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November 29, 2010

Don Butler

Tim Finchem

EDDIE CARBONE: I've got some folks I need to acknowledge that are here joining us today. First off, on stage, we have my new best friend, the vice president of marketing from Cadillac, Mr. Don Butler; and to his left, many of you know the commissioner of the PGA TOUR, Tim Finchem. Also in attendance today from Cadillac we have the advertising and promotions manager Steve Haener; Cadillac communications manager Nick Twork; marketing manager from Cadillac Larry Peck; and the director from art works, Rob Granger. We also have here some very special friends of the event, the mayor of the city of Doral, the Honorable Juan Carlos Bermudez. Also here with us is the president of the South Florida Golf Foundation, Ray Zomerfeld; and the leader of our volunteer group, 700 plus, the volunteer general chairman and his leadership team, J.R. Steinbauer; from Doral Golf Resort & Spa Marriott Resort, the golf general manager Darrin Helfrick; and the director of agronomy in charge of all things green, Tom Trammell; from the PGA TOUR, the executive vice president of communications and international affairs overseeing the World Golf Championships, Mr. Ty Votaw; the president of golf course properties and championship management, Dave Pillsbury; the vice president of championship management business affairs and my boss, Peter Kent. Also here, the senior director of communications Laura Hill.
At this time I'd like to ask the Commissioner to start off the press conference with a very special announcement.
TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Eddie, Mr. Mayor, ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us today. We are -- I guess this is not the most best-kept secret in the world that we are announcing that Cadillac returns as a partner of the PGA TOUR, and we're very pleased about that. I want to start by saying that we're delighted, all of us, to be back here at Doral. Mr. Mayor, this is a wonderful place. I guess we're going to celebrate the 50th anniversary of PGA TOUR involvement here at this wonderful location this next winter.
Most recently the TPC Blue Monster at the Doral Resort & Spa has gained additional fame around the world. This is a terrific golf course for golf at any level and golf courses at any level, but the Blue Monster is very special in the minds of our players. It has a great finish, it's a great test, and it's created a ton of excitement over the years.
So to be able to play here is a privilege, and on behalf of all our players, I want to thank the resort and the city and everybody here for your hospitality for so many, many decades.
But today we are pleased to know that we have an even stronger future here with the continuation of the World Golf Championship in the form of the Cadillac Championships. Cadillac coming to this role is a very special development for the PGA TOUR as a whole and certainly for a tournament that's organized here and over the years has done so many great things for charity and for the economic impact of the area.
And the reason I say that is that, number one, it gives us the support we need to communicate to fans all over the world in 225 countries what the excitement is that these players generate. Secondly, we are partnering with a company that has demonstrated over a long, long time incredible marketing capability. When you think about it, the problems that befell this company weren't related to being able to sell cars. They sold more cars than anybody in the world for a long, long time, and they did it in part because of a partnership with professional golf and the PGA TOUR as a tool.
And for them to recognize that platform, Don, is very, very special. But also to have your marketing capability and your ability to bring sports marketing -- the momentum of what you bring to any sporting event is very, very special for what will be this week. And for both reasons, we are delighted.
On a personal note, I'll just say that we have enjoyed working with the executives of your company for a long time, and we want to see that resume.
I'll also just mention in passing and then ask Don to speak, there have been rumors that we are in discussions with Cadillac about a possible relationship in Detroit, as well, and I'll just confirm those rumors, that we are in preliminary discussions related to the possibility of bringing PGA TOUR golf back to Michigan and in particular to the Detroit area. And we'll see how that goes. We are in the preliminary stages. But I'll confirm that those rumors are true and that obviously as we said when we exited Michigan a couple years ago, we would love to go back to what is a great sports market and a great golfing market in the Detroit area, and we look forward to continuing those discussions with Cadillac.
And with that, I'll turn it over to Don.
DON BUTLER: Thank you, Tim. Thank you, Eddie. It is indeed a proud day for Cadillac. I could not think of a better way for us to rejoin the golf world, so to speak, than here at the Doral Resort & Spa as the title sponsor for the Cadillac Championships, part of the World Golf Championships. It's a terrific venue for Cadillac.
As Tim mentioned, the reason we do that ultimately is to sell cars. That's why we do it quite candidly. We reach the right audience. We reach it in the right way. It's all about the presence of being able to target the right kind of customer for us, the affluent customer interested in luxury vehicles, the prominence of being associated with the PGA and the terrific players, the best players in the world playing at the highest level here, which is also synonymous with Cadillac. It's being the new standard of the world, and those of you who have been around a while know that we were the standard of the world for the better part of the last century, and we do intend to regain that mantle.
And again, it's a very efficient platform for us, as well. Because it is global, Cadillac is global, particularly in countries like China and the Middle East, it's very important for us to be able to reach those customers, and this provides the perfect platform for us to do, as well.
And again, the on-site presence and being involved with the local dealers and obviously the charitable aspect, it all just really ties together. I could not think of a better way for us to rejoin golf than with this venue and with this tournament and with the opportunity that we have with the World Golf Championships.
Just all smiles today. I think we're both looking forward to a mutually beneficial partnership for many, many years to come.
EDDIE CARBONE: Thank you, Don, and thank you, Commissioner. This is obviously tremendous news for all of us here in south Florida, and we look forward to an incredible partnership with Cadillac and helping to increase the positive impact that we make in the community, including more than $40 million of annual economic impact that stems from this event.
Also charitable giving as many of you know is fundamental to the PGA TOUR and to what we do down here. Last year more than $800,000 was contributed to local charities down here in south Florida from our direct donations and through our wonderful Tickets For Charity program. Beneficiaries included the First Tee of Dade and Broward, the South Florida Golf Foundation, and we look forward to making an impact in this community also through our Birdies For the Brave program where we provide complimentary admission to the men and women of the military and their families to see the world's best golfers here at the Cadillac Championship. It has a night ring to it.
We also have some new initiatives coming up for 2011 on the charity front, including partnerships with Make-a-Wish South Florida and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County. At this time we're going to open it up to those of you here for some questions for our very special guests.

Q. You mentioned your name associated with the World Golf Championships, and knowing that the top players get into this field, how important is that to you and your brand to be associated with, not only just PGA TOUR players but the best players playing the best?
DON BUTLER: Extremely important because from a Cadillac perspective our competition is the tier one luxury competition, and so for us to have that association, and again, that's the prominence that I was speaking of before. The thing I love about golf that really fits with Cadillac is it's art and science, just like Cadillac is art and science. There's a science to crafting the right golf shot, right, but there's an art to shaping it just to get it the way you want it, and when you see these players perform on such a great stage with such tremendous pressure, we think it'll benefit the brand from a halo standpoint. The best players, one of the best tournaments in the world, absolutely, that's why we're here.

Q. Given a sponsorship change, not a great time for the economy, still globally, although things are emerging, was there ever any angst on your part given the future of the event here given that a sponsorship change was coming?
TIM FINCHEM: I wouldn't say angst. The reality is that any time you're in a downturn, it takes longer to get things done. Everybody has just generally worked very, very hard to study all the options and price points and evaluate options. Actually we have performed well in downturns because we tend to -- I don't think angst, but the concern here, of course, is we have a great partner, and it was worth the wait. We would have preferred obviously to get started a little earlier. Don has just educated me that Cadillac is ready to go in executing and will be fully engaged here over the next few weeks before the tournament, so that's great.
Again, we've watched -- the marketing side of this company is who we dealt with over the years, so they have a heck of a track record, and we don't have any concerns about that going forward. We're just delighted about today and what this means to this week and this event, and also in terms of the brand relationship because Cadillac is a brand that has always been strong. It's getting stronger now. It's on the uptick significantly. And to be part of that momentum is a great thing for our sport.

Q. Commissioner, at the TOUR Championship you expressed that you expected a sponsor to be at Doral. Where do you stand with the other tournaments that need sponsorship? What do you anticipate? And then finally, when is the 2011 schedule coming out?
TIM FINCHEM: Let's see. The answer to your last question is Thursday.
The answer to your previous question is we have some more announcements to make. We'll be making a couple more announcements in the next couple of days. They'll be reflected in the schedule you see on Thursday. We will have one or two tournaments that don't show a title sponsor next year out of our tournaments. But 100 percent of our tournaments are fully funded.
We are in a variety of discussions. We don't anticipate a problem. We're virtually 100 percent sponsored, just short of it. But we don't anticipate any issues there.
It's a question of matching -- right now on the one hand we have more tournaments than we can put on the schedule, candidly, but we have to be loyal to our historic tournament partners, and that's what we're trying to do. We're going through a bit of a transition. But we'll have a full schedule for you, 47 events next year, and playing opportunities for players look very solid. Our prize money will be up a little bit. But I'll give a full report on this after the Chevron World Challenge next week, and we'll do sort of a year-end report, so kind of stay tuned. But we're very, very pleased with where we're coming out.

Q. Commissioner, you mentioned the Cadillac brand, but to have the significance of that brand in association with the significance of the PGA TOUR, does that send a message sort of to the rest of the tournaments and the rest of the industry that says look at this partnership, look how great we're doing? How important is this relationship for the future, as well?
TIM FINCHEM: It's kind of hard to quantify it, but we think it's going to be very, very positive, because Cadillac is a brand, the executives of which have gone through a very -- we all know, a very difficult, trying but comprehensive restructuring, and now coming out of that, to make this decision as part of it early on I think says a lot about the business model and the platform that we are part of and that we make available, so we think it's going to be -- we've been doing pretty good, but I think it's going to be another shot in the arm for us in terms of momentum in the marketplace. And as we all know, momentum in the marketplace if you're marketing something is important. Relationship is very strong, but we think the momentum is good, too.

Q. I'm not sure Eddie didn't share your angst over the sponsorship, but was there any chance at all that this would not have remained a WGC event or is there any chance this would not have remained a PGA TOUR event?
TIM FINCHEM: No, it's too important to us. This is a big event in a very important market at a very special golf course that goes back decades. There was no chance that it wasn't going to happen. It would have been expensive, but it wasn't going to happen. (Laughter.)

Q. I'm not sure if I just missed this in the course of the call, but first of all, just the length of this deal, how long is this going to be the Cadillac Championship?
TIM FINCHEM: Well, the contractual length of the deal is through '16, and I think there's a discussion period two thirds of the way through that for some reason. But we anticipate at least through '16, and of course I think Don and I early next week will get together and talk about post-'16 or something.
DON BUTLER: Yeah, we view it obviously as a long-term partnership, and as Commissioner Finchem alluded to earlier on, there was a very studied analysis that went into making this decision, and as you mentioned, it's one of the first external decisions first post-IPO, and for us it's important for Cadillac again in terms of the prominence that this offers for us.
But the marketing partnership is something that works very, very well. It's been demonstrated with my predecessors in terms of the Champions Tour, and we're looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship for both of us for many years to come going forward.

Q. And also, Commissioner, with GM/Cadillac making such a positive statement with this, do you sense this as being any sort of signal that there are parts of the economy that maybe were inaccessible for a couple years now starting to come back and be available for maybe some of your other announcements this week?
TIM FINCHEM: Well, I think we're seeing -- on the marketing side of the equation, I think we are seeing strengthening in the U.S. economy. In particular company numbers are up pretty much across the economy, and companies are focused more on the long-term and trying to gain share. So that is all an advantage to us. Obviously it still continues to be a very difficult time. The economic indicators are still not that great. But yes, I think there has been an uptick.
But again, as I said earlier, we have performed well in these downturns in the past comparatively, and thus far, just this is a long one, we've performed at an acceptable level these past two and a half years. But we feel like today and the couple announcements we'll make the next couple days we've got even more momentum, so we're very pleased.

Q. I'm wondering if you can give us an idea of what golf courses you're thinking about for the Michigan/Detroit discussion.
TIM FINCHEM: Well, we are looking at a number of facilities in Detroit. I think it would be premature to say which one is our lead focus, but we are looking at a number. We will be doing so in the months to come in partnership with Cadillac and friends of ours in the Detroit area. But we are a ways off on all of that. Our objective is to do the work necessary to be ready to pull the trigger on an event and then continue discussions about the time frames.
We have a full schedule right now, so we'd have to have some movement in the schedule. We have movement from time to time. But we want to prepare because we think that playing on an annual basis in Detroit would be very, very special indeed, and part of the emphasis on rebuilding that's going on in Michigan and the Detroit area generally from an economic and community standpoint. So being part of that would kind of fit the other side of what we do, which is helping people.
So we're excited about it. We've just got a ways to go, and it would probably be premature to get into much detail right now.

Q. And is it possible that 2012 could be a year when we might see this, or is it farther down the road?
TIM FINCHEM: It's impossible to say right now. I certainly wouldn't assume that it would be that soon. But it's just hard to tell. I think the best thing to do is -- and I would ask everybody just to be patient. We are committed to working with Cadillac as a partner to come back to Detroit. We're just not in a position at this time to put any kind of timetable on it.

Q. I wanted to ask about Buick, and I know you are Cadillac, but the Commissioner just said that he's working with Cadillac in conjunction with a possible Michigan tournament at some time down the road. Does this signal that Cadillac is now the flag bearer for General Motors when it comes to golf, or will Buick be involved?
DON BUTLER: I think it's safe to assume from today's announcement and from how we're positioning the brand that Cadillac will be the face of golf for GM going forward. It makes sense for our target customers, it makes sense for what we think of, of the brand. Obviously Buick is having a lot of success, and they will be choosing different venues and different paths. So again, I think it's part of what we see overall from GM in terms of a focus on the way that we go to market, as Chevrolet, as Buick, as GMC, as Cadillac.
So we're really very disciplined and becoming even more disciplined about our swim lanes, the way we like to talk about it internally, and for us, again, the prominence that the PGA has and particularly the players that are performing at their peak level, it fits us. It fits us as a brand, and we feel good about the relationship and good about the partnership and good about being able to do things as Commissioner Finchem has said in the future for Detroit and so much the TOUR does to benefit the local areas where the tournaments are held.
So a long-winded answer to your question, but very disciplined in terms of golf being for Cadillac.

Q. Could you tell me how many you think Cadillac would sponsor once you have all your tournaments in your bag so to speak?
DON BUTLER: It's really premature. I would love to get out the crystal ball and tell you, but what we thought was very important was this initial step, and in particular we think the World Golf Championship, and again the global nature of that makes a lot of sense for us as a brand in terms of being the standard of the world, being sold around the world. And so I would say that golf will become a bigger part of Cadillac going forward, but it would be premature to speculate about additional tournaments or additional sponsorships at this point.
EDDIE CARBONE: With that, I'd like to thank you all for attending. Of course, Don, the Commissioner, myself, Mayor Bermudez and the folks from Doral will be available for some one-on-one questions for anything that you need. Again, we want to thank everybody here at the Doral Resort for pulling this together so quickly and of course our wonderful team from the Cadillac Championship, Emma Piper, Patrick Lindsey and Mike Zinga. See you all March 9 to 12, 2011, for the Cadillac Championship. Thank you kindly.

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