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GOLF CANADA ANNOUNCEMENT
November 6, 2013
DAN PINO:Â My name is Dan Pino, I'm Director of Media and Public Relations and I'm pleased to be your MC today.Â Before we get started I'd like to turn your attention to a quick 90‑second video.
DAN PINO:Â Ladies and gentlemen, Scott Simmons.
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â Thank you, Dan, and thank you to everyone in the room today for taking the time for this very important announcement.Â Before I get started I'd like to acknowledge a few people, especially our honored Canadian Golf Hall of Fame members, Sandra Post who is here today, we're delighted to have you here, Sandra.Â Thank you for being with us.Â I'd also like to thank Commissioner Whan for taking the time out of his schedule to be here for this important announcement, as well.
And Marlene Street, as well, another honored Hall of Fame member, a very special plus that both you and Sandra could be here today.Â Thank you.
The video shows that it really is a great time to be involved with the LPGA, and an exciting new era for the Canadian Women's Open.Â This event has been a part of the LPGA for more than 40 years, in fact, including the past 13 that Golf Canada has proudly conducted it as our national Women's Open golf championship.Â This event is so important to our country for so many reasons.Â It undoubtedly is the premiere women's golf event in Canada.Â It's an opportunity for our most talented Canadian golfers to showcase their talents on the world stage against the world's best.Â It showcases heroes for the youth of Canada.Â And I think that is so important for the development of our sport to have young kids aspire to want to be like the young ladies that you saw on the screen earlier.Â And importantly it gives us a great opportunity to leave a lasting legacy in communities to which we take this great championship.
Today I'm very proud and thrilled to announce that Canadian Pacific Railway is our new partner in Canadian golf, and will become the new title sponsor of the Canadian Pacific Women's Open.
Much like Golf Canada, which was founded in 1895, Canadian Pacific has a long and storied history of excellence dating back to 1881.Â They're a powerful and iconic Canadian institution and railway leader.Â Thus, importantly they also believe in supporting the communities where they do business.
I do want to specially acknowledge Canadian Pacific CEO, Hunter Harrison, he's been a champion of this event and women's golf dating back more than 8 years, and he's the reason we're here today.Â I would also be remiss if I didn't thank my good friend, Mark Wallace, from Canadian Pacific.Â Where is mark?Â Mark, thank you for being here.Â And also I want to thank Rick DeRosier, a long time staff member and volunteer with Golf Canada.Â Rick, thank you for your support during this process.
As well today I'm proud to announce that the inaugural Canadian Pacific Women's Opens will be conducted next August at the London Hunt & Country Club in London, Ontario.Â And I want to thank President Wayne Dunn who is here today, thank your executives and the membership to welcome our staff to your wonderful facility for the first time since 2006, which was a great event.
Now I'd like to call upon Hunter Harrison for his remarks.Â Hunter, on behalf of Golf Canada, the LPGA and Canadian golf fans from coast to coast, thank you for stepping up once again to support Canadian women's golf.
MIKE WHAN:Â Good morning to all the members of the press, our guests that are here, and especially to Sandra and Marlene, my neighbor.Â There you are.Â Good morning.
This is a big day for Canadian Pacific in a lot of ways.Â There's a lot of irony here today.Â Seems like about eight years ago I stood in a similar situation in Montreal where this wonderful tournament was‑‑ I think it's fair to say was in jeopardy.Â And that was in my former life with Canadian National.Â And they stepped up at that point in time.Â It's a wonderful organization, and I think at that time (inaudible) was stepping down as a previous sponsor, did a wonderful job.
Canadian National stepped up and has done a wonderful job of running this event for the past eight years now.Â I happened to experience the first four, and they were wonderful experiences.
And probably the most rewarding thing of all for us and during that eight‑year period of time was the effort that went into giving back to community giving back to charity.Â They adopted a charity that I don't think you could do a better job of children's hospitals throughout Canada.Â And I think through that eight‑year period of time they raised over $11 million for the children throughout this community.Â They did a wonderful job, and we congratulate them.
And we hope that now we are called upon again.Â I feel like the 6th man, here, Canadian National has decided to step down, and we've got a wonderful opportunity here and have a wonderful association with both Scott and Mike and their first class organization in putting this event together.
And it's also ironic that the first selection we made, once we became associated with this wonderful event, was to hold it at London Hunt Club ‑‑ Hunt and Country Club.Â We were debating that the title of the club is(inaudible) ‑‑ I think when you talk about London, you talk about golf.Â We all know that wonderful venue.
