home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


December 11, 2013

Valerie Alexander

Bill Clinton

Brian Gay

Bob Marra

Bill Tait

BOB MARRA:  Good morning.  Welcome everyone to our Media Day News Conference.  Thanks very much for being with us this morning as we look ahead to the 2014 Humana Challenge in partnership with the Clinton Foundation as we seek to build on the success that we had with the 2013 event.  We would like to take this opportunity to thank LaQuinta Resort and Club and PGA West for their wonderful hospitality.
We'll be hearing from all the members of our partners this morning and then at the conclusion of our formal remarks we'll have a Q&A session.¬† You'll have the opportunity to ask questions of them.¬† Then we'll have a chance to do some one‑on‑one's and after that those who are playing golf will adjourn to the practice range to get ready for your round today.¬† And then after that those that were participating in the golf will come back in for dinner at the conclusion of the round and award ceremony.
Starting just after we turned off the microphones after Brian Gay's press conference last year, after he won the championship, we were hard at work getting going again and building on the successes that we have already accomplished over the first couple of years.  And so your staff team here and the partners have been very busy, all along, and we are really proud of some of the new things that we want to tell you this year about what's going on.
We have so much accomplished in the past year, so I'm going to give you just the highlights and we can talk later about a variety of things, but there's so much to cover.  But before we jump in I wanted to thank our hosts here today, La Quinta Resort and Club and PGA West.  And I note that Todd Keefer, the general manager is away on a business trip now, but is there anyone else here from PGA West?  Anyone here?  Okay, they're all busy because it's the time of year now where everyone is playing golf.
So I want to thank them for hosting us and being a part of this event today and as I say, we love it out here at PGA West, couldn't ask for more than this kind of a view and an opportunity to tee up out on the golf course.  So I hope a lot of you can join us for that event.  I know we have got a big group.
I also want to introduce the members of the Board of Directors of the Desert Classic Charities that are here with us this morning.  Desert Classic Charities is the host organization of the tournament.  That runs the operations of the event.  With our staff team and our volunteer board members who do so much throughout the year and they give their time and their expertise as a part of that service as being volunteers.  So with us today from Desert Classic Charities we have Jack Metler.  Raise your hand.  Clark Rhaney is here with us.  Jim Reed, John Evanson.  Dave Erwin.  Kevin McGuire and Roger Lowe.  And thanks so much for being here.
Our long‑standing president of the Desert Classic Charities, John Foster, had another engagement here, he was around for breakfast and hope you got a chance to talk to him.¬† He says that he wanted me to tell everyone that he's proud of what we have accomplished this past year and looking forward to seeing everyone back in the tournament in just a view short weeks.
We'll be hearing from members of some of our partner organizations this morning and then at the conclusion, we'll have a Q&A section.¬† So you can ask questions of any of us here on the panel.¬† And then for those of you playing golf, a little bit later, we're going to adjourn to the practice range afterwards and you can get some shots in and warm‑up and then we'll go tee it up probably about 11:45 shotgun out on this beautiful course.¬† And I keep hearing when I'm talking to members of the country club community about how great the conditions are this year.¬† We had perfect growing conditions for the overseeding and so I almost feel a little guilty taking a divot out of this course it's so beautiful.
Now it is my pleasure to introduce the members of our panel.  Representing Humana is Bill Tait, the Senior Vice President of Corporate Strategic Partnerships.
From the Bill, Hillary, and Chelsea Clinton Foundation please welcome Valerie Alexander, the Director of Marketing and Communications.
And last but not least our 2013 Humana Challenge champion, Brian Gay.
Brian, it was a tremendous and very exciting accomplishment that you did here last year.  And we're all so proud of you.  And so you're part of the family now.  And so you're stuck with us.
BRIAN GAY:  Thank you.
BOB MARRA:  And really appreciate for you and your lovely wife and business partner and our new friend, so nice of you to come all the way here from Florida and join us.  I want to announce something really special and it's kind of in line with the way we do things around here at this golf tournament, which has yielded so much benefit for this community in terms of the charitable contributions we have made, in a similar vein Brian partnered with his client Diamond Resorts International and Kimberly, together they put on a tournament the Brian Gay Invitational just this past weekend and they raised $410,000 for the Florida children's hospital.  So I think that deserves a round of applause.
We're available for consultation, Kimberly, if you wanted to come help us with the tournament.  So I'll get started and talk with you about some of the highlights of the new things that we have added this year and then we'll get to some of the things I think you're looking forward to in terms of who the field players are that are going to comprise our 156 players.  Some of the standouts that have made early commitments.
So I mentioned that we have had a really busy year and we got started right away.  We literally jumped right on it and so the message is that we thought that this tournament as it's evolved over the years has come to the point where we really needed to get more buy in and more support from the business community in the Coachella Valley and beyond.  To continue to build it and do the things we want to do with the tournament.  And I'm proud to tell you that we have been very successful at doing it with a wide range of efforts and activities, and so many of you that have partnered with us are here at the tournament.
So we look at it on the business side of this golf tournament as there's an opportunity for businesses in this region to utilize the tournament to develop new clients, to reach out to people that are coming into the valley, to people that live here, and to get to know each other and also to treat your clients and your staff.  So we really had a great run of this throughout the year.  Some highlights and everyone's important to us, whether you bought a program ad and are doing something in Bob Hope Square or whether you're a major sponsor you're all important.  I wanted to mention some real marquee ones that we have got.
We have got a new partnership this year with Cobra Puma Golf that started in the summer he.  We talked and showed them what we have got and they are all in with us in this tournament.  They saw it as a great opportunity early in the year to get out in front as a manufacturer and make a big presence at a PGA tournament event.  And they're based in Carlsbad, so it's just a drive down the road.  So they're involved.
And what that means is they're the new sponsor of Club 17, our venue that was started last year out on the 17th hole of the Palmer Private.  It's now going to be called the Club 17 presented by Cobra by Puma Golf.  So get ready to see some cats and some cool colors and some fun activity out there.
They're also the sponsors of the Bob Hope legacy pro‑am our Wednesday event.¬† So it will be the Bob Hope legacy pro‑am presented by Cobra Puma Golf.
And then, last but not least, out here where you can see the construction going on already, in Bob Hope Square it's different this year, it's going to be more fun more interactive more interesting for anybody out in the community to come out and enjoy the tournament and Cobra Puma Golf will have a big presence of all kinds of fun things that they have got planned and the music, a bar inside, hitting areas, putting places and lots of punch.
Along the lines of other manufacturers we have got a deal going with Bridgestone golf.¬† Bridgestone will be sponsoring our Monday pro‑am.¬† Now this year if you haven't heard we changed the format of the Monday pro‑am.¬† The one day pro‑am that we had last year, the prior year, was the Couples Challenge.¬† We thought that we could improve upon that and so we got together after the tournament last year and we said let's do something really special.¬† We came up with a concept called the Club Team Challenge.¬† This will be the first of its kind in the region.¬† It is an effort to find out who is the top club in the desert.¬† And we're going to have three members from a country club and semi private clubs can participate even public courses can, along with their pro.¬† So the PGA pro, three members, along with a PGA TOUR player will fight it out for the club team championship.
And so part of that making it successful is the media getting involved and getting fired up about it and making a fuss over who wins.  And what's going on and so we have got a great roster of clubs already signed up and we're looking for some more still.  But we have got a couple more spots available for that and it's going to be a sell out.  It will be really cool.  And that will be held on the Nicklaus Private Course on Monday, January 13th, with Bridgestone as a sponsor.
So two major manufacturers in the golf industry early in the season getting an opportunity to get involved with us and we're proud to have them.
Another great sponsor that we have brought on board this year is a company called Astellas Pharma.  They are a partner with us to host two events during tournament week including Astellas presents Executive Women's Day on January 13th.  It's going to be a busy day around here.  And Women's Day presented by Astellas on January 17th.  Two big events.
Executive Women's Day is something that the PGA TOUR worked on in past years and developed last year along with Astellas as their partner.  And the goal is we want more women from the community to come out and get involved in the tournament to be here with us, to experience hospitality venues and just get involved in the tournament because we think they will enjoy it and then we're going to give them credentials to come back and be out here with us.  But then we also want them to consider getting involved in the tournament in future years.  So it's a great partnership and tied in with the PGA TOUR we're proud to have this great thing going with Astellas.  And through these two events Astellas' goal is really to, they have an initiative to work with women in local communities across the country and it's designed to provide women with information that actually helps them consider overall well being.  So it's part of their mission similar to our overall tournament mission so I think it's a great partner.
When we also look at Women's Day and other activities by Astellas they're going to have and I think it's right there (Indicating) the Astellas Pavilion is going to be built 40 by 40 structure and really a great place for women to hang out during the golf tournament.  So we're proud about that one.
