|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
HUMANA CHALLENGE MEDIA DAY
December 6, 2011
TOBY ZWIKEL:¬† Good morning, everybody, everyone who is with us here and also we have some folks joining us via conference call.¬† So thank you very much for taking time out your busy schedules to be with us today as we continue the legacy of this iconic PGA TOUR event.
At this time I'd like to call up Mike Kelly, the executive director of PGA West for a few comments.¬† Mike?
MIKE KELLY:¬† Good morning.¬† We are extremely proud to be the inaugural host for the Humana Challenge this year.¬† It's an honor.¬† We're excited about the commitment, the energy and the passion that the Desert Classic Charities, the PGA TOUR, the William J. Clinton Foundation and, of course, our new title sponsor, Humana, will bring to this event that will regain its position into the prominence that it once held.
But more importantly, we're excited and honored to be associated with the strategic health and wellness, strategic initiatives that are going to positively impact millions of people for years to come.
So on behalf of PGA West, La Quinta Resort and Club and our entire organization, we want to welcome you to the 2012 Humana Challenge media day.¬† Enjoy the time that you're here.¬† Thank you.
TOBY ZWIKEL:¬† Our defending champion, Jhonattan is unable to be with us today.¬† He had a commitment to play in Greg Norman's Shark Shootout in Florida, however, we'll be doing a conference call with Jhonattan the first week of January, and as specifics are available on that, we'll alert you so you can participate on that call and hopefully we'll have other calls as well.
At this time, I'd like to introduce the folks at our dais to you.¬† Starting out with Larry Thiel who is our tournament chairman.¬† We have Valerie Alexander, the director of marketing for the Clinton Foundation.¬† Mike McCallister, the chairman and CEO of Humana, and John Foster, of the Desert Classic Charities chairman of the board and also tournament President.¬† John's going to be our first speaker.¬† John?
JOHN FOSTER:¬† Good morning.¬† An exciting day for everybody you see in a grape colored sweater, especially.¬† Those are directors and these are volunteers in the community who have for years come out and helped put this tournament on.
We had some rocky roads the last couple years, and I got to tell you, we are excited.¬† I think this community's very excited, especially with the advent of a great sponsor in Humana and in partnership with the Clinton Foundation.
The whole attitude of the PGA TOUR is important to us, the community, because we're very much a golf community which drives this area, and we also think we're a pretty healthy area.¬† So we were excited to have Humana and their attitude, which is much different than any other sponsor that I know.
But they are very much interested in helping the well being and health of the population.¬† This population I think take that's very seriously.¬† So we're proud to be a standard‑bearer for healthy living, and I think it's going to be unique for the TOUR and hopefully will be an important part.
We're also very excited to have the President Clinton joining with the Clinton Foundation.¬† Again, health related and all the work that they do throughout the world and fortunately they're going to do some here.¬† More education during the Challenge week, and I think that's going to be a wonderful combination there of.
So, I've got to welcome both of you.¬† We all have big smiles on our face.¬† We're very excited because we're associated with quality people and that's what's very important.
We also, I want to recognize Linda Hope who is here and the Hope family as they've always been part of our community.¬† We'll never forget them.¬† I know both of our illustrious sponsors agree. ¬†So we're all proud of the relationships that been built, and hopefully we'll be able to take this up, up and away.¬† It's going to be a great relationship‑‑ eight years, Mike?¬† There we go.¬† Eight years of harmony.
MIKE McCALLISTER:¬† I like the harmony part.
JOHN FOSTER:¬† The harmony.¬† We're going to pledge our support.¬† This community, from Mike here at PGA West, to all of the directors, all of the community that's around here, we welcome both the Clinton Foundation and Humana, and we will work very hard to make this a great success.
TOBY ZWIKEL:¬† At this time we'd like to call up PGA TOUR senior vice president, Ric Clarson, for remarks.
RIC CLARSON:¬† Good morning.¬† I've had the distinct pleasure and privilege to work for the PGA TOUR for almost 29 years, so I've seen a lot of things and I've done a lot of things in this industry and with this organization, and I will tell you that the Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation is a bold move by our organization.
When Commissioner Finchem shared a vision that he had internally and then shared that with President Clinton, and then shared that with Mike McCallister and his team and with Desert Classic Charities, the timing was fortunate in that each of these respective organizations certainly are vision‑driven organizations, and they had their own initiatives that aligned with what we were trying to accomplish.
What we were trying to accomplish is very much in keeping with Bob Hope and what he had done and his family had done with this tournament.
This partnership was born out of that vision, and it's exciting to see it come to fruition.¬† On behalf of the commissioner, he sends his regards, and we have this message that we'd like to share with you now.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:¬† Thank you for being here.¬† First of all, let me say, we're really excited about what's happening here in the Valley in respect to the reformation of this tournament.¬† Since 1959 Bob and Delores Hope have driven a tournament that's raised millions and millions of dollars for the Eisenhower Medical Center.¬† We're delighted that Linda Hope is there on behalf of the family, and we look forward to working with Linda to maintain and Foster the remembrance of Bob and Delores for what they did for the PGA TOUR and for the Eisenhower Medical Center.
Now we look forward to this new partnership, a partnership between President Clinton and his foundation, the Clinton Foundation, Humana, one of the great health care companies in the United States, and the TOUR players, to come together and focus America on what needs to be done in the wellness area.
