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TOUR CHAMPIONSHIP BY COCA-COLA MEDIA DAY
August 19, 2013
CHRIS REIMER:Â Good morning, everyone.Â Thanks for joining us for this year's TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola media day.Â My name is Chris Reimer, director of communications for the PGA TOUR.Â As you can see, we have a number of panelists up front.Â We're going to format today's media day in a little more of a panel discussion format, so we'd like to encourage everyone to take part in that.
I'd like to get started by introducing our panelists.Â Closest to me here we have Tom Clark, executive director of the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola; next to him we have Lee Birdsong, director of digital media and sponsorships with Southern Company; our guest of honor today in the middle is our 2012 TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola and FedExCup winner Brandt Snedeker; next to Brandt is Sharon Byers, senior vice president, sports entertainment and community partnerships with the Coca‑Cola Company; and then finally Danny Shoy, Jr., chief operating officer with the East Lake Foundation.
I'd also like to take one second to recognize another guest we have here today.Â David Pillsbury in the second row here is the PGA TOUR's executive vice president of championship management and tournament business affairs and president of golf course properties.
A lot of great guests, a lot of great topics to cover.Â An exciting day as Monday is kind of the official kickoff to the FedExCup Playoffs.Â The PGA TOUR's best have been fighting all year long, and really their main goal is to reach East Lake Golf Club and to reach the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, so that starts this week up in Jersey City at Liberty National Golf Club.Â So it's really a good time to focus on the fact that they're all working to get into that top 30 and make it here to Atlanta.
First I'd like to maybe talk a little bit with Brandt real quickly.Â I was part of a special tour that Brandt got of Coca‑Cola headquarters this morning.Â We got down to the archives, got to see some really interesting, cool artifacts from Coca‑Cola.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, it's great to be back in Atlanta.Â Obviously this has been a very good place to me over the past few years, and being from Nashville, not too far away, but to go down and see Coke this morning‑‑ growing up in the South, Coke was kind of part of the fabric of our lives, and to be able to go down there and see all the cool artifacts that y'all have and see how much history, how much history is intertwined not only between Coke but the South and America, being able to see all the cool artifacts y'all have was pretty interesting.Â It was an eye‑opening experience to say the least how much stuff y'all have down there.Â It's pretty cool.Â I felt like American Pickers going through everything that was down there.Â But it was a fun experience, and I thank y'all a lot for letting me do that.
CHRIS REIMER:Â I think one of the coolest moments was Brandt was walking around with an Olympic torch in his hand.Â A precursor ‑‑
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Hopefully practicing for future events.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Getting ready for Rio.Â No, it was really neat.Â We have footage of that.Â Â Falladori from PGA TOUR Entertainment filmed a lot of that, so any of the media here today who are interested in getting some of that footage, see me afterwards and we'll be happy to share that with you.
So kind of a first topic really I'd like to focus on would be sponsorship, activating business through golf and sport.Â I think we all know that golf has a special place in business, whether it's on the golf course or through the PGA TOUR events.Â We have two of the best sponsors on TOUR in Coca‑Cola and Southern Company, and the neat thing is they're both based right here in Atlanta.
My first question for the panel, and I'd like to kind of start with Sharon from Coca‑Cola is just talk about some of the different ways that maybe Coca‑Cola is activating their business through golf and other sports, as well.
SHARON BYERS:Â I think for most companies, it's really important for really three reasons:Â Number one, I think most companies need to be a corporate citizen; also think about how do you bring your brands to life through the passion points of sports; golf is a terrific sport at all levels, at all ages.Â And finally, particularly with Coca‑Cola, we want to leave our communities better than where we started, and that's why the TOUR Championship has been an amazing partnership for us for the last 11 years.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Tom, I know that the tournament itself obviously has a great partnership with both Southern Company and Coca‑Cola.Â Talk about some of the business partnerships that you've seen and ways that those businesses are kind of activating through your tournament.
TOM CLARK:Â Well, I think some of the things that we do I think you take for granted when you go to a tournament.Â But to see what happens out there with the Wish Wall.Â Last year was my first experience with the Wish Wall, and it really was an incredible item out there for all the spectators to come out and sign their wishes to their loved ones, and it was really pretty special.