We have a company Healthways that's a partner with Humana, that is a great client partner with Humana.  Do we have some representatives with us today?  Great to see you.  Thanks for coming over from the other desert, right?  Down in Arizona.  Just hop on the 10 and cruise on over.  We are really proud to have them back.  Last year they were involved in the tournament and this year Healthways is going to be the sponsor of the Wednesday welcome party.  So it will be the welcome party sponsored by Astellas.
And so we're proud to have you back and there are plenty of other things ‑‑ am I saying Astellas?¬† Oh, my gosh.¬† Tori told me that I really had to say Astellas a lot so it's Healthways.¬† And I apologize for that.¬† But Healthways and is another great partner of the tournament with the big presence this year.
And we do have so many local and regional firms participating in different ways.  Through hospitality venues that we have and other times of sponsorships.  And you'll be hearing more about those.
So I mentioned we're talking about pro‑am events, I mentioned the Club Team Challenge, the Bob Hope legacy, both with marquee sponsorships, this year we did something really cool with our main pro‑am.¬† We have a three day Humana challenge pro‑am unlike any other in the world.¬† There are only three tournaments in the world where amateur golfers can play in the tournament during the tournament rounds with professional golfers.¬† Ours is the only one where they can play with six different players during that time period.¬† So we have the AT&T Pebble Beach where the player is partnered with one TOUR player the entire time.¬† And the Alfred Dunhill links championship in November is similar to that.¬† Ours we really think is special and we're excited about it.¬† Not only have we come close to real selling it out completely this year, which is quite an accomplishment but we changed some things to make it even more interesting.
So Mike McCallister who is the Chairman of the Board of Humana mentioned to me up at Pebble Beach last year when he was playing in the event, he said we need a cut, we need to play on Sunday, because this was during Sunday and it was pretty darn exciting the position that he was in that Sunday playing at Pebble in the tournament.  And I said, yeah, I think we need to do this.  And he said, well let's do it.
So we brought it to our partners and with the help of the PGA TOUR and everyone we have a cut this year.¬† So the top three players that are low gross scores and the top three that are net scores, will have to go and tee it up on Sunday in the morning for the championship.¬† That will be an interesting.¬† And they don't get their pro players score they have to play their own ball.¬† So this will be fun.¬† So I imagine a lot of you will want to watch this happen.¬† But we're very excited about it and it's really resonated with the pro‑am players.
Some more highlights.  The Challengers, we started an organization that is a group of local business people executives professionals, that generally just love this golf tournament, they recognize the charitable impacts that we made over the years, they recognize the economic impacts of this tournament.  And they have jumped in to form an ambassador group to help us open doors and to build upon things we want to build in this region in the tournament.
So I'm very excited, we have built this over the summer, it's coming to a crescendo now.  We got about 35 members of the group.  Some are here today.  Recently I asked my good friend Shaun Murphy to be the president of the group, and Shaun's here.  Shaun raise your hand.  Shaun jumped in and he's doing a lot to help lead this group.  Shaun's a partner of Slovak, Baron, Empey, Murphy and Pinkney, the law firm based in Palm Springs and he's really done a great job along with many people.  We have got Bob Ravis here.  Bob, raise your hand, please.  Bob has been a big supporter, Bob's the director of real estate at the Hideaway, already been a huge partner to this tournament from last year.  He's one of the first ones of the clubs to welcome me in and listen to my pitch last year and he keeps listening and keeps doing things for the tournament.  So we're really excited about building on the challengers.
We have formed a new partnership with a convention with the Palm Springs Desert Resorts Convention and Visitors Bureau because it just makes sense.  I think there's a huge upside to the number of people that this tournament can bring in and stay in our hotels during the tournament at one point or another.  Whether they stay for two weeks before and after, couple days and come in and spend some time with us.  We partnered with them.
And there's a really cool thing they're doing, they brought a pro‑am spot and they're doing a sweepstakes nationally to give it to one person who wins that opportunity to come and play in our pro‑am.¬† That's going to be pretty cool.¬† They're going to go through the whole process, register, all the events that we have going and be a part of it.¬† So last I heard there were more than a thousand applicants trying to win this thing.¬† It's part of their strategy to being focus on individual travelers in golf, bring more to the Coachella Valley, makes sense that the region's PGA TOUR event would want to partner with the CVB.¬† So we really are thankful to Scott White the CEO of the organization and his team for partnering with us and we think that it brings more value to the community and this is a big growth area for the tournament.
Another thing that we're doing that's really exciting this year is the First Tee Nine Healthy Habits Summit.  This is an idea that originated from the director of the Greater Chicago First Tee chapter.  Who saw the tournament while he was in Chicago sitting there with maybe a little bit of snow outside, golf lover, probably wanted to be here and enjoy the tournament.  And I said, when I talked with him first he said, well, it would be kind of fun to be out here and it's cool to be involved in the tournament.  He said that's great but it's that well being message, that was cool.  I was knocked out by that.  And what if we had students in the First Tee program from throughout the country come together and participate in a series of activities during the tournament.  And they would have to apply and they would have to do projects and they would have to really get involved to do this.  And what if we did that.  And we said we got to make that happen.  And we did.  We got it sponsored and we have that up and running 24 students have been selected.
There's some great stories in there.  There's a young lady who lost 35 pounds while she and her dad were watching the golf tournament and she said she was going to do something about her health and has done it.  And she's going to be here among many others.  So with it's really cool that what we're doing there.  I'm going to finish up about I talking to you about the field.  Who we have lined up and these are the early commitments.
It's kind of a trend with the PGA TOUR these days I think that the players are waiting a little bit longer to make their commitments to tournaments.¬† So they have kind of an early commitment phase and then we get on to finding out who is in and out.¬† So for now these are some early commitments, but the first and foremost we're thrilled to have Brian Gay's commitment to return to the Humana Challenge as our defending champion.¬† And as I alluded to, Brian and his wife Kimberly‑‑ Kimberly, would you stand, please.
Ross Berlin, the Director of Player Affairs for the tournament for the PGA TOUR called me right after the tournament, right after and he said, you know what, he goes you have a great champion and he and his wife are going to be awesome for you.  And so you're lucky.  I just wanted to tell you that.  And I was like well thanks.  That sounds good.  And boy, have they been great partners.  So thanks again.
So Brian is going to be back with us trying to be our first back to back winner since Johnny Miller did it in the early 1970's.  And I think his game is tuned up and ready to go.
So it's too early to announce the full field, but we have got some highlights.  I'm pleased to announce that at the top of the list is World Golf Hall of Famer and long time world No. 1 player, Greg Norman.  He's an icon in the game and it will be great to have the shark back in the desert with us.  He was here our first year of the Humana Challenge and it made a huge impact on this golf tournament and he's coming back.
Other early commitments from very highly ranked players include major Championship winner Zach Johnson, who had quite a victory over Tiger Woods last week.  And that was pretty exciting.  So we have got Zach coming back to the tournament too.  He loves it here.
Keegan Bradley will be back with us and playing with us.  He played here in his rookie year in 2011 did something like won the PGA Championship in between that and now.  He's coming back to the desert.  So we welcome him.  He had a great performance here and was in a position to possibly win it in 2011.
Brandt Snedeker who played quite well in our tournament last year and in past years and then went on to have a fantastic 2013 season will be joining us again this year.
Along with Bill Haas, who is one of our past champions and between the two of them they have won the FedExCup in 2011 and 2012 consecutively.  And they both have won high profile tournaments last year.
As we acknowledged last week and you probably heard, southern California's own Ricky Fowler will be coming back to join us this year.
Also from the Cobra Puma team we have Jonas Blixt who had a great year.¬† He won the Greenbrier classic and he was in the mix at the PGA Championship this past year, well into Sunday's round.¬† And he's in the Top‑50 of the world golf rankings.
Other major Championship winners who have made early commitments to the field include Stewart Cink, Retief Goosen, who is, who hasn't been with us for awhile.  Trevor Immelman, former Masters champion.  Justin Leonard and Mike Weir.  So Mike Weir I think is quite appealing as always to the Canadians here in the desert.
So that's, I hope you find the field so far the early commitments as exciting as we all do and there are more, more will follow and we'll be telling you about those as we go along.  So, with that, I would like to introduce Bill Tait, to give some remarks regarding Humana's presentation.
BILL TAIT:  Thank you, Bob.  We all had dinner together last night and the great thing about a late dinner is we talked about all the things we were going to go over and I thought we were pretty buttoned down.  Bob took everything I was going to talk about.  So I'll make this kind of short.
He introduced me, I don't know what title he used, I don't think it is my title, but I will tell you this:  That I feel very fortunate about the job I'm in.  I get to represent Humana and I get to work with these guys 365 day as year.  And it's a great assignment.
