|Browse by Sport
|Find us on
TRAVELERS CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
May 1, 2012
NATHAN GRUBE: Good morning, everybody. 48 days away from the Travelers Championship; we are excited. Thank you for being here to celebrate. Obviously, Fredrik's here. He's been very generous with his time. He came in last night and kind of gave us today, so we're very appreciative. We never take that for granted that our defending champion comes in.
My name's Nathan Grube. This is a fun day for us. We feel the excitement of the tournament starting in January. You start to feel the momentum. There is no stopping it now, especially inside the last 60 days when everything starts to come together, the concerts and celebrities and the player field. There are so many thing that's come together, and it's spring. And everybody after The Masters thinks you know what, the golf tournament is on its way.
So it's a fun time for us. A lot has to happen in the next six to seven weeks, but this is a good kickoff for the momentum.
Couple things I want to talk about briefly that are new this year. Players, I think everybody has received the release that we did. We're excited that we're announcing this morning the first wave of exemptions. And Patrick Cantlay, the No. 1 ranked amateur in the world who is in the World Golf Hall of Fame now after what he did last year here, shooting 60 as a low amateur ever to shoot a 60 in a PGA TOUR event. Patrick Rodgers who is the number two ranked amateur in the world, the freshman out of Stanford. Kelly Kraft, who is the reigning U.S. Amateur Champion, Bryden McPherson, the reigning British champion, and Ryo Ishikawa, the first to break the top 50 in the World Golf rankings.
So we have five very, very exciting exemptions. We have a history of trying to go after a lot of the young guys to build a relationship with them. Some of those young guys, Kyle Stanley turned pro at our event; he won earlier this year. Jeff Overton a couple years ago turned pro; they've had great careers, Rickie Fowler.
We take our exemptions seriously, and we're excited about this group of guys, and we have more player announcements to come in the future. Those are pretty much finalized this weekend, so it should be a lot of fun.
Some of the other things coming up, concerts we announced last week. We brought on a new partner, Power Station Events. Al is in here. His company, Power Station Events, they're a great partner and they're sponsoring the partner series this year. We have Javier Colon playing on Wednesday. He is the winner of The Voice last year on NBC, and he's actually making I think a cameo tonight on The Voice. I guess, how do you defend your title? He's defending his title tonight on the voice, which is a lot of fun, and also KC and the Sunshine Band Saturday night. So if you went to the concerts last year, you saw. Thank you, Marty Hackel. I know you've just rattled off three or four in your head.
So if we start to sing get down tonight later, it will be a lot of fun. I know Chris is going to speak on military appreciation, and a few things we're doing with that program here in a few minutes.
The 5K starts, we still have room in the 5K, so please have fun with that. We do that out here at the golf course. We do a lot of things unrelated to golf. It's become a theme in the last four or five years. Please understand that is strategic, and we try hard to make this more than a golf tournament. We try to make this something that benefits a number of charities.
We've generated more than a million dollars last year for over 100 charities. The reason we're able to do that is because of growing this outside of the golf event into these other events to raise additional funds for charity. We had a study done, a $27 million dollar economic impact to the state last year because of this golf tournament. The more we do, the more we bring in, the more we get sponsored; we'll bring additional funds for charity. We'll have a better economic impact on the state and everybody wins.
We're excited about it. Take it seriously how we grow these events, and those are just a few of them coming up. So I know you want to stop hearing me. We'll get to Fredrik and Chris here in a second. We were talking and I said, hey, Fredrik, do you want to call us Freddy or Fredrik? And he sent me a text, and he said, well, "Nate," in quotes, I'll go by Freddy. And I said touche', thanks. So Freddy and Chris will be up here in a minute.
But I'm going to introduce Andy Bessette from Travelers. I get to do this this time each year, and it never gets tiring to say publicly how much I personally appreciate what Travelers puts into this tournament, and more specifically with Andy. He takes the brand of the Travelers Championship so seriously about what it means to the rest of the country, and the rest of the world about what it says about Connecticut.
I'm going to tell a brief story about that. We go to other events and talk to players, caddies, wives, the caddie wagons, the people that you never see. But this whole traveling show that is the PGA TOUR. And we were having, I remember this, it was a couple years ago, we were in a tent in San Diego eating with the CBS crew, because it was on CBS at the time. And they're back there, and there are guys that have been on the road for nine straight weeks and they haven't shaved. And Andy's going, what could make your life easier? When you come to our invite, how can we make it easier? The guys are throwing out ideas and Andy's like, done. We can do that.
He cares about everybody involved in this event they take that message everywhere else around the country and say no other market can compete to what happens in Connecticut when we go up there. And he does that with the caddies, media, everybody. So he takes what this tournament means to this state very, very seriously and the little, little details of this event.
So he's going to come up and say a few words, I'm proud to work with him and Andy and what his company represents. They have done so much with this event, and I could not be more appreciative. And we as a state are benefiting because of it.
So Andy Bessette, executive vice President and chief administrative officer of Travelers.
ANDY BESSETTE: You'd think it's all about what we do. Nathan and I have more fun together. And I'm listening to him saying he's calling you Fredrik. And he sent me an email three days ago saying call me Freddy. That's what I've been doing for the last year. I saw him on the practice range at Doral and I said, Freddy, this is great, your surfboard. That's really cool. And now you're calling him Fredrik, and I think did he stiff me? So I'm going to call you Freddy, Freddy. So thanks for being with us. It's great to have you here.
On behalf of Jay Fishman, and all of us at Travelers, thank you for joining us this morning for this important event. To celebrate our countdown for the 2012 Travelers Championship, I mean, 48 days, 48 days, that's like nothing. We'll be hitting the tee shots and doing all the fun things we do for the week Travelers Championship.
2012 is a special year for us. It marks 60 years of this historic event and what it's done for our community, what it's meant to the state of Connecticut is just tremendous. But it's great to celebrate the legendary champions of the past. Sam Sneed and Arnold Palmer and Billy Casper and Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Phil Mickelson and others.
It's great when you look at the people who have come here and won here, and what's happened with their careers. To have Freddy here means so much to us, and I say this from my heart. Freddy is really great. He's what pro athletes are about. He's a family guy, loves talking about his children, and that's what it's about. That's what pro athletes are about, family values. It's great to have you here. Maybe you'll make it two in a row, a twofer. So good luck.
For those of you who aren't familiar with Freddy, his career spans the globe. He was a scratch golfer at 15. I was trying to think of what I was doing at 15, but I wasn't a scratch golfer. He was a scratch golfer at 15. He's got three international victories under his belt. Not only can he play golf, but he was a promising hockey player in Sweden, and also ranked in the top 30 in Swedish table tennis at the age of 14 and 15.
So he's a scratch golfer, a top ranked Swedish table tennis player. My God, it's amazing.
You may not know this, but Tour players are a bit competitive when it comes to table tennis. You can see Freddy with the best of them, and they showed a video of you playing, and you're really good.
I was going back to our conversation at Doral, and I said to Freddy, what a great surfboard. Callaway did a great surfboard for you. And I said we're going to give you your own surfboard for Travelers. But I said, no, you know what, we've already been there, done that.
So if you'll come up, we decided to give you a different present from a company called Killer Spin. It's Fredrik Jacobson, 2011 Champion Travelers Championship. I've got to open this, if I can get it right. You know what this is. It's a traveling case with, this is like world class. Better than the best golf club you've ever owned. It says Travelers Championship on the edge of it with Killer Spin.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Thank you so much. Let me check it out. Yeah, that looks great.
ANDY BESSETTE: I look at this, as a novice, I look at this and think if you've ever seen a really good -- what do you call that? A mallet? No, a paddle. If you've ever seen a good paddle, I've seen the ones that are hard, not soft. This has all kinds of padding on it, I guess that is to make it spin.
You guys when you're hitting golf balls, you always hear this and I always say this, the golf clubs go, and I can never make my golf club go. But I can't make my table tennis ball spin either. Congratulations. That's our gift to you. Hope you use it in good health.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Thank you. Very creative.
ANDY BESSETTE: We'll get back to the tournament. But I wanted to take time to do that. It's not a surfboard, but a table tennis paddle.
But the history here, as I was saying, the history is so important to us here. We always have our eyes to the future. We're always planning ahead. The Travelers Championship prides itself on granting more player exemptions than any other tournament. It's important to Travelers and Travelers Championship to keep the young kids coming into the game.
If you look at Hunter Mahan, Rickie Fowler, Bud Cauley, Kyle Stanley, Webb Simpson, Jeff Overton all made their first appearances here with a sponsor exemption, and Nathan named the ones we're doing this year.
I love the battles where you have one or two amateurs ranked in the world, and you have the reigning U.S. and British amateur champion. That is cool stuff. We've got these young guys in Patrick Cantlay last year that shot that 60 on Thursday. Was that great or what? To see somebody do that and have the lowest round ever for an amateur in the PGA TOUR is just unbelievable.
Nathan and I weren't laughing; we were so excited. We looked at each other that night and while we couldn't be more thrilled, we said God we look like geniuses for doing this. What a great exemption. But Patrick is a great young guy, and we want him to grow up to be like Freddy and to have those great values and to be a good representative of the game of golf as he travels and develops his career. So those are important things to us.
The real reason we're here today is the fact that the Travelers Championship has surpassed $30 million to charity over its existence of 60 years. That is amazing. $30 million to charity. That is the reason that Travelers is so committed as a title sponsor of the Travelers Championship.
Not only is the tournament good for our business and the community, and good for charity, it's good for charity. It's good for charity like the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. I'll just talk for a second about it.
But you know how important the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is important to us. The Travelers and Travelers Championship. It's such a special organization. It was founded by Paul Newman in 1988. The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp provides a summer camp experience for really seriously ill children.
We've been working with the camps since Travelers became the title in 2007. We're so proud of what they do. When you see the young kids come out and what it means to them, and I'm going to tell you, it's all of us in this room that make this so special.
The admiral from the sub base, Admiral McLaughlin who retired last year, was so generous with what he did. He would allow us to go down to the subs to the base and bring guests to tour active nuclear attack subs, a real nuclear attack sub.
Bubba Watson took us up on it; that's a story for another day. He climbed into the torpedo tube. It was really very funny. But seriously, I took the Binesky family down. I think I'm saying that right. They have three children. Four boys, and three of them are seriously ill and are campers. When I tell you this story, it brought tears to my eyes. But I said, boys, do you want to go down and see the nuclear attack sub? And the boys said, yeah, let's go. This is after they met The Miz the WWE, and they thought that was the best thing since sliced bread.
I took them down, the boys couldn't sleep. One of the brothers couldn't sleep. The other had done his research on subs. We're crawling down into the subs, and they're walking around like, yeah, this is the best thing we've ever done. I'm walking back to my car. I had to leave and go back to work.
That's what this is all about. This is about providing experiences for kids that are sick, exposing them to life that is really special. That's what this tournament does. It kicks off dollars to charities. Charities that do important things for young people. I could tell you ten stories like that. It does bring tears to your eyes.
I want to introduce Jimmy Canton who is the CEO of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp to let him tell you more about this tremendous organization and all the good they do. Jimmy, if you'd come up. Thank you for being with us.
JIMMY CANTON: Hello, everyone. It is a genuine, sincere pleasure and privilege to be here with you all. There may only be 48 days to the start of the Championship, but there are 38 days to the opening of our 25th summer when the first camper arrives. So all is on fire at the camp right now.
I just want to thank Jay Fishman, Andy Bessette and Nathan group for continuing to choose the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp as one of Travelers Championship's charity partners.
This year the camp will rely on the generosity of more than 25,000 donors in order to allow us to serve more than 20,000 seriously ill children and family members. The support we receive from the Travelers Championship is one of the two largest gifts that we'll receive to support our operating budget this year, and the second most generous supporter of the camp is the tournament's lead sponsor, Travelers.
So the investment and faith that you have demonstrated to support our program and to allow us to grow is incredible.
All of us at the camp are deeply grateful for this unwavering favor and support that you have demonstrated to support our mission. To be associated with this company, and the largest professional sporting event in the state of Connecticut is a great, great honor. Our founder, Paul Newman has always believed the strength of the Camp's success would depend on the strength of the community's involvement.
For the last six years, the championship has embraced us, and brought our mission into heads and into the hearts of thousands of people in Connecticut and beyond. As this community of support has grown, so too our outreach to more children suffering from serious illness has grown. As I mentioned, this year we'll serve more than 20,000 children and family members. So much more than the summer camp we were founded to be in 1988 when we served 288 children, and there is more to do.
All of us at camp know that behind every sick child is a family in crisis. We are intent on growing our services, not only to reach more seriously ill children, but to make our outreach even more impactful to them and their families.
For us, camp is not limited to a physical site in Ashford, Connecticut. Camp is a way of interacting with children who are battling disease. We can do camp anywhere. We can bring it into the cities. We can bring it into the hospitals. We can bring it into a child's home.
The greatest challenge that we have is finding the right people who can bring the Choi and the love, and the friendship of camp to those in need, reminding those children and their families that they're not alone. It's in that fellowship that the different kind of healing that camp offers is born.
One of those right people is here today to talk about her work at camp. And one of the reasons why she is so right is she has walked the walk. She was one of our campers at the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, and is now employed with great celebration as one of our year‑round staff members. So it is my great pleasure to introduce to you Kim Babicz.
KIM BABICZ: Hi, I'm Kim Babicz, but a lot of kids call me Kimbo. I'm a former member of the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. If I could hop into a time machine and erase my entire cancer experience and my Camp Hole in the Wall experience, I really don't know what I would do. And I know that sounds crazy because cancer was by far the most difficult thing that I've ever had to face: Losing my hair, feeling nauseous all the time, and being incredibly weak were really tremendous challenges. But it was also the burdens of people always feeling sorry for you and watching my parents lose a sense of control.
I felt really bad for my little sister because he was always missing out because I was constantly being carted to chemo and radiation appointments. And while my friends were worried about getting new gadgets, crushes and getting their license, I was just worried if I was going to make it to the next holiday, and that really changes you.
But speaking of change, I remember when a family friend first told me about the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp. My first reaction was, great, make the cancer girl go to the cancer camp, where she'll get to spend a week with other kids in the same terrible circumstance. I'd soon eat my words, because I spend spent an amazing, crazy, crazy week riding horses dancing during meals and generally forgetting about everything except being a kid again.
So for one week, I was normal, and that was everything in the world to me. But campers aren't the only people that get to experience this magic of camp. You walk into that place and you realize you really don't know how much time you have left, so you want to live a life that makes you happy, full, and free to be anything you want.
Because of camp and my responsible counselors, you truly believe you can do anything. What I wanted more than anything is to give back. So as soon as I was old enough, I volunteered at camp. Imagine my surprise when my first summer was spent shovelling horse poop in the barn. My dad told me that everyone has to start somewhere, but come on.
All joking aside, it doesn't matter if you're knee deep in horse poop, you can still make a difference in kids’ lives. Luckily I graduated from the horse barn, and today I'm one of the lucky individuals that gets to be a camp counselor all year long as a hospital outreach member. And for those of you who don't know what HOP is, we bring the magic of camp to the bedside of children in 20 hospitals throughout the northeast. Me and 15 other outreach specialists bring crafts, games.
Last week we brought a giant helium filled fish balloon that is remote controllable, and the kids were having a lot of fun with that.
But we also experience moments like this one individual patient who we've worked with for the past year, and unfortunately he's been only given a couple of months left. Even though they stopped all treatment, he insists for his mom to bring him to the hospital every Wednesday because he knows camp's going to be there, and he'll only talk to us. So that's pretty powerful, if I have anything to say about that.
So we'll visit more than 20,000 patients and families and staff members this upcoming year. We get to bring a treatment filled day for a chance for kids to be kids, have a little fun, and forget and remember what it's like to be a kid. So, Camp's a pretty important place.
I know firsthand, and I've seen it throughout all the years and everyone that goes there really appreciates any moment that they get to touch this magic, so thanks for being a part of it.
NATHAN GRUBE: Kimbo, thank you. This is one of my favorite days of the year because you are reminded of why we're doing what we're doing. And if we run a better golf tournament and if we recruit better fields and celebrities and we sell more tents that is the direct benefit. Plain and simple, 100% of everything this tournament makes goes back to our communities to over 100 charities and that is one of the most special charities I've been a part of.
I'm really excited. That's why we bring camp out to help us remind people that this is what this is about.
So, I held it together. That was close. But I'm going to introduce Tim Callahan. And Tim, I've had the privilege of working with Tim for a couple of years now. Actually more than that. But in his role as volunteer chair, I'm going to say this simply. When you see Tim in his red jacket, and there is a long, deep, rich history of people who wear red jackets behind Tim. Simply say thank you to them, because they represent the volunteer spirit and the actual volunteer hours that it takes to put this event on.
It takes 3500 volunteers to manage the Travelers Championship. 3500 people are willing to take vacation, give up a tee time they had somewhere else, go on a vacation, they could have been doing something else, but they chose to invest in this tournament.
Tim is our volunteer chair this year. That is what he does. He leads a team that does anything from concessions to laser scoring, to caddies, to all the operational stuff that it takes to manage this event. He's said I care about this event and what the end result is for this event, and I'm willing to sacrifice my time to be the volunteer chair.
So we're very privileged to have Tim Callahan as our volunteer chair this year, Tim.
TIM CALLAHAN: Good morning, everybody. It takes 3500 volunteers to run the tournament the entire week. It takes 1500 a day t run the tournament.
You ask yourself, where do 1500 volunteers go? As you drive into the tournaments and walk into the gates, you're walking through the grounds, you see nothing but a sea of red shirts. Those red shirts represent one word, that is volunteerism. These people come out every year and volunteer for the tournament to give back to the community.
We have over 26 subcommittees for this tournament every year. We have a job for everybody. Whether you want to work inside, air conditioning hospitality, job for you. Whether you want to be inside the ropes with the players, doing the scoring gallery, there is a job for you. You name it; we have a job for you.
Please go to our website, TravelersChampionship.com, click on volunteers and review the jobs. If you have any questions, let us know. Thank you.
NATHAN GRUBE: Everybody in this room can do one of three things to get involved with a Championship. You can be a charity. We can help you raise money through some of our programs. If you are a charity or sit on a board or know of a charity, send them our way. We can help them raise money. You can be a volunteer. You can volunteer for one shift, a number of shifts. We need volunteers. Or you can be a sponsor, and I have the privilege of introducing somebody who basically represents a company that encapsulates all of those.
St. Francis Volunteers, they sponsor; we work with them on the charity side of things. They are an incredible sponsor. We couldn't do what we're doing with this tournament without sponsors like St. Francis.
Real briefly, I know Chris is going to touch on this, but it's a refreshing experience to walk into a sponsor and say we have these ideas. You get about 30 seconds into your pitch, and they say we love it. Let's figure it out. Figure out how to do the details. You're like I haven't gotten through it.
When we pitch military appreciation, the baby shower that Chris is going to talk about, when we did these things, they're a company that understands what this event means to the community, and they love it. They invest in it, and they give their time and energy to the employees.
St. Francis represents all three of those categories. So I'm privileged to introduce CEO of St. Francis Cares, Chris Dadlez.
CHRIS DADLEZ: Before my comments, I have to tell you I'm very humbled following the hole in the wall gang folks here. They do incredible work. Also, I think that Andy's very humble himself. He's quite an athlete. I believe he's an Olympic athlete in the hammer throw, Andy? Long, long time ago, he said.
But can you imagine? He can make the hammer woosh. He said he couldn't make the ping pong balls woosh, but he can sure throw a hammer throw.
It is my honor to be here with you on behalf of Saint Francis Care. Frankly, the rewards of the Travelers Championship to Connecticut are many. We're indeed proud to call this gem of an event ours and our nation's to share. At Saint Francis, we understand the value that the tournament contributes to the overall health and well‑being of our state.
As such, we have proudly supported the championship for 23 years. For the 13th year in a row, we'll provide free, on‑course medical attention to players, fans, and volunteers. In addition, we anticipate hundreds of employees volunteering at the food concession tents, the fan zone, and the Patriots outpost.
This year we again share great enthusiasm for our involvement in the week‑long military appreciation salute for the armed service personnel. This program is our special way of saying thank you to those who served our country and serve it still today.
Our support for the military appreciation salute includes complimentary admission to the event for all active, reserve, and retired military service members and their dependents, as well as discounts for U.S. veterans. An enlarged climate controlled Patriots outpost, a gathering place for military personnel and their families that offers complimentary refreshments. A military caddie program, which will give active duty military an opportunity to carry the TOUR players bags for one hole during the Travelers Celebrity Pro‑Am, and an opportunity for three Birdies For the Brave Warriors to play a threesome in the Travelers Celebrity Pro‑Am.
This year with our partnership with the Travelers Championship and Birdies for the Brave, we are also pleased to present our Warriors with specially fitted Callaway golf clubs which they will be using during the Pro‑Am. In fact, all four of our Birdies For the Brave Warriors have been fitted by Callaway today on the practice facility earlier this morning. Would our four Warriors please stand to be recognized.
They are Michael Patrick Ryan, Christian Mines, Brian Ohler, and Sandra Lee.
Thank you for joining us today, and for your dedication and service to our country. Also a very special thanks to Callaway golf for making this a possibility. But finally, as Nathan indicated, this year we're also proud to sponsor a new program, Operation Shower, a national initiative which organizes baby showers for expectant military wives.
The baby shower will be held during the Travelers Championship week, benefiting 40 of our local military wives. We are truly and humbly honored to support these services, and we hope our military service members share our enthusiasm for this very special salute and tribute.
In closing, once again, we are pleased to support the championship at the presenting sponsor. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude to Championship's board of directors, Nathan Grube, his stellar staff, Andy Bessette, and the Travelers, the PGA TOUR, our Saint Francis employees, and the countless other volunteers who make this local event a national showcase. Thank you so much.
NATHAN GRUBE: Thank you very much. Now we'll get to Chris and Freddy. I said this a little bit ago about Chris and Freddy. There is always a story behind the story. We have the Travelers Championship and you get the charities and the impact of the event. I was looking at ways to introduce Chris and Freddy. They both have tremendous resumes. But I felt moved to share a little bit of the story behind the story.
I said earlier, to have Chris support this event as he does where he never asks for anything from us. He does so much behind the scenes, in front of the scenes. He is always accessible. He'll call me when the time change is 11 hours different, if I leave him a message. He's very accessible and cares about this event and what it means for the community.
Couple years ago Chris called me and said, Nathan, I need a favor. And time kind of stops in your head. It's like, oh, man, he's calling it in. What do I need to do? Both my kids are already named. All right. What can I do? He says, I need a couple tickets for my dry cleaner. He really wants to go to the tournament. I said, Chris, we can do that. That is not a problem. But that is the extent of what Chris has ever asked from me, from the tournament.
I made a correlation between he and Chi‑Chi Rodriguez. I still don't know if you like that or not. But for Chi‑Chi, for those of you who have ever been around Chi‑Chi, he will spend every minute signing autographs, talking to people if he's ever in a crowd. He'll sit down, and the line will go a mile, and he will talk to every single person and sign every single autograph.
If you've ever been with Chris in public, that's what he will do. Nobody walks away thinking that guy's a jerk. Everybody walks away and says I can't believe me and Chris are having lunch next week, which somehow he make it's work, but everybody's his friend. He's a genuine, kind man, and we benefit so much from him.
And Freddy, his resume is impressive. As a professional golfer, to be at the peak of your game and perform the way he does as an athlete, it's very impressive. He's won three times in Europe and done very well on the PGA TOUR.
The story, but Andy referenced Freddy as a person. Last year we win. I'm walking Freddy up the chute on 18. I'm sure Freddy has a number of things going on. Thank Callaway, they've been my sponsor for this long. I've got to sign my scorecard, I've got to do this. His world is just falling on his shoulders, okay, what's about to happen to me.
And this little kid and this mom say, Freddy, can we get your autograph? And he's got to go sign his scorecard or else this win becomes irrelevant. He says I'll be right back, I promise, and he kept walking. The words kind of rung in my head like, yeah, right he's coming back. Just because I know what's going to happen over the next couple hours.
So we go off, go do media tent, and it's an hour and a half later. And there is nobody left on the course. Freddy and I are walking by ourselves back from the media tent to the clubhouse. And he said, hey, where's that little boy and that mom? And I acted like I knew what he was talking about. And I said, oh, I forgot, the kid.
We said we were going to meet him on the green. Sure enough they're standing there, and this mother had this look on her face like Santa Claus had walked around the corner. She said, I told my kid you're coming back. I so did not want to be a liar, and I'm so glad you actually did. And he wasn't surprised. He was like, well, of course, I said I was going to come back. Here you go. That is the type of character that Freddy has. We're very proud that he is our champion.
We did a little video with the PGA TOUR, so we're going to show that really quick on Freddy, and then we'll have Freddy and Chris.
NATHAN GRUBE: Ladies and gentlemen, Chris Berman, and Freddy Jacobson.
CHRIS BERMAN: Our champ, ladies and gentlemen. We decided this morning, the new Travelers, what do you think? Masters is green? What do you think? We're going with it. We can make that happen, right? By the way, welcome back home, Freddy.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Thank you.
CHRIS BERMAN: How about that table tennis paddle there? When Sam Sneed won, they put the prize money in that box, now a little different. How about that?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, thank you very much. I thought it was a really cool gift. Any little memorabilia or special things you can keep, obviously the Travelers Championship and the TPC River Highlands will always mean a lot to me. It will always be the first place, hopefully not the only place, but the first place I won in the U.S. So it's going to hold a very special place, and the paddle here will be a symbol for that. Thank you very much.
CHRIS BERMAN: I know you got in late last night and it's been raining, in case no one noticed. Good day for the Travelers, good publicity with the umbrellas. But just being here even being in the clubhouse, you're making looking out the window. Yeah, there is the first. There's 18. Do you feel like, wow, you can't dwell so much on the past, but you have to pause and think about it today?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, definitely. As we were riding up here today and coming back, even just getting to the hotel last night, we don't get a chance to enjoy old moments for too long in golf. It's a game that will bring us back to keep us humble, or bring us back to the present or you're not going to do very well.
So it was pretty cool to come back today and get to see familiar faces and get to come back in the clubhouse, see the course, and just have a little bit to get the kind of experience or feel some of the feelings again that I did feel coming into last summer.
Q. To win on Tour, you won in Europe and have been close, but to win on Tour, what do you take? Hey, I won on Tour? I'm now able to do what?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Well, that was my mentality before the week when I came in that I wanted to jump ahead and do things because I felt I was playing well coming into the championship here. I actually did‑‑ it obviously gave me a huge boost of confidence that I took with me for the rest of the season and hopefully onwards, too.
Like I've done with certain upsets before, I've just tried to leave it behind at that point. Take some good stuff out of it and enjoy the moment. But also I tried to do the same thing with my family time at home. After this week, I had a couple of weeks at home, just tried to be with my kids and leave the golf behind a little bit. Because I'd experienced such a high this week being in contention all week, the U.S. Open the week before that it was kind of well‑needed to put my head on something else and not run ahead too quickly, and just get to enjoy it for a little bit.
CHRIS BERMAN: We saw there, you made a promise to your children. Dad, did you bring a trophy? No, not this week. So you come home with the trophy, what did you do with it as a family?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, well, when I first came back and I had the trophy in my hand, the kids asked straightaway if they could fill it up with candy which wasn't a problem. We filled it up easily enough. I think we helped out a little bit finishing that off too.
But it makes you realize what you tell your kids you've really got to mean what you tell them. It makes me watch my tongue going forward, because it wasn't that fun up until the summer when they ask every week. You've been in contention. And I was quite a lot last year. I think my wife played a part in it saying oh, daddy has a chance to win that trophy. Shh, take it easy now. I'm going to get to eat it up on Sunday if it doesn't happen, and it happened a lot of times.
So I haven't made any promises to them for anymore trophies at this point.
Q. But that candy buzz lasted all summer, didn't it? Halloween in June, July, right?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, it was a fun time.
Q. Which talked this morning at the Alliance breakfast. But now let's take the family to The Masters this year. You had played in it before. But your little guy was your caddie on the par‑3 day. He's not as tall as the bag, right?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: No, he had the suit on, the little white suit. He looked good having a Masters cap on. But I ended up with the bag on my shoulders. It kind of kept him psyched up about hitting the shot on the last hole, the ninth hole, which is all water after the green. I'd been practicing the week before when I was home, having him hit some in the yard a little bit, and just preparing him that it's going to hit in the water. So don't be upset now if you don't hit the green. But he hit a nice shot into the water on nine.
So I was able to sign some autographs on the way up to the green, so that was pretty cool.
Q. Back to here. Your win, you shot beautifully all week, but it wasn't as if you were four strokes behind and I'm going to go out and see what happens, then overtake and sit in the clubhouse and end up winning. Here you are coming in at the end knowing well, these two guys have posted. I've got a one‑shot lead. You're looking at the board. What did you learn about yourself because one bad swing, and the whole dream goes out the window, perhaps? So I've got a par 17 which is not easy, and par 18, which is not easy. Your 17 par was tough. What did you learn about yourself to win that way?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Well, I took‑‑ I actually didn't have‑‑ well, I had a clue how I was standing, but I didn't know exactly how I was standing coming down the last couple of holes. So I made a conscious effort to not look at any scoreboards because it doesn't make it any easier when you're after the first one to know exactly you see somebody's breathing down your neck down the stretch and maybe jumping ahead. So I really wanted to stay in the moment and just take a shot at the time, which is tough when you come down the last few holes.
17 was a huge part of it. I was glad I didn't know how I was standing at that point, because I would have fallen one behind if I messed up, but that was probably one of the best putts I've hit.
18, Ryan made a bogey down the last, which I didn't know about. But I hit my second shot and I looked at the board. I was going to hit that shot no matter what my position was. I was glad I was in the fairway and had a shot that didn't really change. If I was in the rough or a fairway bunker, I probably would have changed the target a little bit, but I had a shot that made it a little easier to just keep playing.
I think that's one of the things for us to stay away from look at leaderboards, as many of them as there are these days and as many people that want to say something as you walk around down the stretch. It's tough not to know.
I know in Hong Kong when I was there for my first European win, we got a ride to the hole, and some guy is like, hey, man, you're two ahead. You're two ahead. Come on, you know.
So whether you make an effort or not, it might pop up along the way, and you've got to try to get back at any shot.
Q. Yeah, we have that problem in our member guests. We know that we're ahead. The week before, we didn't talk about this this morning. The week before at the Open when you played really well, they put together by country, we had three Swedes, we had three Italians, we had three Englishmen, three Frenchmen. You guys were having a ball. I remember that. That may not mean much at the moment, but I remember you had a blast. By the way, we made our own competition on TV. You guys didn't know that. You guys had a big second day and you were a big part of it. But what was that like? We assume, we play with three guys in our own country all the time. To play with two other countrymen, what was that like?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, it was different because all three of us, Henrik Stenson, (Indiscernible) used to play 36 to 54 holes every day after the summer. We grew up and played sock soccer together since we were five years old. We were best mates all the time. So to get to play in the U.S. Open together was a pretty cool experience because we were the two that kept telling each other, we're going to make it on Tour. We're going to go out there together and play together. So to be together on the biggest stage and both getting up to a pretty good start the first day, yeah, it was a cool experience.
Henrik is also from the Gothenburg area, so we're all on the junior teams together and all that stuff.
What they didn't think about is Swedish players were all pretty methodical. So we probably finished five holes down from the group in front. So apart from that, it was a good time.
Q. You say you play 54 in a day, but in Sweden the sun doesn't go down or almost. O you could tee off at 4 in the afternoon and get 54 in, right?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Almost, almost. We don't have any carts. If we had carts, we could probably do it. Yeah, it's great. The summer days are so beautiful. The light is special in the summers. There is nothing better than in the states when you were a kid and you just want to play nine more or play another round. You're playing at 10:00 in the evening, and your eyes adapt. It's getting a little dark, but it's still very playable. We had a lot of fun like that.
Q. We talked about this morning. Here's Sam Sneed's name, Arnold Palmer, Billy Casper. Everybody but Nicholas, here's Lee Trevino, Greg Norman, Nick Price, here's Phil Mickelson and we could go on and on. You're the second. First Jacobson, but you guys now have three. Three different decades, very impressive. What's it mean not only to win, but to win a tournament with such history and to be on there with some of the greats of all time in this sport?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, it's humbling when you look at the names on the trophy. When I first started peaking at it, I don't think I quite realized how long the tournament had been around for and the history of it. So I found out afterwards it was Arnold Palmer's first win. My neighbor quickly mentioned that he wanted‑‑
Q. Quickly mentioned?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah. All the rest of the names, Peter Jacobson, and we always have a good laugh when I see him. But all the big name players. It's special to be a part of that group.
Q. We saw on that video, it looked like you were hitting a Diablo driver. Can you tell us how guys change real fast on the Tour as far as your equipment?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, I played the Diablo last year, and I really liked the driver. It was good. They came out with the RAZR Fit driver at the end of last year. So we had the adjustability to that. It's fairly similar. You can do more with it, and open the face, close the face. So I switched at the end of last year and played a couple of weeks in Asia and drove the ball really good there. Finished third and second the first two weeks. Then I was hooked.
Q. Do you feel like you like the way you're playing this year?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, I really like the way I came out of last season. I was injury‑free all year. I didn't have any colds or anything, so I could get my workouts through the year and do all the work I wanted to do.
Q. What about your irons?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I play the Diablos. They're a little bit older, but forgiving.
Obviously, we're coming off with a lot of momentum last year: the win here, the U.S. Open, British Open, the last two events. We're excited about coming into training and to build on that. But got injured and was out of commission for three months.
I've been considering that and building it back up the last three or four weeks. I've been feeling really good, and coming back to normal distances to where I felt I couldn't quite go as hard as I wanted, but at least I could get into playing again. So I'm excited about where I'm at at the moment trainingwise.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I don't know. I'd probably be guessing like everybody else. I don't know if it's coincidence or what it is. Maybe it is. I can only think of one thing that I felt that probably helped me last year was coming out, as you mentioned, with all the attention and that I played pretty well, that you're used to all the media and the hype.
So it kind of feels a little relaxing going back to a regular PGA TOUR event. So you come from the extreme to come back to normal, which makes normal feel even less. I think maybe that takes a little bit of pressure off when the media, leading into the last couple of days when you're trying to win the tournament, doesn't feel as intense as it would normally.
Q. It also helps, we should remind everyone. Made one bogey all week. The last time anybody played a four‑rounds in a PGA event without a bogey was Lee Trevino in the '70s. It must have been the water you were drinking or something, right? Did you just know you were hitting it pure? Did you just know? That's pretty good, you know?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, I think at Torrey Pines I went about the same like from Palm Springs one round, and then two and a half rounds at Torrey Pines. Like 63 holes, and out of 57 holes in a row in Palm Springs my first tournament one year. I thought, this is going to be a heck of a year.
If you start off with 57 holes without a bogey. But once the first one rolled in, I had a few. But I was lucky enough to stop the bleeding there.
Q. Who is the best ping pong player on Tour?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Putting me on the spot there, aren't you? Well, with that paddle, I think I'll be the best one.
Q. Do you guys play any tournaments in this?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: No, we haven't had anything.
Q. Who is the best surfer on Tour? You like to surf?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: No, that's not me. I like it a lot, but I'm far from that.
Q. You have a new surfboard, right? But who is that? Who is the best surfer?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I probably have the most surfboards for somebody that can't really surf. I probably only have gotten up on my feet on half of the boards that I have.
Q. How about the paddle board? Have you tried that yet?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I had one, and I sold it. I crashed too much. That board was running me over, it was too many things to keep track of there.
Q. Surfing not a big Swedish thing. A little chilly up there. Florida's a little different. 2003 you were the leading point‑getter with the Ryder Cup year. What are your thoughts for the European Tour?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Well, yeah, it becomes‑‑ those things become a little bit of a political question, I guess. You have two interests. You want to have the best Ryder Cup team possible for the matches.
On the other hand, I understand what the European Tour is doing to benefit the players that commit to the European Tour. It's a way to secure players and to sell sponsorships and create great purses, basically. But it's a tough one.
If I lived in Europe and played full‑time on the European Tour, my outlook would have been different than it is when I live and play here. So I can see both sides of it. Obviously living and playing here, I would love to play on the Ryder Cup, it's just tough too juggle two Tours and a family at the same time, no matter how much you want to play in the Ryder Cup. It's a lot to sacrifice to go and play two Tours and you've made up your mind that you're living and playing in one place.
I want to make it around this year. If I feel I'm in position coming into the summer that I have a realistic or good chance to make the team, but to go over and try to fly back and forth too much is very difficult.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, it's amazing how some things come back. I left the ping pong behind 20‑plus years ago, and I picked the paddle up and played it a couple of times. Now it's all coming back. It was a fun thing the Tour did. They organized an event with a guy I think of Chinese heritage but living in America. He had won the New York Open for under 21, I think. He went to China every summer to have his training and practice. He was a really good player. That really put us on the spot where some cameras, and all the other players coming up there, and the caddies.
The guy showed up in a pair of regular shoes and big training overalls or like older gear. I thought, wow. He's really taking it easy. My goal was first of all to get him to take off the jacket and that stuff. I was kind of happy that after ten minutes he was starting to tie his shoes and get ready. I took that as a sign that at least he thought there was a little bit of competition.
Q. You mentioned that you played hockey in your younger days. Do you follow any of the NHL?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, I don't get to watch as much as I'd like on TV. But I go down and watch a few Panthers games. I try to watch that most seasons. A lot of times I go down when the Rangers are playing. Henrik Lundquist used to play for the team in Sweden from the area I'm from. He was always a superb goalkeeper. So fun to watch him play over here and doing so well.
Q. What would you tell‑‑ because, look, there are six or seven Swedish players that have won on our Tour, won on the European Tour. Yet we talked golf in Sweden is very popular, but yet do you think your win, Freddy can be inspirational to someone 8, 10? You picked up a club at 10. You were a 40 handicap, and at 15 you were a scratch. We all don't lower our handicap 40 shots in five years. But how is golf in Sweden at the moment? Do you feel there are kids looking up to you that you won an event in the United States?
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Yeah, I'm sure these days it's broadcasted a lot of the tournaments are. Unfortunately, golf is on a channel where you have to buy a certain package to get to see the golf, so that limits the audience a little bit, unfortunately, especially for the kids.
I think any wins that Swedish players do across the world will inspire the younger kids to aspire to reach the same levels or higher. I just feel the last two years, unfortunately, golf hasn't been growing the same way as it was when we picked up the game in the '80s and '90s.
There were too many of us, the kids that were there. We'd spend the whole summer there practicing and playing. There are a lot of other things at the moment in Sweden that kids are interested in that doesn't make them want to put in what we were put ting in in those days. I think therefore we haven't had as many players come up in the last decade.
We've had so many players come up in the '90s and maybe just past the Millennium. But after that, there haven't been as many. Hopefully we can get them to pick up. Carl Petterson had a nice win here at Hilton Head that week. So we can hopefully keep inspiring them to get the game to grow again.
Q. You've come to understand not only the duration of the tournament. But while we've heard in Kimbo, we've seen our young men and women in the military you've gone back, you're one of us now, you know that? They embrace you. You may have a Swedish and Florida residence, but you don't have to have a home here. You're one of us now.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: Thank you, sir.
CHRIS BERMAN: So why don't we welcome him into our community, officially. And if we'll just say the following as Nathan comes up.
Last year we had Bubba sitting here, Masters. Couple years ago we had Kenny Perry sitting here, almost The Masters, the Cabrera playoff. Couple years before, we had Stewart Cink sitting here, British Open. Your turn. You're on.
NATHAN GRUBE: No pressure there Freddy at all.
FREDRIK JACOBSON: I do want to say that I'm so happy to get to see everything that Nathan does. We've known each other for a while now. And what you're doing today and everybody else, and the tremendous stories up here; it's nice to get to see up close what everybody does for a tournament that we don't normally get to see.
We come in and everything is kind of teed up for us. We come in, Slaughter the place for a week, take divots and just get out on Sunday. We've got the best conditions wherever we play.
I just want to thank all of you for everything that you do. I'm really impressed with the work you do, Nathan, and what Travelers is doing for the area, and for the PGA TOUR, and for all of us. Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports