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U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
May 10, 2010
RAND JERRIS: Good morning. My name is Rand Jerris. I'm the director of communications for the United States Golf Association, and it's my pleasure to welcome you to Pebble Beach for the 2010 United States Open Championship. Really nice to see so many friends and familiar faces here this morning. I certainly recognize a lot of folks from the last time we were here at Pebble Beach back in 2000, and it's really exciting for the USGA to be back at Pebble Beach.
Many of you know, the United States Golf Association is the international governing body for the game of golf in the United States and Mexico. In that role we write the rules of the game, we check equipment for conformance to the rules, provide expert consultation on course maintenance and environmental issues and maintain a handicap system and celebrate the history of the game.
Our most important function really plays out every summer and fall in conducting 13 national championships for men and women golfers for amateurs and professionals. Of course our most significant championship, our most visible championship, is the United States Open.
Everyone at the USGA is so pleased to be returning to Pebble Beach for the U.S. Open for the fifth time. Pebble is truly one of the very, very special places in the game, and it's created so many wonderful memories from U.S. Opens in the past. We're certainly looking forward to the memories that will be created again in 2010 just five weeks from now.
It's now my pleasure to turn the program over to Jim Hyler, the president of the United States Golf Association.
JIM HYLER: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, good morning, and welcome to our media day. This really is a kickoff to the official run-up to the U.S. Open, so we're excited to have you here and thank all of you for coming. I was thinking about media day just two minutes before we walked up here, and I was thinking about last year, media day at Bethpage, and I hope I'm not going to jinx it here, but at media day at Bethpage it was pouring down rain and we actually had to cancel the golf, and that was a forerunner to what was going to happen the week of the Open. We hope to have a much better start this week to our championship by having a beautiful day outside.
It's truly a pleasure for all of us, the executive committee and the staff of the United States Golf Association to be back once again at this magnificent setting as we embark on our annual championship season. Over the next five months, 13 individuals, pros and amateurs, men and women, will be crowned champions of our national championships. None will be as visible as our 110th U.S. Open champion that will be crowned here at Pebble Beach, but we certainly have a lot of admiration for all of our champions for the wonderful accomplishments that they will achieve during the championship season.
As Rand indicated, this will be our fifth U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach. This will be the sixth major championship overall to be held Pebble Beach Golf Links. If you think back to the past champions here at Pebble Beach, it certainly reads as a who's who of great players in the history of the game. If you go back to '72, of course Jack Nicklaus won; '82, Tom Watson; '92, Tom Kite; 2000, Tiger Woods. And I also want to recognize the 1977 PGA Championship winner here, Lanny Wadkins. You can see the past champions here truly are some of the greatest players in the history of the game.
This will be our third consecutive year of hosting the U.S. Open on a public golf course. If you think about Torrey Pines in '08, Bethpage in '09 and Pebble here in 2010, and it really just once again shows our commitment to public golf. In fact, if you look back over the past ten years and this being the 11th year, six of our past 11 Opens will be at public golf courses, and throw Pinehurst in the mix with Torrey, Bethpage and Pebble. It's an appropriate reflection of the USGA's commitment to public golf as well as an acknowledgment that over half the rounds of golf played in the United States are, in fact, played on public golf courses.
As the national governing body for golf in this country, we recognize the importance of working to implement environmental considerations into all aspects of our activities, including our championships. This year's Open will also be a window into such efforts. Let me comment on a few things. As championship week gets underway you'll see evidence of that commitment by a number of parties involved in conducting this multifaceted event.
From encouraging the use of public transportation to an aggressive on-site recycling program to guidelines for vendors that minimize waste to careful monitoring of pesticide use, the use of recycled water and less of it to irrigate the golf course, our shared objective is to continue to build a healthy relationship between the game and the environment. And I invite you all to visit our website, USGA.org, if you would like to learn more about these activities, including our ongoing support of turf grass research, our focus on water quality and our focus on energy and water conservation issues.
I think all of you probably know, we have extended a special invitation to Tom Watson and he has accepted that and will be here at the Open. We're thrilled that Tom will be here. He doesn't have to go through the qualifying. This will mark the first special exemption offered for U.S. Open since 2005, and we are -- we don't just hand these out with regularity. Tom has competed in 30 U.S. Open Championships. He was runner up in '83 and '87 and 11 times has placed in the Top 10. With this addition to the field in 2010, he will become the only player to have played in all five Open Championships here at Pebble Beach. And I think you probably also know that Tom Kite is going to attempt to qualify, going through the qualifying process, so he too, if he makes it through, he would have played in all five Opens here.
I want to congratulate Tom Watson and his record of success over the years in the U.S. Open and at other venues, including his thrilling runner-up finish at last year's Open Championship at Turnberry. Tom's continued success is inspirational, and we're proud certainly to have him here at Pebble Beach in June. He will add a lot to our championship.
Before concluding, I want to recognize the many USGA volunteers who donate their time to helping them conduct our national championships, serve on the USGA committees and conduct state and local championships and help develop the next generation of golfers. More than 1,400 volunteers assist us annually in these very important roles. And here at Pebble Beach, the run-up to and here in championship week, we will have more than 6,000 volunteers helping us throughout the week. To each of them we offer our sincere appreciation and thanks for helping to make the U.S. Open what it is, the most dramatic championship in golf.
Finally, I want to take just a moment to express our gratitude to our partners and good friends at Pebble Beach. It goes without saying that Pebble Beach is a truly, truly special place, a magnificent golf course in a spectacular setting with an exemplary group of individuals supporting this operation. In the years and months leading up to the championship we have benefitted greatly from their knowledge, their experience and their dedication.
I want to particularly recognize Bill Perocchi, the CEO of Pebble Beach; R.J. Harper, the 2010 U.S. Open general chairman, and Steve Aitchison, vice-chairman of the championship. Indeed, we thank all of the great team at Pebble Beach for all that they've done to work with us to get ready to stage this fantastic championship.
I'd now like to turn the program over to Bill Perocchi.
BILL PEROCCHI: I'd also like to welcome everyone to Pebble Beach, one of the most spectacular spots on earth. It doesn't get any better than this, does it? Pebble Beach truly is the greatest meeting of land and sea, and the tradition and history is unmatched by any golf course in the world. It's hard not to get goosebumps and a special feeling when you drive through the gates on 17 Mile Drive, and when you add to that what is happening on our par-3 course right back here, which is going to be the grand entrance to the U.S. Open, and you also see what's going on out on the course, it's certainly an overwhelming experience. And if you don't already have that feeling yourselves, you will this afternoon when you're out there playing Pebble.