I don't know how much you know about Humana, but we have got a long history in golf.  I'll talk about the company a second but the reason I bring up golf is we have been the official marketing partner for the PGA TOUR for almost 10 years and sponsor seven different TOUR professionals, so we have got a love for the game of golf.
And Mike McCallister, who Bob referenced is our chairman and myself and a lot of the executives in the room we always thought we wanted to sponsor a golf tournament.  But we didn't really know how to go about doing it.  We looked at the Hilton head tournament, we looked at the New Orleans tournament for various reasons, and then at one point in time we fell in love with the St.Jude.  And we were just about ready to go there and now there was three years ago, they're wonderful people and they represent a fantastic cause and we chose not to do it at the last minute.
The reason is we realized that it kind of represented sickness, not health, which is what we're trying to focus our efforts on.  And this opportunity came along with these guys and it's an absolute perfect fit for our brand.  It's allowed to us partner with the Clinton Foundation, DCC, the PGA TOUR, and it's just a really neat way to launch what we're about as a company.  And most that have is focused around health we wellness and well being.
As we sat here two years ago?  Seems like just yesterday.  We made a commitment to participate in this tournament and we only had a few months to get ready.  And I can tell you that with absolute certainty that we had no idea what we were getting into.  We never ran a golf tournament.  And it ended up very special.  We sit here we have had three very good years behind us, I'm looking at the notes I wrote down about our first year.  Some will make me chuckle.  I hope this iPad doesn't go off, because I'll have to call Siri to bail me out.
But it really was a great year.  And we really didn't know anything about running a golf tournament, nor did the Clintons.  But at the end of that first year, we won the Sporting Event of the Year award.  And it was a really neat privilege to be part of.  And I know Anna and I and Jack were in New York City and we're at this Sporting Event of the Year and we're thinking well we're not going to win anything here.  And we were the last ones to be announced and we won.  And it was a really special treat.  Because of all the hard work that everybody in this room put together.
I remember going up on stage and getting the trophy and as I said 14 times on Sunday, it was a fantastic thing for us to experience and kind of looked at the trophy and Anna said, boy, I wish the president was here, he would have really liked to have seen this.  And Tim and I on cue said, here it's yours, you take it.  Because it was bigger than all of us.
But the other thing I tell people is they ask what it's like to run a tournament, what it was like the first year, I said have you ever seen the Wizard of Oz.  Of course everyone says yes.  And I said, well it's exactly like that.  Outside the curtain everything goes really well and inside the curtain when you're with us, Toto knows we have a lot of problems.  But it seems to work out.  We rally and things ran really very good.
The other thing I would like to take the opportunity to just touch on, when we got into this tournament, we were very concerned we were very concerned for a lot of reasons.  We're an East Coast company basically.  We knew we would have to deal with the West Coast and we weren't sure how the community would accept us.  We knew we were going to change the name of the tournament from the Bob Hope Classic to the Humana Challenge.
And I can tell you from the first day that we got involved with everybody in this room, with you guys, with Bob back then it was Larry Thiel, we have had nothing but a positive experience.  Now we have stressed each other out trying to do some of that Toto stuff that I talked about, but it really has been a very nice experience.
The other thing that I'll comment on that we have been very impressed with although I never tell anybody, our first year with Larry Thiel we had a very good tournament.  But I would like to take just a second and compliment Bob March and his team.  They have really taken this to a new spot.  All the neat stuff that Bob talked about, we would not have achieved without your leadership with us.  So I thank you for that.  I think you have interfaced with the community great, you put up with us and I know we give you a lot of tough stuff and I know we wouldn't be here today if it weren't for you.  So thank you very much.
So, the other things that I wrote down that I thought that we should chat about, this is about health and well being.  And you're going to hear a lot of different praises from the Humana team about partners for life and improving health care in communities by 20 percent and a lot of themes.  At the end of the day, what we're trying to get across to everyone is that we can make a difference and personal accountability, taking care of yourself works.
If you'll look at what we have started to achieve here across this tournament, we have got a really cool platform that we have started to get some national tension around that's making a huge difference.¬† And when I sat back on the way out here and started to write down some of the stuff that you touched on Bob the three things that I would pick I think that we can be especially proud of is the charitable giving aspect of it.¬† We donate over 40 local charities.¬† We're going to ‑‑ it's probably Astellas calling.
(Phone ringing.)
(Laughter.)  So over 40 charities.  We're going to launch a new thing called charity miles this year which will broaden our scope of charitable giving.  We'll work with the Gary Player foundation to try to do some neat things in the community.  And then I know that Valerie, when you talk, you'll touch on a lot of the neat things that the Clinton Foundation has done.  So the charitable aspects of it are what we're all about.
The other thing is the impact that the tournament's had.  It's a nationally recognized event that it's not one week of golf, we have really started to make a difference around the TOUR, I mean when we first got involved this was a very special tournament and it still is.  But it's nationally recognized now by the players, you talk to the players, they like this town and they like being here.  It's the format that you guys put in.
It's become a platform for health care leaders to come work with the Clinton Foundation and we should be very proud of that.  I think it's also created the consumer to engage in the health care system.  If you look last year with the Walkit program and some of the other neat things that we all talk about, consumers that walked on this property last year walked 15 million steps.  And why that may not sound like a lot.  That's a ton of work.  And when he looked at that we thought this is really neat.  So we took that Walkit program to nine other PGA TOUR stops and walked 35 healthy, 35 million healthy miles.  And Jim Turner and his team, we looked at what that did, we took that Walkit program to a lot of our other national sponsorships like the National Senior Games.  So I think that's something else that we're very proud of.
The other thing I would touch on is the community involvement aspect of it that Bob you touched on and I know that Valerie will touch on.  The two things that I would chat about that I think are relevant are the KaBOOM, the playground that we built here.  We built three of them.  Multigenerational play grounds here in the last two years.  We have not built that many play grounds in any other community, Jim, to my knowledge in the UnitedStates.  Even so, this community is very special to us and that was our way with everyone else of making a commitment of we got to have some sustainability here for quite some time.
The Bob touched on the First Tee event that's going to be hosted here.  We're very proud of that.  We worked on that.  Humana is I'll put a plug in for them, we, to get them started, because they did not have a sponsor and they are just a very worthy organization.  And the gentleman that Bob referenced, the Chicago gentleman, really put his heart into this.  But he didn't have the money and he went to the national foundation and it was new and so I'm proud to say that we put up the money to fund it the first year.  There's 24 young future executives that are coming that they're coming based on these nine healthy habits that but they're going to get to experience a lot of neat things.  Part of that is a lot of these sponsorships that we do, we do this to get them started, and we're very blessed because we're a very successful company, but our desire is not to sponsor more sponsorships within the Humana Challenge because our commitment is to the Humana Challenge.  So we're working with the First Tee Foundation, and any one else here who would like to help the First Tee out because we want to make this tournament a destination of choice.  Players wives are coming back this year.
So this First Tee event is special because I think it's there's a couple neat things that have started with the players wives and these things that they comeback every year so this is a destination of choice.  Having said that, I will close, we don't talk about the aspects of golf a lot, when we're at Humana we always want to say it's a week of well being with a side of golf.  But we make it perfectly clear there's a lot of golf involved here and we're proud of it.  The things that I don't talk about like Bob are the charitable aspects of this and the KaBOOM and the military day and the commitment to Bob Hope are all very special, they're very special to us as a company and they're very special to everybody here but if it weren't for this golf tournament, and selling it out and having the player field that Bob just talked about, we wouldn't be able to fund all this stuff.
So we need to stay focused on that and we need your help in that.  If you look at the success of this, the depth of the field is fantastic, it's become a nationally recognized tournament, and it's going to allow us to build on the years to come in the legacy of what Bob Hope started here.  So we're very proud of that have so with that I'll close by thanking you all for being here we're very proud to be the title sponsor.  We're pleased to be associated with the Clinton Foundation.  Brian, thank you.  You were a great champion.  And the other people that I would thank that aren't here are for you guys participating in this tournament the thousands of volunteers that make this thing work.  It's just absolutely amazing.  So thank you and thank you for having us here.
BOB MARRA:  Bill, thanks a lot and it's great to be behind the curtain with you working object this.  So we appreciate it.  And now it is my pleasure to announce from the Bill Hillary and Chelsea Clinton Foundation, Valerie Alexander, who is the Director of Marketing and Communications.
VALERIE ALEXANDER:  Thank you, Bob.  I am fortunately would like to forewarn you, I'm going to rely on my notes.  I just came off flight from Brazil, I'm a little tired.  So I'm going to be sticking to the script.
But before I begin I wanted to play a video that President Clinton cut about a week ago specifically for this event.
(Video played.)

