|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
January 12, 2010
WADE DUNAGAN: Good morning, and welcome to the 2010 World Golf Championships- Accenture Match Play Championship media day. To start with, I'd like to welcome and recognize some of our guests with us this morning. We are pleased to have our defending champion and two time winner of this event Mr. Geoff Ogilvy. As many of you know, Geoff has probably one of the best records in Accenture Match Play history, and many of you remember that he actually won the 2005, I believe, Tucson Open, which was your first victory. So thank you for coming back today.
Also joining us today we have Nick Buckelew, our Tournament Chairman of the Tucson Conquistadores. Nick represents the over 1,000 volunteers and Conquistadores who make this tournament possible. Through their selfless dedication and hard work, our partnership is able to make a significant charitable impact on our community, and we'll hear more on that in a few minutes.
At this time I'd also ask that Judy McDermott step forward for a moment. Judy is the Executive Director for the Tucson Conquistadores and my personal mentor through all these proceedings.
Also with us today from the PGA TOUR, we have David Pillsbury, Executive Vice President of Championship Management. We are pleased to have Mr. David Mehl, the Owner of the Ritz-Carlton Golf Club Dove Mountain, with us today, as well. And I'm sure that some of you have already met him, but I'd like to introduce Mr. Allan Federer, the General Manager of the Ritz-Carlton Dove Mountain.
I'd also like to thank all of our media members here today. The Accenture Match Play Championship is one of the most unique and exciting tournaments in golf, and all of you help us in showcasing this event in southern Arizona to the rest of the world. As you will see when you go out on the golf course, with the buildout, preparations for the tournament are coming along rapidly. We continue to see improvement in the venue for our fans, the players, and our sponsors.
Possibly one of the greatest enhancements for this year is the new incredible Ritz-Carlton Resort, which opened less than a month ago. We're excited to have such a beautiful place to host this event, and I hope all of you will find time to tour their beautiful facility. To show some of the things that make this event the most exciting week of competition in golf, let's watch a brief video.
I have a few notes before we continue. This is the first year that the fans can purchase weekend daily tickets in advance, and we're very pleased with that. The single-day tickets are $45, and our hope is that people who may have other obligations or work responsibilities that can't make it out during the week will take advantage of this offer and join us for the weekend.
We also have family tickets this year. Our youth policy extends free admission to those people who are 15 and under when accompanied by a ticketed adult. That means a family of four, Thursday through Sunday, can attend the event for $90.
Many of you have asked for more on the impact of this event and on the PGA TOUR. I'd like to introduce Mr. David Pillsbury.
DAVID PILLSBURY: Thank you very much. I appreciate it, and thanks to your team for another outstanding job preparing for this event. David, the golf course and the changes, we looked at them yesterday -- we've got a book, by the way, with the changes we made to the greens in response in some of the feedback from the players last year. The golf course looks terrific, and Allan, the Ritz-Carlton is spectacular. We were chatting about it earlier. It must be one of the nicest Ritz-Carltons in the entire system right here in Marana. This is a phenomenal venue.
We are excited about being here. We're delighted that you're here with us. To have Geoff with us after winning in Hawai'i is a real honor. He's defending champion of this event, so we're delighted that he's joined us, as well.
What I wanted to do was just take a minute and talk about a couple of things as it relates to the community. First, to the Conquistadores, who are the community activators, thank you. We appreciate you are being here as the media because we need your help in activating the community around this event. What I'm going to talk about as it relates to charity is a function of the community supporting the event. The dollars that are generated through the community support are the dollars that are recycled in the community through charity.
Before I do that, I want to take a moment and mention something we're very proud of, and that is our support across all of our Championship Management events, this being no exception, for our men and women in uniform. We're delighted to announce that we're offering complimentary single day tickets to the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base military members and their families. We encourage them to come out here and enjoy watching the best players in the world, at one of the greatest venues in the world, compete during the Accenture Match Play World Golf Championship.
I'd also like to just remind everyone some of the data that was communicated in the video relative to the PGA TOUR. We had an incredible year again last year, one of the toughest years for charity in the country. We were off a little bit. We raised $109 million through organizations like the Conquistadores across the country for worthy charities, and we're very, very excited about that.
It's also important to note that an event of this magnitude has significant economic impact on the community, somewhere in the range of $45 to $60 million. We haven't done a study here in Marana, but we have at other locations for frankly events that are not this big, and the economic impact of a tournament of this magnitude is indeed significant. Charity-wise across the World Golf Championships we've raised more than $21 million. Again, that is a function of community support. That's how the money is ultimately raised.
We are delighted to remind you again of something mentioned on the video that this beautiful venue, the Ritz-Carlton, this great golf course and the broader community will be telecast in its grandeur to over 200 countries around the world, so this certainly is a proud moment and opportunity for all of us here in the Marana/Tucson area.
Last year Commissioner Finchem announced a reenergized commitment around our charity endeavors under the headline "Together, Anything is Possible." That's our new platform. And I think that the great work by our sponsor, by organizations like the Conquistadores, by the charity recipients who turn these charity dollars into meaningful programs within the community are certainly examples of Together, Anything is Possible. And the Conquistadores specifically since 1962 have been moving the needle in this community, more than $21 million of help through the Conquistadores to award worthy charities in the greater Tucson area. Golf programs, The First Tee, Field of Dreams, Challenger Little League Sports Complex, Boys and Girls Clubs, you name it; this organization has had broad impact across the community.
So I would encourage you on the media side to remember when you write your articles about this event that your support will activate the community. The community's activation will generate dollars which the Conquistadores will then deliver back to the community in meaningful ways. So it's very important that we get the word out about this event coming up here in four weeks.
I'd like to take this opportunity to introduce the president, the heart and soul of this event, of the Conquistadores, Nick Buckelew.
NICK BUCKELEW: Thank you, David. It is truly an honor for me to be here today on behalf of the Tucson Conquistadores and be part of such a world-class event as the Accenture Match Play Championship. Not only do we bring a world-class professional golf tournament to southern Arizona, we have been blessed with having world-class partners such as Accenture, David Mehl and the Ritz-Carlton and the PGA TOUR, and it's just been tremendous.
This tournament allows Tucson Conquistadores as David mentioned earlier to continue along with our volunteers 60 years of professional golf in southern Arizona, and as a result of that participation, as David also mentioned, we have raised over $21 million for the southern Arizona youth charities.
And we're not done yet. We all know the economy is tough and everything, but we are committed and we're confident that the southern Arizona community will continue to support this tournament. They always have. We think they always will. And we're confident that this will be a wonderful event and we'll get all the participation that we're accustomed to, and we appreciate everything that the media does for us, also.
So on behalf of the Tucson Conquistadores, welcome. I hope you enjoy the day. I was in charge of weather, so anything else you can talk to wade about. But the weather was my call, being the farmer in the bunch. Wade, thank you.
WADE DUNAGAN: Thank you, Nick. Finally, it's my pleasure to introduce our 2009 champion, Mr. Geoff Ogilvy. As many of you remember, Geoff was kind enough to join us at media day last year, and I think the karma has sort of worked out all right. Geoff now has three World Golf Championships, second only to Tiger Woods, and his record at this event is beyond stellar. Geoff, welcome back. I had a couple of questions to start things off about how you thought you might start your year, but I think you already answered those last week.
Maybe a couple comments about what you are looking forward to in returning to the Accenture Match Play Championship.
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, for sure. Obviously this has been very close to my favorite event on TOUR, for sure. The Tucson Open was one of my favorite events, too. I live most of the time in Scottsdale, so driving down here was always one of my favorites. And then sad to see the Tucson Open going away, but then my favorite event came to Tucson, so I get to play the Match Play here. It's one I really look forward to. I've had a lot of success.
Just an enjoyable event. I think it's a great format. I kind of wish we did it more often, the Match Play. The golf course since we came here last year was pretty exciting. I think it's going to be even better, with the greens, a few more options, but I think the greens can be a bit faster. I think there were those who didn't think the greens were fast enough last year, but I thought they were perfect. (Laughter.)
No, really, I really enjoyed the golf course. I think there's just a few little subtle changes that's just going to enhance the place and make it a lot better. We get to stay here at the hotel this year, and from what I've been told it's a stunning place with a great view. It doesn't get any better than this in the middle of winter and it's 70 degrees and getting to play out here. There's nothing not good about this event.