But they did such a wonderful job that first year in helping to kick off this wonderful event.Â I would call to some of your attention, and some of you maybe don't know, but I know some of the ladies do, we have upped the prize money to two million to two and a quarter million, which I think, knowing some of them, I know will be very appreciative of.Â It will put us in the position to continue to draw the best fields in the world, which this tournament has.Â It's developed quite a reputation.Â A lot of people, a lot of hard work.Â And I can assure you that we will continue to work diligently to see that that reputation remains and this is one of the top spots on the Tour.Â And we're very, very proud to be associated with it.Â Thank you.
DAN PINO:Â Thank you very much.Â I know today is another big day.Â I hope I don't spoil it.Â For those of you who don't know, but the Canadian Business has made Hunter the Turnaround CEO of the Year.Â Congratulations.
DAN PINO:Â Next we welcome Mr. Mike Whan, the commissioner of the LPGA Tour.
MIKE WHAN:Â There's a lot of tournaments that I go to that stand at the podium and talk about being one of the best on Tours.Â The nice thing about Golf Canada is I've never heard you use that statement, and probably nobody could make that statement more clearly than they could.
When you talk about great tournaments, you talk about great fields, you talk about great TV and you talked about great commitment to give back.Â And this tournament has been about that for a long time.Â Last year I remember telling people that 97 of the top 100 LPGA players in the world were playing in that tournament.Â I think in the last five years you've never done worse than 47 of the top 50.Â You can talk about being a great tournament, but at the end of the day players choose where to play, and they always choose this event.
Over 150 countries watch this tournament worldwide, it's an incredible celebration of Canada, while it's an incredible celebration of women's golf.Â It's really an incredible stimulus to the rest of the world and for women all over the world to see just how great it can be.
And then as Hunter mentioned the give back from this organization, what this tournament does, not only for the community charities, but for what the entire Golf Canada does to help nourish and grow and create golf in the women's game, certainly in the men's game, as well, but in the women's game is unbelievable.
I'll tell you a quick story, and I promise it's quick.Â I took the job at the end of 2009 but I didn't start until January of 20110.Â I asked some of the players on Tour, give me some of the names of some of heroes.Â I remember one of the players said, what do you mean heroes?Â I said organizations like the LPGA thrive on heroes, people that are on the business side that really get women's golf, they understand what we're trying to build here and they're going to make a difference long‑term.Â And Hunter's name kept coming up.Â So I tried to call Hunter at the end of 2009 he was in transition at the time and we missed each other.
Then about six months ago Scott said, is it okay if we have dinner with a guy named Hunter Harrison?Â I know that name, and then I told Morgan Pressel at a couple of tournaments later, I'm having dinner with Hunter Harrison and she goes, well, now you finally figured it out, that's who you've got to go talk to.
I will tell you that the LPGA, we're built 100 percent as an organization on partnerships, whether that's partnerships with people like Golf Canada, USGA, China Golf Association, but more importantly partnerships on the business side.Â And every once in a while we find a hero, I mean a true hero.Â And as Hunter described it's not the first time he's been a hero for LPGA and women's golf and certainly for Golf Canada.Â We respect that.Â I promise you we'll do our best to respect that friendship, to earn your business and to earn your trust.
I can promise you there will be at least 150 women working just as hard to earn that trust, as well.Â Without you, we're all playing in a member/member for a set of Callaway irons.Â With you we're playing for 2.25 million with 150 countries watching and that's pretty special.
I knew how the whole hero thing went when Scott and I went to meet with Hunter and Mark, and the first thing they asked us at dinner was how can we make this event better if we get involved.Â Not anything else had come out before the first thing they asked is how can we make this thing better.Â That's when you know you've got a hero.
We're excited to be a part of this.Â We're excited to be asked to be part of this.Â I can promise you that we'll bring our partners, our fans and most importantly we'll bring some of the best golfers on the planet to come to compete in front of these fans.
I know that when I get to announce this later today in an email to all the players, a combination of the name, the Canadian Pacific Women's Open just sounds like a tournament (inaudible.)Â London is going to be a huge hit.Â It was a huge hit last time we played it.Â It's going to be exciting from the number of fans that came out, the way it finished last time.Â I know Cristie Kerr will be excited.Â It's going to be exciting for all of us.