But as you go through this, and I don't want to get into things that you may talk about, but there's some things that Southern Company will do this year again is‑‑ I really don't want to spoil it for you, but the Payne Stewart Award is a phenomenal award.Â Payne was just a gentlemen on the golf course and a great father and husband, and to have the award given out at our event every year is pretty special, and we've got a few other companies that we work with that are very close as far as initiatives for spectators.Â Kipper Tool is a big portion of our military activation.Â Chevron Stem Zone helps children learn the game of golf through technology.Â So there are a variety‑‑ Humana is another one, the Humana Walk‑In, and that's where every spectator coming in can get a pedometer and track how far they walk throughout the day.Â So there's a variety of opportunities for our sponsors to activate this tournament.
CHRIS REIMER:Â One of my favorites is the Freestyle machine.Â I think I've come up with what we call the Reimer.Â I think it's a strawberry ‑‑ I don't know if we can get some of our players ‑‑ maybe we can name one the Snedeker.Â We'll go with that.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I'm working on a few.Â I'm working on a few.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Lee, I don't know if you wanted to talk a little bit about the Payne Stewart Award, but I think that's a great example of what the Southern Company does through the TOUR Championship.
LEE BIRDSONG:Â It does.Â Southern Company has been a sponsor of the TOUR Championship for I think 14 years, and we got involved with the Payne Stewart Award when his plane actually crashed going to the tournament in Houston in 1999, and we were the sponsor and he was on the way to play in the pro‑am, which we were the sponsor of.Â So that really gave root cause for Southern Company's willingness to support the Payne Stewart Award over these past 14 years.Â We've had phenomenal winners and are very excited about it each year, and we love being able to present it at the TOUR Championship.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Danny, I know that the corporate sponsorship and the private sector is a huge part of what help the East Lake Foundation.
DANIEL SHOY:Â Indeed it has.Â The corporate community has been very generous to the East Lake Foundation, not only from the generosity from the Coca‑Cola Company and the Southern Company but corporate sponsors that are highly engaged at the East Lake Golf Club.Â The East Lake Foundation definitely benefits from that, and I know just beyond the wonderful TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola we've also benefitted from our corporate partners who are providing real‑life opportunities for our young people.Â The Southern Company as a matter of fact just this past summer hosted two of our young followers with meaningful internship programs, and we were very grateful for that.
CHRIS REIMER:Â And I mentioned the Freestyle machine.Â I keep going back to that, but I know‑‑
SHARON BYERS:Â We're not going to send one to your house.Â He's been trying since 8:00 this morning.
CHRIS REIMER:Â But I think this year it's actually going to be available to fans, right?Â The Freestyle truck is going to be on‑site.
SHARON BYERS:Â It is.Â One of the biggest initiatives that Coke is embarking on in 2013, and you'll see it even bigger in 2014, there's a really important conversation going on in the United States right now around obesity, so what we're doing with some of our big events is bringing in the Freestyle machine as well as a lot of activities where kids with their parents can really get out and get healthy, and Brandt is a terrific example of an athlete that's very fit with a family that can talk about getting out and getting healthy.
If you think about a generation ago, 75 percent of our kids were outside playing, and today only 25 percent are outside playing, so the work that we're doing with the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, the work that we're doing with the East Lake Foundation is to try to get the kids out there in the inner city introduced to golf as well as all the fitness activities that will be going on, and of course the Freestyle machine will be out there with our truck.Â So we're very excited about the change that we're making this year.
CHRIS REIMER:Â And one other interesting kind of partnership that we're announcing today from a corporate level and a sponsorship standpoint is with the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl, so I'd just real quickly invite Gary Stokan from the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl to come up for a special announcement.
GARY STOKAN:Â Thanks, Chris.Â First let me thank Sharon and Tom for allowing us to be a partner with the TOUR Championship, and I'm going to read this announcement if you'll bear with me.
Coca‑Cola has been a long time partner of the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl, and today we're excited to elevate our relationship with Coke through the TOUR Championship.Â Atlanta is the capital of college football, but we are passionate about our golf, as well, and that's why this partnership is so special.Â It is now my pleasure to announce the creation of a unique fan experience at this year's tournament that will blend the best of golf and college football.
Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl College Corner will be a new elaborate hospitality area where fans can enjoy all the elements of a college football tailgate while watching the best golfers in the world from a primetime location.Â Positioned between the 10th green and 11th tee, the area will feature a 300‑person hospitality tent with covered open‑air seating, all‑inclusive food and beverage, TVs and a special area hosting tailgate‑style games and activities only available to those inside the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl College Corner.Â Fans will also get a chance to rub elbows with former college coaches, former players, and golfers, PGA golfers, who are likely to make appearances there.
As an enhancement to the experience, players and fans alike will be encouraged to wear their alma mater's team gear on Friday while cheering their favorite golfers and their universities.Â And being a Vanderbilt grad, we certainly hope Brandt will be the first player on board (inaudible) and anchor down.
As you can imagine, we're thrilled about this new opportunity to see two of Atlanta's premier sporting events integrate and come together in support of each other to benefit the fans.Â That's awfully important, and that's led to the success of the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl is looking out for our fans.Â Most importantly, however, it's our mission as college football's most charitable bowl game, in keeping with that tradition, the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl commits to make a donation from the proceeds to benefit the East Lake Foundation and to help continue the great work that you do in our community.
From me personally, just as an aside, this is in honor of Tom Cousins, who for me is one of my favorite sports business people ever, and also Bobby Jones, who is my favorite athlete ever.Â It's in honor of those two that we also think about doing this special arrangement with the TOUR.
So again, we thank you all for the new partnership and for helping to create this new tradition at the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola.Â It will be an exciting sponsorship activation that delivers a win for the tournament, a win for the players, and a win for fans of golf and college football.Â Thanks, Tom.Â Thanks, Chris.
CHRIS REIMER:Â I don't know if I'm allowed to talk about it with Mr.Pillsbury here, but college football is on the minds of our players and media while we're at the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, so I think it's going to be really neat.Â You hear guys get off the course asking you what the scores are of certain games, or maybe Vanderbilt from Brandt.Â It's going to be a cool partnership.
David, I think you had a question, so I don't know if we can get a microphone over.
DAVID PILLSBURY:Â We just decided to finally bring football to the tournament.Â We said uncle.
Danny, I'd just like to ask you a question.Â A lot of great comments from our terrific corporate partners, Coca‑Cola, Southern Company, terrific activation vehicle for your customers and your clients.Â But at the end of the day, this tournament has had a major role in what the East Lake Foundation has done in the transformation of a community.Â Maybe you could just talk for a minute about what that means, in terms of what it was versus what it is today in human terms if you wouldn't mind.
DANIEL SHOY:Â Sure.Â So I can tell you since 1995, or prior to 1995, if you statistically looked at East Lake, the crime rate in what had been East Lake Meadows had been 18 times the national average.Â The average age of a grandmother was 32.Â Only 5 percent of fifth graders met state standards in math.Â Employment was only 14 percent.Â I can tell you now some 18 years later that all those stats have gone up, and the ones that we wanted to go down have gone down.Â Violent crime is down 96 percent.Â Employment is up 80 percent.Â We have about 98 or 99 of our young people at Drew Charter School who meet state standards in reading and math.
It's been a wonderful success, and the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola has really been wonderful.Â I know over the last 15 years now it's contributed almost $16 million, and for us that's tremendous.Â So it's been a huge transformation.Â And I'd be remiss if I did not thank Gary, Mr.Stokan, for the wonderful support from Chick‑Fil‑A.Â What a tremendous contribution.Â So on behalf of the East Lake Foundation board and staff, I'd just like to say thank you, and I can't wait to visit the Chick‑Fil‑A Bowl College Corner.Â I went to Emory University.Â We don't have a football team, but I'll be there in my blue and gold.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Sharon, you touched on a little bit about the health and wellness initiative that Coca‑Cola is such a big part of.Â Brandt, you're a player who's now dealt with a little injury for the first time this year.Â You've had some rib issues.Â Just talk about the wellness out on the PGA TOUR.Â I know we have two trailers that actually travel with the TOUR week in and week out so you guys kind of have that consistent locker room to go to each week.Â Talk about the importance of health and wellness especially this year for you.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, health and fitness is probably one of the key factors in being PGA TOUR player.Â There's no way to be on TOUR anymore and not be healthy and be fit because you're not going to be able to play that much golf.Â As somebody who's dealt with injuries the last four or five years of my career, I realize that being fit, being active, making sure that you have a constant routine is huge.
