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December 18, 2012

Steve Shannon

Steve Stricker

CHRIS REIMER:テつ I'm Chris Reimer, communications manager for the PGA TOUR, and while my kids are counting down the days until Christmas, I'm counting down the days until I get to go to Hawai'i for the Hyundai Tournament of Champions which isn't actually that far away.
We're thrilled to be joined by our 2012 winner and 12‑time PGA TOUR champion Steve Stricker.テつ Before we get to our defending champion, I want to welcome Steve Shannon, the vice‑president of marketing for Hyundai Motor America.テつ Mr.Shannon is responsible for all Hyundai marketing activities in the United States.テつ I'm calling him Mr.Shannon so we don't get him confused with our defending champ on the call, either.テつ Don't take it personally.
Thank you for taking the time to join us today and thanks to your team and Hyundai for your partnership and everything you do to make the Hyundai Tournament of Champions a success.テつ Mr.Shannon, if you'd make some opening comments as I'm sure you're as excited as I am that we're less than a month away from the Hyundai Tournament of Champions.
STEVE SHANNON:テつ Yes, Chris, absolutely, we are very excited, and Steve, thanks for being such a great champion and joining us.
You know, the car business and the PGA TOUR and golf is a lot about momentum, and that's what's really exciting leading into what's hard to believe our third Hyundai Tournament of Champions.テつ We will set an all‑time sales record this year, over 700,000, and if you look at the season the PGA TOUR is coming off of with the excitement last year with some of the drama, with some of the new winners, we couldn't be happier.テつ Terrific‑looking field, some 14 of the top 30 players on the Official Golf World Rankings.テつ That's really exciting to see.
Our involvement in this is very much about Hyundai as a brand that's completely being transformed into a real tier one player, so if you look at big properties like the Super Bowl, like our global sponsorship of FIFA World Cup, a big involvement in college sports, those are all very characteristic of big tier one automotives, and I would say having such a blue chip PGA TOUR event is very much in that same sort of vein, and frankly it's a great place to showcase our great product.
This transformation of the brand is being driven by a really, really hot product, and there's no better way to show off luxury sedans like the Equus and Genesis and actually our all‑new Santa Fe, so it's a great opportunity to showcase those.
I guess the last thing I'd say is another place where we are very much kindred spirits with the PGA TOUR is a real focus on charity.テつ In Hyundai's case, our involvement in this is all about our own nonprofit organization called Hyundai Hope on Wheels, which has a very laser‑like focus on pediatric cancer, and so one of the things we're happy to be launching this year that's new is a 5K race beginning out of Whalers Village, which comes on the heels of us launching a whole series of 5Ks this year beginning back in September, which was Cancer Awareness Month.テつ So we're really excited, and among other things, all the benefits from the 5K go to charities on Maui and in addition there will be a $75,000 Hyundai scholar grant.テつ We're really excited about some of those new bits of news.
I think with that, great to have you all on and I'll turn it back over to Chris.
CHRIS REIMER:テつ We'll now move on to our defending champ.テつ I know your whole family is probably excited to get back out to Kapalua.テつ Maybe a couple comments looking back at your victory last year and then a few more looking forward to returning as defending champion.
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, thanks, Chris, and thanks, Steve, for being part of the PGA TOUR and bringing all the cool things that you guys bring to the table when you guys host an event.テつ It's a first‑class event that we play in over there at Kapalua, and the vehicles that we get to drive are probably the nicest we drive all year long.テつ That Equus is a great vehicle, so thanks to you for all that and all the things that you do there for us and the TOUR and as players.
And yeah, we're very excited to come over and get the season started.テつ You know, it's always fun when you can go over to Hawai'i and start the year, and my kids and wife have been talking for the last couple months, counting the days down before we get to come over.
So it's a great trip for us, and we look forward to it.テつ It was a thrill to win last year.テつ I've always wanted to try to win over in Hawai'i.テつ I've had some close calls not only at Kapalua but at the Sony Open there, and to finally get a win under my belt over there was a cool experience and a lot of great memories.テつ So looking forward to trying to repeat and do it again.

Q.テつ What are the challenges for a veteran like yourself?テつ Is the motivation for a new season like it was say 15, 20 years ago, or do you ease yourself into it a little bit more?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ It's always an exciting time to start the new season.テつ You know, I think it gets a little bit tougher each year you get older; I'm not going to lie.テつ I mean, it's right around the Christmas time and the 1st of the year.テつ But you still get that good feeling and that excited feeling to start working on your game again and to get off to a good start, all those things you want to do.
Yeah, there's still a good excitement level there to get the year started and a lot of anticipation.テつ You know, it's nice to be able to go over to Kapalua and the Hyundai tournament to get off to a good start.テつ There's four rounds, no cut, and try to take advantage of that week to get off to a good start to the season is always an important time.
Yeah, you want to play well out of the chute.テつ It's a challenge, though, just because you're coming off a holidays, and the weather up here is cold.テつ But it's always fun to get going.

Q.テつ I just had a question about this will be the last time Kapalua is the absolute unquestioned start of the TOUR season.テつ Do you think things will be a little bit different after this year for Kapalua being tournament of champions but not being the first event of the year?テつ Will things be just a little different?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, that's a good question.テつ I don't know really what to expect.テつ We're all entering into this new phase when we're going to start the '14 season in 2013, and Kapalua will come after I think we're going to have six events in the fall that count towards the new season.
It'll be interesting.テつ Hopefully it improves the field, although we've got a good field it sounds like this year, but hopefully guys will see where they need to come over and support the event.
But I don't know, yeah, it's a good question.テつ Guys will still have some time off after the last fall event to be home and spend the holidays at home.テつ But yeah, I'm kind of sitting back waiting and seeing how it's all going to play out and how it's going to affect everybody's schedule.テつ It'll be interesting.

Q.テつ I've got a non‑golf question for you.テつ Did you get a buck this year, and if so, when and where, and also, how much time do you spend in the woods thinking about last year and what you want to do this year?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ You know, it's always‑‑ yeah, you know what, I did get a buck this year.テつ I spent a lot of time.テつ I spent a lot of time in that tree thinking about my previous year, what I did well, what I didn't do well, what I need to do to kind of improve as a player, a lot of family things where you're trying to be doing the right things at home there, too.テつ So yeah, it's a great time to be in the tree and just kind of being by yourself and rehashing things that you need to think about.テつ It's a great escape for me.
It's the time of year that I really treasure the most just because I can get away from golf a little bit, kind of go over things in my head and then do the thing that I really enjoy doing the most.テつ I enjoy that time a lot.

Q.テつ Can you fill us in on the new putter you used at Tiger's event?テつ Is it going to be in your bag to start the year?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ No, it won't be in my bag.テつ I used it at Tiger's event and then I used it at‑‑ it was a mallet putter.テつ I used it the first day at the Shark Shootout, and I'm like, I'm hitting some good putts, they're just not going in, and then went back to my other one and started filling it up.テつ Yeah, it'll be my old gamer back in play.

Q.テつ You've gotten better with age, more successful as a golfer.テつ I think you won four times your first 18 seasons and won 18 times these last four seasons.テつ How do you explain that to yourself?テつ What specifically do you attribute it to?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ You know, I think making a‑‑ I didn't make a bigger commitment, but I fixed some things in my swing that were really things I needed to get fixed.テつ They were little bugaboos that wasn't treating me right in my swing, wasn't doing me any favors when I tried to hit it.テつ So I went to work and I tried to fix some things that I thought were problems to try to make my swing a little bit more repeatable, kind of own up to my own swing.テつ I had help from my father‑in‑law, but really the direction came from what I wanted to do with my swing, and I think that's important as a player to work with your teacher and try to come up with a game plan, but it's your game plan.テつ It's your swing.テつ You have to own it.テつ You're the guy who has to be able to hit the shots under the pressure situations that we're in.テつ So you'd better be comfortable with those changes, and that's what I did.
He helped me get to that point, and I made the changes that I thought I needed to make, and I've stuck with them really for the last seven years.テつ

Q.テつ Mr.Shannon, I've heard the Santa Fe Genesis, Equus mentioned, but when you look at Steve Stricker, your defending champion, what model would you most closely associate him with if he was a car, and for what reasons?
STEVE SHANNON:テつ You know, I think he's an Equus guy.テつ There's a stature, there's a maturity, there's a gravitas that I think fits with our most premium, most elegant but still 429 horsepower V8, so that's what I'd pick for him.
Hey, one thing I might mention if I could while we're waiting for Steve to come back on, the question earlier about the change in the start of the season, we've just got a couple thoughts from our side on that.テつ We don't think it'll change it that much.テつ In fact, there could be some upside because with six events having happened, now there's real points out there available, so we think people may be a little hungrier at that point in the season to get some points.テつ I think there's also the case where almost let's say spiritually or metaphysically there's something still about the start of the year.テつ I know in the car business we take a little time off at the holidays and you're right back in January for the start of your year, so we still like that vibe.
And also for those historians out there, you probably know that over time this tournament moved dates.テつ It was often in kind of the April or May period through 1985, so in terms of the long‑term history, this tournament has survived and in fact thrived at somewhat different points in the calendar over time.テつ So we're excited about when it is, where it is, and can't wait to get after it.

Q.テつ Mr.Shannon, I appreciate your answer to my previous question.テつ Can you remind me what the status of the contract is?テつ I believe we're going into the last year of the contract, and when do you think things will be discussed about renewing things?
STEVE SHANNON:テつ Yeah, good question, and you're right, good memory there, we are coming into the third year of a three‑year contract.テつ You know, we don't have anything to announce today, nor will we at the tournament here in a couple weeks.テつ But I can say that we are having very, very optimistic, very fruitful discussions with the PGA TOUR.テつ We like this tournament a lot.テつ We like the golf space a lot.
So all things look good.テつ Nothing to announce, but a lot of good discussions with the PGA TOUR.テつ I feel like this only gets better.テつ If you remember when we started in year one, we made the deal with six weeks ahead of time, and it was a scramble in year one, and we made dramatic improvements in the overall involvement in the program in year two.テつ We're looking for equally as good improvements here in the third year.
This takes time to get really good at this.テつ A lot of other people in this business and certainly automotives have been doing this for a long time, and we're in this for the long hall and want to get really good at making golf work for us, so that's another reason why we're pretty bullish longer term.テつ But stay tuned for anything more official.