On behalf of everybody at the LPGA, not just the players that I think you see, but the staff, the over 1600 women that work in the game, the Girls Golf Foundations, and the Junior Links Program that really make the future of the game important.Â We couldn't be more happy to continue this partnership, continue this friendship and continue the game, to grow the game of women's golf.Â Thank you very much.
DAN PINO:Â Thank you, Mike.Â Mike mentioned making it a great tournament, obviously a great venue, pleased to be joined by Mr. Wayne Dunn to say a few words on behalf of London Hunt & Country Club.
WAYNE DUNN:Â Good morning.Â On behalf of the membership and board of the London Hunt and Country Club, we are thrilled to once again to host the stars of the LPGA Tour.Â It's a wonderful experience for all of us in 2006.Â We've been anxiously awaiting the event to return.Â I'd like to introduce two very well‑known and strong leaders in our community as our co‑chairs.Â Arcia Roberts and Peter Channer are in the front here.Â I'd also like to acknowledge the presence of John Winston who as the CEO of Tourism London.
London and the surrounding community has always had had a strong corporate volunteer basis.Â We hope to engage both important groups to get involved in the 2014 Canadian Pacific Women's Open.Â Now that today's news is official, we are excited to get to work.Â Planning and discussions with Golf Canada have been quietly under way to several weeks.Â In fact, back when we hosted in 2006 we kicked off planning around the same time.Â We're very confident in where we are less than ten months from our event.Â Together with Golf Canada, Canadian Pacific, and the LPGA Tour there is no doubt that together we can make the Canadian Pacific Women's Open an outstanding experience for London.
Thank you, and very much appreciate being here this morning.
DAN PINO:Â Thank you, Wayne.Â I believe we have our champion, Cristie Kerr, are you on the phone?
CRISTIE KERR:Â Yes, I am here.
DAN PINO:Â Go ahead.Â Cristie would you mind sharing your comments with everybody here, and obviously you have some great memories from 2006.
CRISTIE KERR:Â I do.Â It was great.Â It was an unexpected victory from me.Â I came from way back.Â It was a really exciting tournament Sunday.Â The London Hunt Club is a fantastic golf course.Â I've been on Tour long enough to remember how great that golf course is.Â Some of the younger players like Lydia Ko and Paula Creamer, I don't believe they've played that course yet, but they'll see how special it is.
It's great to have a new title sponsor, Canadian Pacific.Â Hunter, we can't thank you enough.Â It's going to be a fabulous week, and we're all really looking forward to it.
DAN PINO:Â I know Paula was going to join us, as well.Â I don't know if she had some issues.Â When the other speakers come on we'll bring them back.Â For right now we'll certainly open it up to Q and A for any of our speakers on the floor.Â We do have microphones on either side.
DAN PINO:Â We do have Paula Creamer on the line.Â Thank you for joining us.
PAULA CREAMER:Â Thank you for having me.
DAN PINO:Â If you would share a few words with everybody joining us here in the room and the teleconference about your thoughts on today's announcement.
PAULA CREAMER:Â I think it's awesome.Â I love coming to Canada, first off.Â I think the fans are truly one of the best that we have.Â They're so enthusiastic.Â And now to have a new sponsor, I think that it's just going to get bigger and better.Â The fact that we're able to go to Canada in the first place is exciting for us, but now to have a new sponsor on board is even better.
DAN PINO:Â Thank you for joining us.
Q.Â I was wondering, Christy, I was wondering, you mentioned about how much you enjoyed London Hunt, could you go into specifics about what you liked as a golf course?
CRISTIE KERR:Â First of all, in the final round I got to play with Lorie Kane, so that was even more special.Â There were huge crowds.Â I mean thousands and thousands of people.Â And just the atmosphere out there around the golf course, and how the fans can gather around the holes.Â It was pretty cool.
So being able to win and have an exciting round and to play with Lorie, it's about as good as it gets for me, especially in Canada.Â Like Paula mentioned, the fans are just tremendous.Â From any Canadian Open that we've played in the past, the London Hunt Club had the biggest crowds.Â It's going to be a very exciting week coming up.
Q.Â How would you characterize it as a golf course, Cristie, as far as a golf course goes?
CRISTIE KERR:Â I think it's tough.Â There are a lot of pin placements they can tuck and you have four or five yards over a bunker and not much behind it.Â You really have to be in charge of your game playing that golf course.Â So I just remember the greens being so pure, just being able to make a lot of birdies on the golf course when I played there, even though it was quite tough.Â It's going to be a very good challenge.
Q.Â To Scott and/or Wayne, I'm just wondering, from 2006, how solid is the volunteer base, the organization base?Â You've only got ten months to put this thing together now.Â How solid is that from 2006?
WAYNE DUNN:Â We have a base of 1200 volunteers from 2006 that were already in the system.Â So given that the tournaments is 8 to 10 months away, we are really in great shape.Â And we have been working diligently the past three weeks on this.Â I'm fully confident our volunteers, not only the ones that were there in '06, but will be a lot more that want to volunteer.
Q.Â The fact that that is‑‑ Scott, was that a comfort zone for you in making this decision?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â Absolutely it was.Â And I'd also be remiss if I didn't say that what also brought me great comfort is the world class people that we have working on this event.Â And I can't thank Frank McLoughlin for stepping in last year and taking over as tournament director and all the staff that we have involved, a lot of them here today, these are true professionals that know how to put on a world class event and combined with our friends at the London Hunt and Country Club that have been through this before, I have no question that we have a lot of time to pull off a great event in the end.
Q.Â I guess this is for Commissioner Whan, as you know, obviously the tournament was once a Major, and then it was stripped of its Major status.Â With all the talk of the golf course and how great it is, and how tough it is and so on and so forth, I'm just wondering if you plan to set up the golf course or your staff has had enough look at the golf course to decide how you're going to set it up?Â Will you set it up really with conditions approximating what it would be at a Major, because it's a tournament that's so fantastic as everybody said, in my thinking, anyway, I imagine it should be set up as a very fair, but very difficult test.Â And I'm wondering if you've given any thought to how you're going to position the tournament set up for next August?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â We haven't yet sat down with London Hunt and Country Club, because we wanted to wait for this announcement date.Â We haven't got together with the officials.Â We'll set the golf course up with Golf Canada.Â And I think you said it right in the way you said it.Â It's going to be challenging but fair.Â I think I wouldn't expect it to be a whole lot different than how we played this tournament this the past.Â We want to create an event that makes the cream rise to the top.Â If you look at the winners of this event over the last ten years that's consistently happened.Â So I don't think there will be a significant philosophy change as a result to build in a tournament.Â I think it's going to be great for the fans, great for the players, and result in the best possible champion.
Q.Â Just one more, I'm sure you've asked this before, with your adding this Major, with the Evian, I mean there's no limit to the number of Majors, can you see this as being the sixth major?
MIKE WHAN:Â I don't know if I could stomach the idea of six Majors.Â I know what work it was to ADD five, to be honest.Â The challenge, I think, between the women's game and the men's game, we haven't had a consistent four or five for 100 years and I know that's always going to be the case.
I think the good news is we have another tournament that certainly has the capability of interest.Â I wouldn't expect the 6th Major on the LPGA schedule any time soon.Â We've had major changes in the LPGA history, and history would suggest a similar thing could happen in the future, but I think now we're fine with five.
Q.Â Hunter, I wonder if this is the second time that you've put your box up on the table here.Â What is it about this event that works for you from the business standpoint?
HUNTER HARRISON:Â Well, I think we have had a nice run here at Canadian Pacific and we had a nice run previously at Canadian National.Â In fact I was discussing with Dan and Mike, I wasn't bragging, but you look at the first 17 months of this new team we've added a billion dollars a month in market share.Â I think we're blessed there.Â And I think that puts us in a good position, certainly, to give back to the community.Â And I think that's one of the things when I came to Canada that people talked to me about that corporate Canada did not give back enough.
So I think is it's‑‑ my family, No. 1, is dominated by females.Â I have four sisters, no brothers.Â I'm the oldest.Â I have two daughters, no sons.Â I have three granddaughters, no grandsons.Â So I appreciate the women, I can tell you.Â And they bring it to my attention.
And I think that it was a little bit of stepping away from the traditional thing at Canadian National, yes, but it was rather‑‑ we didn't have a lot of time to dwell on it.Â It was presented to me that I had a couple of weeks to make a decision.Â I've never been accused of being indecisive.Â But that was a little short.Â But it was a wonderful experience for us.Â And I think the ability to give back to the Children's Hospital in those communities, to make ourself known in the communities we operate, to show the responsibilities that we know and understand that we owe the communities, I think it just set us up to do a better job of operating.
DAN PINO:Â Very thrilled to be joined by our two time champion, she will be No.1 player in the world, No. 1 Amateur in the world, now No. 5 professional player in the world.Â Pleased to be joined by Lydia Ko.Â Lydia, I believe it's 4:30 in the morning there your time?
LYDIA KO:Â Yeah, but that's okay.
DAN PINO:Â Why don't you tell us, obviously you're a big part of the tournament history the last two years.Â Take us through your thoughts on the last two years, your experience with the Canadian Women's Open and what you're looking forward to this year.
LYDIA KO:Â Yeah, obviously it's huge congratulations to Golf Canada, the LPGA Tour, and the new sponsor, Canadian Pacific.Â It was pretty intense the last two years.Â And it's been a really special moment to me.Â Yeah, it's obviously always an honor to win the country's national Open.Â And everybody there was so supportive and helpful.
The course keeps changing year by year.Â So you get used to it, the course changes.Â I'm really looking to the new course, London Hunt Golf and Country Club.Â I'm looking forward to going back next year.Â And hopefully have a good result.
DAN PINO:Â Thank you very much, Lydia.Â And on a personal side, the last two years, you're very professional.Â We're very thrilled to have you back.
Q.Â Good morning.Â Two questions for Scott.Â The first is, this is a three‑year deal, how do you determine tournament sites past 2013?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â We've had discussions with Mark and with Hunter, I don't think we're at a point that we can make any announcements.Â We do have so many tremendous golf courses for people to host an event like this.Â I think it's safe to say that we may be going back to some of the sites that have hosted the event over the last eight years, we've had tremendous success at those facilities.Â But we're not in a position right now to make any announcement.Â I know you're probably asking about Ottawa specifically, and Ottawa will be one of the markets that we will be looking at, but we're certainly not in a position to make any announcements.
Q.Â The second question is, does this three‑year agreement apply specifically to the Women's Open or does it also include the Canadian Women's Tour qualifying series?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â Great question.Â The Canadian Tour Women's qualifying series, three events, will not be part of this specific agreement.Â But we do have some other announcements that we will be making.Â We've had great discussions with Hunter Harrison and the team at Canadian Pacific, they are very invested in Canadian golf going forward.Â We will be making some announcements.Â I'm not at liberty to make those announcements today.Â But suffice it to say that they will be more involved in golf in Canada and with Golf Canada than Canadian Pacific Women's Open.
Q.Â Question for John Winston, if John is available there.Â John, talk about Tourism in London.Â Obviously in London is a golf capital.Â We see so many tournaments, the PGA Tour Canada championship here last year.Â Talk about how this is perhaps going to change what you do Tourism‑wise to attract people to London now that we have yet another golf tournament.
JOHN WINSTON:Â I think the big issue for us‑‑ we are a sports destination city.Â It's who we are.Â It adds to the notoriety and it adds to positive notoriety of the city.Â So more people know about London, the more opportunity we have for visitation.Â That was proven recently with the World Figure Skating Championships.Â We're quite excited about this coming, and we think it's going to be exciting.Â I know there's going to be an estimated 15,000 people coming to the event.Â And all that does is just enhance the economic benefit and creates excitement for the city.
Q.Â Just one quick question for Cristie Kerr, Cristie, we chatted when you finished up your round in 2006 and you talked very much about how you love London Hunt Club.Â Maybe talk about London Hunt, how you compare that with the other venues that you play at all year long.Â What makes it really special?
CRISTIE KERR:Â It's a beautiful golf course, tree lined, there's a lot of doglegs.Â So it definitely does feel like a Major course to me.Â I just remember the crowds and the momentum I had on Sunday, and it was really a special experience for me.Â So of all the courses in Canada, I actually still think that London Hunt Club is my favorite, just the setup and how the flow of the course goes and the different holes.Â No two holes are alike, and it keeps you very interested.Â So those are the memories that I have.
Q.Â Scott, just touching on something that you brought up just a little earlier.Â You do have the championship set up for London this year.Â Are there any plans to move that or are you planning on holding that in London?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â I think you're referencing a PGA Tour, Canada Tour Championship?
Q.Â Don't you have an Amateur coming up this year, as well?Â A Junior?
SCOTT SIMMONS:Â Yes, the Juniors are there, as well as the Junior Boys.Â We did have the Junior Girls scheduled there, as well.Â We're going to move one of those events.Â (Inaudible.)
DAN PINO:Â Ladies and gentlemen, we want to thank Paula and Cristie and Lydia for joining us.Â This concludes our press conference.
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