PRESIDENT CLINTON:  Thank you for being here today and for your continued support of the Humana Challenge.  When we started together a few years ago we knew we wanted to put on a great golf tournament, but we were equally committed to drawing tension to an issue we all cared deeply about, promoting health and wellness.  Now in its third year our partnership with Humana and the PGA TOUR and the DCC has proven that when we work together, we can have a measurable impact on people's lives.
Working with people from many different sectors and experiences we're finding new ways to address our health and wellness challenges and helping more and more people to become part of the solution.
And our Health Matters Conference, just last year alone, 100 million dollars was pledged toward disease prevention efforts that would improve health outcomes for more than 25 million people across mark America.  When we started we didn't know how far this would go.  But thanks to great partnerships we're working in four communities around the country including here in the Coachella Valley.
And what can I say about the golf?¬† The tournament means a lot to me.¬† It's an honor to continue Bob Hope's legacy and of what he started here in this community more than 50 years ago.¬† Raising money for charity and putting on a great pro‑am at the same time.
We're bringing together some of our best players on the TOUR and some pretty amazing amateurs as well.  I don't get on the course as often as I would like to any more, because I'm too focused on my work with the foundation, but I admire the passion and the talent of all these players.  I look forward to seeing you in January.  And I'm excited to see what else we will achieve together.  Thank you.
VALERIE ALEXANDER:  Just very quickly, I want to say that I am happy to be back here with Brian and a less hectic situation.  I think if you guys remember when we were here last time we were following him on the golf course Bill and I were clutching the back of a golf cart, Bob was driving very recklessly towards the second playoff hole.
(Laughter.)  And we, but we did see the orange shirt and we knew we were headed in the right direction.  So it was a great, great tournament last year.  And you were great.  It was a thrilling win.  And I enjoyed last night having dinner with you and your wife Kimberly.  So thanks for coming.
This is the third year that I have had the privilege of representing President Clinton and the Clinton Foundation at media day and I can continue to be so inspired by the support that we get here at the tournament and by all that we have been able to accomplish together as Bob and as Bill have alluded to already.
Before I continue, I wanted to briefly recognize Ginny Ehrlich, who I hope that many of you from the media will seek out after we're finished today.  Ginny is the CEO of the Clinton Health Matters Initiative and it's her along with her team that drives all of the health matters work.  Much of which I will touch on very briefly this morning.
As the president mentioned in his video, the tournament and the work we're doing with all of our partners really means so much to him.  As my colleagues here in the front row can attest, the foundation is so proud to be a part of this with Humana and the DCC and the PGA TOUR, the President looks forward to this event every single year and so I just want you to know and under score again as I do every media day, that we are so happy to be a part of this and we thank you for your support and such a warm welcome every year.
I do want to thank Humana, Bill is right, we sometimes go at it, but ultimately we have a great partnership.  Our partnership with the DCC and with the PGA TOUR and Tori and her team is great.  We work on this 365 day as year and it all culminate next month and we have a great partnership and it's something that I think that so many more people beyond the people that you see here are behind it.  And I want to thank everybody for their contributions to making the tournament and everything that goes along with it so highly successful.
To expand on briefly, kind of next month and the things that we're going to be doing, first there's health matters.  And the work that guinea and her team oversee the health conference and then the week long activities.  As many of you already know, the Tuesday conference is the and core event for the foundation's Health Matters Initiative.  And it is, and it was established two years ago in conjunction with this partnership.
Just as perhaps for us as the foundation, one of the best parts of the Humana Challenge story, because it is a premier example of how we have been able to build on what we started here with the challenge in a meaningful way and scale it in other communities across the UnitedStates.
It was founded to equally distribute the opportunity for everyone to be healthy and the Clinton Health Matters Initiative leads our year round work to improve health and wellness nationally and at the community level.  And although it's one of the foundation's new west initiatives, it is already making significant headway.
As the president mentioned in the video, last year's conference announced disease prevention efforts that totalled more than a hundred million dollars affecting more than 25 million people across the UnitedStates and the investments in health and well being announced at this year's conference will have even greater impact.
This year we will feature leaders, corporations, and athletes who will discuss ways in which they can contribute to the health and wellness of others in substantive ways.  We are thrilled that Tenet Health Care Corporation has joined us once again as our title sponsor.  For the conference and we are grateful for their own going participation.  And delighted that Tenet CEO Trevor Fetter will be joining us on that Tuesday and I know Rich is here from Tenet, so I wanted to say thank you.  Thank you for joining us today, rich.
This year we have also added a few new events to the week.  We are working in partnership with the Ace Hotel Tumblr and Jawbone to host a healthy Codathon at the Ace in Palm Springs the weekend prior to the conference.  And Jenna Wolfe and Billy Blanks will be conducting workouts as part of the conference programming.
I know that there's often interest in who is going to be participating in the conference, and I usually provide some insight, Ginny will be giving more information at the in the coming days in the coming weeks on who will be participating, but as I mentioned Jenna Wolfe from NBC Today Show news anchor will be participating, as well as Wendell Pierce who is in The Wire.  We have Billy Blanks conducting workouts.
So I think in the coming, in the coming days and coming weeks you'll hear more about who is going to be participating and what the conference will be about.  Our health work reaches many communities across country, I am especially excited this morning to share an update on the work that the foundation is doing year round to transform the health in the Coachella Valley specifically.
Through our Health Matters Initiative, there has been an investment of more than 3 million dollars to improve the health of the Coachella Valley community alone.
The mayor of Palm Springs Stephen Pougnet of the Desert Health Care Foundation have developed a fund that has already awarded $380,000 to six local nonprofit organizations to encourage healthy eating, physical activity, and overall healthy living.
JFK Hospital will be improving access to care and availability of quality care within the Central and East Valley communities that need providers.¬† Primary care physicians, including pediatricians, family practice, internal medicine and OB‑GYN will be recruited and redirected to the Coachella Valley by JFK through income assistance agreements.
JFK will coordinate its recruiting efforts with the local provider partners, existing group practices and FQHC clinics, urgent centers and the Tenet Foundation.  And Eisenhower Medical Center, supporting the Betty Ford Center to offer substance abuse prevention, programs in schools and the Barbara Sinatra Center to expand child abuse prevention efforts.
We are incredibly humbled by the tremendous commitment that leaders from across all the valley, all sectors of the valley have made in creating a culture of health in the Coachella Valley and look forward to continuing our work here.
I think that ‑‑ to dive off the notes for a second‑‑ I think that's what we're trying to talk about here, which is that we have taken this tournament and we have really re‑imagined the possibilities.¬† It is so much more than a golf tournament, it is, it is an opportunity, a very rare opportunity to have, to put on a world class golf tournament and have impact on people's lives.¬† And what I've just what I've just outlined is not everything that we're doing, certainly it's not, Bill did not touch on everything that Humana is doing, but we have taken what I think is a very unique partnership and made something pretty great out of it.
Also I wanted to talk very briefly about our experience in Bob Hope Square.  For the past two years and specifically at the president's request we have dedicated a portion our foundation space in the square to insure that Bob Hope's legacy and connection to the tournament remains a prominent fixture of the tournament.  We have and will continue to display the World Golf Hall of Fame exhibit because we believe it's such an important part of this history and we are pleased to celebrate that in any way that we can.
Of course we will keep President Clinton's personal golf memorabilia on display, which is always a favorite of folks that come through.
But one added element that we plan on doing this year and I hope that you will stop by is a renewed focus on what's at the heart of our health matters work.¬† Both nationally and locally.¬† Providing visitors with information that they need to be healthier, but to go beyond the information sharing we want to help move people from knowing what they need to do to be healthy, to moving into real action.¬† And we'll do this in a variety of ways, including through health related demonstrations, cooking demonstrations, interactive and what we're calling experiential activities, providing on‑site experts to answer questions.
We want this to be a hub for people who are coming through Bob Hope Square to get information they need, but then also to do more.  To leave having experienced something that they will take with them and embrace.  Something that will make a meaningful contribution to their own health or to the health of others.
And finally, the Wednesday night evening kick off event provides such a great opportunity to set the stage for the tournament.  Last year we had the opportunity to have Tony Bennett come and perform and we always want to make sure as a team that we come together and find new and creative ways to create excitement and before the tournament starts and before all the other activities commence on Thursday.
So I would like to share that we will be kicking off this year's tournament with a very special evening event.  As Bob mentioned earlier we have some pretty outstanding golfers joining us this year, so we're going to take this opportunity to bring them together with President Clinton.  And joining the president will be nine time major champion Gary Player, former world No. 1 and very close friend to President Clinton, Greg Norman, and 11 time TOUR winner Zach Johnson for a conversation.  The event which is called an Evening with President Clinton and Champions of the Game.  It will be hosted by Golf Channel's David Feherty and I think it's safe to say it will be an incredible evening of conversation, of great conversation on golf and a myriad of other topics of their choosing.