Q.テつ Would you anticipate future events‑‑ I know you talked about it a little bit.テつ But would you anticipate future events staying around this time in the calendar?
STEVE SHANNON:テつ Well, yeah.テつ I mean, this‑‑ as I said, this date works for us for a lot of reasons.テつ The location works for us if you think purely geographically; a big gang of us here in southern California, of course our parent company in Seoul, South Korea, so from a geography, you couldn't pick a better golf course, hey, the Ritz‑Carlton is a nice hotel, so a lot about that works for us.
I guess another thing I'd mention here, too, is leading into year three, we've done a lot more golf other programs.テつ We did a big series of golf clinics this past year focusing on the Equus and Genesis where we invited people interested in the car to come to some of the top courses in the country.テつ Hank Haney put on a clinic; people could not only work on their golf game but they could drive the car.
So those are some other things that as we learn more about the golf space we're making golf become more and more a part of our marketing mix.

Q.テつ I think a lot of people might have assumed you were pretty devastated after the Ryder Cup, but in reading some of your comments later you seemed to handle it pretty well, and I'm wondering how long it took to shake that off and do you consider it just a few days in what was otherwise a really good year?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Yeah, it's been a challenge to put it out of your mind.テつ I'm not going to lie, the first couple weeks was not a lot of fun.テつ A lot of sleepless nights, struggling with‑‑ you know, I really didn't play that poorly, it's just we didn't gel very well together, Tiger and I, and we also ran into a couple of hot players when we did play well.テつ Nicolas Colsaerts made everything.テつ The guy made 25‑footer after 25‑footer.テつ There's not much you can do about that.
So there were some things against us there, and then really I could have gone and not won a point the whole thing and would have been fine with that if we would have won as a team.テつ I really don't care individually there in that event.テつ It's just disappointing that we lost as a team and I obviously take some of that responsibility because I didn't make a point all week.
So yeah, it's out of my head for the most part.テつ There's still times.テつ We talked about it, a few of us, at Tiger's event a few weeks ago, and it stings everybody.テつ I was talking to Andy North, he had some of the similar situation happen to him in 1985.テつ It still stings him.テつ It's just something that hurts a little bit.テつ You get it out of your mind.テつ It's not like you think about it all the time.テつ It's not going to affect what I do going forward, the type of golf I'm going to play.
So yeah, it's one of those things that happens, and as golfers you have to be resilient anyways, and this is just one of those things that you have to be even more resilient with and try to get it out of your mind and move forward because in this game if you think about any of those bad things you're going to drive yourself crazy because a lot of negative things happen in our sport as far as when you play the game.テつ It's just one of those things.テつ It's a game of mistakes, it's a game of misses.テつ And if you dwell on all those misses and mistakes, you're not going anywhere, and I've been able to do that over my career, to get that stuff out of my mind and move forward.テつ So this is another example where I'm going to have to do that.

Q.テつ Last year a ton of guys, I believe seven ranked in the top ten, did not come here.テつ Kind of a two‑part question.テつ Is there anything that can be done maybe to kind of convince these guys they should be here, and why do you think they‑‑ if you do, why do you think they should be here for this event?
STEVE STRICKER:テつ Well, every year it's that way that we talk about it, and it's no different from any other event, either if Tiger or Phil or Rory McIlroy, if some of those well‑known top players in the world, if they don't come, that's the story no matter where it is or what time of the year or when they're on the schedule.
I don't know.テつ I mean, I enjoy coming there.テつ I think if we focus on the guys that do come there, like Mr.Shannon said, there's 14 in the top 30 there in the world, I think that's a good number.テつ Sounds like a strong field to me.
I don't know.テつ I guess if I were to pick anything, it's just the timing of the year that makes it hard for some of these guys.テつ Our schedule is tough late into the year.テつ I think starting with the John Deere Classic, to finish the year I played 10 out of 13 weeks, and then I didn't play after that, but a lot of guys continued playing into the fall.
We just need a time to get away.テつ Everybody does, no matter what they do, and a lot of guys have to take this time to get away.テつ I know the European players play all the way through December for their Race to Dubai.テつ So it's just a tough time on the schedule, and it comes around the holidays.テつ If I were to pick anything, I think it's just the timing of it all, where it fits on the calendar.
CHRIS REIMER:テつ We want to thank everyone for joining us, especially Mr.Shannon and Mr.Stricker.テつ We really look forward to our trip back to Kapalua to start the year at the Hyundai Tournament of Champions January 3rd through the 7th.

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