We have so many issues that are holding back this country that need to be addressed, and that's what this tournament is going to be all about, attacking those issues.
We're delighted that President Clinton is going to be hosting a day‑long conference on the Tuesday of tournament week to bring in some of the best experts to talk about these problems and talk about the potential solutions.
Then during the course of the week, and really the remainder of the year, talk to the country about the things that come out of the conference that can impact our well being here in the United States.
We feel that TOUR players are uniquely positioned as role models in this area, and as communicators to tell a story of what can be done.¬† We're in‑debted to President Clinton and his foundation for his commitment.¬† This is a somewhat new direction for the PGA TOUR, but we're excited that we can use our platform to reach decision makers all over the country on these issues.
Let me just particularly thank Mike McCallister and Mike McAllister's team at Humana.¬† This is a man and a group of people who are focused on the wellness challenges that face America, have done so much in that regard, and to step up and support this tournament so that it can help tell that story is very, very special.
Mike, to you and your team, we very much appreciate this partnership and we look forward to working with you over these next at least eight years to bring home what this is all about.¬† Thanks again.
RIC CLARSON:¬† Humana's been an official marketing partner of the PGA TOUR since 2005 and they are our official health care provider.¬† I'll tell you as an employee, they're very innovative in the programs.¬† They're one of the leaders in the industry, and we're delighted to have them as our title sponsor.
Chairman and CEO of Humana, Mike McCallister.
MIKE McCALLISTER:¬† Thank you, Ric.¬† Good morning.¬† Thank you y'all for coming or as we say in Kentucky, all y'all.¬† For joining us to discuss the inaugural Humana Challenge.¬† The first PGA TOUR event to focus on well‑being as Ric said, and as we say, with a side of golf.¬† Humana's a health care company with a dream, to help people achieve life‑long well‑being.
For the first ever Humana Challenge next month, we're taking the term Challenge quite literally.¬† We're challenging everyone, players, spectators, and the general public, to take an active role in improving their health through participatory well‑being.
Humana has a common interest with our partners at the Clinton Foundation and the PGA TOUR in tackling today's biggest health challenges by raising awareness and charitable dollars to get things done.
People attending the tournament week activities or watching at home on TV will see Humana's vision for life‑long well‑being and our commitment to helping people live life fully.
Today we're thrilled to introduce details of the Humana Challenge.¬† They're all designed to make a positive impact on individuals in our communities, at the tournament site and beyond.¬† Known as the Bob Hope Classic for more than 40 years, this tournament has a rich history in improving the lives of thousands of people who live here in the Coachella Valley, and I've been practicing pronouncing that.¬† I'm getting better.
Here at the start of our eight‑year commitment as tournament sponsor, it is Humana's goal to continue the span of the legacy that Bob Hope created.¬† With this in mind, I want to extend a very special thank you on behalf of someone I just met this morning, Linda Hope, for being here and her family and generosity and support in helping us carry this on and extend the legacy of your dad, and we're really pleased to have you here this morning.¬† Thank you very much.
We believe the Humana Challenge will extend our dedication to making fun things healthy and healthy things fun.¬† That's not easy to do, but it's something we spend a lot of time trying to figure out how to do.
The community of La Quinta provides a perfect back drop for us to help encourage people to make healthy changes in their lives.¬† We offer our sincere thanks to the community at large for extending us a warm welcome already.¬† It's been great.
To underscore our gratitude, we're pleased to announce that Humana's making several contributions to ensure the tournament has a positive, lasting effect.¬† On January 14, the Saturday before the tournament, a dedicated team of volunteers will build a multi‑generational playground in Thermal, California.
We're proud to partner with Kaboom and the Desert Alliance For Community Empowerment to create this unique playground providing common playground equipment with senior fitness stations and walking paths for a comprehensive, family activity experience.
The new Humana and Kaboom play space is planned for the San Felipe housing complex in Thermal.¬† It features housing for migrant workers and their families while also serving permanent residents of the area.¬† The playground will provide a safe, engaging place for people to exercise and gather with their families and comes equipped with a built in family area designed to foster engagement across multiple generations.
This year, Humana is building a dozen of these unique playgrounds across the country to help both children and adults in maintaining healthy, active lifestyles.
I'd like to acknowledge Jeff Hays who I just met this morning.¬† Where's Jeff?¬† Good to see you,¬† our partner with Desert Alliance for Community Empowerment, Rancho Housing Alliance for working with us on this.¬† It is a very exciting development.¬† So thank you.
We're also supporting a variety of events leading up to the tournament that offer healthy behavior guidance and we hope will encourage long‑lasting community change.¬† For example, we'll host a Humana Well‑Being Walk followed by the Humana Healthy Fun Fair also on Saturday, January 14th, and Humana Day at the certified Farmers market on Sunday, January 15th, to bring residents of La Quinta together in the name of health.
Events at the fun fair will educate the community on how making small changes in your daily life can have a significant impact.
The farmer's market will feature locally grown and sustainable produce along with music and various culinary entertainment.¬† It should be a good time. ¬†We're also providing healthy activities and well‑being focused for folks who come to PGA West for tournament week.