As the president said, we don't know what we could achieve when we started, but as I listened Bob give a state of play of the tournament and Bill discussed the activities that Humana has invested so deeply in the community and work that guinea and her team have been spear heading and sitting next to Brian I think that we're in such an incredible place and this partnership is like no other.  So I think that the general consensus up here is that the possibilities are end less.  So thank you for your support and we look forward to seeing you next month.
BOB MARRA:  Val, thanks so much.  And how about that video from the president?  I mean he is good, isn't he?
I guess I have to say that when I was first working with the folks at the Clinton Foundation and Humana, and DCC on this taking this position, as a CEO.  Tournament, I went to New York and talked with Doug and Bob and I went to Louisville and talked with Bill.  And one of the things I wanted to know is, do you care about the local community.  I apologize in advance for maybe asking such a dumb question, but they're incredible worldwide corporation or organization the Clinton Foundation is doing so much to change the world.  Humana is one of the greatest companies in the UnitedStates.  And we're the little old desert over here.  A small place.  And I said, do you care?
And he said, yes, we do.  Because we need it to work, we need it to be received well by this community, to be able to build a platform.  And what a platform they have built.  So I also want to thank this community as a whole.
I think it needs to be said that this community came out in full force to support everything that they have done as far as I know of.  And we need to keep doing that.  Because it's not very often that I say this often when I'm out talking to groups about the tournament, it's not very often when you have one of the greatest conditions in the country a Fortune 500 company and the former leader of the free world and his organization poking around the Coachella Valley doing great things.  So let's, you know, we need to make the most of it.
Another thing I wanted to do is a couple things.¬† One, and I told her that she did something to me recently that alarmed me, so I told her I would get her back for it, so, because her name was mentioned a couple different times and now she's over doing her normal thing texting, and working on e‑mails, I want to actually make a point of introducing a great friend of the tournament her name is tore regain.¬† Please stand Tori.
She is with the, is managing the Tournament Business Affairs Division of the PGA TOUR, which means she's my partner in crime here.  So I told you I was going to get you back, and I got you back.  And I couldn't have done nearly any of the work that I've done without her guidance and the team at the PGA TOUR.
Also, the city of La Quinta has been quite special in our relationship with all of the partners, and all of the tournament action that's held here in La Quinta, the two courses here at PGA West and La Quinta Country Club.  So in the city and our tournament courses, we have great partnerships as well.
I was telling the story recently of to a group at the city of La Quinta, at the mayor's lunch last year I got invited last minute to the Golf Channel's staff meeting during tournament week.  And they said, we want to talk about anything, if you want to talk about anything, come over to the trailer.  So I popped in there and I was talking about the a wide range of things we have going on.  I said, oh, by the way I looked down and there was a map of the desert sitting on this shelf right there where I was talking and said by the way, here's a map of the desert and each of the cities is color coded and I said this is La Quinta, this is Palm Springs.  And this is the other cities and so on.
We're in La Quinta.  And so when you're doing the broadcast you might say from La Quinta, California.  Not Palm Springs or whatever.  And so I gave them a little overview of the region.  And they were saying it so the mayor is very happy with me about that one.
Now let's talk spend a little time with our defending champion, Brian Gay, Brian, we have asked him to talk a little bit about his memories from last year and some other things that stand out and what he's looking forward to on TOUR this year.  Brian.
BRIAN GAY:  Thank you, Bob.  And thanks for having us back.  Good morning, everybody.  It's great to many could back to the desert again and my wife was not here for the tournament last year, so she's excited to be here to come back first time in a couple years.  And as you guys have already heard, this tournament just keeps getting better and better thanks to Humana and the Clinton Foundation.  This has always been one of my favorite views on the TOUR sitting here looking at these mountains and hitting balls on range there up against the mountains.  It's really cool.  Some of the things from last year this was obviously a great way to start the year.  Winning the second event.  It was the first time I won in a playoff.  Which was very exciting.
If I remember correctly we were trying to get done before dark so luckily I made a birdie there on 10 to do it.  But it was a bit of a whirl wind and a great way to start the year.
The desert is a pretty special place for me and Kimberly and the very first time I came here I got my TOUR card for the very first time here in the fall of '98.¬† And being from the south, I had never really seen much of anything like this.¬† I just thought it was a cool spot.¬† And so making it through Q‑School here was very special.
Unfortunately, my first year as a rookie coming out of Q‑School I didn't get to play in this tournament.¬† I was here and I was an alternate but didn't make it.¬† But I think I've been here every year since and just love coming here.
BOB MARRA:¬† Brian, would you tell us some of the thoughts that we're going through your head out there trying to finish before dark to accommodate us, which we really do appreciate ‑‑ and I wasn't driving recklessly, I was driving quickly so we could get over there.¬† Okay.¬† You guys win.¬† Tell us some of the thoughts.¬† Walk us through some of those last holes.¬† What was going on thought process out there from the golf side.
BRIAN GAY:¬† Yeah, well, as if you remember, Scott Stallings had a pretty big lead starting that day, so I just had the mindset of going out and shoot as low as I can and see what happens.¬† And I got hot and was way under par early and fortunately ended up in a playoff, but I caught some breaks for that to happen.¬† I actually missed a birdie on the last hole and I thought, well that's it for me.¬† I'm probably going to finish one short.¬† And then can a couple other guys, one guy hit it in the water ‑‑ you just never know what's going to happen.¬† So I was waiting and then all of a sudden, boom, we're in a playoff and it all happened really fast, but it was exciting playoff and I was lucky enough to make a couple of birdies to win.
BOB MARRA:  And we got it done in time.  That was really good.  So Brian also won the tournament, but he also was voted PGA TOUR player of the month for January.  Do you think that this care read forward with you, the confidence into the year?  You had a great year, tell us a little bit about your experiences throughout 2013.
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, it was a good year on TOUR.  It's always a goal starting the year to win.  And any time you can get a win on the TOUR, I consider that a good year.  It's such deep fields and tough competition, it's tough to beat everybody every week, so that's always nice.
The year was, didn't end exactly how I wanted it to.¬† Obviously you want to finish a little bit higher and make that Top‑30.¬† Didn't quite get there.¬† But it's a long year, you have kind of an ebb and flow and up‑and‑down and I started off good and played good early he in the year and a little bit down in the middle and finished up with a couple good tournaments this fall and I'm looking forward to starting back in January.
BOB MARRA:  Now, I think that when I watch a golf tournament I think that they just won, they got in this case a million eight thousand dollars.  That's pretty cool.  And what do they do after the tournament?  These players, when they win.  What happens?  And it's cool because I think that the tournament office we had something to do with it a little bit.  In terms of what happened.  And we reflecting on this at our dinner last night with Brian and Kimberly and some cool stories that Kimberly couldn't be out here, she's with the girls, the two beautiful daughters, and was kind of keeping track of things by the cell phone and all of a sudden they were rallying everyone and said let's meet back at the house, this could get good.  And they got together.  And then tell us what happened when you got back into town.
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, well I kind of rushed out of here of here back to L.A. to catch a red eye home and it was gosh like 5:30 in the morning when I got there.  And I had a couple celebratory drinks and not much sleep on the way back and kind of eased down there at baggage claim and my wife and my two daughters were all there.  That was pretty cool.  I didn't expect anybody to be up that early.  I figured I would just get high ride to the house and satisfactory them there or wake them up.  But that was nice for them to come and greet me at the airport.
BOB MARRA:  Then we sent a bunch of things from the office we sent all this here, send a box, credentials from the tournament, posters, whatever we could send.  We shipped it over to Kimberly and they had a party and you guys had a party at the house and we got to see that pretty cool cake that Kimberly ordered up there.  It was pretty neat.  And then we had a little bit of a celebration I heard.
BRIAN GAY:  We did, yeah.  Kimberly is good at organizing parties and so forth.
She got everything we could from you guys from the tournament to help setup and we had a nice little celebration there that next ‑‑ luckily I was home that next week ‑‑ and we got to have a little celebration with friends and family.
BOB MARRA:  Very cool.  All right.  Well, you've heard a lot of exciting things coming for this year, new things.
BRIAN GAY:  I did have one other really cool thing I thought of.  Winning this tournament, you know, they told me President Clinton was going to call me so I was a little nervous like what am I going to say to him.  And so he called me and he is you know just wonderful and congratulate continuing me and he says, yeah, sorry hi to leave before the tournament ended, but he goes we were sitting there and Hillary and I were watching the tournament and she looks over at me and she goes, you got to get it together.  She goes, your dress is terrible.  We got to take you shopping, you got to get some clothes.  This guy looks good out there.
And she said, Bill, you got to step it up.  I thought that was great.
BOB MARRA:  Yes, these Florida Gators, they like to show their colors.  Brian sure did that.  It makes all of our brochures for this year look really cool.  That's cool.  And one of the that's one of the things that you don't see, that among many that President Clinton does for this tournament.  That means a lot.  And the players just love talking about the experiences they have had with President Clinton, whether it's the ma amateurs and the pros and we heard from Brian from Mark Wilson last year about some of that of that.  And we hope to fill more memories this year.  So you heard about some great things going on with the tournament, new activities, new partners, great support, we're on a roll, the platform has been built and we're growing upon it.  We have got an awesome early field.  We'll be telling you more as we know more and I'm working on several big names that are still out there that I think are going to come and join us in the desert.  So with all of that, I would like to open it up for the Q&A session.  So just raise your hand and I'll point you out and you can ask a question to anyone on panel that you like.

Q.  Brian, it had been awhile since you won before you broke through again last year, what does it mean a win like that mean after not winning for a few years?
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, obviously any winning any time is special and you don't like to think about not winning again, but it had been a couple of well I guess let's see, two, two and a half years, maybe three years.  So it was, it made it a little extra special after having that big a gap.  I won a couple times in 2008 and twice in 2009.  So that was pretty exciting.  And to do it the way it all unfolded in the playoff, all my other wins I've been, I had pretty good leads or at least leading on Sunday and won, was fortunate enough to win by quite a few shots on Sunday.  So it was a very exciting tournament.

Q.  It got you into the Masters and a few other big tournaments.  How was the year different for you in that regard?
BRIAN GAY:  It was, I guess the biggest thing was just winning so early and how it set everything up and winning before the Masters so it got me back there, which was my favorite tournament, tournament I dreamed about my whole life of winning.  And I was looking forward to getting back there and trying to do that again.  But being player of the month, it was just a lot of buzz early in the year, which was different.  It was really cool.

Q.  Will there be any celebrities in the golf tournament?
BOB MARRA:¬† Good question.¬† We wanted to mention that.¬† We're making a change in the way we're approaching celebrities in being involved in the pro‑am portion of the tournament.¬† So we're not having a formal official celebrity field this year.¬† Instead, we're going to have people we're calling special guests that are high profile people that are, that make sense that matchup with the mission of the tournament that exhibit the kind of things that we're into.¬† And that can play some golf and be out there and be part of it.¬† So at this point we have announced one of our special guests we would announce is Holly Saunders, great on air talent with the Golf Channel.¬† She's going to be out here.¬† She's a college golf player, she's recently on the cover of Golf Digest magazine with a feature story and saying things like golf is a sport.¬† The 15 million steps that Humana counted last year add up and it makes sense that you got to stay in shape and work out and if you want to play your best golf, you got to be in your best shape.¬† So she embodies that kind of element that we wanted to have in these special guests.¬† So we're still working on our field of special guests at this point and we'll make some announcements pretty soon on those.

Q.  Brian, I wanted to ask you, the PGA tournament's already started.  It's not like last year.  How do you approach this schedule, how do you approach mentally this tournament, how does it change you?
BRIAN GAY:  Obviously it's different for everybody this year and I'm still thinking the old way.  I'm getting ready to start a new year, even though we have already, I've already played four, four or five tournaments that count for 2014.  So this whole fall when we started back after just a couple week break, I kept thinking, okay, let's end the year on a good note and I'm like, well, I'm already starting over, so it's kind of weird, but I guess guys will have to figure out how much they want to play at the end of that year going into the next year.  It's confusing.  Just figure out what they want to do and how they're going to work it out.  Because I think if you don't play at all, if you take the complete fall off then you're going to be so far behind in FedExCup points and stuff like that that you're going to have to play some of those events before the next year.
BOB MARRA:  With Brian's success in some of these events he was the focus of a lot of TV coverage now he's texting Kimberly saying this is great and I was kind of like feeling what it's like to be Bill Tait because I'm listening and I'm checking the box every time I heard the word Humana challenge I was like, this is great.  Keep going.  Keep going.  But of course Brian won and in stunning fashion at the Humana Challenge.  And I was like yes, yes, keep going.  So thanks for all that and perhaps the only person that would rival Valerie in air miles would have been you.  What was it like playing all these events oversees.
BRIAN GAY:  Yeah, I went four weeks, four different countries, to Malaysia, to China, back home to Sea Island and down to Mexico, so I didn't really know where I was at for about a week.  It was exciting.  It was a good trip.
BOB MARRA:  Thanks for representing for us.

Q.  Val, you mentioned something about the World Golf Hall of Fame are they going to be part of the tournament in any way this year?
VALERIE ALEXANDER:  Their exhibit which in the past couple of years has been in the Bob Hope Square, Clinton Foundation, the tent, is going to be resurrected and we're going to work with them to get that golf memorabilia back up.

Q.¬† Bill, beyond the Walkit program, are there other consumer interactive health oriented activities taking place on‑site?
BOB MARRA:  Yes, on the Saturday prior to the event week the city of La Quinta is partnering with Humana on the healthy family walk.  So that's something that we look forward to having again this year with a great turn out and hopefully won't be quite as cold as it was last year, which is still a good tournament out.  So you'll be seeing more about that and the certified farmers market activities on Sunday down in old town will be presenting that information as we go.

Q.  Brian, you look like you're in pretty good shape.  So I was curious, what's one thing other than playing golf that you do to stay in shape?
BRIAN GAY:  Oh, I just lay on the couch.
No, I'm kidding.  No, I don't want to get into that.  Recently I've admittedly do not have a great diet.  And I've just sort of the last couple weeks changed some things about what I'm eating and probably eating better been more healthy than I ever have the last couple weeks.  So maybe it's because I've been thinking about this and it's changed me.  But, no, I do a little bit of working out throughout the year and I have a trainer on the TOUR and so I'm not as excited about working out as I used to be but I still try to get in there and do a little bit.
BOB MARRA:  Eventually we wear people down.  You see this, even at the office, it's like well, okay, got some cakes in here for breakfast.  Why?  My wife's giving me a hard time.  I mean it's Humana and clinic first down stuff all this well being.  So it catches up with you.  So stay with it Brian.  Stay with it.  You can do it.
BRIAN GAY:  Be strong.  Yeah.

Q.  The history of the Bob Hope, what used to be the Bob Hope we have integrated the other courses in the desert into the rotation is the future of the Humana Challenge now sort of being La Quinta exclusive the PGA West facility, obviously La Quinta resort, are we less integrated with the Coachella Valley and more into the La Quinta center now moving forward?
BOB MARRA:  That's a good question.  You have to look at things first of all from a logistical basis.  A part of the reason that the tournament couldn't be held with that combination of the other clubs with Tamarisk and Eldorado is simply because you can't park that many people.  The tournament's so popular and the population base in the Coachella Valley has grown so much and we have so many people here and the up tick has been huge, especially when President Clinton started coming here in 2011 we increased about 30 percent.  So if we had been trying to park people in the middle of the desert on small parcels we would have been in guy and the trouble.  So just like any business, we are looking at the potential for growth so we're happy about our platform and where it's been and where it's at.  And we want to build upon it.  So we have to have the space to do you live an of the things that we have, that come with running a PGA TOUR event.  So we have a great home here.  Look around, this is PGA West, I mean this is one of the world's greatest golf destinations that you could be at and we are here.  So we're proud of that.  It's harder and harder to have a PGA TOUR event that would be spread out.  So that's the core focus and everything's gone really well here.  I think we have been well received.  The players love it.  In fact we get the PGA TOUR has internal wee Lee we have a best practices web site and documents and everything and there's a number of best practices on the PGA TOUR affiliated with the things that we do because we have the space here.
Bob Hope Square, when you go out through out the TOUR and you see what their fan activation areas are compared to this, we are head and shoulders above.  When it comes to the player services the lock rooms and the facilities for both the amateurs and our PGA TOUR players, best practices, the designing and so, we're proud of what we have got at this point and I think it's working well.

Q.  Brian, one of the big changes here over the last couple years has been the format.  From five days to four.  Four courses to three.  Fewer amateurs.  Are those improvements in the field in your estimation?
BRIAN GAY:  I think it is.  I think that five to four is a big change.  Especially every year coming from Hawaii and it's tough to get back and get acclimated and have to start a tournament on a Wednesday.  You kind of loose a day coming back from Hawaii over here with the red eye or you just can't really do that or fly all day.  So I think that's a definite improvement.  And as far as the logistics, having the courses closer together, not having to drive 20 or 30 minutes it between courses and different weather conditions at different places, that everyone's closer together, then I think it's, it works out better and it's fairer for the competition as well.

Q.  Will you play both of the Hawaii tournaments before you come here?
BRIAN GAY:  I will, yeah.  I'll play the first three.  Both Hawaii and then here.

Q.  Does President Clinton plan to golf in the tournament?
VALERIE ALEXANDER:  I cannot say definitively.
I do know, I think it is safe to assume last year he had the inauguration to get back to.  So his time here last year was had an ill lit limited.  We don't know the schedule specifically at this point but I think that it's safe to assume that he will be able to spend a little bit more time here during tournament week.  Whether or not he is going to golf or not is still to be determined.

Q.  Logistics of being in a larger facility like this make sense.  How much do the players feedback interact with your selection of a course.  You talk about weather conditions.  Obviously The Classic Club comes to mind right away with the wind factor of the we heard some rumblings through the media that players were not happy with that facility from a wind standpoint.  How much player feedback affects what facility you're using?
BOB MARRA:  I think if you want to have the best player field you can you got to lessen to the players.  If you want to have the best setup that you can and it brings back appoint that I didn't say earlier is that we are really focused on making the full experience here at the Humana Challenge is as great as possible.  Whether it's really taking care of their wives and great spa service, meals and the way we present the tournament out on the course, we are known for really take care of the players, I think.  And we're going to continue that.  And we're stepping it up if anything.  Because word gets around.  Bill mentioned it earlier, people, the players like coming here, it doesn't work out for everyone on the schedule necessarily, and we understand that.  But based on where we are in the world, we're feeling really good about where we are with the players and yes, we listen to them.  Mr.Tait is very close with a number of the PGA TOUR players and including the ones that they sponsor, so we get quite a lot of feedback from all sources.  Any other questions?  Yes, sir.

Q.  Brian, happy birthday.  Coming up Saturday.  So wanted to let you know I just saw that.
BRIAN GAY:  Thank you.

Q.¬† Also, you're in the Top‑25 right now.¬† And I know it's kind of cliche to ask what would make you a better player or get you to the top‑10 or even ranked No. 1.¬† What do you feel that you could do this year in order to improve your position in the world?
BRIAN GAY:  Shoot the lowest score every week, right?
Well, there's a lot of answers to that.  Obviously you just improve, you got to do better at a lot of different things.  A lot of things go into shooting lower scores and everyone out here is so close in talent and it's just a small small difference in winning or just making the cut or just missing the cut.  So it's being mentally tough and strong and patient and just continuing to work on your game and try to keep improving on certain things whatever it is your game that you think you need to improve on the most and just keep grinding along trying to beat everybody every week.

Q.  Any thoughts on trying to get Tiger here?
BOB MARRA:  It's complicated by the fact that we know that Tiger plays in Abu Dhabi and we just can't compete with player appearance fees.  As a tournament, the PGA TOUR does not allow appearance fees for players.  And so when we're in that situation, we, there's nothing we can do when we have a foreign oil based government throwing millions of dollars at PGA TOUR players and I don't, you know, begrudge them for doing it.  Everyone's got to take care of their business and handle it.  So in the case of Tiger I don't think we have had a window to do that necessarily, but I don't think this group gives up on anyone.  So we're always looking at what we can do.  So we look at strengths and we lack at weaknesses, we build on the strengths and we try to overcome the weaknesses.  So we're doing everything we can with every PGA player, their agent, their core path sponsors that we possibly can all year.  So it's a good question, it's important to know, but that's where we're at.  So since that wasn't supposed to be a good question, do we have any others or should we wrap it up?  Okay.  How about a great round of a plus for our team.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297