You see the best players in the world, and they're all out there and they're all extremely fit.Â They spend several hours in the gym a day.Â We have that outlet with the TOUR.Â The TOUR has done a great job in providing that for us.Â We have two tractor trailers that literally follow the TOUR around from week to week, so pretty much mobile gyms.Â We have a gym in one of them and physical therapy set up in the other one, so each week you'll see probably 60 to 75 guys going into those trailers every day getting work done, whether it's working out or getting aches and pains massaged out or whatever it may be.
I've come to realize that with my career with the way my body makeup is that I'm going to have to spend a lot more time on it than most people.Â It's something that I constantly am working on.Â I'm working out four or five days a week at least, that's at a minimum, and when I'm home it's even more than that when I have time off.Â It kind of works the opposite for us for some reason; when we're off we need to work out more, and when we're on we need to kind of maintain.Â It's been a huge factor and a big reason why I've played well the last couple years is because of that.
CHRIS REIMER:Â What is the injury you're dealing with this year and how are you feeling?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Well, I can go down a long list of stuff here.Â We'll keep it short and sweet.Â The most recent one I had the biggest problem with is I have a rib issue.Â I've broken four ribs in six years from non‑contact injuries and got diagnosed with‑‑ it's a disease, I guess.Â It's called low bone turnover, and pretty much what it boils down to is your body is not producing bone as fast as it loses it, so I've become very brittle is what it boils down to.Â So I've been on some medication to try to help with that as well as some vitamins and stuff.Â It's starting to take effect.Â I've had some side effects from the medication, but it's finally kind of wearing off, and I've been on it for about five months now and seen some progress, so feeling a lot better and hopefully that part of my career ‑‑
CHRIS REIMER:Â It was working pretty well when you won in Canada.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, exactly.Â I can't blame the medicine anymore.Â That was all me.
CHRIS REIMER:Â From a health and wellness standpoint, Tom did mention that we do have the Humana Walk‑It program at this year's TOUR Championship.Â Basically anyone who comes out, media, fans, staff, volunteers, can wear a pedometer, and the tournament that takes the most steps, so they combine all those pedometers, and the tournament that takes the most steps will receive a $30,000 KaBOOM! playground donated to the charity of their choice, so I'm sure Danny wouldn't mind seeing that playground at one of the schools.Â Make sure that the media, you guys are challenging each other to walk.Â I know that we've had some fun stories like that at past events, but I bet Atlanta can get out there and make it happen.
Moving forward, Danny touched on charity, really being the heart of the PGA TOUR and the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, each year the PGA TOUR gives millions to local charities where our events are played.Â It's one of the fun parts of my job.Â So this tournament is the number one annual fundraiser for the East Lake Foundation, but I think one of the neat things that's coming out of that East Lake Foundation is the new charter school, and I believe it's the first year for your new high school class.Â Just talk a little bit about that, Danny.
DANIEL SHOY:Â Sure.Â One of the three pillars that really drive the East Lake Foundation's work is what we call our cradle‑to‑college pipeline, and we've been able to add to that pipeline by adding a senior academy for Drew charter schools, which will serve grades 6 through 12 once it's fully enrolled, but we started this past summer, about two weeks ago now, with our inaugural class of ninth graders who are at a temporary site while their new home is being built at the corner of 2nd and Hosea on the back nine, what has been the back nine of the Yates course.Â So really excited about that, and the reason why the foundation did it is because we have always been passionate about our mission, which is to transform the East Lake neighborhood and also break the intergenerational cycle of poverty.
So we were not pleased with the statistics once our eighth graders left Drew and fanned out into the high schools across the city.Â We were not happy with the 75 percent graduation rate that we were witnessing, certainly higher than the state and the city, but we are confident that that can be 100 percent, and we feel really good looking a few years ahead at the class of 2017 having 100 percent of them graduate and go on to college.
CHRIS REIMER:Â What was the comment you mentioned to me earlier, building a school on the golf course?Â You were a little worried about tearing up the back nine basically?
DANIEL SHOY:Â Sure, we were a little concerned, and I shared with Chris that Comer Yates, a member of the Yates family, shared that his father would rather 18 years of education than 18 holes of golf.Â While we care a lot about golf and East Lake, we're certainly passionate about education.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Sharon, I don't know if you had any further thoughts on kind of charity and how it's a part of the tournament.
