that she's in college right now at Cal State Bakersfield on a golf scholarship. So the NCAA wouldn't allow her to take time off of school to participate in an amateur event here in Las Vegas. But I had some idea that we were going to put this together on a long-term basis, and we were going to be involved with Justin Timberlake. So I said, Just hold on, I think there's bigger and brighter things for you, and I think you're going to be happy.
And I'm pleased to say that during this past year I've been able to introduce Katie to Justin Timberlake. She got to play a round of golf with him. And we swore her to secrecy for awhile because we were doing a public service announcement that day. She couldn't even tell her girlfriends at school who she played golf with over the weekend. But they know now. Her picture is next to Justin in a lot of advertising.
So I'm very pleased today to introduce you to Katie Walker who is our ambassador for this golf tournament, and she'd like to tell you a little bit about her story.
KATIE WALKER: Thank you, Gary.
First of all, I just want to say what a pleasure it is to be here and to have this opportunity to help spread the word of what Shriners do for children.
As you already know, I've been a Shriners patient for as long as I can remember. I had my first surgery at three months. And for those of you who don't know, I was born missing my left tibia, which is more commonly known as the shinbone. So at the tender age of ten months it was decided to have my left leg be amputated just above the knee. It was probably the best decision my parents ever made. Probably the hardest as well. But Shriners have really been there for me to lead a active life.
And growing up I always had the motto that I could do anything. I might do it differently, but that doesn't mean I can't accomplish things. And Shriners has allowed me to do that.
In high school I decided that I wanted to play a sport. I have an older brother who is very active in baseball. And I decided to go into golf. My dad's an avid golfer and we just picked it up one day. And from there it turned from a hobby to a passion.
I have to share a little story with you. I was at the area qualifying tournament, I believe it was my Junior year, and I came upon the 13th hole at a local country club. And I was having an okay day, just mediocre. Wasn't too bad but wasn't amazing. I'm sure you guys can relate. But I came upon the 13th hole, the 84-yard Par 3, hit my pitching wedge and the ball went up as a crisp clean hit and it came down and ended up getting a hole-in-one. I was really excited. It was the talk of the tournament that day. An emotional wreck after that, but I still made the cut.
But anyway, Shriners, like I said, has let me be very active. They've also included things in my prosthesis such as a torque absorber to better allow me to adapt to hills for my golf stance. They just really make me feel so welcome.
And, as Gary said, if you get the opportunity to visit a hospital, please take that and really see what it's all about because it's amazing.
When you are at Shriners it's almost like they're second family. They make you feel like you are at home. That means so much to my family and I, and I'm sure to other Shriners patients.
And I really am very excited to be here and very excited I did get to meet Justin, and I am very excited he is a part of this. Everyone's asked me, What's Justin like? And, to be honest, he is just a really nice, down to earth, genuine guy. And he's very excited, from what I have heard, to be part of this, and we'll see what he brings to the table, should be a lot of fun.
Lastly, I just want to say thank you for all of you taking the time to be here today. And thank you, Gary.
GARY DAVIS: Thank you, Katie. (Applause.)
Katie will be back this year. She's planning on being here Friday through Sunday during tournament week. And as you get a chance to spend some time with her, you'll realize why we chose her to be the ambassador for this tournament. She is such a great person we enjoy spending time together.
All of this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for great tour players. And one of the bright spots of this community to me having lived here, as I said all my life, is the UNLV golf program.
And we're very pleased today that we have Coach Dwaine Knight with us from UNLV golf. And at this time I'd like to invite Coach Knight forward to introduce our panelists in a better way than I could. He's spent a lot of time with both these guys. So coach knight. (Applause.)
COACH KNIGHT: Thank you.
First of all, I want to thank Gary and Katie and Doug for being here. It's great. I think this is such a great opportunity for our community. We've had a long history with pro golf here at UNLV, and I think the opportunity to have a long-term commitment to the Shriners, to the tournament, to pro golf is good for our community, and I think it's good hopefully for the Shriners. And I think the story that Katie told gives us all reason to support this tournament.
I get to introduce two of these guys. I know them pretty well from college golf. I thought I'd just give you a couple insights into what they did in college. They were characters but they were also great, great players. We had a lot of good times, and they really succeeded in putting us on the map in the early 90s.
Chris Riley is the first four-time all-American at UNLV in any sport, and he accomplished a lot in school. He has a degree in communications. Pretty proud of him getting that. And, of course, they mentioned he's won the Reno Open and has won over $9 million on the TOUR.
But the first time he made a big check in Hawaii he gave me a call. And I think he finished in the top-ten there. You got $75,000. And he called me and said, Coach, I've just won more money than I'll ever need. (Laughter.) I told him, You better put a little away -- he might use a little of it along the way -- just in case.
And I remember the first time he had an opportunity to win a college tournament we were standing on the 17th tee and we had a little wait there. And he came up to me and he says, How is the team doing? I says, We're doing okay; we just got to finish strong. He says, How am I doing individually? I said, You don't really want to know right now. (Laughter.) And, of course, if anybody knows Chris, he doesn't stop at that. He just kept coming up-- You gotta tell me what's going on; how do I stand. I said, Just go over and sit down and we'll play the last few holes and see what happens. He kept bugging me, and I said, okay, Chris you're two up. He said, oh no, why did you tell me that; I didn't want to know that.
He did play the final two holes and won his first college tournament. But he is very special. Anything has ever been asked of him as far as Rebel golf goes or golf in the community he's always been here for us. And I'm very, very proud of him.
Charley, another all-American. He was a member of our 1998 National Championship Team. He also got his degree in communications. So I expect a lot out of them when they talk to you tonight. He is a very tough player. A very courageous player. One of the most -- I guess one of the players that had the most courage of anybody I've ever had play here.
You know, when we have freshmen we have a lot of duties for freshmen. You can imagine Charley being a freshman right; pretty tough. He was a rebel in his own right in that way. They would have to clean clubs after the round. They'd have to clean shoes. They'd have to go get food for upper-classmen. They'd have to carry the bags, load the van -- just all those things that freshmen did.
One night one of the seniors was really bugging him about getting a drink of water and Charley had already gotten into bed, trying to go to sleep, and he said, Charley, get up and get me a drink of water. He didn't want to do it. So finally he got up, and instead of getting him a drink of water out of the tap he took a little scoop out of the john, and he took it back and gave it to the senior. And the senior said, man, this is the best water I've ever had. (Laughter.) He didn't tell that story till after he left college. That's a true story.
These guys -- Charley's won over $3.5 million and obviously won the Bob Hope Classic. But they stayed real close to the community with the school and they have charities in their own right they support and have really done some good work. I'm really proud of them. They tend to represent us well, not only in school but as they've gone on in life.
We we're just all talking about Chad's first child that he had. Great relationships that coaches have with their players. And really all the championships you win it comes down to players, that is what the true trophies are. And these guys have been great for us.
So thank you very much it's great to introduce these guys. (Applause.)
GARY DAVIS: Thanks, Coach. Great to have these local players come back and support us and support the community. Look forward to having the opportunity to visit with them.
I'd like to call on Ralph Semb one quick second to say hello and introduce him once again. Many of you saw him last year. Ralph is the Chairman of Shriners Hospital and devotes basically his entire life to traveling around and working at the hospitals as does Doug.
So Ralph if you want to say a word or two.
RALPH SEMB: Thank you.
Good morning, everyone. It's pleasure to be here to represent Shriners Hospital for Children. We were all excited so last year, more so this year. More so to know that Justin Timberlake is part of this organization as well as Shriners Hospital for Children and having the opportunity both the title and the host sponsor.
Doug gave you a little information about the hospitals, but I have to tell you if you take out $26 out of your pocket -- every second of every minute of every hour of every day, 365 days a year, that's what Shriners is paying to take care of these children. $26 a second. Our budget this year is $826 million.
How many children have we taken care of in Las Vegas over the last ten years? Better than 2700. And what's that cost? We don't know because it doesn't only take care of the children, but we take care of the parents. Whether it's burn injury, if it is a burn injury and a child comes back to this community we're coming back with psychologists, psychiatrists, it's whole family event.
And as Gary stated, the doctors practice medicine the way they are taught to practice medicine. It's not what they're told to do. Katie told you, they gave her a special thing in her prosthesis which she could balance herself better on the hills and so on. They go to the extreme to make sure the child and the family get what they want. Insurance companies can't tell us what we can do, the Government can't tell us what we can do, the community can't tell us what we can do. The doctors practice medicine because we pay them to practice medicine the best way that they can take care of these children.
$826 million budget. If you give me $100, a thousand dollars or a million dollars that money is going into our endowment fund whereby our regulations we can't use it. We can only use the interest that it makes or the retained earnings. So that's a guarantee that we've been here for 88 years a guarantee we'll be for another hundred years. We're going be here to talk care of children whether it's in the Las Vegas community.
When you spend $13 to $14 million over the last ten years -- because one of the questions we were asked last year by the media, we use to benefit the YMCA, the big brothers, big sisters, the girls clubs, the boys clubs. How are you going to benefit children? When we came back a day later and told the media over the last ten years we've spent over $14 million taking care of children they were flabbergasted because they never realized what those guys with the funny red hats do.
So we're happy to be here. We're happy to be part of an organization that's philanthropic. Cleft lip and palate is now part of our program. Why did we take on cleft lip and palate? Because insurance companies won't pay to have that child taken care of. It's considered cosmetic surgery.
So Shriners -- when the start of Polio -- when soft vaccine came out, Polio went away. Then four years ago we got into the burn industry. Today we're saving children with 99 percent burned bodies. And years ago you use to see children once burned 30 or 40 percent, particularly the arms and legs, you know the skin doesn't grow any longer, but the bones continue to grow so they looked like they were crippled up. Today we excise all that skin, utilize the smallest part of a any skin left on their body to cultivate it, grow it and put it back on their body.
Plus the research is part of your mission, which we spend over $51 million in research.
The third part of the mission for Shriners Hospital for children is education. Most of the pediatric orthopedic surgeons and orthopedic surgeons today go through their residency training in the Shriners Hospital for children. There are 22 of them around the world. We are world-wide known, and, particularly, in the burn side of it; that's where we are in particularly world wide known.
We've taken care of children in the Ukraine, in Russia. We've taken care of them in Ecuador, all over this country. Shriners is a universal and international organization.
And I'm proud to be here. Doug is proud to be here. We're a proud to have children like Katie Walker who have been here come before you and show you, I have a dream, and that dream is to be a great golfer of which she is. It's nice to have the athletes that you have in Chris and Charley that came out here representing your community on the PGA Golf Tour and being here to speak on behalf of those players. And, hopefully, they're talking to those players and saying, okay, it's fall time, but it's time to get in and have some fun and get into a real tournament and join Shriners Hospital for Children and Justin Timberlake in this great classic.
Thanks everyone for being here. (Applause.)
GARY DAVIS: Thank you, Ralph.
At this time, we'd like to open it up to questions and answers. I know you want to hear from Charley and Chris and anybody else on the panel so time is yours.
Q. (No microphone.)
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I'm scheduled to play next in maybe Turning Stone or I may go over to (inaudible)not sure yet. Then come back here for the fall series. I'm going to play the whole west coast, not the west coast, Texas, here, Florida most likely not.
Q. How about you?
CHRIS RILEY: I'm heading to Boise tonight for Nationwide, then Jackson, Mississippi next week for a tournament. Excited about it.
Q. (Question about other players that might play tournament.)
CHRIS RILEY: I played a practice tournament with Davis Love and he confirmed to me he was coming. He told me he was playing. I played with him in Greensboro a couple weeks ago.
I'd love to see Tiger get here. I think Las Vegas -- I think the format will help Tiger. I know he's shied away from playing with all the amateurs. I think it's good fit for Tiger to come here. I mean he loves Las Vegas, and he's the best player in the world, so we'll see what happens after he gets over this injury.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Hopefully the field will make it better. Justin Timberlake bringing a different side to it. I think you'll get a few more players that didn't like the Pro-Am aspect of it. Hopefully get Adam Scott, a former UNLV player, to come. I talked to him last week he's definitely thinking about coming, which is a nice change instead of, no, I'm not coming. So at least you are getting guys to talk about it now.
With a good sponsor like Shriners and Justin, I mean, people are talking about coming to Las Vegas and playing golf again instead of, no, I don't want to deal with a Pro-Am at the end of the year, or I don't want the do that, or I don't want to play three different courses or two different golf courses. I think it's good thing to have one golf course and no Pro-Am and a celebrity like Justin to bring guys to the tournament.
Q. (Question about talking to others about what tournaments they're coming to.)
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think we definitely talk about coming to tournaments, and, I mean, we try to convince guys to come to Las Vegas. I mean, 99 percent of the guys on Tour like to have fun, so Las Vegas is the perfect fit -- throw a little golf tournament in there.
I think the problem that we're having right now is in the fall series is the world ranking golf points which need to be sort of changed. The guys feel that are up top of the world ranking that they actually will have a chance to lose points by playing in a tournament. And the TOUR needs to figure something out; how to get these guys playing in our tournaments in the fall and supporting them.
Because I talked to (inaudible) this other week and I'm like are you coming to Las Vegas? He's like, I'm getting married that week but it's hard for me to play the fall series because of the world ranking situation. He is high up there. He is top 25, 30 in the world.
If you play a tournament like the Shriners and you don't finish in the top-ten you are actually going to lose world ranking points. And once you get in the top 50 in the world you get a lot of bonuses, major championships and all that stuff, So guys are concerned they're going to lose position on the world ranks, and they'll fall out of those tournaments and fall out of the world golf championship.
I think it's something the TOUR needs to look at. I think that's the hardest problem to get the major guys here is that world ranking. Because once you get there you have succeed and that's where you want to be. I mean, you get in the top 50 of the world you are somebody, and you are going to play a lot of good golf tournaments for a lot of money. But I don't think that should be a reason why you are not playing the golf tournaments coming out in fall.
Q. How can somebody like Gary or staff here help getting that message to the PGA TOUR people?
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: It's not the PGA TOUR. It's the world ranking. And it's Augusta and the European Tour and all those guys. They're all involved in the world ranking. It's a problem.
CHRIS RILEY: The only thing, it would be hard, but to get a date change. I don't know how you'd do that.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean obviously if you are out of the fall series you are going to get better players.
CHRIS RILEY: If you are during the playoff schedule obviously players are going to play. I don't know how you change--
Q. (Statement about wanting to have a shot at the FedEx Tour.)
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I think you guys are ready to do that, but I don't you should be penalized just because you under the fall series event that you don't have a chance to get good players. You obviously get the local guys, Chris and I and Chad and a few guys no matter what. But a PGA TOUR player shouldn't look at his schedule and go, I'm not going to play because I have to finish in the top three to maintain my position in the world ranking. It's not the point.
I mean, the point is playing golf tournaments and staying competitive and obviously benefiting the charities and all that stuff. So it's something the TOUR needs to look at. They're in a tough situation right now. I think it can work to get better where the tournaments are just as strong as any other tournament just because they're after the FedEx Cup it doesn't matter.
CHRIS RILEY: I think we'll be surprised at the good players that come here. I think where the tournament is and the change of format was huge. I just think people love coming to Las Vegas. I think we'll be pleasantly surprised who commits to the tournament at the end.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: There is no question there will be a better field here this year.
Q. It's hard for the media to really get on it if they don't know who is coming.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: I mean it's tough to try to schedule. I run -- or not run -- I put my name on a tournament for San Diego Junior Golf and I try to get the pros to play every year in San Diego. And I'll get guys to commit months in advance and give me a call on Friday before the tournament and go, I'm not playing. I mean, it's tough. I mean, it's a tough situation.
But hopefully we get those guys to commit in advance and hopefully we don't get guys committing then withdrawing, that's just as bad as not committing.
CHRIS RILEY: I think if we can get Tiger here it really elevates it, that's my personal opinion.
CHARLEY HOFFMAN: Get the number one player in the world, that will be all right. (Laughter.)
CHRIS RILEY: I just think it's working its way toward getting him too. I mean, he loves Vegas, everybody knows he loves Vegas. I mean, I just think he'll play here. Not this year obviously, but in the years to come.
GARY DAVIS: We're going to get Justin to make that phone call. Justin is very excited to have Tiger come play in his tournament, so that will happen. We've also got the secret weapon this year with Justin contacting a lot of the TOUR wives and inviting them to Las Vegas. (Laughter.) So that's very helpful.
Q. (Question about Chris being in.)
CHRIS RILEY: Yeah, I'm in. (Laughter.) Thank goodness. Thanks to Gary and Mark and everybody. It was a nice call I got last week. A relief.
GARY DAVIS: I got to say you know as we have a few very few, very limited number of exempted spots that we can hand out, and I haven't even shared with Chris, but at our committee meeting we've had probably 40, 45 different names that have come up, and we've only extended one exemption so far and that was Chris Riley. And it was unanimous by our committee that we want Chris to come back to this tournament and be a part.
He showed a lot of class last year I thought. Came here and played, and did not make the cut but still came out on Saturday afternoon and helped Butch Harmon at the Butch Harmon Clinic. He was there on Wednesday night with his wife. Helped set up for the concert to benefit everybody that was there.
And we're happy to have both these guys as part of our tournament. So it was unanimous that we wanted Chris back. So we're glad he accepted our invitation as well.
Q. (Question about event.)
GARY DAVIS: We've had several. In fact Doug sent a letter on behalf of the Shrine telling the PGA TOUR that we want to be moved into the FedEx Cup Series at some point and time, as well as Justin Timberlake has expressed that to the commissioner when they talked at a tournament. We've made that well-known that that's what we want to do.
Changing the format of the tournament was step one to getting into the FedEx Cup. So hopefully that will take place in the future. We're working very hard to make the tournament something that the PGA TOUR's proud of, that the TOUR players want to come to, then obviously our next step is to get inside the FedEx Cup.
CHRIS RILEY: I'm going to jump in there.
As a community standpoint, we need to get the community behind this tournament a lot more than it is to take that step. I think we're going in the right direction, but the community has to know about the tournament. The community has to come out here and support the tournament, and to get recognition from everybody.
It's been disappointing the last few years as a professional that the community support hasn't been there. I know everybody's striving to get them back in.
I remember growing up watching golf on TV and seeing Norman play -- I mean this was one of the first million dollar tournaments. Seeing Norman play and all the big names here. It was one of the tournaments that you watched and wanted to watch. I came up as a kid in college and watched the tournament, came out here, and I know the community can be behind it. But we have to get them back into it.
Obviously changing from Founders to Shriners and I think that's a great change. The Shriners have done a great job. And I think the community's going to get back behind it again. For us to make that jump to the normal regular season I would say that the community has to get behind us in the fall too not just.
DOUG MAXWELL: As I communicated to the commissioner, I said, I think we have a perfect match now, a well-known celebrity and the world's greatest philanthropy partnered in a great destination city. He said show us this fall what you can do. So I've been promoting around our fraternity for the last nine months come out here. I hear we have many volunteers coming. So you are going to see many Shriners who volunteered. They may not be wearing their fez, probably not the coolest hats to wear on a warm day so you might see them in golf hats, but they will be here.
If we can get the community out, maybe hopefully the PGA will look at us and go they would be a natural match to move into the FedEx Series.
And for the Shriners and a charity, we need publicity. And the more publicity we can get by being in the other series when the major players come and more people watch, that's what charities need.
Because our endowment fund comes from the community, the world giving us wills and gifts and bequests. So we hope Las Vegas will help support this and convince the PGA that this is ready for the next step.
GARY DAVIS: We'd like to thank all of you for taking the time to come here this morning.
We are going to move out on to the driving range where Chris and Katie will be. We hope all of you will join us there. If you have any further questions pull one of us aside, ask whatever you want, and we'd be happy to help out anyway we can.
I'd like to say thanks once again to Chris, Charley, Katie, Doug and Ralph for being here. Thank you.
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