So I just want to thank you all for being here and thank you for being a part of the 2010 U.S. Open.
It's an honor to be hosting the 110th playing of our nation's most important championship. For the last five years, our teams worked side by side with our friends and partners from the USGA in making sure that every little detail has been addressed and every contingency has been accounted for. It's a privilege to work with the members of the USGA executive committee and their staff in preparing for this year's championship.
I want to especially thank the leadership team of the USGA that's here today, including Jim Hyler, Tom O'Toole, Pete Bevacqua, Mike Davis, Barry Hyde and Reg Jones for their insight, their dedication and their commitment and partnering with our team to put on what will surely be another historic U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.
I also want to thank somebody in the back there, Frank Bussey, the director of the field operations for the USGA. Frank and his team have been working on-site and away from their families for the last 12 months, and I can tell you no one knows how to run a major golf event better from an operations perspective than Reg and Frank.
When we talk about the economic benefits for a minute from the U.S. Open, all of us know that this is coming at a time when our businesses and our communities are needed the most, and just to highlight a few items, first and foremost, the championship will generate $2 million for local and national charities. We expect that visitors during the week of The Open will spend $150 million in hotels, restaurants, retail stores and other business venues.
In addition to that, the Pebble Beach Company will spend $20 million with local and national vendors to prepare for and set up the championship.
We've also hired 700 temporary employees in the retail and food and beverage area in addition to the volunteers that R.J. will talk about, and our line of employees throughout the local hospitality industry will be working more hours and realizing higher paychecks as a direct result of The Open.
And finally, while the short-term economic benefits of the U.S. Open will be huge, we all know a larger and longer lasting benefit will be the 30 hours of worldwide live TV coverage as well as the exposure provided by all of you who will be covering the event. So the lights are certainly going to be shining brightly on Pebble Beach and on Monterey County and the whole state of California.
We'd like to say that guests visit Pebble Beach for the first time because it's a special place, but they return here year after year because of the renowned service delivered by our employees. We'd like to think this is also one of the reasons why the USGA returns to Pebble Beach. Each and every one of our employees takes great pride in being a part of the Pebble Beach Company and being a part of the team that's putting on the U.S. Open.
Many of our employees have been preparing for the championship for over five years, essentially performing two jobs during this period, and so I just want to acknowledge six members of our leadership team who are in this room and have been a major part of the effort, and they'll all be available for any questions and discussions after the press conference.
First is our president and chief operating officer Cody Plott, who will oversee everything going on The Lodge, Beach Club and Spanish Bay during the week of The Open; Dave Snyder, our executive vice president of brand management who's worked very closely with the USGA on the business and marketing side of the championship; Paul Spengler, our executive vice president, president, and who I consider a legend in the golf industry, Paul has been the general chairman of the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach; as we mentioned earlier, Steve Aitchison, our vice-chairman of the U.S. Open, responsible for all the facilities and operations planning, really working side by side with Frank and with Rich. Steve is back there. And then the two people responsible for the day-to-day operations of the No. 1 public golf course in North America, and that's our host professional Chuck Dunbar and our superintendent Chris Dalhamer.
And finally, we're fortunate to have as our general chairman of the 2010 U.S. Open R.J. Harper, and many of you know R.J.; however, you may not know that R.J. started his career with the Pebble Beach Company 25 years as a marshal and he rose through the ranks of his current position of senior vice president of golf. R.J. was also Paul's sidekick during the '92 and 2000 Opens. He's one of the most knowledgeable, respected, well liked, and I think at this point in time exhausted individuals in the golf industry, and so I'd now like to turn things over to R.J. Harper, the general chairman of the 2010 U.S. Open.
R.J. HARPER: Those are very nice words. It's been a remarkable five-year ride with the United States Golf Association, our partners and friends in this undertaking. We are truly appreciative of the guidance, the expertise and the friendships we have shared with each and every one of you and every member of your team.
Preparing for the United States U.S. Open Championship is one extraordinary undertaking, and I mean extraordinary undertaking. There is no blueprint. There's no defined blueprint, no manual that you can open up and follow along. And with so much uncertainty throughout our nation over the past two years, we've had to draw from the collective energy, talents and creativity of every single person involved, from our executive planning committee comprised of 13 skilled and passionate Pebble Beach Company leaders to our championship committee and staff, 37 all hard-working and determined, to the 60 dedicated volunteer committee chairs and the 110 gifted professionals, conveniently symbolic of the 110th playing of this championship, whose single goal is to present the best championship possible.
We've also been fortunate to have the Greater Monterey Peninsula community embrace our efforts. Of the 6,900 total volunteers required for the championship, over 2,400 of them will represent local school districts, Boys and Girls Clubs of Monterey County, which will benefit both the Open and their respective organizations.
We're also fortunate to have a base of experienced volunteers, who served at the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The local colleges have stepped forward in providing us the necessary parking. Without that parking, I don't think we could conduct this championship. The community hospitals in Monterey Peninsula who provide at no charge over 100 doctors and nurses and all the medical supplies required for the championship, and all the local business leaders have continually over this entire five-year process reached out to assist in any way. The area golf clubs, private and public alike, have all contributed throughout the planning, as well, and in particular the local and regional media support has been exceptional.
We're all grateful for that support that everyone has been provided, by us, by the USGA, and in return to us by the USGA every single step of the way. In developing the stage for our fifth U.S. Open, we've had perhaps the greatest support for one of the game's truly remarkable gentlemen and in preparing and strengthening the Pebble Beach Golf Links in anticipation of the greatest 156 players on the planet. We turned to Arnold Palmer, whose love of the game and whose respect for these magnificent links is unmatched.
Some years ago our superintendent Chris Dalhamer and I presented Mr. Palmer with a few ideas about course improvements. That was fun; I've got to tell you, it was one of the joys of my life, aside from raising a couple boys and watching them grow up, is to work with Mr. Palmer in establishing what I think is going to be a treat for you today and a treat for the 156 players competing for the national championship. When we presented these ideas to him, the overall concept was to add a bit of length, rebuild, redesign, to push fairways closer to the ocean. Cypress trees were added in much the same fashion, and we did add a bit of length. The course will play to 7,040 yards for the Open Championship.
I spoke to Mr. Palmer on Friday, and there was no hiding his sense of pride in his voice when I asked him for the feedback he had received over the past year. You could hear the smile in his voice which he was talking, and he said all positive.
We also feel the work done complements the USGA's strategy for course setup for the Open at Pebble Beach. Mike Davis and Tom O'Toole have without a doubt developed a hole-by-hole plan in keeping with the same principles founded in the original design and with Mr. Palmer's course improvements. I think for those of you playing this afternoon, particularly for those of you tend to hit it a little right off the tee, a little bit of a chance to see what I mean, and you can thank the aforementioned gentlemen over here for all your pain and suffering.
We're in the home stretch now. There's only 37 days remaining until golf's spotlight, and showcases the great work done by the USGA and by the 110 committee chairs and staff leaders assembled. So I'd love to express my sincere thanks for each and every one of you guys for coming today. It means a lot. We value what you do. We know the work you've got ahead of you, but it means a lot to us that you came here today and that you want to carry the good message of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach back out to your readers and your viewers. With that I'll turn it back over to Rand.
RAND JERRIS: Now I'd like to turn the program over to Tom O'Toole. Tom is a member of our executive committee, but most importantly for our purposes today, Tom serves as the chairman of our championship committee and is intimately involved with the conduct of all 13 of the USGA's national championships this year. Tom will be speaking for a few moments about the USGA's general course setup philosophy for our championship as well as reviewing a few of the logistical items for this year's championship.
TOM O'TOOLE: Thank you, Rand. I've got the same problem R.J. had, which is trying to figure out his reading glasses. I'm sure you'll indulge me. Our 2010 championship season is imminent, and of course the USGA anticipates another exciting version of that championship season.
We kick off with our 36th annual Curtis Cup matches on June 11th at Essex Country Club in Manchester By the Sea, Massachusetts. Of course our first national championship will be right here on the Monterey Peninsula as we've heard this morning. Following that in early July, our championship team will go to conduct the U.S. Women's Open Championship at Oakmont Country Club as we return there for the Women's Open Championship for the first time since 1992.
To highlight our championship season, listen to this particular schedule of events in the state of North Carolina: The Amateur Public Links Championship will be at Bryant Park in Greensboro; the U.S. Girls' Championship will be at the Country Club in North Carolina in Pinehurst; and the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship will be at Charlotte Country Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.
An additional point to note is the state of Washington will host and conduct two USGA championships in 2010. First, at Sahalee Country Club in Seattle, the U.S. Senior Open Championship, and secondly, the U.S. Amateur Championship at Chambers Bay Golf Club in Tacoma, Washington, which many of you know is a new golf course and which will also host the site of this championship, the 2015 U.S. Open.
For our entire schedule of events, feel free to log onto USGA.org to get that schedule in its entirety and also any entries that any of you interested parties might care to peruse for the 2010 championship season.
Our championship entry season has started off with a better year already. Two championships have closed. Of course the U.S. Open -- we finished 34 entries short of the record that we experienced in 2009, which was 9,086 entries, so for the Pebble Beach championship, 9,052 entries received at the close of April. The U.S. Women's Open Championship received a record number of entries this year, 1,296 entries, so already in two championships entry closures we have set records and the USGA is excited about that.
I want to visit a little bit what you've heard from R.J. and what you'll hear more in depth from Mike Davis, our senior director of rules and competition, and that is a little bit about our U.S. Open setup philosophy. First of all, I want to tell you, Jim Hyler and Mike Davis and I spent the last two days on the golf course with Chris Dalhamer and his staff in trying to interestingly select our hole locations for this year's championship.
I can tell you that Mike and I had the privilege of being here in '92 and in 2000 and also for the U.S. Amateur in 1999. I have never seen the golf course in better agronomic condition than it is leading up to this year's championship. You all will experience that today, but I owe special thanks, which Mike will go into in depth, to Chris and his staff and all they've done to prepare, but this is really special, and you'll experience that today.
Secondly, Mike will review more the specifics of the setup. In 2004 Walter Driver, the then chairman of the championship committee, implemented a written U.S. Open course setup philosophy, one that you can find on USOpen.com, which sets forth 14 factors and criteria. That philosophy and summary is, the U.S. Open should be the most rigorous, the most difficult yet fair test in championship golf, an examination which tests both the players' physical capabilities, which includes all shot-making, but also tests the players' mental capabilities and tenacities.
In conclusion, we want well-executed shots rewarded, poorly executed shots penalized. An example of some of that key criteria, which again is available for you all at USOpen.com and ones that Mike will review of how we implemented those criteria in the Pebble Beach setup, but for the sake of discussion here, just a brief review of some of those key criteria, for example, risk-reward. To the extent that the architecture allowed, we would want to see the player experience risk, and then of course achieve reward.
The graduated rough, which Jim Hyler and Mike Davis implemented in 2006 that you'll recall at Winged Foot, again will be employed here at Pebble Beach in 2010, that concept being that the more errant shot be penalized in more significant or penal rough, the less errant shot being penalized less, or by another way of description, the shorter holes experiencing more penal rough with an errant shot and the longer holes experiencing less penal rough.
Leave this session knowing that the USGA is not in that criteria fixed or affixed on a target score. The concept is to play these 14 criteria, and hopefully that's what we have done and will accomplish here in mid-June, to test the greatest players in the world and then to achieve the greatest player to be identified for that week not based on one player's or another's ability to achieve a certain score.
And again, Mike will be more specific as it relates to -- which I know all of you are interested in, is how we employed these criteria in the 2010 setup at the Pebble Beach Golf Links.
A couple other housekeeping matters for your information. A policy that's been in effect for many years is one on admissions to juniors. Juniors aged 12 and under will be admitted free when accompanied by an adult with a valid ticket; juniors from age 13 to 17 admitted at reduced rates, $15 during practice rounds and $35 during championship rounds. It's the USGA's focus to extend to young families the privilege of watching this great championship at this great venue together.
Like other recognitions that were made here this morning and some that Mr. Perocchi planted us on that it would be important for us to go back to our championship staff that's been here, of course led by Reg Jones, our managing director of the U.S. Open. I think this group is an initiated group and realizes the production and the extent that you heard R.J. reference to put on this unbelievable presentation and production. We couldn't do it without stellar staff of course led by Reg, and as interestingly pointed out, Frank Bussey, our director of field operations; Leighton Schwob, our manager of field operations; and Kevin Kristof, our assistant championship manager. Those three gentlemen have been on-site here for many, many months. We couldn't produce what we will produce in 34 days without their undying commitment to the USGA Championship golf.
Let me close by saying we're excited to be back at Pebble Beach for what we think is golf's premier championship. Pebble Beach is clearly one of our most treasured U.S. Open venues. As in '72, '82, '92 and 2000, we're looking forward to another memorable and historic U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach in 2010. To all the media, thank you for taking time to cover this championship on behalf of golf. If there's anything the USGA can do for you, please do not hesitate to contact us. Thank you very much.
RAND JERRIS: For those of you who think the USGA never changes, we're going to try something new this morning. We have our defending champion Lucas Glover joining us via Skype from Sea Island, Georgia. It is my pleasure to introduce Lucas. It was, of course, a little rain to contend with last year at Bethpage, but that didn't stop Lucas from playing four outstanding rounds of golf over the course of the championship to post a two-stroke victory over Ricky Barnes, David Duval and Phil Mickelson. Lucas, thank you for making time in your schedule to join us today. I'll start with a couple questions and then we'll go to the floor for any questions you might have.
Lucas, over the course of the past year since last June, every time you've played you've been introduced as the defending or reining United States champion. That must feel pretty good. Can you tell us a little bit about what the past year has been like for you?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, it's been great. Obviously it never gets old hearing that. But it's been a almost a good year, or approaching a year, I guess. But it's been busy, but been some fun, and I'm obviously honored to win the U.S. Open and be the champion for a year.
RAND JERRIS: Congratulations on your fine play this weekend with your third place finish at THE PLAYERS Championship. You must be feeling pretty good about the state of your game right now. Maybe you could share with us a little bit about what you might be focusing on in the next four or five weeks as you're preparing for the Open?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, the game is coming around. I had a good week last week ball-striking, I just didn't make any putts. It all kind of came together at TPC, just a real bad start yesterday put me behind the 8-ball, but similar to last year, I'm familiar with the course a little bit, with Pebble Beach, so I'm familiar with a lot of the clubs I'll have to hit, so I'll be able to work on that. But first and foremost you've got to get the ball in the fairway to give yourself an opportunity tore birdie chances. I'll be focusing on 3-wood a lot, and you've got to be pretty sharp around the greens at any Open tests every facet of your game, but you've got to be in the fairway first just to even feel like you've got a chance. That will be the focus the next few weeks.
Q. How do you approach going into this year's Open as defending champion in terms of scheduling? Last year did you make the Texas swing and play Memorial, and are you doing the same this year, preparing differently?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yes, sir, I'm playing a similar schedule. I just won't have to do a qualifier the Monday after Memorial this year, so that will be nice. But I'm off this week and next, but then I'll play Fort Worth and Columbus and take Memphis off, and then probably going to come out there a little early. I haven't played Pebble in a few years, and I haven't played extremely well. So I'm going to come out early and try to figure it out.
Q. Could you share with us this morning your impressions growing up as a young man of this place, of Pebble Beach Golf Links and then playing professional golf and ultimately now on golf's biggest stage, the U.S. Open?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, obviously Pebble has got a lot of history, and I remember watching probably most of all the '92 Open, Tom Kite. Just the history there and the beauty there, and it's a fabulous place. I'm looking forward to defending there.
But just excited, and I need to do what I've done in the past.
Q. Beyond being introduced as being champion, any memorable moment over the past year that kind of illustrates how your life has changed, whether it's being recognized in public or maybe something different about the past year and your life prior to that?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, sure. I got to throw the first pitch at Yankee Stadium. Unbelievable. That was pretty nice. That was a nice perk.
Q. I'm curious as to why you haven't come out here and played very many AT&T tournaments over the years. And could you talk a little bit about the weather delays at Bethpage last year? How tough were they on the players?
LUCAS GLOVER: Sorry, the second part?
Q. The second part of the question was the weather delays at Bethpage last year, were they tough?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah. Well, first part of your question is just the scheduling thing. I played there a few times early in my career and didn't have much luck, and I'm not much more cold weather to be honest, and February there can be pretty cold, and I didn't have any success. So I haven't played there much in the past. Over the last few years I should say.
But I'm looking forward to the Open just because it should be a little bit warmer and firmer and faster, so I'll be looking forward to that.
The rain delays last year, yeah, that was tough. There was nothing normal about the week. It was play as much as you can and not play at all and then go out the next morning and do it over. We see the same thing week in and week out, and just kind of groundhog day, it kind of repeats itself. Last year there just wasn't anything normal about it. You'd play until dark and then eat dinner at 10:00, get up at 5:00 in the morning, and it was just tough getting through it. But it's good memories for me.
It was a tough week, but it obviously was a great week at the same time.
Q. Just curious to know, last year was there -- if you can identify one sequence in the win that stood out the most.
LUCAS GLOVER: One sequence of -- I'm sorry.
Q. One sequence of winning the U.S. Open last year. Was there anything that stood out from last year that you remember that really stood out the most?
LUCAS GLOVER: On the course or off?
Q. It could be either.
LUCAS GLOVER: I think the tournament grounds and Ricky got off to a (inaudible) had to try to make some birdies on 10 and 11 -- or on 10, I'm sorry. And then just played a solid back nine in that third round, and unfortunately for Ricky, he had a tough time, but that got me back in it. I stayed patient and then the fourth round just went my way. It was a tough battle.
Q. I'm just curious what, if anything, you've done so far to look at the changes that have taken place obviously since you played that hole with the lengthening and bringing the ocean in a little bit more. Have you thought about that or done any research on it, or are you going to come out here early? What are your game plans going to be to getting adjusted to the course changes?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, I haven't seen any of the changes, but I've talked to a few guys. I remember most of the golf course, and I'm pretty goal oriented most of the time, but I'm going to try to get out there in time to see the course changes. I haven't had much success on that golf course. It's not that I don't think I can, I've just got to get out there and be comfortable with it and just make sure I know where the tee lines are off the tee and when I can be aggressive and where I can't.
Q. A few players that win their first major, their game seems to flatten out for a period of time, and you seem to be coming on stronger at this point. Have you done something in particular to address that, and maybe comment on that.
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, well, up until last week it wasn't a very great year. I've been playing okay, just haven't really put anything together for four rounds or a wheel week. But it came together last week. I didn't win, but I played well, had a good week. Hit the ball well and putted well, and I'm very pleased with that.
But I can't speak for anybody else, but I think everybody treats it differently or handles it differently, just got to keep working on the right stuff and know that you're working on the right stuff, and that's what I've been trying to do.
Q. I have a question, a follow-up to that. Is there a natural letdown after winning the Open thinking that you've sort of reached a pinnacle? Is it hard to stay high and on a consistent basis after that? How do you deal with that?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, obviously any win will give you confidence, whether it's the U.S. Open (indiscernible.) I was able to use that and feed off of it for several events after the Open, and I still can. I've been there before, I've done this before, and so in that regard it's I wouldn't say easier to handle pressure, but at least I know what I'm up against every day. It's definitely a unique opportunity.
Q. Last year when you were finishing up the Open, was there a point in the round where you knew you had won the tournament, where you said, this is mine?
LUCAS GLOVER: Not really. I knew when I looked at the scoreboard -- I knew somebody was going to have to make two birdies to beat me. That was a good feeling. But at the same time, I still (inaudible) and make the right decision (inaudible), and I was able to do that.
Q. Going into last year's U.S. Open, were there any clues in your game that a breakthrough was on the horizon?
LUCAS GLOVER: Yeah, Sunday before the qualifier at Memorial I found a little something in my takeaway that seemed to click, that seemed to help. And I took that into the qualifier and played quite well in the afternoon. When I got home, I kept working on it, and similar result. It worked all week.
Q. Can you talk about preparing for a U.S. Open as opposed to other major championships, the differences in preparing for a USGA championship?
LUCAS GLOVER: Well, we know it's going to be a grind mentally, and you have to be able to prepare for that first, and that's just -- it's going to be a long week, you know it's going to be difficult, you know it's going to be demanding, but at the same time it's fair. That's the way it ought to be. It's a major, and it's our Open, so it should be that way. So mentally you've got to be ready to be patient and grind it out.
Physically you just know you've got to hit the ball straight. But at the same time you're going to miss fairways and you're going to miss greens. It tests every facet of your game, so you have to be on all cylinders to contend to win. It's a mental and physical challenge, and you've got to be ready for everything.
Q. What is more taxing, the physical or the mental part of the game in the U.S. Open?
LUCAS GLOVER: The mental. (Indiscernible.)
RAND JERRIS: We'll move things along in the program now. I'd like to introduce now Mike Davis. Mike is the senior director of rules and competition for the United States Golf Association, and in this role Mike is the individual that's most directly responsible for setting up the golf course for the championship.
MIKE DAVIS: Welcome, everybody, and as we said earlier, thank all of you for coming. Obviously today we're giving you a -- I shouldn't say we, it's really Pebble Beach giving you a pretty nice round of golf. Thanks for coming and covering the U.S. Open Championship. Obviously the purpose of today is to give some of you really on a local and regional basis some insight as to what the plan for this summer.
As Jim Hyler said already, we are absolutely delighted to be here at Pebble Beach. It's the fifth national championship Open being played here. If you think about it, if you look at the Pebble Beach logo, it has 1919 on it, so this place is coming up on 100 years old, and to think that we played the 1929 U.S. Amateur here, back in the Bobby Jones era. It's amazing the USGA took so long in 1972 to figure it out to come to this place. The only thing I can think of is it must be that some of you claim that it's east coast bias the USGA has.
Anyway, we're not biased anymore. I'm going to speak a little bit about what Tom O'Toole said about some of the specifics on what's being planned for the U.S. Open Championship. Before I do that, I know a couple of people have already mentioned Chris Dalhamer who's the superintendent here and what a great job he's done, and I echo that. I have never seen Pebble Beach as good as it is right now. What that allows us to do is really kind of nit-pick between now and that second week of June and really try to get everything perfect, and it's so agronomically good right now that we're going to be able to do things that candidly we want to do. I look back at the '92 U.S. Open as an example. Maybe the greens weren't quite as healthy coming into that Open as possible, so we didn't get to use some hole locations or maybe we didn't quite get the firmness we wanted.
But they are outstanding, and Chris, to you -- Chris is in the back there, to your staff, outstanding job. You know, it's hard to say who is the most important person at the Open. Obviously the players are the ones that make the drama. R.J., you and your team have done a great job and so on. But in my mind the most important person at this Open is Chris. At the end of the day, it's all about this golf course and how it's presented, and if Chris does his job well, it really goes well. So Chris, thanks, and keep up the great work.
A few general comments on Pebble Beach. When you look at it, it's already been talked about that the scorecard is going to read 7,040 yards, and that's a par-71, and if you look at that scorecard, your first thought is how can that -- that is very short by today's standards on what really tests the world's best players, and as Tom O'Toole said, kind of in our philosophy, and it's echoed by Lucas, we want this to be the toughest test all year. That's the desire.
In large part Mother Nature plays into that greatly in terms of just how tough it is, but nonetheless, when you look at that scorecard, you say, how can that really test the world's best players?
And the answer is that this golf course is such a wonderful blend of short and long and that it really gets down in my opinion three things about Pebble Beach, in addition to the beauty and everything else. What really makes this an extremely tough but great test of golf is, first of all, the putting greens. They are -- I thought through this in my mind. They are absolutely the smallest greens in major championship golf. There's no course I can think of on the British Open rota that are close to this size; obviously Augusta National greens are bigger; and I can't think of a venue that the PGA of America has used. So at least for the majors, this is by far -- I say by far, it really is the smallest greens we go to. We couple that with the fact that when we come here in June, and it's obviously very different in February where it tends to be a softer golf course for the AT&T, and I don't say that in a negative way because actually I think it's kind of nice that this golf course plays so differently. It's a wider golf course, it's a slightly shorter golf course. The winds come out of a different direction, and it's a softer one. But when we're here in June, it's almost a guarantee that we're going to get firm conditions.
So you think about firm greens with these tiny little greens, and that really certainly adds -- even if you have a 9-iron or 8-iron in your hand, it makes it tougher.
And then the last part that makes Pebble so hard is that you're simply not going to go four days without wind. It just is present here. So when you've got firm conditions you've got to think about what happens when the ball lands. You get wind and you get these small greens, it's an incredible test of golf.
You know, in some ways it's challenging when we take our national Open around to different venues because you're kind of recreating the wheel with logistics and operations and so on. But what's great about it is it's a different test of golf every year. It's different courses for different horses.
This year in my mind, this is really a shot maker's golf course. You're going to get wind, you're going to get firmness, and I think in some ways that allows more players in the field to be more competitive.
Jim, you just mentioned Tom Watson getting a special exemption. If Tom would have played -- I'm using Tom as an example here because of his age and he got a special exemption, but if you had Tom playing last year at Bethpage at 7,500 yards and as wet as it was, I think it's fair to say he would be less competitive. But here you get on a golf course that has a nice blend of short and long but is very firm in the wind, those type of players can also compete. So I think from that standpoint it's unique.
Some specifics on the golf course setup. I think Tom did a very nice job talking about the philosophy of what we try to do for our national championships. I'm not going to talk about that. In terms of the speed of the greens, we believe we'll end up somewhere between 11 and a half and 12, maybe even 12 and a half, and that -- you know, and that's on the USGA stimpmeter. And relative to our U.S. Opens, that's actually a pretty slow green speed. And I think that that -- in fact, that would be in the last decade or so probably the slowest greens we've had.
However, I would say that those are maybe the scariest greens we've had. Pebble, you get out there and see so many of these greens have a lot of pitch from back to front or side to side, and they're small, and you get windy conditions, that speed is a very scary speed if you short-side yourself or get on the wrong side of the hole.
You know, and I know they don't play them that fast for the AT&T simply because of the time of the year and they're moist and you're trying to get amateurs around the golf course. But that's a speed that I think we think will work. But having said that, we're the first to admit that if we get a forecast with some really windy conditions, we may back off that speed a little bit just because some of the greens won't work.
The rough Tom O'Toole talked about, that we will once again incorporate kind of a graduated rough concept. So I'm not going to go really into the details there, other than what we really have tried to do is tailor that concept for each hole. So the idea is if you're hitting a wedge or 9 into maybe the first hole, 15th hole, 16th hole, the rough is going to be a little bit penal if you're close to the fairway, yet you take one of the long holes like 2 or 9, 10, where they may have longer irons or hybrids or whatever into it, then we're going to have a little less rough. And we have already mentioned the small, firm greens.
But the other thing, and I think this is going to make a tremendous difference this year, is the new groove conditions of competition, where when greens are soft, the ability to spin the ball isn't as important. But here with these size greens, distance control is so important, the ability to spin the ball is important. So if you're coming out of the rough, you're at a definite disadvantage.
And I think one of the things that Tom and Jim and I have talked about is that we don't want the rough that's close in to the fairways to be overly penal. The idea is we want the guys going for the greens. Let them show their shot-making skills. It just makes for more exciting golf. And again, I think the concept is that if you just miss the fairway, you shouldn't have to just pitch back. You may want to pitch back because you may say, hey, that's the smartest thing I can do, I'd rather have a 100-yard shot in than go over the green and be challenged in that manner.
But we really think that the new groove, particularly at Pebble Beach, because we know we're going to have dry conditions, is going to matter a lot.
Bunker preparations, we will try to fluff the bunkers up a little bit more than what's done on a week-to-week basis. Will the players complain about that? Probably. That's one thing that I kind of let go in one ear and out the other. I say that not in sarcastic way, I say that because we really are trying to make the bunkers -- and we have the last two years, a hazard, and I think one of the things that I'm maybe most proud of a couple years ago when we were at Torrey Pines when we did get some dry weather, is that I heard a couple of the players say that they were actually trying to avoid bunkers, and that was just music to my ears at the USGA.
Remember, the week of the U.S. Open, really what we're geared to almost totally what we focus on is two things. One is water management, because again, we're going to be lucky enough it should rain so we get to dial in whatever firmness we want, and I'll tell you, that is a real science. You're trying to anticipate maybe when the marine layer leaves, how windy it's going to get, which direction the wind is going to come from. But that's really what we're geared towards.
And then the other thing is really trying to plan for what Mother Nature is going to give us. Is it going to be a north wind? Is it going to be almost no wind? Is it going to be a strong westerly wind? And we don't think we're going to get a southern wind that time of the year, but if that happens that's really going to change a lot of plans in terms of our setup.
Changes from 2000 to 2010, R.J., you mentioned some things about some architectural changes have been made by Arnold Palmer, and R.J. and Chris Dalhamer and others, there really are some spectacular things that have been done out there. But I'll preface it by saying that Pebble Beach is such a great venue that if you think about it, in the grand scheme of things, Pebble Beach isn't really much different than we had in '72 or what we saw in '92. When you get a course that's this good, you really don't have to do much to it. In fact, you continually ask yourself, this change that we're thinking about, should we really be doing it because this is such a magical place. But as R.J. mentioned, there was pretty significant bunker work done here at Pebble Beach, and maybe not all the bunkers shot got changed but at least they got renovated, and you'll see those out there, and I think there are a lot of good changes.
There were several new teeing grounds built here, and some of which were just to add more square footage, maybe it added five or ten yards, but really probably wouldn't change much how the holes were played, except for three holes, and I'm going to talk about those in just a little bit, the 9th hole, the 10th hole and the 13th hole.
And then probably the -- visually the biggest thing other than perhaps the bunkers that got changed were just how fairway contours were done. R.J. alluded to in some cases we've moved fairways up against the oceans, and that was really born out of several years ago us looking jointly at some of these old photographs from back in the 1920s, '30s and '40s, and you're saying, geez, why is there rough right at the driving area of the 6th? Why can't we take the fairways into the ocean? But it used to be done.
So that was something that both the USGA and Pebble Beach Company and obviously Arnold Palmer felt strongly about. So that's certainly a change, and that's a change that will absolutely change how I think Pebble Beach plays at least on certain holes.
Some of the holes just like we do for virtually every Open got narrowed. For the most part, holes that got narrowed really were the shorter holes, like the 1st hole, the 3rd hole, 15, 16, holes that for the world's best players, when you've got resort wide fairways just wouldn't be enough of a challenge for them.
Contrary to what some people think, we actually widened some fairways. The top on the 6th hole got widened, the 9th hole got widened and the 10th hole got widened. I'm going to go into specifics there. I think one of the things visually that's so stunning out there if you haven't been to Pebble in a while is that we've taken fairways into so many of the bunkers now where a ball will actually roll into a bunker where there had been rough in between a fairway and a bunker before.
So I think that will really play into it. You're going to see with these firm conditions and windy conditions, I think you're going to see a lot more balls in bunkers than you've seen in previous Opens here at Pebble.
The fairways have been reshaped on holes 11 and 14 where they've been maybe shifted or there's been a little bit more movement put in the fairways for -- really for strategic reasons.
And the other thing I wanted to tell you is that knowing that this was going to be a real firm golf course and knowing we've got the new groove conditions in play, one of the things we did on just about every hole we could was tried to widen out the approaches on the putting green. Over the years where the rough had kind of grown in and it was really a narrow walkway into the greens, you'll notice now that that has been widened out significantly, and the idea being is that if a player is playing straight downwind to one of these tiny greens or maybe coming out of the rough and doesn't feel like he can hold it, at least now he can bounce it in on so many of the holes. Again, that's a fair way to play golf, and gets back to let these guys execute, show us their skills and give them a chance to do it.
Before I close here, I thought about a few holes that if you think about how they changed since 2000, and I just mentioned a few, and when you're out there today you can take a look at them, but first of all, the 6th hole, the par-5 that's so dramatic that the second shot played up to a green that sits up on probably 30, 40 feet above the drive zone, that fairway as R.J. alluded to was taken over significantly to the player's right, and now the ocean, literally the fairway is right up against the cliff that falls over. And I think what's significant about that is 6 probably once again will probably play the easiest on the course relative to par, but when you're on the tee now you actually have a choice, assuming you're not into a gale force wind, do I want to hit driver and try to hit it close as I can to have a relatively short second shot in, or do I want to back up maybe with a 3 metal to a wider part of the fairway and have a much longer shot in. We're giving them a choice, and if they execute, as Tom talked about in risk reward, they're rewarded. But if you want to play conservatively, that's probably going to be a better option than if you were aggressive and didn't execute, in this case went into the ocean.
Another hole I think worth noting is the 8th hole. That drive zone, kind of like the 6th hole and another one I'm going to mention, has been shifted significantly to the player's right, I would guess probably 25, 30 yards or so center of the fairway has been moved, and now what you have is a much tougher tee shot because you really have to be exacting with your distance off the tee because you run out of space quicker because of the angle of the cliff, and you also -- your second shots are much more of a hanging lie than they used to be. They end up being a slightly longer shot, too. So I think that is an exciting change.
The 9th hole and the 10th hole, we both added new teeing grounds to, and I believe 9 is roughly 40 yards longer than the last U.S. Open, and 10 is about 55 yards. The idea with those of those is we wanted to put driver back in the players' hands. Those holes should play straight downhill -- not only downhill both of them but downwind to very firm conditions. The idea was whether we're back there all four days on both those holes, we're not sure. But that was the intent. And I think what's also to be noted on 9 is that now a player, if you catch a really good drive, downwind, downhill, firm conditions, you can actually hit it over the hill, and it won't roll into the rough every time. If you study that, once you get over that hill, that hill really cants left to right, and so many times in last U.S. Opens you'd roll into the rough and just hit a drive straight down the middle.
Now you can actually widen out the rough on -- widen out the fairway on the right. You can hit it to the bottom of the hill and virtually have a wedge or a 9-iron left. However, you can also hit it to the bottom of the hill and knock it into the ocean now. Again, this concept of make a choice off the tee, a little risk-reward. If you pull it off, you're definitely rewarded. If you don't, you're going to be penalized.
13 is a hole that -- of all the changes, I think that one may be the most exciting, at least architecturally, in that there was a new tee built I believe about 45 yards back, and that hole, that time of the year should play dead into the wind. So you've got now a cross bunker that hasn't been in play in years back into play. So what we ended up doing was creating more fairway to the player's right of this cross bunker and actually short of it. So if you get into a two-club wind there, you may say, I can't carry that cross bunker, and that, by the way, is the way you want to play it because if you can hit it down the left side of 13 the angle into that green is so much easier.
So that will be fun, because again, it really makes the player choose, at least under windy conditions, what he wants to do.
14 has gotten a lot of talk. That's the par-5 that we saw a couple big scores during the AT&T. And the comment there is that I personally think that 14, maybe only with 12 at Oakmont, I think those are the two toughest par-5s that we use in the U.S. Open rota. Those are two not only strategic holes, but I'll tell you, very, very difficult holes that is such a rarity these days with par-5s for Tour level players.
And I think if you look at 14, I mean, you first of all have a blind tee shot. The second shot you've got to be so mindful to make sure that you get it in the fairway because when you get to that third shot, I think it's the definitely the hardest shot here at Pebble Beach in terms of you have to be exacting, particularly under windy conditions with a firm green. The way that little green, at least the left side of it, sits almost up on a pencil, there's maybe like 1,600, 1,700 square feet there, and if you miss it, I don't care if you're long, short, left, right, it's no good; you're going to have issues.
One of the things when you're out there today you'll notice that is slightly different than maybe you saw during the AT&T is that rough was grown halfway up the hillside on the left. So the idea there is if you miss it left of the green, it used to be in a U.S. Open you were under that live oak tree, you had no shot because you had limbs overhanging, you were in thick U.S. Open rough. With this going on at least you've got an opportunity to bump it into the side of the hill and knock it up.
But the holes just because of the way the architecture is will be exceptionally hard. It will be the outcome who wins the Open and who doesn't win it.
The last hole I'm going to mention is 18 because we all know 18 at Pebble. It's one of the classic and one of the greatest finishing holes in all of golf, and I think it's worth mentioning that this could be one hole that maybe what's happened over the years with technology and equipment, so many times that that kind of outdates holes or forces you to change holes, and I think in the case of 18 at Pebble Beach, it's one of the times it's actually made it a better hole, at least for the world's best players, because now these players -- virtually everybody in the field can get home in two, but they've got to hit a perfect drive and a perfect second shot to do it.
So when we set -- we will set this hole up, the idea that's there is that we really narrowed the fairway on the right if you're willing to hit driver by the trees that are in the middle of the fairway, so we've left it wide short of that. So the idea is if you want to play it as a three-shotter we're going to give it to you. But if you want to play as a two-shotter, you're going to have to execute off the tee, you're going to have to keep it close to the ocean, and we're not going to let you hit it off to the right in the rough. That's going to be the one place here at Pebble Beach that is going to be some gnarly ugly rough that you think, I don't want to be in there.
I think that our mindset in talking with Jim Hyler and Tom O'Toole, we want to create some excitement on that 18th hole. If that means we have to move tee markers up here or there depending on wind conditions, we'll do so. So in closing, I guess I just want to point out that we are exactly where we want to be at this time before the U.S. Open. Tom O'Toole used the word treasured with respect to Pebble Beach, and I can tell you everybody at the USGA feels that way. This is not only one of our greatest U.S. Open venues, but Pebble Beach really is a national treasure in terms of golf.
With that, thanks to Pebble Beach Company for all that you've done. I love being here, and I'm going to turn it back over to Rand.
RAND JERRIS: We will entertain questions from the floor for a few minutes.
Q. Having heard Bill speak, it's hard to believe that we're not at Brookline. Talk a little bit about the historic nature of The Opens that have been played here. It seems like things happen here from long irons to wedges, and even the blowout was historic. What is it about Pebble Beach that comes into play?
JIM HYLER: Good observation. It's interesting, you look at the players that have won the Open here, and they are arguably the very best players at that time, with Nicklaus, Watson, Kite and Woods. I don't know, it's just a magical place. If you look at some of the great shots, Nicklaus' shot on 17, obviously Watson's pitch in, Kite's chip-in on 7 and then Woods' blowout, it's just some remarkable history here. I don't know that there is necessarily a reason or theme, but it is a magical place, and these great players have certainly played some terrific golf in previous Opens.
MIKE DAVIS: Just to add to that, when you get a course that's firm and fast and it gets windy, that's when the great shot-making comes out. When you think who is the best shot-makers, it's the greatest players. I think that's why Pebble always adds this great drama. When Tiger did what he did in 2000, he clearly was the best player, and he just lapped the field, and he did it because of the incredible shot-making skills and the ability to think his way around the golf course.
Q. Mike, you use a lot of drivable par-4s, and it seems like No. 4 would be the only sort of option here. I know you were considering it, and I'm sort of curious about your thoughts on that possibility.
MIKE DAVIS: Yeah, Tom O'Toole and I have certainly talked about what things we can do here at Pebble Beach to maybe mix it up a little bit. I think this using different teeing grounds is something -- whether it's a drivable par-4 or whether it's a different tee for a par-3 or a par-5 or whatever, the idea is mix it up. It makes the players think more. And really in some cases, if you get a drivable par-4 or some other risk-reward, it allows kind of a spreading of the scores to where you can -- instead of just seeing pars and bogeys, you might see some eagles and birdies but you also might see some double bogeys. Have we looked at some holes to move around tees? Absolutely. But in the case of 4, so much of it really plays into what wind we're going to get that week. We think we're going to tend to get a westerly wind or a north wind, but that plays into it so much because if we set it up thinking it's going to play one way and we get a different kind of wind, it would kind of backfire on us.
I think to answer your question, we know there are some options out there to do different things and we're going to have to really wait until we get the weather forecast right before we set tee markers.
MIKE DAVIS: Well, 4 from the back tee I believe is 320, 330, something like that, 340 maybe, so it's a short hole, but if you caught that hole with a westerly wind, it could be a dynamic hole where we might do something like that.
And I'm not trying to hide anything. We really don't know at this point on some of the setup things.
JIM HYLER: Well, I was just pleased frankly that we weren't going to play on Monday. That was what I was thinking when Tiger was leading by 15 coming down the wire. Absolutely nothing at all to do with it. 155 players finished over par. One player shot four rounds that was the greatest four rounds in championship golf ever. And those don't come around very often. So ten years later I don't think we thought for a moment that we had to trick it up, that we had to strengthen it for one individual or anyone truly, and I think Mike, you'd share that, as well.
Mike and I have been together for a long time. I was here in '92 and 2000 and now this one, and we talk a lot about this. But I can assure you and I think you would agree, too, Mike, that it had absolutely nothing to do with it.
Q. Mike, you didn't talk about the 15th hole. I think the changes made there were probably the best of all of them.
MIKE DAVIS: We could almost talk about every hole here at Pebble. But you're absolutely right. In fact, it's great you brought that up because R.J. and I were talking about that, that from an architectural standpoint -- again, not a fairway contouring standpoint, but 15 has changed more than any hole at Pebble Beach. It used to be where you were trying to avoid some trees off the tee, some Monterey pines that they lost because of pitch canker disease, and now that's not the obstacle, but you've got these bunkers out in the drive zone.
In fact, one of the things you'll see today is that Arnold and his team put a pot bunker right in the middle of the fairway, and one of the things we did was shave the rough around that so balls will actually feed into it. So you're right, what that really makes you do is pick the right club off the tee to avoid that. So you're right, that is a big change.
But I think in the scheme of things, even though the drive will have changed significantly, 15 and 16 are two holes that coming in if you play them properly and don't try to get aggressive, you ought to be able to get by. Those shouldn't be holes -- there's enough really tough holes here at Pebble, but those are two that you ought to be able to manage.
Q. How close is that to the original design in the early teens and '20s? There used to be a ditch there and a tree that came like that, and you had to kind of kick a field goal. Were there bunkers there?
R.J. HARPER: No, there's never been bunkers there until Mr. Palmer and our team put them there. It was a wide open fairway, and you're slightly right, Nicklaus had the hardest time in the world hitting that shot because of the big trees on the right-hand side that eventually came down in the El NiÃƒÂ±o storms years ago. It was a wide open hole, much like 3 was before bunkers were placed there by Mr. Palmer.
Q. Mike or Tom, 17, will the tee always be behind the road? Will you put any of the shorter tees in front of the road any of the four days?
TOM O'TOOLE: I think as Mike indicated, we reserve the right to prepare for our setup each day and the days leading up to it. I think substantially we would think that 17 would be playing as one of the longer par-3s. But again, we'll review that when we see what Mother Nature deals us.
MIKE DAVIS: If I'm correct on this, I think the tee markers have always been back for U.S. Opens before. So for us to go up to the next tee would be certainly a departure from the last time here. Not that that's wrong, but I doubt you'll see it unless we get some really strong winds. So much of this really has to do with what kind of predictions we get for wind.
Q. Tom, you mentioned the last couple days you guys have been looking at possible pin placements. I was wondering if you could talk a little bit about what you look for, and is there a strategy?
TOM O'TOOLE: Well, I think we're looking for equality. The mantra is not to set them up harder on Sunday than Thursday. So we have to look for fairness in those, and the equation of the process that that undertakes is what type of shot are we asking the player to hit into that green or that hole location. And of course we modify it based on that.
So to that end, for example, on a shorter hole we might be more inclined to move the hole location closer to the putting green's edge because of a shorter shot to be played in. But Pebble Beach as Mike said has the smallest greens probably in championship golf, so a lot of attention and focus has to go into trying to select those four hole locations. I think we've started that process, but that's going to happen between now and Thursday morning on June 17th.
Q. R.J., what year did the Arnold Palmer modifications start and when did they end?
R.J. HARPER: 2002, and probably about seven months ago. As I said, there's nothing better than working with -- these gentlemen that serve on our board cherish this place like no other, and I've been through four ownership groups here, and I've got to tell you this one cares deeper about the Heritage, tradition and making sure this golf course never stands on its on merit, it improves. That's really the concept. I got a question earlier about Pebble Beach and changes, and it's really -- it wasn't about strengthening it for Tiger Woods or strengthening it in general, it was about making it better. That was the concept. And then Mike and I got together with respect to planning for the championship post-2004 when the contract was signed to bring the Open back here, then we started to really look at the synergies of the projects and the golf course setup and bringing it all together.
RAND JERRIS: To keep us on schedule we're going to stop with the Q & A right now. Those of you who have been with us in the past will note that the media kit that we distributed today is quite a bit smaller than usual. This is really intentional on our part, and to be consistent with priorities the organization has set forth to be more environmentally responsible, we're trying to shift more of our communications on line, and in the coming weeks I really encourage all of you to spend some time on our website, USOpen.com. We've posted quite a bit of content there, stories as well as videos, and we encourage you to use that as a source and a resource in the coming weeks.
If you do have other questions about the championship, feel free to reach out to myself or Pete Kowalski or anyone in our communications by phone or by email.
End of FastScripts