SHARON BYERS:Â The TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, I think we talk about this almost every year, but metro Atlanta and the East Lake area contributes to our community $30 to $35 million in revenue.Â So it's a lot.Â And last year, keep me straight on the number, but last year this tournament made at least $2.25 million to the East Lake Foundation, so there's real money for this tournament here in Atlanta for certainly the East Lake Foundation, but also to try to help some of the other public schools get the education level that those kids, that our kids deserve.Â It's a really important factor, and again, we're thrilled to be part of it with you guys.
DANIEL SHOY:Â Not just Atlanta, East Lake is really a model for the nation, so it holds great promise there.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Indianapolis and New Orleans are‑‑
DANIEL SHOY:Â About five years ago an organization called Purpose Built Communities was formed by Tom Cousins, by Warren Buffet, Julian Robertson, former Atlanta mayor Shirley Franklin serves as the CEO and chairman of the board, and they essentially replicated the East Lake model, so that model focuses on mixed income housing, cradle‑to‑college education, community wellness all led by a lead organization in a neighborhood has actually taken flight in Indianapolis, New Orleans, Charlotte, North Carolina, Spartanburg, South Carolina, and Omaha, Nebraska, with several other cities in the pipeline.Â But really amazing work happening in New Orleans and Indianapolis formed and based off of the East Lake model.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Lee, I know you mentioned some great work that the Southern Company doing with the First Tee, as well, which is another charity at the heart of the Tour.
LEE BIRDSONG:Â Well, like the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola, we like to give back to the communities and the areas we serve, and this year Southern Company became the education patron of the First Tee.Â If you're familiar with this program, the First Tee has a goal of bringing golf into elementary schools of 10,000 schools nationally.Â They've already accomplished 5,300, 5,800 hundred of these, and Southern Company is committed to helping this program in the Southeast where we provide electricity to another thousand schools over the next five years, and we've already announced that at Liberty Mutual in Savannah, Augusta, Birmingham, and we'll announce more at TOUR Championship, during TOUR Championship week.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Brandt, overall thoughts being a member of the PGA TOUR; our tournaments do so much for charity and what it means to be out on Tour.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Obviously it's great to be a professional athlete, but when you're a professional athlete and your organization gives ‑‑ I think we're close to $2 billion by the end of this year, $2 billion in charitable giving since the TOUR has been in existence, and when you compare that to the other professional sports, there's really not a comparison.Â So every city that you go into each week, whether it's Jersey City, New Jersey, this week, Norton, Massachusetts, the week after that, the impact that we have in the community we're in, such a tangible effect, like you were saying $2.5 million last year alone.Â That's a great feeling to walk away from a golf tournament, not only a tournament, but just to walk away knowing that you've left an impact on that city, and the TOUR kind of instills that into us from day one; not only is the TOUR doing that, but you have a responsibility on your own to do that.
Whether it's‑‑ I've done five or six charity days for other guys this year for their own foundations.Â I've started my own foundation in Nashville, Tennessee, to help the health and wellness of kids in Nashville.Â I feel like growing up in Nashville, I still live there, it's a huge part of who I am, so I kind of want to help out as much as I possibly can back in my home city.
The TOUR has done a great job, not only fostering all these great business relationships they have and making sure charity is a huge part of it, but making sure that each one of us kind of champion that cause in our own hometown, and we try to do that to the best of our ability.
CHRIS REIMER:Â A lot of good discussion points there.Â I don't know if anybody had any questions where we are right now in the program.
Q.Â Brandt, you were speaking about health and fitness.Â I just wonder, it's a long season in September, mid‑September, and I wonder if there are players or you particularly, are there players that hold up better over the long haul, or how do you hold up over the long haul?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think the biggest thing is being smart about your time.Â I knew that this is a part of the year that is obviously the most important part of the year for me.Â After being at the TOUR Championship last year, I realized how much this tournament means to me and how it can change your life literally in a four‑week stretch.Â So I geared my whole year around these last four weeks, so I took some time off in the middle of the year, made sure my practice was smart, made sure I didn't wear myself out so that these last four weeks I'm as fresh as I can possibly be.Â I feel great, I'm healthy.Â I did a great job of making sure that I was prepared this last four‑week stretch, getting plenty of rest and making sure I'm ready to go.
