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June 30, 2004

Tim Finchem

Billy Payne

Ray Robinson

JAMES CRAMER: Good morning. My name is James Cramer. I'm the director of public relations for the PGA TOUR, and I'd like to welcome you here for this very special and important announcement regarding the future of THE TOUR Championship. I'd like to begin by introducing the dignitaries that will be speaking a little bit later this morning, beginning with the Honorable Sonny Perdue, Governor of the State of Georgia; the Honorable Shirley Franklin, Mayor of the City of Atlanta; PGA TOUR Commissioner, Tim Finchem; the president of East Lake Golf Club and East Lake Golf Foundation, Mr. Ray Robinson; and representing the Drew Charters School, Ms. Jade Pinkston. I'd like to also introduce some of the dignitaries that join us in audience: The general chairman of the 2004 TOUR Championship Presented by Coca-Cola, Mr. Billy Payne; the board from the East Lake Community Foundation; and a special thanks to our host Mr. Tom Cousins, chairman of the East Lake Golf Club. THE TOUR Championship Presented by Coca-Cola is a marquis event on the PGA TOUR schedule. Being the culminating event of the year, a number of races are decided by the outcome of this event, including the Player of the Year, the Arnold Palmer Award for the Tour's leading money winner for the year, the Byron Nelson Trophy for the scoring average leader, and also the winner of The Fall Finish Presented by Price Waterhouse Coopers. All in all, the TOUR Championship Presented by Coca-Cola presents a great way to end the season in an impactful and important way. I'd like to now introduce PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem to speak on the future of THE TOUR Championship.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you all, Governor Purdue, Madam Mayor, president Robinson, and ladies and gentlemen. Let me just thank everyone for being here this morning. Also, in addition to the folks that have already been recognized let me recognize a couple of our friends from Coca-Cola: Clyde Tuggle, who is the senior vice president of worldwide public affairs. And Chuck Fruit, newly-named chief marketing officer of Coca-Cola company; and from the Southern Company, Leonard Haynes, thheir chief marketing officer. Obviously, Coca-Cola has been a tremendous partner here in their hometown over the last couple of years in supporting and as presenting sponsor of THE TOUR Championship, and we thank them for their support to bring us to this point. The Southern Company has been with us since 1998, and in addition to their support of THE TOUR Championship, as well, they fund the annual grant that goes along with the Payne Stewart Award which has become part of the tradition of this championship. Atlanta has a long history in golf going back to Bobby Jones and East Lake, the playing of the Ryder Cup, the U.S. Open, the PGA Championship. The BellSouth Classic has become a fixture here, being played here since 1967. The Nationwide Tour championship has been here. LPGA tournaments have been here, and in recent years, THE TOUR Championship has come to East Lake. That history, we're delighted to say today, is going to be extended over the next number of years, because we are excited to announce that the TOUR Championship will call East Lake Golf Club here in Atlanta its permanent home from this day forward. (Applause). So Tom Cousins can take a deep sigh of relief now and relax. (Laughter.) I can think of a number of reasons why everybody in this room, all of us, everybody at the PGA TOUR is so excited about this announcement, and in no particular order, I'd like to mention each of the four reasons. The first is that when we first brought THE TOUR Championship here, we obviously were interested in the golf course. We were obviously interested in how it had been refurbished, but the intriguing -- the intriguing thing about coming was assisting Tom and everybody involved in what has happened at East Lake in the broader context telling that story around the country, and really, around the world, because it's such an amazing story. And now, to be able to say that we can really do this right, on an annual basis, bring people to understand what can happen when people work together in the community; and when there's public and private partnership with what can happen when people like Tom Cousins take the leadership position and tie it all to the game of golf, it's a very powerful and impactful message, and so we can do that much better. I'm delighted to say as part of today's announcement that the Charlie Yates Course will now become part of the First Tee Program, which I think is a good thing for the First Tee of Atlanta, it's a good thing for the First Tee Program. And I think having the Charlie Yates Course as part of this national effort to make golf affordable and accessible to kids regardless of where they come from, is also now becoming more and more part of that very important message. The second reason I can think of is that because of -- we at the PGA TOUR, we are interested in having an exciting climactic finish to our season, and that is what has happened. We played here three times. In 1998, we had a great playoff between Hal Sutton and Vijay Singh -- I should say before I talk about how the finishes were, that the golf course plays magnificently for this championship. It challenges the best players in the world. They don't go out of here and tear it up, but they love playing it. There's so much variety on the golf course that it has held up quite well against these great players. And then we have these three great finishes. We had a terrific finish in 1998 when Hal and Vijay went extra holes. Then Phil Mickelson played great in holding off Tiger Woods two years later in 2000. And then in 2002, Vijay came through and won when he had just missed in '98 by beating Charlie Howell by two shots. And so from the standpoint of providing a place to end our season competitively, and each year you see more and more riding on what's happening at the end of the season, like last year when we had Player of the Year honors, Arnold Palmer Award for leading money winner honors all coming down to the TOUR Championship, we're delighted about that. The third reason is that we have this great history here of golf. The way this place has been redone, to recognize the contribution to Bobby Jones and what that means to the game, allows us to tie the season-ender very closely to the history of the game. And on that point, I'd like to pause for just a minute and show you a brief video about the history of this championship.

(Video played).

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I mentioned there were four reasons. The last has to do not with the history and past, but the future. We are persuaded with that enthusiasm of so many people that are involved in East Lake and that this tournament is going to make our season-ending championship, with the help of Coca-Cola and Southern Company very, very special over the next years. There are so many things that can be done to elevate the championship, any championship. There is just so much vibrancy and enthusiasm from anybody that touches what's happened at East Lake. If we can just get a little bit more of that to rub off on the tournament, as Tom Cousins likes to say, it will be unmatched in its quality of any golf tournament in the world. I want to thank anybody who has gotten us to this point and encourage you all to look to the future, because it's going to be very special, indeed. And on behalf of the PGA TOUR, our players, our sponsors, our charities, because of what is going to happen now here, I thank you for that. With that, let me, Governor, mention that golf is a rich part not just of Atlanta, but the State of Georgia and we are so pleased that you are here to make this a special occasion. And let me introduce you, the Governor of the State of Georgia, Sonny Perdue.

GOVERNOR PERDUE: Well, Commissioner congratulations on a great decision and a great presentation. Your comments about Tom Cousins taking a deep breath may be true, but I don't know about relaxing. Has anybody ever seen Tom Cousins relax? He's off to the next project, I assure you, and we know that will be as successful, Tom, as all of the others you've touched. I want to thank you all for being here and thank you for a great decision. As you could see by the enthusiasm in this room today, it's well received in Atlanta, well received in Georgia, and it will be well received by your whole audience, and we are delighted -- we are going to call it, if you will forgive my crossing sports, to have the World Series/Super Bowl of golf here in Atlanta, as you all put a cap stone on the golf tour for the season, it will be great. Commissioner asked me earlier if I was a golfer, and I said, "Yes, I tell people I'm a social golfer until somebody diagnosed what that was." I told someone that one time and they said, "You mean you don't know where it's going to go when you hit it, either." (Laughter.) I do need to report that my handicap is still in double digits. I won't be any more specific than that. Today's announcement is quite exciting for this community, this city and our state that East Lake Golf Course will be the home of the PGA TOUR Championship, and especially for all of those who love golf in Georgia and around your media audience. But we've got a lot of enthusiastic golfers in Georgia, and we kind of think that this may put golf, Georgia on the golf map from A to Z, from the beginning to the end of the season. You asked me about growing up, and I've probably always been more of a hunter than a golfer, but turns out stalking pray through tall, tall grass is a pretty good description of my golf game, too. (Laughter.) I'm told that my slice is a thing of awesome power and beauty. But anyway, I won't tear up the course too badly. For those of you who dedicate yourselves to the game, hosting THE TOUR Championship does a special treat and truly a great honor for our city and our state, and we thank you for that. I don't believe there could be a better home for THE TOUR Championship as we've talked about, and this historic course than East Lake and for all of the reasons you articulate better than I could. Especially given East Lake's association with the legendary Georgia golf of Bob Jones and what Tom Cousins and the efforts here through the community have made, East Lake has been the site, as the Commissioner said, of three memorable tournaments already, and we are excited to see exciting finishes in the future as we go forward. I think this puts an exclamation point behind East Lake's resurgence in recent years. Not only for golf, but for its community spirits, for its philanthropy and for its social activism. And I think you could find no better presenting sponsor than Coca-Cola. Just having gotten back from Latin America, Coca-Cola is revered and respected worldwide. And I think often times we here in Georgia and Atlanta take Coca-Cola for granted, and you see the power and influence and respect that this venerable Georgia company has worldwide. You guys have a wonderful reputation and you are the ambassadors for us wherever we go, and it's especially helpful in Latin America as we go there. Certainly we are proud of the Southern Company, as well, and all that they do. Georgia does have a great tradition of golf beginning with Bob Jones, Nancy Lopez, Davis Love III and upcoming Charlie Howell, and it continues. Across the state, the Junior Golf programs are energetic and exciting and producing future championships. And you mentioned, again, and I think it's very important, that the game of golf has helped build the character of many of our state's best ambassadors. And the quality of sportsmanship, honesty and integrity in this game is something that we need to teach more of to our kids. And it provides us our First Tee Program, which you announced about Charlie Yates Course, is very exciting in helping us to communicate the sportsman-like spirit of golf and golf as a game for life. We are excited that Georgia will continue to be a favorite destination of golf fans everywhere, and once again, I want to thank you all. I'm not surprised to see my friend m involved in this event. You're getting quite a reputation, Billy are, for being involved in world-class events; and as always, Georgia is the beneficiary of your efforts, and thank you once again for being right at the forefront for world-class events. Ray, great news. And I know you're excited as president of East Lake Golf Club and the community, I know you're proud of this honor, and what a great 100th birthday to celebrate in this way. East Lake, Commissioner, will do the PGA TOUR proud in the hosting. As Tom Cousins committed to you, you won't find a better-run tournament anywhere, I can assure you that will happen in this prestigious event here. You've done well. I appreciate THE TOUR Championship, what it means for the East Lake Community Foundation as we have talked about, its effort to redevelop and revitalize this community. And one of those projects, Tom Cousins is already talking about, how we can replicate this model in other places, and I think that's a great model to emulate as we look toward to how we can do this. So, Ray, you bring in hope, opportunity. I love the video by the way, the hope of the future, hope and opportunity to this community and that commitment. Because to give back is a value that you share with the PGA TOUR. We expect many great things to come of this partnership, and Commissioner, to all of you involved, Coca-Cola, Southern Company, Billy, Tom, all of you, it's a great honor on behalf of Georgia citizens to welcome THE TOUR Championship to the Georgia sports family. Thank you.

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you, Governor. As Commissioner Finchem stated earlier, Atlanta has a rich and storied tradition of hosting professional golf, especially the PGA TOUR. It's now my privilege to introduce the great mayor of this great city, the Honorable Shirley Franklin.

MAYOR FRANKLIN: Thank you very much. This is another great day in Atlanta and in Georgia, so I am pleased to be here. Commissioner and all of the corporate sponsors, clearly the board of East Lake Community Foundation, the Cousins Foundation and all of the folks who have made this possible, we've done it again. It's just that simple. We've done it again because we worked hard and we have proven with THE TOUR Championship in 1998 that we could do it. And as I mentioned to you, Commissioner, I had a very different role at the time. I was actually working for the East Lake Community Foundation and serving on the board. So it was my job to be sure that we were working successfully with the community. You know, it's one thing to tell the community that at the end of the road you can benefit because there will be funds to invest, and it's another thing to tell them that they can't use their park or that there's going to be traffic. But they believed in the Community Foundation and THE TOUR Championship, and thanks to all of the ffolks to brought us this far. The story of East Lake has many, many heroes from Renee Glover and Eva Davis, the Cousins, Greg Giranelli (ph), just many, many people who have made a tremendous contribution to this community. So without using the rest of my notes, I'm going to say I agree with everything the governor said; that's good. (Laughter.) And everything the Commissioner said. The best thing about today, it is a new beginning, and a beginning that will set a higher standard for our community year after year after year after year. Congratulations to everyone and thank you a lot. Thank you.

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you, Mayor Franklin. East Lake will be a wonderful home for the TOUR Championship for many years to come, and I'd now like to ask Mr. Ray Robinson, president of East Lake Golf Club, to come forward and say a few words.

RAY ROBINSON: Good morning. First of all, let me say, I would be completely remiss if I did not take the time to acknowledge the person who was most responsible for this tournament being here today. This man has had a vision of what this community could become and, quite frankly, he acted on that vision. And as a part of revitalizing this golf course, he actually revitalized this community, and in my opinion, and I don't know it's an overstatement, he not only saved a piece of history here in the Atlanta area, I believe he saved lives; and that person of course you've heard his name mentioned several times, that person is Mr. Tom Cousins. (Applause). As a result of what I just did, this may be the last time I speak as chairman of East Lake Community Foundation, but I also owe Mr. Cousins a personal, huge debt of gratitude for giving me the opportunity to have the best job in America. What he's done, he's allowed me to take my two passions, the passion of golf and the passion of community, and combine those. And for that, I am just eternally thankful. As you've already heard, our mayor has taken away some of the material because I was going to reference what he said, but I guess I'll have to wing it. But as she's already indicated, she's been a very strong supporter of this and, certainly the governor has been very supportive and so has Mr. Finchem. We are honored to have the tournament here on a permanent basis. Let me talk about the East Lake Community Foundation, which is one of the passions that I mentioned, and that's the community. The community that we are a part of, as many of you know, was at one time one of the worst public housing projects in the country. I would like for you, if you have not already looked at it, before you leave today, just take a drive through the villages of East Lake. What you will see there are beautiful apartments, built along a public golf course referred to as the Charlie Yates Golf Course. You will also see a very, very fine public school, the Drew Charters School, which is K through 8th grade, and you'll see there -- today you won't see any students, but in the past few months you could see about 700 children there. You'll also see the Sheltering Arms Center, which is another one of our partners. This is where we believe in taking children early on in their development and giving them some skills that will help them be successful in school. And then if you drive a little farther, you will see the YMCA, and in my opinion, this is probably the finest YMCA, not just in the City of Atlanta, but I believe in the State. It is a YMCA that has all of the modern technology, and more importantly it has people working there together, working out and enjoying, people that look like me and some that do not look like me. The fact of the matter is, it's a community that's thriving, and again, we are have very proud to provide programs, along with our partners the Atlanta Housing Authority and the public school system, and of course, the YMCA and Sheltering Arms. Those partners, we are very, very thankful for you being there. Of course, we also have a partner that you've heard speak this morning, and that's THE TOUR Championship. The PGA TOUR has been a wonderful partner for us for the three tournaments that have been held here: 1998, 2000 and 2002. It's been said that Tom Cousins can breathe easily now. Well, I can breathe real, real easily now because this is one of the missions that we had when I hired on with the foundation about a year ago, and that is bringing this wonderful tournament here to help us continue with the work that we are doing at the foundation and in the community. We are going to have wonderful golf. We have a great partner. In fact, the PGA slogan, I believe at the heart of the PGA is giving back; the soul of East Lake is helping develop families. In my opinion, that's a perfect marriage, and I believe that marriage will serve us very, very well for years and years to come. Now, I could sit here and talk about the East Lake Community Foundation and what we are about for a long time but I'm not going to do that. But what I would like to do is give you an opportunity to see firsthand a product of what we have been trying to do in the community by introducing a young lady who happens to have graduated from the Drew Charters School this past May. She will be attending North Atlanta High School in the fall, and she's lived here in the villages of East Lake for about four years, she tells me. Her name is Jade PINKSTON, and she is a very nervous young lady who is going to come forward and share with you some ideas, because I think it's important that you see what the dollars that are generated as a result of this tournament being held here, what it does in terms of affecting individuals lives. Jade, could you come forward?

JADE PINKSTON: Good morning. My family and I moved to an apartment at the villages of East Lake four years ago. I even remember the date: July 5. I really like it here. It's a great community, there are lots of recreational activities and camps, and we have tennis courts and a really nice YMCA. I also think that it's exciting that the PGA TOUR comes here. The thing that I probably like most about living here is the school. Drew Charters School is just down the street from where I live. I started in the fifth grade the first year it opened and I just graduated eighth grade a few weeks ago. I would definitely recommend the school to other kids. It has great teachers who really care about us and help us set goals. I also like that it has a lot of structure, and it doesn't have the same rules as regular schools. I think going here really helped me prepare for high school, even though I feel a little jittery about starting in August. I was accepted into the international studies program at North Atlanta High School. I chose international studies because I love Spanish and learning about different cultures. You also get to take a trip to Granada, Spain, which I'm looking forward to. I plan to go to college, and there are so many things I want to do. I was thinking about becoming an entrepreneur or a sheriff, but then I thought I could own my own restaurant; so why not do both? (Laughter.) Thank you for inviting me to the press conference to speak about me and my neighborhood. It's a great place to live, and I feel very thankful and blessed. Thank you.

JAMES CRAMER: Thank you very much, Jade, that was wonderful. At this point if we have any questions from the media, our dignitaries will gladly take a few.

Q. There's been some talk, some of the clubs around here are trying to get back a Champions Tour event in the next few years here, will this impact it at all?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We don't have any plans to bring a Champions Tour event to Atlanta in the immediate future. Frankly, we haven't evaluated to the extent playing here whether we would. We will have two PGA TOUR events, obviously. In Atlanta every year, and my guess is that's probably all we want to play. But you never say never. I wouldn't want to give a definitive, but I would say it would be generally unlikely that we would play Champions Tour golf in this general area.

JAMES CRAMER: I'd like to thank everyone for coming out, it was a great turnout, and we look forward to the TOUR Championship here at East Lake this fall. Thank you.

End of FastScripts...

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