One element we're particularly excited to introduce is the Humana Well‑Being Tour which brings our vision for life well‑being to life.¬† The Humana Well‑Being Tour will launch here in Bob Hope Square during tournament week.¬† The interactive experience was created to showcase healthy practices at the tournament and for people across the country.
The 18‑wheel tractor trailer mobile display will feature a variety of Humana innovations, including bikes that use pedal power to reward riders with a healthy treat, and a biometrics station where visitors can learn about and measure and document their own health screenings and a display of the Xbox Kinect game, Your Shape 2012, which features three Humana sponsored games.¬† These are all intended to creat an environment where health becomes fun, approachable and convenient.
Following the Humana Challenge, the trailer will travel across the country and visit PGA TOUR events, Humana guidance centers and multi‑generational playground construction sites and other health focused venues.
As part of the Well‑Being Tour, we're bringing in an enhanced version of the Humana Walk It program to the PGA TOUR this year.¬† The program strives to motivate people to get active through healthy competition, by walking the course and following the action during PGA TOUR events.
We'll begin our National Pedometer Challenge at this year's Humana Challenge.¬† Spectators can pick up and register pedometers at the Humana Well‑Being Tour and track their footsteps online in a friendly competition to determine who walks the most during tournament week.
In addition to steps, participants can earn extra points by eating healthy foods or pledging to kick harmful habits like smoking during the week.¬† We Hope you'll join us in the Bob Hope Square during the week.¬† It will be different and it will be fun.
Other initiatives during tournament week will include a variety of healthy food options on site for all media players and spectators.¬† We've been working directly with some familiar local restaurants like Clarks Nutrition and National Market, Sherman's Deli, Harry's Oklahoma Style Smokehouse Barbecue, and Las Consuelas to name a few.¬† We believe by offering better options we encourage people to make better choices.
To wrap up, we're thrilled to be hosting the Humana Challenge, and look forward to several wonderful years, eight. (Laughter).¬† Want me to sign something for that?¬† And rolling out creative and fun ways to help engage the community and spectators in well‑being.
In the spirit of the tournament, we're issuing a health Challenge to everyone here today.¬† The concept is easy.¬† Wear the Humana Walk It pedometer you were given this morning, and track the total steps as you enjoy the rest of media day.
Those of you playing golf will find that hitting it crooked today will be the first time there is been any benefit to do that because you will get more steps chasing your ball that way.¬† You straight hitters have no chance.
We will retrieve your results after your golf round and distribute prizes at dinner for the most steps taken today.
Finally I wanted to point out that Brett Quigley's with us, one of Humana's PGA TOUR partner players.¬† He's here today to lead all of us in learning how to exercise and not injure ourselves.¬† Another small component of well‑being, and I can tell by the age in the room that some of us are going to need this direction.¬† Brett, thank you for being here.¬† We appreciate your help.
Lastly, let me thank all of you for coming today.¬† It's a very exciting time further.¬† We're pleased to be part of this event and this community, and we think it's a wonderful opportunity for us to get to know each other and do very good things for our communities.¬† Thank you very much.
RIC CLARSON:¬† Thank you, Mike.¬† Walking 18 holes is approximately walking about five miles which is approximately about 10,000 steps.¬† During the course of the season, the average PGA TOUR player will walk from New York to Charlotte, about 650 miles.
In 2008, when Vijay Singh won the FedExCup, and Vijay plays a lot, as you know, Brett, we extrapolated that he walked over 1,000 miles during the course of that season with the number of events that he played.¬† So there is this connection between walking and living a long time.
I'm sure some of you in the media have spent some time on ClintonFoundation.org before you came today.¬† And I would invite all of you in the audience to spend some time on the website, even if you just read the home page, you'll be utterly amazed at the decade of difference President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation has made, not only in this country but around the world.
We're delighted that their expertise will be brought to this tournament and this tournament week, and with more detail on that, I'd like to introduce Valerie Alexander, director of marketing for the William J. Clinton Foundation.
VALERIE ALEXANDER:¬† Thank you, and good morning, everybody.¬† President Clinton could not be here today, but he did get the opportunity to tape a video message that I'd like to play, and at the conclusion, I'll come back and talk a little bit about the foundation and our role with the Humana Challenge.
PRESIDENT CLINTON:¬† Good morning, I'm sorry I couldn't be with you in person, but thanks to all of you for being here.¬† I'm so pleased my foundation is teamed with Humana and the PGA TOUR to honor Bob Hope's legacy with this special tournament.¬† It builds on our share of commitment to health and wellness, and challenges all of us to live better and to help others do the same.
Over the last decade, my foundation has made health and nutrition a core focus of our efforts.¬† We've negotiated reduced prices on life‑saving AIDS treatments, work which has benefited almost four million people in developing nations.
Here in the U.S., our Alliance For a Healthier Generation and partnership with the American Heart Association is working with more than 12,000 schools in all 50 states to increase access to nutritious foods and physical activity.
In 2011, members of the Clinton Global Initiative made a commitment to addressing global health valued at 8.5 billion dollars.¬† That's why I'm so glad to announce on January 17, 2012, the Clinton Foundation will host its first national health and well‑being conference, titled Health Matters.¬† Activating wellness in every generation.
Conference guests will have the opportunity to hear from some of today's leading health and well‑being advocates, such as my long time friend Dr.Nancy Snyderman, Jillian Michaels, and my daughter, Chelsea, who is always advocating for better health practices on my part.
Other features include a healthy lunch designed by celebrity chef Lorena Garcia, and celebrity hosted workouts.¬† Overall, participants will work to identify strategies to improve both their lives and the lives of others, especially our children.
Thanks for supporting our commitment to health and wellness and for accepting our challenge to live better.¬† I look forward to seeing you in January.
VALERIE ALEXANDER:¬† So on behalf of President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation, I want to tell you more a little bit about the work in this tournament and why it's so important to us.¬† But first, I'd like to thank Commissioner Finchem and Mike McCallister and Larry Thiel and all of our partners who we've been working alongside for the last year.
I want to especially thank Linda Hope for being here and for the work that your father has done on behalf of this community.
The Humana Challenge does build upon President Clinton's personal love of golf and his commitment to health and wellness both in his own life and in the work that we do through the foundation.¬† We are so very honored to be part of this with Bob Hope and his legacy by promoting active lifestyle and by reminding us of the importance of giving back, something he did his entire life.
We know how much Bob Hope and his family has meant to this community, and his impact has been immeasurable.¬† Maybe only rivaled by the commitment and support that he gave to our servicemen and women all of his life, so we are truly honored to be a part of this, and very grateful that you've given us the opportunity.
President Clinton has long believed that we can do more when we work together, and the Humana Challenge is an example of just that.¬† The collaboration with Humana and the PGA TOUR, and the Desert Classic Charities on this tournament will enable us to reach more people and generate ideas for a healthier living, and we look forward to what our organizations together can accomplish over the next eight years.
As President Clinton mentioned in the video, we are especially thrilled to be announcing our first ever conference specifically focused on healthy living for all ages.¬† The conference will kickoff on tournament week with activities and panels of some of the leading advocates in this space.¬† As he mentioned, we have a number of panelists who have confirmed and we'll be releasing the names of others.¬† But beyond Chelsea Clinton who he mentioned and Dr.Nancy Snyderman, a friend of the President, and the NBC medical editor, we have Susan Dell from the Michael and Susan Dell Foundation, Notah Begay, Annika Sorenstam and Lorena Garcia will be providing a lunch.
We think that the speakers‑‑ well, we know that the speakers will be working with attendees to strategize on personal health and well‑being opportunities with a special emphasis on how these issues can impact individuals at all stages and to showcase ways to contribute to the health and well‑being of others.
In keeping with President Clinton's belief that meetings should not be simply a vehicle for talk, he will expect action, and this conference will ask participants and attendees and the extended community to make real, measurable changes in their own lives, in their own communities, and in their own businesses.
He will deliver the keynote address at the conference and work to promote health and well‑being throughout tournament week.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Clinton Foundation, I do encourage you to go to ClintonFoundation.org.¬† But just as way of background, we work in four core areas of focus:¬† Improving global health, promoting healthier childhoods, strengthening economies, and protecting the environment.
As many of you know, President Clinton has been asked to lead disaster relief efforts, most recently in Haiti, and our foundation continues to work there to help those people rebuild their country in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Over the past decade, President Clinton's vision and leadership in the foundation has resulted in nearly 4 million people benefiting from life saving HIV/AIDS treatment.¬† More than 13,000 United States schools building healthier learning environments, 26,000 micro‑entrepreneurs and small business owners improving their livelihoods in communities all around the world, and more than 2.2 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions cut or abated in some of the world's largest cities.
He has redefined the way we think about philanthropy and global giving through his Clinton Global Initiative whose members have made 2100 commitments that have already improved the lives of nearly 400 million people in 180 countries.
We have 1300 staff and volunteers around the world so we are truly a global organization.¬† And our goal is to give individuals the opportunity to transform their own lives and take control of their futures, and we do this by bringing together people from all backgrounds and all experiences from the public sector, from the private sector, from civil society, to implement solutions faster and more effectively than one sector can do alone.
It's in that spirit that we are excited to be working with Humana and the PGA TOUR to make health and wellness a priority for individuals and communities, and to raise the dialogue that hopefully together we can inspire people of all ages to live better.
So I want to thank our partners who have worked tirelessly to put on a great tournament.¬† Larry and his team, Commissioner Finchem, Mike McCallister, and particularly thank you, Linda Hope, and to your family, for giving us this opportunity.¬† Thank you.
RIC CLARSON:¬† Thank you, Valerie.¬† One of the cornerstones of any sport is how it recognizes those that have paved the way, and our sport is fortunate to have a magnificent facility and organization in St. Augustine, Florida, the World Golf Hall of Fame.¬† With us today is their executive director, Jack Peter, their senior director for brand and marketing, Linda Altman.
Some of you might have had a chance to see what I considered a spectacular exhibit that was entitled Bob Hope:¬† Shanks For the Memories.¬† That is now a traveling exhibit that is touring the country under the name of Bob Hope:¬† An American Treasure.¬† It is now at the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame and museum up in Green Bay, and will be moving to the Gerald R. Ford Museum in Grand Rapids in February.¬† So we're delighted to have you both with us.
The exhibit was very fitting for somebody who has made such a difference.¬† In fact, the Bob Hope Classic for many, many years is an iconic event on the PGA TOUR.¬† And I was thinking about that, but we shouldn't be surprised because Bob Hope was an iconic man, and we're delighted to have his daughter with us today.¬† On behalf of the family, Linda Hope.
LINDA HOPE:¬† Thank you all for being here today.¬† And I have to tell you, this is a really special moment for me and for the rest of my family.¬† We just lost my mother, Delores Hope at 102, and my dad lived to be 100.
I think there's something to be said for a lot of walking, which they both did.¬† Dad every night after dinner no matter where he would be, after he'd finish his show, he would say to whoever was around, hey, let's take a little walk.¬† And I tell you, to keep up with him was something else, even at 90 years old, he kept that practice going.
The other thing that he did for healthy living, I think, was massage.¬† He believed very, very firmly in the importance of massage, and probably almost every day of his life he managed to get one worked in.¬† I pity the poor masseur, usually it was like 2 o'clock in the morning, hey.
But those things‑‑ and I think the other element, and it's also something that's very much a part of this tournament and the fun of it, is the laughter.¬† That was one of the things that dad, I think, was a great proponent of.¬† He spent his life listening for laughter and enjoying it and getting all of the good energy that came from laughter.
I think this tournament is a perfect example.¬† He loved to gather his friends together.¬† Get all the different celebrities and get the golfers that he learned to love and everybody get together and have a good time, have laughter.
I'm sure that this group that is here today, the Humana people, Mike, thank you very much for picking up the ball, so to speak, and making this something that we're all going to look forward to for the next eight years.
John, the wonderful job you've done over the years keeping dad's spirit and name going.
I think that the PGA has been absolutely spectacular, and I thank Commissioner Finchem for his involvement and trying to get this tournament back on the track that it started out on.¬† It's some kind of an event to be treasured, and to really love.
The other thing is that my mother, who kind of fell into her role at the Eisenhower Hospital some 40 years ago when the tournament people down here came to dad and said will you host this thing and all of that, and we want to have a charity to support.¬† They came to the decision to honor President Eisenhower, who was a great golfer and a friend of dad's.
When they put it together, they said now we're going to build this hospital, and dad talked to my mother and said, you know, they want to build this hospital.¬† I think this is a good place for you, a good job you can step in.
I think he thought he was going to save himself some money, because my mother loved nothing more than to add a room on or do some decorating or something, so I think this was a way that she could bring all those skills to help the people and help the health care in the valley.¬† So today, the Eisenhower Medical Center is a very, very important and treasured part of this community.
I can't tell you how much my dad would have loved knowing that President Clinton is involved in this.¬† President Clinton was one of his‑‑ I shouldn't really say this, because he always tried to have an even hand with all the Presidents and the Republicans and the Democrats and balancing everything out, but boy did he love Bill Clinton.
My mother used to tell the story of when they were in New York they used to stay at the Waldorf Towers, and so one evening mother was there, and she was kind of in her robe and dad had gone in and was taking a little snooze, and knock on the door.¬† So my mother went to answer the door and standing there was President Clinton.¬† No body guards around.¬† I mean, there must have been secret service hiding somewhere in a potted palm or something.
But he was just there, and he said, How are you?¬† He said, can I come in for a minute?¬† And she was absolutely flabbergasted, the President of the United States.¬† So he came in and sat down and they had a lovely visit.¬† Dad came out, and just it was one of the sort of treasured memories of her life.
I remember at the 50th Anniversary for the end of World War II, there was an event in Hawaii and President Clinton was there.¬† Somehow dad was in one area and the President was over in another area, and he walked all the way over to see my dad and put his arm around him and, Hey, Bob.¬† Just the warmest relationship.
I really treasure knowing that the Clinton Foundation is involved in this, and I know that it would make my dad very, very happy and my mother too.¬† So I thank them very much for being part of this, and thank you all.¬† We look forward so much to a wonderful tournament week.¬† Just thank you for being here.
RIC CLARSON:¬† Thank you, Linda.¬† We think of golf as an individual sport.¬† There is no chance to pass, to punt, to call timeout, and it's very much a sport of self‑reliance, except in organizing tournament golf, it's very much a team.¬† It takes both staff members, volunteers, sponsors, supporters to pull it off.¬† But every team has to have a quarterback, a great leader.
We're fortunate that this event has such a distinguished and experienced leader in Larry Thiel who has comments on the tournament.¬† Larry.
LARRY THIEL:¬† Thank you, Ric.¬† Let me just tell you, can't you feel it?¬† Can't you see the enthusiasm and the love and the passion that exists between this partnership?¬† Can't you just imagine how good we're going to be as this all begins to unfold and over a long period of time?
A year ago we gathered and we talked optimistically about the fact that this great, legendary tournament certainly had to find a group of people that could come and stand behind it and continue the great legacy of Mr.Hope.¬† Today we've got to be the luckiest people in professional golf to have this relationship.
I get goose bumps as I was listening to Linda talk about hers and listen to Mike's passion for what his company's about and how this has come together, and Valerie with Mr.Clinton.
So I hope you feel the same thing that I've been feeling for the last 45 minutes.¬† We do have a great team here.¬† It's a tremendous organization, and as you well know, in any organization, you're only as good as the people that you bring to the table.
In an organization like this, it's pretty complex.¬† We play on three different golf courses, and our demands or our needs are for anywhere up to 18 to 2,000 volunteers, and they don't get paid very much more than a brown sack lunch and a uniform that they're asked to contribute a portion to, but a lot of dedicated volunteers.¬† Volunteers, coincidentally, because of the tenure of our tournament, have been with us some 25 years.
So within the community we have a whole cross‑section of people.¬† We obviously acknowledge the benevolence and the dedication to our directors to what this is all about, but our volunteers, just tremendous.
All of our efforts always get woven into that theme of who are our partners?¬† Well, we think of our volunteers as partners, too, because they've got as much to be proud of when this tournament is put on as we do who stand behind it.
We have a strong partnership.¬† You heard a few remarks from Mike Kelly as the executive director of PGA West.¬† We've got an unbelievable, ever growing relationship with PGA West and the La Quinta Resort properties.¬† They've been a tremendous host and a supporter of this, and we look forward to that footprint just continuing to grow to make future tournaments even more convenient and comfortable and rewarding.
Our tournament took a lot of turns this year when we unfolded it.¬† We visited with a lot of people, and most notably, we spent a lot of time with the Tour, Tour officials, talked to a lot of Tour professionals out there trying to understand what would be the things that we could do differently with this tournament that was truly going to be an enticement for players to look at us maybe a little bit differently or certainly maybe a little bit more willingly to participate.
So the first thing we did is we looked at our five‑day event and said, you know, given the travel schedules and demands, it's probably in our best interest to consider the fact that this tournament would be better served if it were a four‑day competition, 72 holes just like every other tournament.
Then we had to look at the economic stability that this tournament was predicated on our ability to have 128 professionals, 384 amateurs and when you start doing the math, that was a lot for us to say can we walk away from?
But because we have the sponsorship that we have and because we determined that the format would be better served if we were a typical, 144‑man field.¬† As it relates to our amateur structure where we would have in the past one pro and three amateurs, we said, no.¬† Let's create an opportunity for amateurs to really bond and to gain a lot of fun and experience of playing with a professional.¬† So our format this year is a professional and an amateur - two amateurs and two professionals in every group.
At the end of the day when you go back home now you can say, well, I played in the Humana Challenge, and I played with‑‑ you would have in the past say I played with professional X.¬† Today you can go back and say I had the experience, the great experience, of playing with six different professionals.¬† They were in our group.¬† We hung with them.¬† We bonded with them, we talked with them, and it was a wonderful, fun experience.¬† So we thought that was really important.
When all of that was decided, we went back to the player policy board, which is always the one that has to anoint the changes that that really does meet expectations of the players, and they embraced it.¬† So we were off with a format that we felt really, really good about.
I think that the expressions that we're going to get this year from not only the players, but also the amateurs, is going to show that this decision to change after all these years was truly the right decision at this time.
The courses that we played in the past, we used to play four tournament courses, that was because we were a five‑day tournament and we rotated accordingly.¬† Today we play three courses.¬† Those courses are two from the PGA West property, the Nicklaus and the Palmer private courses, and we continue to have a relationship with La Quinta Country Club as that being our third.¬† They've been with us almost 40 years on and off as one of the hosts.¬† A long time, at any rate.¬† That's good.¬† We're going to continue that.
We've got lots and lots of changes that you'll see when you come to the golf course this year, the tournament.¬† Mike talked a little bit about our joint commitment to a healthier lifestyle, and obviously they talked about the balance of healthier food options there.
What was known and continues to be called Hope Square is going to be a magnificent facility or area where we're going to have numerous expos.¬† Not only the wonderful adaptation of the Bob Hope legacy, but also the Humana Challenge is going to have its expo there as will the Clinton Foundation and others.
So it's going to be a rather mammoth five and a half acre track of ground that's going to have numerous things to attract people coming to the tournament, healthy food options, interactive games for children, just a number of those things that are much more designed to attract more interest to the fans that are coming to relax and enjoy the tournament.
On the golf course, we made a lot of decisions that were going to be designed to create fan enhancements, more comfort, we've got better viewing areas, we've got bleacher seating in place that's we didn't have before.¬† Just the entire commitment to making sure that the people that are coming to the tournament have a truly enjoyable experience, and that's what it's all about.
Because at the end of the day, we want people to go back and say, God, this was just a great day.¬† What a great day in paradise.¬† We had everything and more than what we had ever experienced before at a golf tournament.
We look at a lot of different things that we can do in the future.¬† What you see this year is going to be our honest expression of how we see the tournament in 2012.¬† But just as you saw and listened to the level of passion and the commitment to the future, we're going to be doing a lot of things with this tournament to make it even more centric to what the theme has and will continue to be.
Like every year, when I talk about the tournament, the most intriguing part of it is at this moment in time, where do you stand with players?¬† Well, let me stick out of this one really good.
Players as Brett knows are really‑‑ they're the greatest chess players in the world.¬† They can tell me, God, I love that event.¬† You people treatise better than I've ever been treated before.¬† Of course we're thinking about coming.¬† We're probably going to come.¬† But do they sign up or do they commit or whatever?
I can get myself in a whole bunch of trouble by saying oh, yeah, this guy's in, and then the guy for some reason has an in‑law that decides they've got other plans for them, and then there is a misrepresentation and their image or their character or whatever, the media's all over them.
But I think I've got a pretty good reputation with the players and relationships.¬† I go back a few years with them anyway.¬† I know that in talking to players that I've visited, I have every reason in the world to believe that if you were to look at the top 20 players, just as an example from last year's FedEx money list, I only know of a couple of them that said to me that they had an existing conflict today.
Just came back from the Chevron, Tiger's Challenge, and met again with players.¬† Again, it was the same thing.¬† Larry, great tournament.¬† Love the new format.¬† Love the relationship.¬† Can't believe I got a personal letter from the President.¬† How neat is that?¬† All of those things.¬† You know I'm going to be there.
Yeah, I know you're going to be there, Keegan, yeah, I know you're going to be there whatever, but I can't go out on a limb and say, yeah, it's a done deal.¬† I will tell you a few of them, and I'm proud of these guys.
We have our defending champion back.¬† We have Billy Haas, who, as I said when we sat next to him last year at the press conference, I said if you don't think this guy's not going to be a superstar, you have another guess coming.¬† This is the real deal.¬† He's coming back.¬† He's one of our big cheerleaders, for certain.
We've got the likes of David Toms and Davis Love committed.¬† We have Matt Kuchar who has gone out on a limb and said, I'm definitely coming back.¬† Don't be afraid to mention that I'm coming.¬† And we have our own Dana Quigley, and we have the likes of our own Scott McCarron who we've extended an invitation to.¬† He's been a tremendous asset to this tournament in many, many ways and will continue to be as we get more interactive with players at the tournament.
So we have a lot to be thankful for.¬† Am I going to start wrapping off the numbers and whatnot, but you have to trust me on this one.¬† Last year I told Larry Bohannon, in you wanted to go back and measure the players that everybody was wondering how much of a marquis player they were, measure how many tournaments they won this year.
In our field last year, 24 tournaments were won by players that were in our field.¬† Three of the Top 5 players that were in the running for Rookie of the Year, five of the six guys that were in contention for Player of the Year in our field.¬† That's going to continue to grow.
We set a standard last year that I was proud of.¬† We certainly reached out as Brett and I talked about, over my tenure in golf, I've always made an inordinate commitment to making sure that the families were always looked after in a very special kind of way when they came to our tournament.¬† That's been the sentiment that's come back.¬† And I hear good expressions from players and their wives when they say I'm looking forward to coming back.¬† Really enjoyed the spa.¬† Really thought that was nice, Larry.¬† So we're doing things like that to show who we are and who we care.
Everything we write about when it comes to players, we talk about them being our guests, just as you're going to talk about our sponsors to the people that they cover, they're our guests.¬† So there is nothing they can't ask us to do that we're not prepared to reach out and do just a little bit better and with more attention to detail than anybody else in the business.
We've got a great tournament to look forward to.¬† It's going to be all that we hope it will be, I'm certain of that because we've got the synergism.¬† We're committed over front, and trust me on the players, okay.¬† Thank you.
TOBY ZWIKEL:¬† Thank you to all of our partners for your wonderful remarks.¬† We have a little bit of time scheduled to leave for the Palmer Private for golf at 10:40, and we are going to hear from Jerry Ivey, director of golf for PGA West about the format.¬† But we have a few minutes if we have any questions from media members, or if you have one‑on‑ones that you'd prefer, certainly we can do it that way.¬† But any questions?
Q.¬† Mike, I'm sure you had an option of any number of ways that you could have rolled out these kinds of initiatives.¬† What was it about the PGA TOUR or this tournament maybe in particular that, other than your standing relationship with the PGA TOUR that made the Tour the best place to roll some of these things out?
MIKE McCALLISTER:¬† Well, actually, this concept of health and well‑being and getting people to do behavior change around their own health status is actually heavy lifting and hard to do, and it's been very difficult to drive that agenda across the U.S.
So we're always looking for ways to do it.¬† We have had a long‑standing relationship with the Tour, and the commissioner and I have had many conversations around the fact that this is an unusual sport in that the fans actually get exercise while the players do.¬† Most sports you go sit in a seat and have a hot dog and something to drink and that's it.
So it's kind of a natural platform in terms of talking about the idea of activity.¬† It's obviously a beautiful setting, you're outdoors, you're up and moving, so it just starts with sort of a natural fit.
How we ultimately over the years evolve the idea is the work we're all going to do together.¬† We have some decent ideas to start with here.¬† But I think it's a terrific platform, and it's on a national stage.¬† Just as a national policy matter, and Valerie sort of hit on this, we have to start stepping up as a country to what's going on with our health.¬† I'm not sure we know exactly how to do it, but this is a wonderful platform with a big megaphone to begin to do that.
Q.¬† Does Bill Clinton plan to play golf in this event, and what is the celebrity golf component to this event, if there is one?
VALERIE ALEXANDER:¬† I knew you were going to ask that.¬† Just cut to the chase, his schedule has not been determined yet outside of the Tuesday conference, his schedule for that week has not been determined.¬† As we get details of that we'll definitely share them.¬† So I can't answer that specifically on what he will be doing.
The celebrity component of that, we've obviously reached out to friends and supporters of the President and the foundation, and we are getting those responses back.¬† We know more than anyone that it can be challenging to negotiate schedules.¬† I think that we do have a handful of confirmed celebrities at this point.
TOBY ZWIKEL:¬† In the news release we have Morgan Freeman and Don Cheadle that are announced.
VALERIE ALEXANDER:¬† Right.
Q.¬† John, it seemed like this was a process from beginning to now.¬† Would you mind sharing the timeframe and maybe some of the kinds of things that took place to lead up to now?
JOHN FOSTER:¬† Well, it seems like an eternity since we got a note from Chrysler that they were no longer in business, at least with us.¬† So it's been a struggle.¬† I think what we have done through the years, the directors, the ancestors of the directors, always had a very conservative look.
I always had a room for the big one.¬† And it was kind of a sitting joke of why are we waiting for the big one?¬† Well, if the big one hit one day before the tournament and we already paid the purse, we have all these different expenses out there, how are we going to fund them?¬† And we still want our charities to get their money.
So we had a large bank roll that had been drawn up for 20, 30 years.¬† I know many times many people wanted to break the bank and give it to our charities, which that is our whole function as a charity is to pick out the charities we're using, make sure that Eisenhower, we do a lot of girls and boys clubs and other needy people in the Valley, and so we're always looking out for those.
So we were fortunate to have that bank roll.¬† It kept us going until we could find a savior.¬† And quite frankly, I've got to give Tim Finchem and the PGA TOUR a real pat on the back.¬† This is basically Tim's idea.¬† I had not had the pleasure of meeting Mike and fortunately Tim had.¬† Although I did welcome the President to the 1995 tournament, I didn't have much of a relationship past that.
So Tim had a relationship with both and came up with the idea of merging those two, and to our benefit, obviously and this area, we have really hit the mother load so to speak.¬† Both fit very well in this community.¬† It was a tough three years just keeping it going and keeping the charities and their money and putting on the tournament.¬† Lot of good will that we had built up for the last 50 years helped us get through.
Q.¬† So is your recommendation to stock some money away when you can?
JOHN FOSTER:¬† You always have to do that.¬† You never know, could be the big one.
Q.¬† Would one of you mind going into more detail about the walking Challenge and kind of the charities locally that will benefit?
MIKE McCALLISTER:¬† Well, we've been‑‑ let me go back to this whole Walk‑It idea and this pedometer.¬† One of the things that's evolving out there around trying to drive the health agenda is the fact that we can do a lot more things that we can measure than we once did.¬† We're also trying to figure out how to motivate people to do things.¬† So that leads you pretty quickly to technology solutions, whether it's pedometers or other things you can do.
So we've been at this as a company for a number of years, and we've gained a lot of experience with kids and others.¬† We know if we can get them to measuring what they do, they actually do better.¬† So that is the sort of the genesis of it over the last few years.
You come back to the Tour, it's a walking event, a walking sport, so that synergy was pretty obvious to us, and we'll continue to try to drive more of that.¬† There will be pedometers for all the fans.¬† We've been doing this around the Tour for a while.¬† Here we're going to go big with it, measure what people do, have them compete with each other for various prizes and things like that.¬† It's just meant to drive that idea of measurement, activity, some rewards and incentives kind of things.
As a company we can put a lot of energy and synergy into this and others to try to figure things out.¬† So we're not going to do any research, but take some of our ideas and use them in a big way for fun.
Q.¬† Larry, when you had spoken with players and gotten feed back from them, what was more appealing to them?¬† The shortening of the five day to four day or the limited number of amateurs as compared to years before?
LARRY THIEL:¬† The shortening it to a four‑day event was actually the one thing that complemented most of their schedules that they're typically used to playing.¬† They certainly enjoyed and were promoted to the notion of how important I thought the change to playing one‑on‑one was more for the benefit of the amateur.¬† I didn't talk to the fact that I know it's going to be easier on you, kind of mentality.
The players were all really front and center.¬† Hopefully we'll get a chance, Toby, at some point to let Brett make a couple comments as it may relate to the things that he's been hearing from players and families on Tour about what they think of the Humana Challenge going forward, and how are the challenges or are they adjusting to the changes.¬† That would be a more meaningful response than what I'm going to tell you, because they don't tell me bad things.
Q.¬† You say that it's going to be foursomes of Pro‑Am and amateur, and then there are celebrities.¬† Is that a group of five?
LARRY THIEL:¬† No, no, the celebrities are the amateurs.¬† So there will always be a pro and an amateur.¬† The amateur will be a celebrity at some point in time or he'll be like you and I.¬† I might talk to it, we look at the celebrity mix that we had last year and prior years, and you always had what was called the celebrity rotation.¬† That was the entire group of celebrities playing on one rotation on one course.¬† We're not going to do that in the future.
We're going to split the celebrities so that on every golf course every day people who are going to be out there watching the competition are going to get that sprinkling of celebrity as well as competition.
I might tell you that we're looking at reducing the numbers of celebrities that we've had in the past.¬† There had been some years in this tournament where there have been 40 celebrities.¬† We're going to get comfortable, depending upon who they are, somewhere from on the low side of 12 to maybe 18.¬† But very high profile, like we just talked about, Morgan Freeman, Don Cheadle, and make it very recognized as the notable celebrities of our current time.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports