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WGC BRIDGESTONE INVITATIONAL MEDIA DAY
May 30, 2012
DON PADGETT:¬† Thank you all for being here, members of the media and participants of The First Tee of Cleveland, our volunteers.
First off I would like to thank the Cleveland Browns for treating us all like VIPs today, a round of applause for the Browns, thank you very much.¬† I hope everyone had some fun earlier today.¬† We mixed football and golf together and had some fun giving some money to charities, and it really helps us highlight that two signature sports franchises in Northeast Ohio, Cleveland Browns and the World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational.
We are only two months away from our PGA TOUR event, August 1 through 5.¬† It's right around the corner and hospitality and ticket sales are going well.¬† It's that support that helps us raise charitable funds and proceeds that go back to so many charities all throughout our area.¬† The First Tee of Cleveland is one of those beneficiaries.¬† Last year we were able to give back over $870,000 in conjunction with our partner, Northern Ohio Golf Charities.¬† So it's the community, the event, we appreciate all of the community support and we look forward to another great event this year.
I would also like to thank our thousand volunteers, some of which are here today.¬† They make our event great.¬† They are the backbone of our event.¬† They are a thousand strong, and it's a staff of only four people and a thousand volunteers; it gives you an idea of the labor and time and commitment that the volunteers put in, and we can't thank them enough.
The South Course of Firestone Country Club is in great shape; with the warm spring weather we have had, we could play the tournament this week if we needed to.¬† The pros always look forward to coming back and playing, it's one of their favorite tracks.
We also have a field that is second to none.¬† We are one of only eight or ten places in the whole world to get the best of the best golfers year-in and year-out and this year will be no exception.
We are pleased to report early commitments officially committed to the event we have Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy, Masters Champion Bubba Watson, PLAYERS Champion Matt Kuchar, Ernie Els, just to name a few, and the list goes on and on.¬† So we encourage everybody to come out and see the world's best golfers in person at Firestone from August 1 through 5.¬†
We are really pleased to report today an economic activity study that we did in conjunction with Cypress Research Group.¬† We did a study on the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational and questionnaire with participants, spectators, volunteers, and over $21 million of sales comes each year from the Bridgestone Invitational alone.¬† Even in this economic downturn, it's job creation, and over 300 jobs that are created as a result of the Bridgestone Invitational each year.¬† Coupling that with the charitable proceeds that we just mentioned, we are proud to be a vital part of making northern Ohio strong, and we look forward to being here in the future.
We do have some new things in our 2012 event, some new partnerships.¬† We are partnering with the Susan G. Komen of Northeast Ohio for the Cure to kick off on tournament on Sunday, July 29 with a walk to raise money to cure breast cancer.¬† The walk will start in Akron at the Bridgestone Technical Center and the Firestone Softball Stadium, and they expect a couple of thousand people to walk up Main Street, and Firestone Country Club will have a survivor ceremony at the 18th green.
We are really excited to be partnered with Susan G. Komen on this, and we encourage everybody who wants to walk and help raise money to be a part of that cause and to be a part of that.¬† If you are interested in that, the web site is www.komenneohio.org.
Also on Tuesday July 31, we have an Executive Women's Day, so we will have a panel discussion, moderated by Ramona Robertson, Virginia Albany, Jennifer Deutsche, and Chris Karbowiak, chief compliance officer of Bridgestone America will also be part of that morning program.¬† And then we are excited to have Renee Powell, one of the first African American LPGA golfers will be our keynote speaker, and we will do a behind-the-scenes tour as well and then optional golf at Firestone.¬† So we encourage anybody that's interested in that to call our office as well.
Keeping along with the Susan G. Komen theme, we are excited to do a Pink Out during our final round on Sunday August 5.¬† So we are encouraging all spectators to wear pink, and our players, caddies, officials, really to raise money and create awareness for breast cancer; so we are excited to have some fun with that as well.
I want to open it up to the group to see if there's any questions about this year's event or past event.
Q.¬† When is the best time for autographs?
DON PADGETT:¬† Pros are very accessible.¬† I would say late morning to early afternoon you're going to either catch the pros on their morning practice session or afternoon practice session, pictures are encouraged that day.¬† So that would be the best day to get them.¬† You can get them after the rounds on other days but I would think your best bet would be Wednesdays.
Q.¬† How many people come out for the week?
DON PADGETT:¬† In the neighborhood of 75,000 to 80,000 for the week.¬† Like I said before, Northeast Ohio and even outside of Northeast Ohio always supports the event and we look forward to the same this year.
For those that don't know, The First Tee is a great program that we are proud to support that teaches kids life skills through the game of golf, and one fun event that we have during our tournament week on Tuesday, the Firestone Public Nine, we do the ACME Fresh Market Cup.
So there are three chapters in our area from chief land, Akron and Canton, they have a Presidents Cup/Ryder Cup-type style nine-hole match on that Tuesday morning, and then they are going to come out and watch the pros practice as they get ready for the Bridgestone.¬† We look forward to that event, as well.¬† So that's the ACME Fresh Market Cup, should be a lot of fun, and The First Tee of Cleveland is a proud supporter of that.¬† We look forward to having them back there at the tee.
Now let's turn it over to Chris Reimer, our PGA TOUR communications manager, and here shortly we'll have Adam Scott on the line, our 2011 Bridgestone Invitational Champion.¬† Thanks everyone, for being here.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Thank you, Don.
Also, everyone in this room that's 18 and under will get into the tournament for free, and that goes for the entire tournament, not just the kids in this room but the youth policy of the Bridgestone Invitational is to let all children in 18 and under for free.¬† So if you know somebody that coaches a soccer team, they can bring all the kids out, as long as they are with a ticketed adult, and that's all week long, Wednesday through Sunday of tournament week.
That's a new initiative and you don't find that at a lot of other sporting events, especially sporting events that get the top athletes in their field like the Bridgestone Invitational.¬† It really encourages the growth of the game, much like The First Tee does, and we are excited about that.
Talking a little about last year's event, Adam's victory last year at the 2011 Bridgestone Invitational was pretty phenomenal.¬† That Sunday morning there was a buzz in the air, Adam was in the final group with Steve Williams on his bag as his caddie in a final pairing with Ryo Ishikawa, just an absolute phenom from Japan, and Bridgestone being a Japanese-based company with obviously a strong presence in America, as well, but there was just a buzz in the air.
It was exciting.¬† I walked the first few holes with Adam and Ryo and watched the media follow them around the course, and to watch the way that Adam Scott played on that Sunday, kind of on the back nine, on the 15th hole, he made a clutch ten-foot birdie putt to finish at 17-under, and he won his eighth PGA TOUR event, 19th time around the globe.¬†
And he took down not only Ryo Ishikawa, but other players on top of the leaderboard were Luke Donald, Rickie Fowler, Jason Day, some of the main young names in golf and that's what you'll find at this year's event, with Tiger not winning as much as he has in the past, you've got some names, now some of the new, young and up-and-coming players, whether it's Bubba Watson with his thrilling Masters victory or Rickie Fowler or Rory McIlroy or Matt Kuchar, names that Don spoke of that have committed to the event.
We are seeing some really exciting times in golf and the field you're going to get at the Bridgestone Invitational is second to none and it's going to be an exciting tournament.
Adam Scott has finished in the Top-20 in five of the six stroke-play events he's played, including a tie for 8th at the Masters.¬† He's teeing it up just down the road at the Memorial Tournament in Columbus, playing for the seventh time in his career.¬† His best finish was a tie for fourth in 2006.
Adam is one of the gentleman of the game.¬† I spent a lot of time with him down in The Presidents Cup in Australia I can't this past November and the amount of time he spends with fans and donating to charity is really an inspiration to see.
Q.¬† Talking about the great field, what are the qualifications?
CHRIS REIMER:¬† The eligibility for the Bridgestone Invitational, first of all it's a World Golf Championships event and what that means is it's not just your average PGA TOUR event.¬† The World Golf Championships takes the tours from all over the world:¬† So whether it's a European Tour player, the Japanese Golf Tour, the Sunshine Tour in South Africa or the PGA TOUR, Canadian Tour, the Tour de Las Americas, they take certain qualifications from every single tour.¬† So you win an event that has a certain strength of field, no matter what tour it's on, you're in the Bridgestone Invitational.
So first of all, you have a field of champions.¬† After that, it's the Top-50 players in the world; and if you represent your country in either The Presidents Cup or The Ryder Cup, you get into the field.
So it's a unique field.¬† It's a small field.¬† There's no cut.¬† A normal-sized field is about 144.¬† I think we average about 80 players in the field.¬† It's also a field in which you get to see some of the players from across the pond first.¬† Rory McIlroy played in the World Golf Championships before he ever really made it to the normal, average PGA TOUR events.¬† Charl Schwartzel before he won the Masters, you found him at World Golf Championships.¬† A guy like Branden Grace, who you may not have heard of, but he's on The European Tour, and he's won three times on The European Tour and is kind of the next great South African golfer; he'll be there, and you'll see him before he kind of plays on a normal PGA TOUR schedule.
So it's a different kind of eligibility but one that provides the top players, and also some of the newer players from other tours.
Q.¬† Who is the youngest ever to play?
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Probably Ryo.¬† It's funny, he's been around a while.¬† It was the World Golf Championships at Doral last year, he missed because he wanted to go to his high school graduation (laughter).¬† That was interesting.
And then even a guy like Rickie Fowler, Rory McIlroy, seems like they have been around forever, and they are only 22, 23 years old.
Adam, how is it going?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Very good, thanks.¬† How are you?
CHRIS REIMER:¬† I'm doing wonderful.¬† We are here at the Cleveland Browns stadium with a number of first tee participants and members of the media here in Cleveland, Ohio and we wanted to thank you for joining us.¬† Maybe if you can open with some comments, just looking back at your victory last year at Firestone.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Well, it was a significant victory but a special victory for me; to win a World Golf Championships, and to win at a club like the Firestone Country Club that I've been watching throughout my whole career.¬† I think great players play there and win there, and to be one of them is very special.¬† So certainly one of the biggest wins in my career.¬† Something that I'll remember for a long time.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Can you maybe just talk about what is it about Firestone Country Club that the players seem to love so much?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Well, it's a great, traditional-style golf course.¬† It's quite tree-lined and challenging in that respect, pretty small greens, but it's also in immaculate condition.¬† It's got absolutely everything going for it.¬† It's one of those stops on TOUR that we all look forward to.
It's now highlighted as a World Golf Championships, makes it even that much better, and everyone is very excited to get there.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Before you joined the call, I had a great question about the field and what makes it special.¬† You guys get fired up to play against the best players in the world and that's what a World Golf Championships offers.¬† Just talk about that and what the difference is in a World Golf Championships compared to maybe other events out there.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Well, it's just only a few times a year that we get to play against all of the best players in the world, and that's the great concept with the World Golf Championships, is bringing the players who play well in South Africa and Japan and Korea, and anyone who has got the chance to qualify gets to come and play.
So you're really playing against the strongest field that can be put together over a 12-month period.¬† You know, certainly to come out on top one of those weeks is a great feeling.¬† But the concept of that is fantastic because we all want to test ourselves against the best player.¬†
Q.¬† Do kangaroos ever bother the golfers in Australia?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† No, Kanga radios, there are lots of kangaroos on the courses at home but they know not to bother the golfers.¬† They are very relaxed and, well, sometimes we have to stay out of their way because they are pretty big, too.
Q.¬† What is the most important piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
ADAM SCOTT: ¬†That's a really good question, too.¬† You get given so much advice, and I've had a lot of great advice over the years.¬† And at different times, things resonate with me differently.
I think you've just got to be honest with yourself and that's always a good one.¬† If you're honest with yourself, you can make a good assessment of lots of different things in life.¬† But certainly with my golf game, you have to be honest with yourself.
Q.¬† Is there a program like First Tee in Australia?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† There are.¬† All of the different states, we have six different states in Australia and all of the states have junior golf programs, which certainly encourage juniors to get into the game of golf and provide them with weekly clinics and competitions, things like that.¬† It's not exactly the same as The First Tee and certainly provides very similar things.
Q.¬† What made you get into golf?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Well, I have a golfing family.¬† My dad is a really good golfer, and so is my mom, actually, which is interesting.¬† But it's been in the family ever since I can remember so I was taken out to the golf course when I was just a little kid and fell in love with it from there.¬† I played a lot of sports when I was younger, but eventually just ended up playing golf.
Q.¬† If you could play golf with anyone who, would it be?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I think if I could play golf with any three players I wanted, I would probably pick my dad, Jack Nicklaus and Greg Norman.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Not a bad list at all.
Q.¬† What is at Adam Scott Foundation?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† We started the Adam Scott Foundation in Australia in 2005 to help under privileged youth, and there are two really big focuses that we have at the moment, and one is we run an autism grants program to help families out who have autistic children.¬† We provide them with lots of different things, but we ran a program providing them with iPads with special software that's required.
Also, a big focus on education and we run scholarships for people who can't afford to go to university through Griffith University at home in Australia.¬† They are our two main focuses and we have put a fair few kids through college and we have helped out hundreds of families that have daily battles with having an autistic child.
Q.¬† How old were you when you started golfing?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I was about five or six years old when I really first ever played on a golf course.¬† I think I played in my backyard before then, but I was about five or six when I first-ever went on a golf course.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Way better questions than the media, don't you think, Adam?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Absolutely.¬† Much better, yeah.
Q.¬† Do you ever answer fan mail?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, I try and answer as much as I possibly can.¬† I have an office and about once a month, there's a big pile of envelopes come from my office to me, and we sit there, and most of the fan mail is just looking for an autograph, so I sign a lot of things.
But I do keep a couple of letters that I've got recently that were really nice, and very much appreciated.¬† So I do get to see everything that comes through, and about once a month, we do a big signing that takes a little while.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† You mentioned one of the folks you played golf with would be Jack Nicklaus.¬† Have you run into Mr. Nicklaus this week, or any stories from the Memorial where obviously Mr. Nicklaus has a big presence?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, sure, I bumped into him yesterday.¬† Just the usual hi in passing, and it's always great to be here and be around him.¬† Any chance you get, it's incredible.¬† He's the greatest player that's ever lived, and there are always some funny stories.
But I remember sitting in the locker room a few years ago complaining about how they were raking the bunkers differently here, but I didn't know he was sitting right behind me (laughing).¬† And he leaned over and he says, "Well, you can play out the other way if you want, Adam."¬†¬†
CHRIS REIMER:¬† We were in the locker room during a rain delay last year, and I won't mention him by name but one of the PGA TOUR staff members asked for an Arnold Palmer in the locker room at Jack's event.¬† And the locker room attendant just said, "We call those 50/50s here.¬† We don't call them Arnold Palmers."¬† That was a good one.
Just talk about your game, how you're playing and how your year has shaped up, and you're heading into an important run in the early summer and how that will lead into the Bridgestone Invitational.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, it's a very important time of year.¬† This is now a time where pretty of every week we play for the next two months is really big golf.¬† It's big tournaments with strong fields starting here at Memorial, which is obviously a great venue, and then heading into the U.S. Open and the summer golf, and then pretty soon we'll be at the Bridgestone Invitational.
Again, another huge event.¬† So this is a great time to really come into some form.¬† I've been playing consistently well this year, but not quite putting four solid days together.
So I've been working hard the last couple weeks on all areas of my game, just to make sure that they are feeling good, but now it's time to really knuckle down and try and put four solid days together, something I haven't really done this year.
But as soon as I know that, I know the results are going to come, it's a great time of year to start playing well and I would like to build up my confidence through the summer and also have a great shot at trying to defend my Bridgestone Invitational title.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† As I was preparing for today's press conference, I looked up your result, and just wondered, did you maybe take a little more time off earlier in the year, or is your schedule different?¬† Coming off of The Presidents Cup, it looked like maybe a busy winter.¬† Are you re-tooling your schedule or is that pretty much the norm for you, the events you played this spring?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Unfortunately I missed the two events in Hawai'i at the start of the year.¬† I had a tonsillectomy in December and was not able to play, so I missed two events that I normally play in.
But I didn't really feel it necessary to jump back out and make up for them.¬† I've played a lot of golf tournaments now and didn't feel I needed to make them up.¬† Hopefully if I get four rounds put together now, I can make up some grounds that I lost earlier in the year and get back on track in the FedExCup and try and win some golf tournaments.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Did you get to eat some ice cream with the tonsillectomy?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† That was the best part about it.
Q.¬† Did the tonsillectomy affect your ability to play early, or have any lingering effects?¬† Has it had any effect on your season?¬† Or is it just sometimes in golf, having four on consecutive rounds, it's a process, as they say.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, it's a bit of a process.¬† It has not had any lingering effects.¬† There's been enough good stuff there.¬† But it seems like one day let's me down every week, and, look, I put that -- it's a bit of everything.¬† I haven't quite hit it as close this year and I haven't made quite as many putts as I did last year.¬† It's a little bit of everything but if that tightens up, there's plenty of good signs.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† For the kids here from The First Tee, golf is an interesting sport in that you don't win probably 99 percent of the time or 90 percent of the time.¬†
Just talk about how you deal with that and how you continue to work hard and push forward when you have to define success in other ways maybe than victory.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, absolutely, you have to learn, you have to learn how to lose and lose gracefully I guess, because that's what you do most of the time.
But you can have fine success just within yourself in this game, and push yourself always.¬† And that may not be even to win a tournament.
Sometimes a successful week can be that you putted better that week than the week before, and you can take success out of that and that can give you motivation to spur you on to keep working and get better and see how good you can actually become.
Q.¬† How is your surfing going, Adam?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Yeah, I haven't surfed very much at all this year since I left from Australia.¬† So I'm actually going to be getting near the water next week on the West Coast before the U.S. Open, so maybe I'll get a chance to have a wave.¬† But I'd have to say I'm pretty rusty at the moment.
Q.¬† How do you balance your practice schedule or how much exactly do you practice on a given day or a given week?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† I practice a lot when I'm at home.¬† I try and put in all of the work at home and then when I get to the tournament, I'm just here to play.¬† And I don't try and -- don't try and get mechanical at a tournament.¬† I just go out and pick a target and hit it at it, and hope that the work I've done at home is enough to prepare myself to play well that week.
So I really enjoy practicing at home.¬† I have a lovely practice range to go and hit balls at, and it varies, but you know, a few hours each day is probably the minimum.
Q.¬† Have you ever had anything customized and if so, has it helped you do better when you're golfing?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Well, I guess all of my clubs are actually customized.¬† I play all Titleist clubs, and before I use any of them, I get to go and have them fit specifically for me.¬† So I do believe that getting your clubs fit for you is a big advantage, and absolutely.¬† So, the answer is yes, I have most everything customized for me.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† One of the nice things about being on TOUR is that you go into the equipment trucks is that they have stacks and stacks as you can imagine.
Q.¬† If you only had three clubs to play with, which clubs would they be?
ADAM SCOTT:¬† If I only had three, I think I'd have to take a driver, because that's the most fun club for me to play with.¬† Maybe a 7-iron and a putter.¬† I think I could get it around with that.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† We want to thank you, Adam, that concludes our presentation today.
Again, thanks to the Cleveland Browns for the use of these great facilities and all of the media here for helping us get the message out about this great tournament not just from the competition standpoint but as you can see what it does for Northeast Ohio and the community.¬† Tickets for the Bridgestone Invitational are all on sale, so you can buy tickets on WorldGolfChampionships.com.
Thanks again to everyone for coming and thanks, Adam, for joining us today.
ADAM SCOTT:¬† Thanks, everyone, and look forward to seeing you in Akron.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports