|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
CHARLES SCHWAB CUP CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
August 31, 2009
LEON GILMORE: Good morning, and welcome to the 2009 media day for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship. We have got two of the best players on the planet here. One thing I'd love to do is first kick off the day. My name is Leon Gilmore, tournament director for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, and kind of starting to my left and going across we have the defending champion for the 2008 Charles Schwab Cup championship, Mr. Andy Bean. And the unique thing about our event is not only do we have the top 30 players of the year on the current Money List, but we also crown the 2008 season long points race, which is the Charles Schwab Cup Race, so we have the 2008 defending champion, Mr. Jay Haas.
Today we have a true honor because the Champions Tour as you know has a leader, a person who manages the business and really sets the direction for the entire Tour, and this being our last year in Sonoma, they brought the president of the Champions Tour, Mr. Mike Stevens, out.
What we're going to do is each year what we try to do is do a highlight reel from the previous year featuring our two champions, so right now we're going to run a short video that highlights Jay and Andy, and we'll run that right now.
So that was a kind of video that showed a look at 2008, some great, great things came out of last year. As most people remember, we had probably the most unique weather situation we've had in a couple of years. We had a wash-out Saturday. Jason Goss and his team at Sonoma Golf Club did an amazing job getting the course back into shape for us to finish, and we played 30 holes on Sunday, so it was an incredible, incredible day.
One of the things you'll notice from that picture is Andy had a unique piece to his visor. He had a custom make, so I'll let him talk about that.
ANDY BEAN: I'm just a California model. If you're used to playing at Pebble and playing up here, you know it's going to be raining. But I couldn't find a rain hat in the clubhouse that fit me, so I just kind of remodeled my visor. I put a top on a visor. I thought it worked good. I had the driest head around.
LEON GILMORE: And he did an amazing job. 20-under was quite a sight. It was an incredible, incredible year.
One of the things that is unique is the Champions Tour has created a unique place in sports. They've done amazing things with fan-friendly activities where the crowd can actually get into the game, and a lot of that was built with Mike Stevens and his team, so I'll turn it over to Mike so he can talk about the Champions Tour.
MIKE STEVENS: Thanks, Leon. It's great to be back. It's nice to be back when the sun is shining, so hopefully it'll be that way when we get back here in six weeks. We've got six weeks remaining in our season, and it's great to sit here in front of you and tell you that we've had a tremendously exciting season so far, and I'll get to some of the key points in just a couple of seconds.
First I want to thank Charles Schwab and PriceWaterhouseCoopers for their sponsorship of this event and obviously Charles Schwab's support of the Champions Tour year-round. I'd like to recognize the Sonoma Golf Club for allowing us to play here. It's been a tremendous run. The players really enjoy coming here in the seven seasons that we've been here.
We're going to be taking a slight detour next year, heading down to San Francisco and playing Harding Park for a couple of years, but we're kind of hoping that we don't wear out our welcome and perhaps maybe we might be able to come back here sometime in the future.
I want to thank Andy and Jay for being here today. Basically Andy and I came down last night from Seattle, but unfortunately Jay is nursing a little bit of an injury and wasn't able to play at the Boeing Classic last week and came up from Pebble Beach to join us. But what that speaks to is pretty much what our players have been doing all year.
The Champions Tour literally is some of the most recognizable players in all of golf, and we ask our players to do a lot of things, and one of them is to come and participate in days like this, media days, where they can interact with the media and fans, and as we promote the upcoming events. But also we ask them to do quite a few things week in and week out for pro-am activities, hospitality visits, et cetera, et cetera, and I can say without equivocation that our players are certainly the best at it. It's demonstrated through the accolades that we get from our sponsors for what they do, and it's partly the reason that the Champions Tour is having such huge success this year, given the economic troubles that we're in.
As I said, we've had a tremendous year so far despite the economy, and I look back to kind of where we were a year ago, and it was kind of unique. We were all here, everybody was in good spirits, the economy was in trouble. We had no idea what was in store for us, had an election coming up, and I think it was the week after the event.
But I think we were all kind of hopeful and optimistic that the economic downturn would be short and sweet, and once we got through Christmas everything would be great. Unfortunately that wasn't the case.
But we've from a Champions Tour perspective and the PGA TOUR perspective quite honestly we have weathered the storm quite well. We've only had to cancel one event this year on the Champions Tour, and it's been duly noted in the media. It was the Ginn Championship earlier this year in the spring. A real estate developer came upon some very difficult times, and there was just no choice but to cancel the event.
But our tournaments have come together. They've worked extremely hard, paring down their efforts, working hard to raise revenues, working hard to deliver value, and we ended up having just a tremendous season, and we're expecting to see that same type of success when we get here in just a few weeks.
We're certainly coming off of a big event last week at the Boeing Classic. Basically the event was outstanding, great community support, but to give you an idea of how well we were doing up in Seattle last week, the tournament announced exceeding their attendance record every day of the event. It was quite exciting as I was leaving yesterday to see that they announced that they had a crowd of over 30,000 people attending the event yesterday afternoon.
So we're still riding a great high. We're heading down to Pebble Beach after that for the Wal-Mart First Tee Open, and we look for our success to continue next week and as the weeks continue until we come here to the Charles Schwab Cup.
Just kind of a quick summary of some bullet points as to our competitive success, through the 18 events only five players have led or shared the lead heading into the final round have gone on to win, so we've had some very, very exciting competition. We've had 12 different winners through 18 events and three multiple winners this year. Bernhard Langer has won four times; Loren Roberts banked his third win yesterday up in Seattle, and Keith Fergus has two wins this year.
As I said, the attendance has been tremendous despite the economic climate, including the record crowds last week at Boeing.
Our television ratings and our household delivery numbers are up, which is great; our network numbers are up. Our charitable giving is off slightly, about 17 percent, but that's expected. But the good news there is in these bad times, our tournaments are making money, they are still delivering dollars to charity, which is the mission of this Tour, so we're very pleased with that.
And rookies who are eligible to playing on the Champions Tour and coming out and playing, so far Tom Lehman, Bob Tway, Olin Browne have participated in almost a full schedule since they've been eligible. Keith Clearwater is going to be making his debut this week in Pebble Beach, and David Frost is going to be coming out with us later this month.
And then as far as 2010 goes, we've got a class of rookies coming out that include Fred Couples, who actually turns 50 later this year in October. There has been some speculation that he might play a couple of events before year's end. There's no way mathematically he could be eligible for the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, but he has stated that he may play at the Administaff Small Business Classic in Houston. But it is the week after The Presidents Cup, so he's not certain how he's going to be feeling.
But perhaps Jay as the assistant captain of the Presidents Cup might have some influence and be able to talk Freddie into playing that week.
But also coming out next year is Corey Pavin, Paul Azinger, and a complete list of other players who are coming, so very, very excited about that.
Let me talk about these two guys sitting up here. It's obvious they have the same tailor. They're both wearing the exact same shirt, both wearing the exact same pants and the exact same shoes. This is Team Charles Schwab Cup Championship right here.
Jay is a nine-time winner on the PGA TOUR and has also captured 12 Champions Tour titles. In 2008 he won his second career Charles Schwab Cup, played in 21 events and had two wins this year, 14 top-ten finishes, and he beat Fred Funk last year in a very, very dramatic race by only 12 points. But I'll get to something relative to that in just a second.
This year Jay has six top-ten finishes and currently is 16th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings.
Andy is an 11-time winner on the PGA TOUR and earned his third Champions Tour title at last year's event, led by just one stroke after 36 holes but left everyone in the dust on Sunday despite having to squeeze in 32 holes in the rain-postponed event. A tremendous victory despite the hat he was wearing that has now been fashioned, and I believe he's making millions off of that. There's no truth to that.
This year Andy has five top-ten finishes and he's currently 13th in the Charles Schwab Cup standings. We have a great race going on right now with the six events left, and as of yesterday just got the update this morning, Fred Funk continued to hold his lead in the race with 2,051 points; Loren Roberts is second; and Bernhard Langer is third.
We have a couple of tournaments coming up that award double the points, but unique to this event we made the decision at the end of last year's tournament that in order to create perhaps a little bit more excitement in the final event in the points race that we decided to award double points, which this event has always been a double-points event. But instead of awarding it to just the Top 10 players, which we currently do, the double points will be awarded to the entire field as they finish. Basically it will allow for the potential for more players to be eligible and create more excitement of the Charles Schwab Cup Championship, of the competition within the competition.
A lot of people asked, well, if you would have done that last year, what would have happened, and the outcome would not have changed. Jay still would have been the winner if we would have had double points in place. But we're looking forward to seeing how the excitement might build under this new scenario.
At this time I think we have a couple of quick sound bytes that we're going to show relative to the championship.
LEON GILMORE: Thank you very much for that, and as you can see, the growth of this Tour is obviously built on the players, and Jay and Andy are just examples of how players commit to events, they come, they support it, and they're obviously phenomenal players.
I want to switch gears back to the event here in October. Obviously it's the best 30 players of the year. The biggest thing, and Mike touched on it a couple times, when you're dealing with the tournament, you've got a lot of things that you're focused on, a lot of things you've got to manage. But two of the things that are huge for us, obviously the corporate support because that allows us then to give back to charity, and the one thing that we're focused on this year is our charity program.
We've been here seven years, and we've had the good fortune to impact several charities, and two of those that I'd like to recognize this year that are part of Sonoma's Lucky 7s is what we're calling it, and it essentially says in seven years we've been here, we've impacted programs, so now let's highlight seven of its charities. Two of those that we're going to highlight in particular are here, and I'd love for the folks from the Sonoma Valley, the Valley of the Moon Boys and Girls Club to stand, Dave, Katie and Esteban.
These programs do not work without a lot of individual support, corporate support, and we like to say that we are a small piece of that puzzle. But those folks are phenomenal because if we don't have nonprofit businesses like those, there's so many things that don't happen with young people today, and Esteban is a perfect example of that.
Right behind that, Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance, Kathy Witkowicki, who's the executive director. And this is a unique program. Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance takes people in the community, they become a mentor, and then they also find a mentee. So that example is right there with Kathy, so if you'd stand, also.
And as we go through charity, we highlight those folks. To Mike's point we were projecting more return, over $400,000 back to the community this year, and that will bring our giving total, which is a cumulative number from 2003 to this year, to $2 million. So for everyone in the room, $2 million is a good number, so let's give ourselves a hand.
And outside of the actual competitive kind of nature of the event, we have some neat programs that are part of this tournament, because what we're trying to do is create a lifestyle event. This event is more than golf. It's the charity angle, but it's also -- the programs that we create to draw people into the event that may have no connection to golf.
We're doing a wine and food pairing this year, which is kind of the fourth year of a revamped wine and food pairing. We have ten restaurants, ten wineries per day, so Friday, Saturday, Sunday, for a total of 30 wineries, 30 restaurants, paired with the best 30 players of the year. So that's where we use that 30 number. So that's on the back lawn there. Restaurants from all over Sonoma County and Sonoma Valley are here as part of that unique thing.
Thursday is military appreciation day for us. We have all 15 starting times done by the folks from Travis and Beal Air Force Bases. We tend to focus on people who have just come back from Afghanistan and/or Iraq, but people who have just been in service because they do so much for us as Americans, we need to give something back to them. These guys have been great because on Thursday you see the military folks out there, they always say hello to them, and it's a great impact and connection for our event and the military.
And then finally, we do a youth clinic on Tuesday, and that youth clinic this year will be neat. Charles Schwab has Hank Haney, an instructor, a famous pupil of his, this little guy named Tiger Woods, will be here Tuesday and he'll do a youth clinic and then we'll find our Champions Tour players to help with that. That will be for Sonoma Golf Club members, families, and then for also the youth groups that we've dealt with, Boys and Girls Clubs and Sonoma Valley Mentoring Alliance.
And what I'll do now is turn it over and I'll start left to right, so I'll go Andy Bean, and Andy can talk about his year here at Sonoma, but also his year on Tour. Andy Bean?
ANDY BEAN: Thank you. You know, when we got up this morning, Jay, I borrowed one of your shirts. I just want to thank everyone here, the staff, Leon, your staff, the club's staff, just everyone was so good.
One thing I do want to say, David, you must have one of the best greens keepers, period. Jason and his staff, to get the golf course in the shape they got it in last year was amazing. You've got the best greens on the West Coast, man, no doubt about it.
But one thing that we want to stress this year is the charities and the donations to charities. The volunteers that you have and that come out and show up here to help out in the Schwab, they're great. They are the reason why you're able to donate so much money to charities, because if we had to pay all these volunteers, we'd be making less, the charities would be making less, and I just -- I know Jay feels the same about that. And that's every single week that we're on Tour, the regular Tour, Nationwide Tour, all these volunteers that we have. They're there, and that's what makes everything work. You know, I certainly want to thank them.
But last year was just one of those years, one of those tournaments for me that every once in a while you get it going. Sometimes it doesn't really matter what the weather is, the sun is always shining. And last year I just got into one of those zones, and it didn't seem to matter. I hit a putt, if I mis-hit the putt it would go in the hole. Fortunately I hit a lot of good putts.
Jay, I know you've done the same thing at times because I've been chasing Jay a number of times, and he just seemed to be in a different speed.
But I just think the golf course, Charles Schwab, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, everything they've done for this event and the club here, you couldn't make it any better. For a year-ending deal, it was just a great experience for me.
You know, the one thing about it, Jay and myself, Jay won the Cup, I won the championship, and we both had to qualify for it again. Mike, we need to talk about that. (Laughter.)
But you made the statement, everybody starts off with zero. Everybody started off with zero, and you have to earn your way into the Charles Schwab Championship and ultimately to win the Charles Schwab Cup.
That's one thing that's amazing in golf; everything is current. When you play well, you're paid for it and you're rewarded for it, and if you're not playing quite as well, you need to get out and practice, and that's what I need to do because the last three majors I haven't played very well in. A lot of people passed me. I was actually up in quite good standings in the Schwab Cup standings, and it just goes to show you, you slack off a little bit -- I didn't really slack off, I just didn't play very well. A number of people pass you.
But I'm looking forward to being here, and hopefully I can do something in the next few weeks to be back up in the standings in the Schwab Cup. Fortunately I'm in the tournament again, so I've got a chance.
But again, thanks to the staff, the volunteers and just the whole community. I appreciate it, and I know all the guys do on Tour.
JAY HAAS: Well said, Andy. I think all the guys, the little sound bytes that we saw there, very important. Most everyone out here talks about the Cup chase, kind of like NASCAR. I'm from South Carolina, so we're always talking about the Cup and who won the race and all that, and I think that to a man out here, number one, we all want to get to this event. We all want to be in this Top 30, which means we've had a great year coming from the PGA TOUR, being in the TOUR Championship, this is our goal.
You know, the guys are saying they've won majors and all this stuff, but their goal is to win the Charles Schwab Cup. It doesn't change from person to person out there. It shows that you've had a great year if you can hoist that trophy. You've played well from start to finish. It's kind of a unique feeling, I think. Again, last year as we saw on the video, I don't think Andy missed a putt all year last year, at least I didn't see one that didn't go in the hole there.
But normally, well, the two times that I've won it, I have very mixed emotions because I didn't play great in the event here but yet I'm holding this big trophy, and it doesn't make sense. When Andy wins last year by -- what did you win by, seven, eight strokes, ten, 11?
ANDY BEAN: Enough.
JAY HAAS: A bunch. There's nothing like holding that trophy at the end of the week and beating all the players, being the best that week, and yet I'm holding this trophy and I didn't feel like I was the best that week. But I guess it's just a mindset that we have. If you don't shoot the low score that week, it just doesn't seem right to be on that green. It didn't seem right to be sharing the accolades with Andy last year.
But again, to play 25, 26, 27 weeks and be No. 1 is pretty special. I've got that trophy at home, and it means a lot to me. Schwab has been unbelievable. It's on the tip of our tongues. We're very excited about it.
It pretty much comes down to that last tournament. We seem to have it right. No knock against the PGA TOUR, but they've tweaked that FedExCup thing to try to make it more exciting, and we haven't had to do that. It goes down to the last few holes almost every year. This past year I basically had to beat Fred and I had to beat maybe John Cook. I'm trying to think of who else was up there. I was just trying to keep my nose ahead of those guys and yet still do well in the tournament. It keeps you on edge, or it kept me on edge for quite some time.
And now with the new tweak there where everyone in the field gets points this last week, if they're close coming down that last year it's going to be another story within the tournament there.
It's been exciting for me to be here. I echo exactly what Andy said. These greens, when I first came here I couldn't believe that the greens were as good as they are. They're just immaculate. I've heard some great stories about this course being resurrected kind of, and it was not in great shape maybe 10, 15 years ago, and people like David and the membership here, they've done a great job.
Just without question, this is our goal. It's number one, to get to this event, and then to get our picture with that big gold trophy over there.
Like Andy, I'm really looking forward to getting back.
LEON GILMORE: I've got two great stories and then we'll go to media day. But this to me, as a kid growing up and playing golf and not playing that well but playing golf and getting a chance to watch these guys, two of the fun things that happened this year and then beginning of -- toward the end of last year, I get a call around Christmastime, and it's from Andy Bean, and I'm like, God, what happened, what did we do wrong.
So got my kid, we just had a little boy, so he's on Santa's lap taking pictures, and I said, "Missy, I've got to take this call." Andy said, we've got a new sponsor. I'm listening to his voice mail, and I must have played it at least ten times, because I couldn't understand where this new sponsor was.
What had a happened on the PGA TOUR, the TOUR Championship, which is the Top 30 players, they have their trophy, and both our trophies are done through Waterford Crystal in Ireland. So when they shipped it over, they shipped Camilo Villegas' trophy to Andy and they shipped Andy's trophy to Camilo. So we're going back and forth. So one of the things Andy has committed to do is he's going to do the Spiderman pose, like you see Camilo when he's reading putts. Andy is going to do that this year.
ANDY BEAN: Don't hold your breath.
You know, the funny thing about it, you've got to really appreciate -- you've done things like this I know, Jay, but maybe not have the wrong trophy sent to your house. But my wife, she's going to get this ready for me. My daughters are at home, wife, they've taken it out of the chest. I literally mean a chest. And they've put it together, they've wiped it off, and they've cleared a few things out and put it up on the mantle, and they have not seen it.
I walked around the corner, and I went, golly, that's bigger than the one that I -- well, what it is, the TOUR Championship is mounted on a piece of wood where our championship, or the championship trophy here, is just the Waterford.
I looked at that, and I got up a little bit closer, and I went, "Honey, you've cleaned this trophy off." I think girls -- now, I can say that because I have a house full of girls, but girls, my girls, love the crystal. Anytime I've won crystal, daddy, when we get older that one is going to go to my house and this service is going to go to my house.
But it's all sparkly and everything and they've got it really beautiful, and I looked, and I said, "Charles Schwab is not on this trophy. It says Coca-Cola." And they looked at me, no, no, and then everybody comes around and everybody looks at it once, and they all start just dying, tears come to my eyes.
I said, "Honey, I realize I'm from Georgia and I went to University of Florida, but I can't read that thing." But I did, I called Camilo, and I said, anytime you feel like sending my trophy to the house, I'd really appreciate it, because I hear they sent it to you by mistake.
I didn't tell him, but I had his trophy to start with. Then about a week later I told him that I had his. Anyway, we worked it all out. But it looks nice in our house, and I would certainly like to try to get another one.
Sometimes strange things happen. The club is in the trophy.
On 18 last year at the presentation, Jay said, when they handed me the trophy, the golfer pose, the club came out, and Jay said, well, that's the first time -- no, "That was the shortest distance I've ever seen Andy throw a club."
JAY HAAS: You guys have maybe heard this story before, but Andy and I are college competitors. He's much older than I am, but we did play some golf together, and it was in Statesboro, Georgia, in the Chris Schenkel tournament. This was back when the balls were balata, covered, wound. There might be a few people that have ever seen the inside of a ball with the rubber bands, things like that.
And we were playing it was probably the second round of the tournament there, maybe even the last. Andy, he was larger than life and still is, and he hit the ball a mile, much farther than me. I had to kind of rely on guile and just whatever to get the job done.
Through about --
ANDY BEAN: One-putting every green that we played that day.
JAY HAAS: Through about 15 holes that day I had had about six or seven one-putts and I was a couple under, 3-under, and Andy had hit every green in two, two par-5s in two, and he three-putted about four times, and he was at 1-under, even, something like that, and he was running hot.
Well, we get to 16, and he hit it about 30 feet, and I must have missed the green, chipped up and made a par, and he three-putted this hole, and he grabbed the ball out of the hole, and he took a bite of the cover.
ANDY BEAN: I waited until I got off the green.
JAY HAAS: I mean, this thing had like a nickel-sized hole in the ball, and he threw it into this bush, and I just -- I had never seen anyone do that before. I couldn't even hardly wait to get to the tee. I had to run over to this bush and dig the ball out of this thing, and I couldn't wait to play the last two holes to show the guys on my team. I put my bag down, and I said, come here, come here. Andy Bean bit this hole. So that's where all that comes from.
ANDY BEAN: The thing about it, we've gone back and forth through the years, and we've had great times. But Jesse Haddock gave you some great advice. Anybody that can bite a cover off a golf ball like that, you'd better leave them alone.
JAY HAAS: And I usually did. I gave Andy a wide berth.
ANDY BEAN: The amazing part about it, I threw it in a middle of a bush that was as big as this half of the room, and he went in there and he had rips all over his shirt, but he was going to get that golf ball.
JAY HAAS: Yeah, that was something.
LEON GILMORE: I've got one about Jay that I may have created but it sounds better every time I tell it.
The Charles Schwab Cup over there, so a fun fact that I've used almost every time we've talked about the Charles Schwab Cup is how many beers can fit in the Charles Schwab Cup, and I think the number is 14 is what I've heard from you and your boys.
JAY HAAS: That doesn't count the ones that you're actually holding. Quite a few fit in there.
LEON GILMORE: I have used that as a fun fact because every time I see the video and every time I see Jay tipping the Cup toward Andy, I always use that story. I think I've embellished it, but I love it anyway.
We'd love to open it up for questions.
Q. This is about Tom Watson's performance at the British. Is that a statement about the caliber of modern PGA players or just about Tom Watson and how he knows how to play British courses?
ANDY BEAN: I think that's a compliment to Tom Watson. I mean, the best players in the world, he almost beat them, and I think it just goes to show you the caliber of play that we actually have. Some of us old guys can still play. I hope I can consider myself not in Tom's league, but I think it goes to show you when you're playing certain golf courses that if you put the ball in position, you're going to give yourself opportunities to make birdies, which he did all week. He make long putts, he made great shots, and I just think you've got some guys out here that can play with the regular Tour guys, maybe not on a day-to-day basis, but especially in a major championship, Tom doing what he did, and I think Jay will certainly agree with this, he couldn't have hit a better second shot into the green.
It goes to show you sometimes over there on the links style courses, you just get a tough kick. You just get a kick that you're not expecting. He could have done something that would have gone down, I think, as the greatest sporting --
JAY HAAS: Not just golf, the greatest sporting accomplishment --
ANDY BEAN: Greatest sporting accomplishment ever because you've got Tiger and everybody out there, and he just really -- you know, Tom is a good friend, but I was sitting at home watching, and I about got a tear in my eye when he missed the putt, because I think it just kind of took the wind out of him. It was kind of like he kept his game at such a high level for so long, and when he putted back up and missed that putt, I felt like he just kind of lost -- it wasn't that he lost the focus, but it was draining. It goes to show you what a major championship will do.
I looked at him, I said, man -- I didn't say anything about the finish, I just said, "You couldn't have hit any two better shots in a row to win a major championship. You did what you could do." It was absolutely superb.
JAY HAAS: I think part of your question was about the statement of the players today, and to me that hints at a little bit of the knock on the players of today, that they can't beat a 59-year-old guy. But I think that Tom obviously elevated his game that week. It's a wonderful golf course for him.
But to even hint that the guys of today, that Tiger is just beating a weak field out there 30 percent of the time, I don't think the guys can disagree more about that. I mean, these guys, the depth of the field out there is pretty tremendous. And what Tom accomplished, Tiger didn't have a good week, he missed the cut, but the guys that were up there, all very, very good players, world-class players.
There's maybe a step down when you're talking about us, but it's not that great. And I think it makes much more of a statement for the Champions Tour than it does disrespect or a knock against the PGA TOUR. I just think that, again, like Andy said, any given week you put our top 20, 30 guys out there, there's going to be four or five of them that make a little run maybe.
I always said, kind of rambling here, but you look at what Hale accomplished in ten years out here, in his ten-year stretch, his best years, 45 tournaments. If, say, there was no Champions Tour, I guarantee you that Hale would have won tournaments on the PGA TOUR in his 50s, and not just a tournament, a number of tournaments.
He was still one of the best ball strikers and probably one of the top five putters in the game at that stretch. This is a league that he chose after he said that chapter is closed on the PGA TOUR, but not a very big step down to the players out here.
ANDY BEAN: And don't you think through the years especially from when we started on the regular Tour, the numbers of good players -- and you can say it's technology, you can say they've got trainers, you've got the physical fitness, you can say whatever, but the numbers of players out there have multiplied every year of the guys that can win tournaments.
Usually, like when we started playing the regular Tour, on most given weeks, I mean, I looked at it like thinking there might be on certain golf courses maybe 20, 25 guys that would have a chance to win unless somebody else came in and really had a great putting round. But no, there are numbers of good players out there, and those are the best guys -- those are the best players in the world. And Tom just elevated his game to play with them that week, and I hope he does it again.
Q. This is for Jay, but I did want to comment to Andy, you look much slimmer in person.
ANDY BEAN: It's the shirt.
Q. There are many unusual records out there that professional golfers hold. Of course Tiger is chasing Nicklaus with his 18 majors, but Jack came in second 19 times, which is a record unto itself. You hold a record; your record beat Nicklaus', beat Palmer, and it might beat Tiger's. Do you know which one I'm talking about?
JAY HAAS: The only thing I can think of is that I have the most cuts.
Q. You do, and I think it's over 600 the last time I heard.
JAY HAAS: I actually only have two or three more than Tom Kite.
Q. That is a great record, over 600 cuts is a wonderful record.
JAY HAAS: Thank you. It speaks to the longevity, I guess, and I just played a lot. You look over the years of -- now, Tiger will never catch that because I don't think he'll even play 700 events in his career. He only plays 18 or 19 a year. I don't think he's going to be out there long enough to play that many, and he's only missed, what, three or four cuts in his whole career. And Jack didn't play that much; he played 20 events, 17 events. But guys like Tom Kite, myself, we just played a lot. We didn't have a whole lot else to do.
And in today's world, the guys that don't play a lot, generally speaking, most of the top players don't play more than 22 events or so. So they're not going to have that opportunity to do that.
But yeah, I'm proud of the fact that I stayed out here long enough to do that and was consistent enough. With my health, too, I didn't lose a lot of time. Andy had some years there where he had issues with his health and lost valuable time in the heart of his career, and I never experienced that.
Q. I want to ask Mike real quick, is Schwab committing to more tournaments? I haven't heard anything about how long they're going to be -- the Champions Tour, the Charles Schwab?
MIKE STEVENS: We have the Schwab Cup through 2014. (Indiscernible.)
Q. Jay, how much time has being the assistant captain this year on The Presidents Cup team, does that take any time away from you or slowed you a little bit? I know you're not enjoying the best year like the last year.
JAY HAAS: Actually, no. So far it has not taken a lot of time. Just in the last month or so, Fred and I have been in contact a little bit more. Really not a lot to do or say prior to that until you know kind of the -- see the team start to shape up, the firm Top 10 that was done after the PGA just a few weeks ago, and now we have until I think a week from today or tomorrow to choose the last two.
We have a short list of guys that have been playing well, that maybe just missed out on making the Top 10, but it's a tough decision for Fred. He will make it and he alone, but I'm going to put my two cents in. But we're pretty much on the same page on that.
Now, when it comes down to that week, I think we both have our ideas, but they're pretty close to each other's. We can go back to history looking at two years ago Presidents Cup, last year's Ryder Cup, some of the teams that worked well together, draw off of that a little bit, and then just kind of see how everybody is playing that week.
But basically, no, it has not taken a lot of time. I just have not played as well as you need to play out here. And that kind of goes to what I said when I first came out here, and I think Andy can attest, you can't just show up at age 50 out here and say these guys are going to part and I'm just going to walk to the head of the class. That does not happen. You have to play well.
For Andy to win this tournament last year, I'm sure it's some of the best golf that he's played, and without question for me to win a tournament, I have to play as good as I can play because most of the guys out here can still do it.
Q. This question is for Jay. You brought up something earlier that I think is an interesting dynamic in this tournament alone where you were more concerned with beating the guys that were directly behind you, not that you didn't want to come in and win because that would have solved any dilemma. But is this the one tournament where that happens, and how does that affect your mindset entering into the week as opposed to the rest of the season?
JAY HAAS: To me the guys that are up there, you look at Fred leading and then Loren now I think has jumped into second and Bernhard third, to me at this stage of the Schwab Cup year-long race, it's almost like you're on the back nine, and maybe Fred has a one- or two-shot lead over Loren and Bernhard is right there and you're kind of trying to hold them off.
Granted, you play well this week, everything kind of takes care of itself. But it's hard not to think about that. We all come out here, and if there's a brass ring out there, we want to try to get it. We're all competitors, and so if we have a chance to do that, it's a little bit nerve-wracking.
This week coming up here at Sonoma is a little bit like a Ryder Cup or a Presidents Cup because if you're playing poorly, you can't hide. If you're playing poorly in a regular week or whatever, you finish 30th, there's really not a whole lot of pressure. If you're not playing well in a Presidents Cup or a Ryder Cup, you're not in that match. You'd better show up. Normally if you're in the top ten, you're having a great week, you're playing well, you're confident and everything, but if you come here, which I came here last year not playing the best, and it shows. There's pressure to try to beat those other guys.
But I go in with the mindset of trying to win the tournament. You know, I've had good success here in the past, and Andy just got off to a great start, and then that -- the day we came back out on Sunday morning I think in the first seven or eight holes, I think he made a bunch of birdies and kind of all of a sudden, you're going, wow, how did he do that, because the course was playing pretty tough. It was playing long, it was cool, it was windy, and the greens are always really fast here.
You're right, you need to have the attitude of just going out and try to win a tournament. But when that's not an option, then it's trying to just stay ahead of the next guys.
Q. (Question regarding father and son winning on the PGA TOUR.)
LEON GILMORE: Kevin and Craig, he actually won on the Nationwide Tour the same weekend his dad won at BC. His dad won the BC Open. And Duval did it.
Q. I meant father and son winning on the PGA TOUR?
LEON GILMORE: Both playing on the PGA TOUR you're saying?
JAY HAAS: Well, I'm probably done -- the only tournaments I would play on the PGA TOUR --
Q. What I'm saying is you've won on the PGA TOUR and your son has a shot at it.
ANDY BEAN: I don't think so. I think Craig, Kevin Stadler certainly has a good chance, but Bill has played very well.
JAY HAAS: Kevin almost won a couple weeks ago, lost to Ryan Moore in a playoff.
You didn't used to see sons playing professional golf it didn't seem like. I don't know what that is, but there's a lot of -- Matt Weibring is out there, Kevin Stadler, my son, I think a couple of other guys that have young players -- John Cook's son Jason is trying to make it on the mini-Tours, Kevin Tway, Gary Nicklaus, I guess he lost to Phil in a playoff in Atlanta a few years ago. You see that a little bit more often. I think it probably goes to the fact is travel are a little bit easier now. The dads are getting home a little bit more.
I know the guy that taught me to play was my uncle Bob Goalby, and he was home maybe two months out of the year, and the rest of the year he was in his car driving to tournaments. Now these guys with their private planes, they get home and their kids travel with them more.
ANDY BEAN: But I think with you and Bill, you're able to go home, spend time together. I know you've certainly coached Lucas. You've certainly helped Lucas there, but I think it's a very good compliment to Jay what he's done with Bill, just the way he's tried to lead him, because I guess you have to be patient doing that. Jay is a lot more patient than I am.
But I think Bill has got a great shot at it.
JAY HAAS: The internet has been a terrible thing for me because I can see every shot that he hits now. Yesterday he got 4-under through 9 and he was in like third or fourth place, and then he shot 5-over on the back side yesterday, and I was just sick to my stomach just watching it, just felt terrible for him, because I've been there and we've been there.
Nobody feels worse than the player that's doing it, but I've played that course, too, and it's very difficult. But it's hard to watch when you see, punch it up, and oh, hit it in the right rough. I wish I didn't know sometimes.
ANDY BEAN: But on the flipside of that, I was out there playing last week, and Sunday I made two doubles on the back, and it's amazing I didn't call my dad. I said, I don't need to be told that you messed up the back side.
But in retrospect, though, I think with you and Bill -- my dad never played the Tour, but with you and Bill, you give him great insight into be a little more patient, because you have been more patient over the years. That's why he's made so many cuts. That's why he's got that record. But he's got a good dad there.
JAY HAAS: You can't teach experience. They just have to do it themselves. 27 year olds don't have patience.
Q. Speaking of the visibility and the marketability of the Champions Tour with a performance like Tom Watson's at the British this year and then with Freddie and Zinger and stuff coming into the Tour, I've got to imagine it's a good feeling and you see the visibility and marketability continuing to increase every year?
MIKE STEVENS: It's huge, it's absolutely huge. I actually encourage the players that have PGA TOUR eligibility to play the PGA TOUR. It may hurt the Champions Tour event that given week, but the exposure that we get by that happening is unbelievable.
I mean, I was kind of torn watching the British Open. I mean, certainly I was pulling for Tom, but as the president of the Tour and the business at this level, technically we're not allowed to pull for anybody.
It was a great win for Stewart. Obviously he played tremendous golf. But it was really neat for me, I've known Tom Watson forever and put a plaid jacket on his back a couple times when I was the tournament director of the Heritage on Hilton Head. It was so neat the next week at the Senior British at Sunningdale. We were staying at the same hotel, and he was an absolute rock star over there.
In a way I'm really glad that we were playing in the UK that week just for Tom's sake, because it was a tremendous opportunity, but given the fact that he didn't relish the victory, the accolades that he received through that entire week would have propped anybody up. So that was really fun to see.
But it has had an impact on our Tour, and it's really because of -- it goes back to when Rick George worked real hard to change the name of this Tour from the Senior Tour to the Champions Tour, because there are people out there that think that these are just a bunch of old guys that can't play golf, as much money as we have expended to try to diffuse that kind of an attitude. But every opportunity that our guys get to play the PGA TOUR, I'm all for it.
Tom did great at the British Open. I mean, Tom Lehman has won on our Tour already and has played well on the PGA TOUR this year. Michael Allen, who just came out earlier this year and won the Senior PGA, has had success on the PGA TOUR. And even Bernhard Langer, two years ago I think it was, was one shot behind in THE PLAYERS Championship on the 16th hole and had the opportunity to win.
Yeah, it's fantastic. It demonstrates the skill set that these guys have and how good these guys really are, and it's just allowed our brand, the Champions Tour, to grow, and made it a lot easier for us to market it because of the performance and the exposure they get when they play there.
LEON GILMORE: I want to close with a couple things. One, obviously our tournament is October 28 through November 1, a great, great opportunity to see the best players on the planet, Mike, Jay and Andy have all touched on it, it's the Champions Tour for a reason.
If you look at major championships over the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour, we will have better than 13 players that are in the field that have won one of those tournaments. Kind of a new face this year that we'll see, Larry Mize, is playing great this year. He'll be new to the field, and we'll have just a stellar, stellar field. It gets better each year. Mark O'Meara will be here. He qualified in '07 but didn't play, but he'll be here this year to play in that. So he'll be a new face to the tournament.
So we have a wonderful, wonderful opportunity for some great players. We look forward to seeing everybody out there.
End of FastScripts