WADE DUNAGAN: At this time we'll take some questions. If you would, I believe Chris has a microphone. We'll take some questions for Geoff.
Q. Talk about your victory last week for a moment. Pretty tough battle.
GEOFF OGILVY: It was. Obviously Kapalua is a pretty nice place to start your year. It doesn't get a whole lot better than winning the first event, obviously, and I did it last year, too, so it's a massive bonus that I got to do it again. It's one of the nice little perks on TOUR to get to go to Kapalua. It's one of the first things that anybody thinks about. If you win a tournament on TOUR and you're not already in it, people think, oh, I'm in the Masters now and I get to go to Kapalua. It's pretty cool to be there every year so far.
And to win, yeah, I was playing really well all week, and all was going really well and I was having a good little battle with Lucas and then Sabbo went and threw in a 10-under on Sunday, which was kind of a bit annoying when we got to the 10th tee. I thought we were having quite a lot of fun until he did that.
He played unbelievable. 10-under out there -- the wind was kind of weird this year. Kapalua, for anyone who hasn't been there, is built on the side of an old volcano, I guess. It's an incredible -- 1,000 feet from top to bottom maybe. It's a massive hill, and all the long holes go downhill and all the short hills go uphill, but the wind tends to blow downwind on the long holes and into the wind on the short holes. So it all balances out and it's quite fun.
But last week the wind was going into on the long holes, so it was kind of weird. But we had a lot of fun, and it turned out my way. I managed to play that last nine holes -- I knew what I needed to shoot and actually shot the score, which is -- golf is sometimes quite easy when you go out not trying, but when you actually try to shoot a score and do, it's quite exciting because golf is very hard when you try to do something. So one of my most satisfying wins for sure.
Q. Here in Tucson we get some certain new players every year when they come in. Given this event may or may not have Tiger Woods, are there some guys out there who you think are really up and comers that you think may give you a run for your title here in a month?
GEOFF OGILVY: Well, the obvious one, he was here last year, is Rory. I can't say enough about Rory McIlroy and how good a player he is. He is astonishing, really, for his age. Basically in contention every week he plays. First time at Match Play here last year, he made the quarterfinals. Amazing player, really fun to watch. He's only 21 or 22 or something and already Top 10 in the world. He's going to win majors, going to win. Anyone who comes here can say they saw Rory when he was a young kid playing. He is very impressive.
Ishikawa, obviously he was here last year, as well, but he's won five times or something in Japan since he was here last year. He's been on The Presidents Cup, and he's very impressive.
Michael Sim, I'm not sure, he's probably right on the edge of getting in. He played Nationwide Tour last year but won three times, got the battlefield promotion. He played with Tiger Woods in the last round at the U.S. Open, first time he'd ever played with him at Bethpage with all the craziness, and he hung in really well and shot even par on Sunday or something and finished top 20 in the U.S. Open. So he's really impressive, Michael Sim.
But I don't think there's anybody in the top 64 in the world who isn't really good. But some of these young guys, those three guys especially, have definitely got big futures, and I think it's probably always fun to see a player in 20 years' time, when Rory has won 10 majors, to say I saw him play when he was 21 down in Tucson; it was pretty exciting. So they're the sort of players -- I'd look for the young guys who appear to be having big futures.
Q. I'm sure you haven't been asked this question once by anybody during the last couple weeks, but do you anticipate there being a different feel with Tiger's layoff?
GEOFF OGILVY: I think we'll get used to it. It's obviously strange. Nobody knows what's going to happen, I guess. I don't think it's that weird that he's not playing. I think it's just a great unknown that's kind of strange. But I think his whole life has been about golf, and I'm sure once he works it out, he'll be back, and it'll be back to normal, chasing him down on Sundays.
Q. Are there many tournaments on TOUR where you stay on-site?
GEOFF OGILVY: We have a few. Doral is probably the one that the TOUR has been going to forever that we stay at the resort. Tampa, we stay at the golf course. David will tell you; I'm forgetting five or six. There's a few, and it's really nice. Kapalua last week; well, we drive to the course, but it's the same resort. It is really nice. I would have said every player on TOUR would far and away prefer to stay on-site. You have a bit of freedom, we can finish the round in the morning and maybe go relax in the room or go to the gym and then come back and practice, so it's really nice.
It's going to be pretty cool that we get to stay here. I would say if you polled the TOUR, 95 percent of the guys would prefer to stay on-site when they get a chance.
Q. With you being in the Top 10 and having won the first tournament of the year and with Tiger out, naturally people are going to be looking to you as one of the guys to sort of take over and make a big statement, if you will. Do you feel like one of the elite players? Do you feel like that?
GEOFF OGILVY: Sometimes. Sometimes, like last week obviously I was really happy with the game. When I play well, I feel like I can win any tournament. I think I have periods where I don't feel like a very good player, but I think most people that play golf feel the same thing.
I think if I can get a bit more consistent -- the guys who get to No. 1 and the top two or three and hold those positions for a long time are the guys that do well when they're not playing very well. They find a way to have a score, they get through a rough week golf-wise and play through the bad form while still having good results. I think I haven't been as good at that as I probably should be if I wanted to hold one of those top two positions.
But I think I can. I think I'm getting better at that all the time. I feel like one of the best players in the world when I play well. I just need to, I guess, continue that feel when I'm not playing too well if that makes sense.
Q. You said you wanted if to hold one of those top two, three positions. Do you want to be No. 1 in the world?
GEOFF OGILVY: I would love to be No. 1 in the world. The last ten years it's been very hard because one guy has won most of the points, and then he wins every second major, or for a period he wins every second major; he's won 15 WGCs or a ridiculous amount of these tournaments, and they carry the most points, so it's been hard.
But I think even if he starts playing next week, there might be a loss of edge maybe. I don't know. Who knows. I don't know what's going to happen.
But I would love to be No. 1. To be No. 1 you have to play really well for an extended period of time. I mean, Vijay got to No. 1 in the Tiger era, and he won ten times that year. So we're going to have to win a lot of tournaments. I think No. 1 is -- if you get to No. 1 you've had a really good, long extended period of playing really well, and I think No. 1 would be the bonus. It would be nice.
I still think -- when Vijay was No. 1 in the world, everyone still viewed Tiger as the best player in the world. So I think in the Tiger era I think it's going to be hard to be viewed as the best player in the world, but to be ranked No. 1 would be really nice, especially if you can hang onto it for a period. It would be a good feather in the cap if you like.
Q. You've had great success over in Hawai'i now, and you've had great success here in Tucson. How do you explain that to us? What's the comfort level? How do you have that comfort level? Just a certain mindset?
GEOFF OGILVY: I don't know, actually. The Match Play in particular, I just love the format. I grew up -- Australian amateur golf and junior golf, there's a lot of match play. It's predominantly match play. That happens in the U.S., as well, but I think a lot of a lot of us play amateur tournaments that are match play, as well, whereas in the U.S. they tend to be stroke. So I think Australians, anyway, probably play a fraction more as juniors, match play.
I've always loved the format. I always thought it was fun that you could shoot 80 but still win or that you could shoot 65 and lose. There's both sides to that. I like just the me against that guy thing. I just enjoy that. I think whenever you enjoy something you do it better, or you have a chance to do it better anyway. You're not going to enjoy it if you don't like it. So with the match play, I think, my comfort level is just in enjoying the format, and I have fun.
It's my adopted climate, if you like. I live up in Scottsdale, so I'm used to the desert stuff, and I like it. The desert is a little different if you grew up in Florida. Playing here it's a little different. The ball goes a long way, and the valley effect, you get -- there's a bit of a valley effect on these golf courses on the side of the hill and stuff; you've got to get used to it, and I really like it.
Hawai'i, I'm not sure -- my first couple times at Kapalua I didn't quite understand what all the fuss was about. I didn't think this was paradise; this is horrible, this place, and it's on too big a hill and it's too windy and it rains, and what's everyone talking about. But I've learnt to -- I love the place now. It's pretty close to my favorite stop on TOUR, not just because I won, I just started enjoying the golf course and understanding how to play it. And I worked out that -- the first year particularly weather-wise we had just bizarre weather-wise and it rained a lot, and I didn't understand why people would want to go to the Pacific Islands and sit in the rain. But we just had a weird week, and I just enjoyed it and I just got a bit more comfortable, and I worked out it was a golf course that really suited my game. Now, along with this one, it's becoming one of my favorite events, as well, Kapalua.
It's early in the year coming off a break I think it's good for me, too. Most of my success has been in January through March, so that's something I'm going to have to work out. But obviously I thrive after taking some time off and relaxing, so maybe I need to do some mid-year relaxing.
Q. You had a chance to look at the changes that they made to the golf course. If you can, can you highlight a couple of those and how they'll make a difference?
GEOFF OGILVY: I haven't actually been out on the golf course, but a week or so ago I saw the papers, the design changes on paper, and that's pretty well laid out in there. And because I went around the golf course -- if you go all the way on this golf course, you play seven times, six times -- how many matches are there? So you go around about seven or eight times with practice rounds and stuff. I think I know this course pretty well. And the book is pretty good, and I've talked to the guys about what's happened.
There was a couple of changes that I really liked, some fairways bunkers taken away. That 4th hole was really hard for anyone to work out where to hit it last year; a couple of bunkers that made it weird have gone, and now it's going to be a really, really cool short par-4. There was a couple of slopes that were a bit extreme, I think, for the speed that we're used to, and I think that's just been softened a bit, so we're going to have able to get the speeds that a course like this deserves.
The grass is perfect, and you want to be able to have like fun pin positions, not just have to stick them just on flats, because you want a bit of slope because that makes golf interesting, and I think this is just going to create what Jack had envisioned, I think, really.
I talked to him about it at Memorial actually if you go back to May. He was already talking about it. They came in straight away and he was pretty excited about improving it.
I think it'll just be the same but in hand. It'll have more dimensions.
Q. I was going to ask you a similar question about the greens and how you found them last year and how you expect them this year with those subtle changes and how all of that adds up to your particular game plan for coming into this year's event.
GEOFF OGILVY: I think ironically if you take a couple of slopes away, it'll probably get harder because they can up the green speed a little bit and they can probably tuck a few pins behind some of the slopes that were perhaps a bit too extreme last year. I don't think my game plan will change a whole lot because it worked out last year. And match play game plans are quite dependent on the guy -- you might want to hit driver down the first hole, but if he hits it 50 yards in the bush, you don't hit driver down the first hole anymore. So you've got to have a fluid game plan.
I have a general idea how to play the golf course, but I think it'll probably play similar to last year but more interesting, because there will be a few different pin positions and putting will be -- if the greens are a bit faster and they're a year more developed, it will just be -- short game will be a bit more valuable, I think.
I think interesting is the right word because the pins are going to be in spots that they maybe wanted to go to last year but they were a bit afraid.
Q. What does your schedule look like?
GEOFF OGILVY: Yeah, we're having a baby in a month. I'm actually go to play in Abu Dhabi next week. Then I will shut it down until we've had the baby and it's going well, and I may not play until here. But if the baby comes a week or so early, maybe I'll -- yeah, you want to be home for that. You don't have many opportunities to witness the birth of your child.
Q. I was just wondering, are you recognized a lot when you go out? Do people seem to know who you are? Or do you fly under the radar quite a bit?
GEOFF OGILVY: Pretty under the radar. It depends where we are. Walking around the Ritz-Carlton at Kapalua last week everybody recognizes you because a lot of people there, that's their winter vacation; I'm going to go watch the golf tournament and stay at the Ritz-Carlton. So they're kind of on the lookout for professional golfers. But if I walk through a mall in Dallas, nobody knows who I am, which is nice.
It depends where you are. If I go to a Suns game in Phoenix I might get recognized a couple of times because Scottsdale people know that I live there. If you're away from a golf tournament, nobody sees you. But if you're in a small town or the town where the golf tournament is on that weekend, people are kind of on the lookout. I can pretty much go where I want and nobody sees me.
Q. I noticed you didn't update your Twitter after your victory. Is social networking something you're trying to -- do you have to be mindful of that?
GEOFF OGILVY: I've slowed down with the Twitter. I think I ran out of material very quickly. (Laughter.)
It is an interesting thing. I haven't been on it for a while. Maybe I'll update it again.
WADE DUNAGAN: Geoff, thank you very much for joining us today.
End of FastScripts