Q.Â At this point in your career, do you consider yourself still the young gun?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Not anymore.Â Seeing Jordan Spieth who was in a playoff yesterday at 19 years old is pretty phenomenal.Â I've turned into a veteran unbeknownst to myself.Â You never think you're getting old until it happens, I guess.Â But it's been fun.Â It's kind of fun to see all the young guys coming out now and see how well they're playing and pushing some of these older‑‑ it's funny, when I came out here, I'm thinking about how old and how long Phil Mickelson has been out here, and I've gotten to know him really well, and I think he's only 42.Â He's been out here for 20‑‑ he's really not that old.Â It kind of happens so fast.Â I've been out here for seven years now.Â I feel like I just got out here a couple years ago.Â It goes by really quickly.
Q.Â Your golf game obviously speaks for itself, but I think what makes you a great role model is you play fast, and secondly, you look like you're enjoying what you do.Â So many of the players out there now look like they would rather be anywhere else or they're getting ready to go to guillotine.Â I appreciate that.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Thank you very much.Â I appreciate that.Â I guess it's because I putt good.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Getting to Brandt now, maybe take some time and look back at your victory last year at East Lake, and what's really interesting is that you're now at No.3.Â I think it's safe to say you're now locked in to be the first FedExCup winner to come back to East Lake and defend your FedEx title.Â No other FedExCup winner has done that.Â First of all, congratulations on a great year this year, but start by looking back at last year and to where you are now.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, it's amazing what's happened in a year.Â I look back at where my career was at this point last year, starting the FedExCup Playoffs.Â I'd had a good year last year but not a great year by any stretch of the imagination.Â In that course of four weeks, to play the way I did the last four tournaments, to win at East Lake, a combination of a lot of hard work and everything that goes into that, it really springboarded me to where I am today.
I can honestly say that the year I had this year is directly related to the experience I had at East Lake last year.Â I was able to handle that pressure and develop all that confidence I got from that day and beat the best players in the world on a great classic golf course where there's nowhere to hide, you're just going to have to get out there and play great round of golf on a tough track, and I was able to do that and beat the best players in the world.
To take that into this year and know that that was not a fluke, I can do that, I know I can.Â I've done it a few times, and now I'm getting back to that point where I know this is a place where I thrive.Â I really thrive under the pressure of the Playoffs, and this is where‑‑ exactly what I've worked my whole life for.Â I'm so excited to be playing four tournaments in a row that have the four best fields in golf on four great tracks, and it's going to culminate here in Atlanta with what I think is the most exciting day in golf, and that's the Sunday of the TOUR Championship.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Interestingly enough, when the FedExCup and the PGA TOUR Playoffs were announced people were kind of wondering how it would stick.Â That was your rookie year in 2007, so it's all you've ever known on TOUR is the Playoffs, and you were the only rookie that year to make it to Atlanta.Â Talk about the growth of that.Â You talk about the best field in golf.Â Talk about the growth FedExCup as a whole.
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â What the TOUR did when they started this model, I think a lot of people were questioning it and calling it kind of crazy trying to compete with football and go up against them with their own playoff system.Â You look at what they've done; they've brought the best TOUR schedule with literally four of the best events in golf, four of the best fields in golf, with the TOUR Championship culminating that with the largest prize in golf, with a Sunday with so many different turns that can happen, depending on who wins the tournament, changes outlays on everything, I think it's accomplished exactly what they wanted to do.Â I think it's a great way to make sure that Tiger and Phil and all these guys are showing up every week playing against the best fields in golf on the four best courses late in the year, and it's a great way to end our season.
It's been a great thing for the PGA TOUR.Â It's been a great thing for me personally.Â Selfishly it's been awesome for me.Â I told Tim last year at the ceremony, he was my favorite person on the planet right now since this was your brainchild.Â I still feel that way to this day.
Q.Â All golfers strive to win a major.Â If you get hot for that four days, you're a champion.Â This event, the pool prize alone is more than the four major championships combined.Â Do golfers look at this as a major, and if you win this event you win the FedExCup, that you are the best golfer of the year?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think I definitely view it as a major now for sure.Â I think guys have seen, with the champions they've seen, what it entails to win it.Â You've seen over the course of four tournaments you're going to have to play great golf for four weeks.Â There's just no way to get in there and get hot at the right moment and win one tournament and win the whole thing.Â You're going to have to play great golf for the four events, and I think it's a great way to wind up our year.
I think guys really do view it as a true championship, not just a bonus pool.Â It's a true championship.Â The FedExCup, I've got the trophy in my house and it's the most prized possession I have right now, just to be able to walk in my trophy room and see that trophy every day.Â I know everybody else that has that trophy feels the same way.Â I think it's definitely taken its place in the game of golf.
Q.Â You talked about you want to play all four.Â Have golf, will show up, so to speak.Â There's some players that still don't play all four for whatever reason, scheduling or personal reasons.Â Why do you think that is, and do you think that the TOUR has a little bit of an issue at times still with some players that don't show up for all the events?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think to each their own.Â I think no matter what you do, you're going to have guys do what they want.Â You're going to have guys that buck the trend.Â I think for the most part the TOUR has done a great job in giving us‑‑ we've got a week off built into the Playoffs at some point, so there's time to take time off.
I personally think that the four events are such great events, I don't want to miss them.Â They do a great job.Â They get such great venues in great cities with great fan bases, and it's a great time of year to be playing golf.Â You play all the dog days of summer to get to this time of year; you start getting into late August, September, the weather starts turning; it's a beautiful place to be playing golf.Â And I don't want to look back and say, man, if I had taken that one event off, if I had played there and just made the cut and maybe finished 10th, it might have been the difference between me winning or losing the FedExCup.Â You don't want to look back and think about that.
Q.Â You mentioned a little bit about what winning did for you on the course.Â What did it do for you off the course?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â You know, I think more than anything else it gave me a lot of peace with who I am as a golfer.Â It made me feel like I have a place in the game now, like I'm not somebody just going through the motions of a TOUR pro anymore.Â I have a place where I can really sit back and say, you know, I've accomplished something pretty special here.
So whenever I get in a tight situation on the golf course now or whenever, I have a sense of calmness and easiness to me that I didn't have before and a sense of belief in myself, and I think that's transferred to my whole life.Â I'm a much more relaxed person off the golf course now, much more‑‑ feel like I'm just a happier person because I feel like I accomplished something that I set out to do when I was a kid and now I'm not chasing something anymore.Â I've already accomplished it.
Q.Â Some of the guys were real vocal last week after the PGA coming out of New York saying that the crowds are just really getting out of hand, screaming "mashed potatoes" and "Chewbacca" every time you guys take a swing.Â We pride ourselves on southern hospitality here, so hopefully you're not going to hear any of that at East Lake, but how do you feel about that?Â Is it getting out of hand with the galleries and the screaming?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think it's a slippery slope when you start trying to contain galleries because of one key factor:Â We are in the entertainment industry.Â If they're not having fun out there, then we're not going to be doing what we do, so we've got to make sure that they have fun, that they have a good time.Â If guys are going to yell, you can't stop them from yelling.Â I think making more of a (inaudible) is probably going to drive it up for a little while.Â I think guys are going to starting yelling more and more now for the next couple weeks.
It's never really bothered me that much.Â I don't think it's that much of an issue.Â If the noise comes before you hit it, then yeah, I can understand guys getting upset, but I think guys‑‑ it's just people out there having a good time and trying to feel like they're part of the event.Â That's the one thing great about golf.Â You can get really, really close to the action.Â That's something that no other sport can bring to the table like golf can.
I would never want to jeopardize that fan experience over a couple people who were maybe taking it a little too far.
Q.Â What are the special challenges that a golfer feels with trying to be on top of his game for the four tournaments leading up to this?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, anybody who plays the game of golf knows it's so hard trying to get your game to peak at the right time.Â It's probably the hardest thing to do in golf.Â And so these Playoffs put extra pressure on that, and you've got four weeks to try to do that.Â It's so tough to try to mentally and physically get your game where you want it to be for those four weeks.Â You might have a week or two where it feels great and you have a week or two where it doesn't.Â The great thing about the Playoffs is it finds the people who are mentally strong enough and tough enough to grind through those one or two weeks where you don't have your A game and you're able to survive and still place a good finish and maybe contend when you don't have your A game, and then literally you do have two weeks where you have it going there and make a run after it.Â That's what makes the Playoffs so great.
Q.Â You said the FedExCup is your most prized possession right now.Â At the end of your career if you were to look back, you came pretty close at the Masters not too long ago.Â If you were to end your career without a major victory and one FedEx, would you be okay with that?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, that's a tough question to answer.Â I don't know.Â Yeah, actually I would be okay with that because of one thing.Â I know I tried‑‑ man, if I was to end my career and don't have a major, I know I did everything in the world I could possibly do to win one.Â That's just the way it is.Â If I don't win one, I don't win one.Â I'll be disappointed, sure.Â But I'll look back on my career and say, you know what, I tried everything in the world to win one.Â I still won a FedExCup Championship, which is unbelievable, and I'll be okay with it.Â I'll be okay with whatever happens in my career.Â I know I'm turning over every rock possible, doing everything I can to be a better golfer.
Q.Â Fans love to see great champions win on great courses, and we see players transcend themselves in winning these championships.Â How important is it that ‑‑ you admit that you've experienced that with this championship, but to do it on a course like East Lake, Bobby Jones' home course?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â It's huge.Â You look at the‑‑ I think the reason why guys love come to East Lake so much, and the reason why guys love Augusta National so much is because they're classic courses with the history tied to them.Â You walk down fairways that Bobby Jones helped design, that he practiced on, that he spent hours and hours upon.Â You just don't have that every day.Â And for us to have that at the TOUR Championship, the culmination of the FedExCup, walk down the same fairways and have so much money and fame and everything on the line with a guy who literally made the game of golf popular and made it the game of golf that we know today is pretty phenomenal.
The golf course is phenomenal.Â They've done a great job in kind of bringing it back to life, bringing it back to the way I think he intended it to be played today, and it's such a great test.Â You walk away from 72 holes there and everybody walks away beaten up a little bit, but we all know who won the tournament because there's no way to get around the golf course without playing some great golf.
Q.Â First couple years they played this there was a lot of tweaks to the format and the points system.Â Are the TOUR players pretty happy now with the way the system is?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think it works out great.Â Obviously I love the way it works.Â I think it works perfectly.Â But yeah, I think guys are really happy with the way it is.Â I think it's set up the best right now, so you go to TOUR championship, anything can happen.Â Those top five spots are extremely important.Â Guys know going into that that you want to be in that top five.Â That's huge, so you control your own destiny.Â Once you get outside of that top five, you're going to need help.Â Should be a lot of different scenarios going in.Â I think it creates a lot of excitement, it creates a lot of drama, and it makes that last Sunday a lot of fun to watch.
Q.Â What's the consensus now about switching the schedule now to where you're playing a non‑calendar format and the next season is going to start a few weeks after the TOUR Championship ends?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â Yeah, I think we'll know in a few years.Â Right now I think the TOUR had to do what they thought was right going forward.Â Golf has been a year‑round sport for the last 15 years, we just didn't want to admit it.Â I think since we came up with the FedExCup we tried to end the season, but we still had tournaments going on.Â This just brings some uniformity to that, lets us know that we do have a season that starts right after FedExCup, goes all the way through the year.Â Every other sport's season does the same thing.Â If you look at football or baseball or basketball, their calendar year and actual sports year do not coincide.
For us to do this, it's not that out of the ordinary, and I think I give a lot of credence to those first six events of the year.Â The old Fall Series events are now the start of the new season.Â Gives them a shot in the arm, and it should be a better field showing up and you've got guys playing some more tournaments they normally wouldn't play.
Q.Â How do you feel about you becoming world No.1, and is that important to you?
BRANDT SNEDEKER:Â I think it's important‑‑ it's important to me, yeah, because everybody wants to be the best at what they do.Â That's the thing that drives everybody in what you do in every walk of life.Â I've got a massive hurdle in front of me.Â I've got Tiger Woods in front of me.Â He's probably the best ever, so to try to beat him when he's playing his best is going to be hard to do.Â But still drives me every day.Â Every day you get up and you have a decision to make; do I want to go do this today?Â Do I want to practice or do I want to go work out?Â If I want to get to No.1, I'm going to have to do that.
It's a great motivating factor.Â If I never get there I'm not going to be disappointed, but I'm going to try my damndest to get there with everything I've got in me for the next couple years at least.
CHRIS REIMER:Â Thanks, Brandt.Â This concludes this part of our press event.Â I want to thank all of our panelists and also the media for helping us spread the message of the TOUR Championship by Coca‑Cola and know that supporting this event spots a lot of great causes.Â Thanks again, everyone, and thanks, Brandt, and good luck at Liberty National.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports