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CONSTELLATION SENIOR PLAYERS CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA CONFERENCE


May 5, 2014


Jay Monahan

Kenny Perry

Bruce Stewart


KELLY BARNES:テつ Good morning, everybody, and welcome to the Constellation Senior Players teleconference.テつ First I'd like to introduce our defending champion, Kenny Perry.テつ He's joined by the chief marketing officer of Constellation, Bruce Stewart.テつ Also joining us today is Jay Monahan, the deputy commissioner of the PGA TOUR.
First I'm going to turn it over to Jay because an exciting announcement was just made about the future of the Constellation Senior Players.
JAY MONAHAN:テつ Thank you, Kelly.テつ Let me first start off by saying a special thank you to Constellation.テつ Constellation is and has been a fantastic partner, and it's through their financial support, it's through their great resources and team that they've put in place that we continue to see great momentum behind the Constellation Senior Players.テつ And when you speak of momentum today, we're obviously very excited to announce that in 2015 the tournament will be held at Belmont Country Club outside of Boston.
Just a word about Belmont Country Club.テつ Belmont Country Club was designed by Donald Ross and opened in 1909.テつ It's got a rich history.テつ In 1920 Harry Vardon and Ted Ray defeated both Ouimet and Gilford in a 36 exhibition 4 & 2.テつ In 1937 Belmont hosted the Belmont Country Club Match Play, which was won by none other than Byron Nelson, and the club has hosted many prominent New England regional amateur championships, and most recently we had the Champions Tour in position in the marketplace for 25 years, so it's great to be able to bring this major championship, Constellation Senior Players, back to the area.テつ Very exciting news, and again, thanks to Constellation for their great support.
With the return of U.S. Open to Oakmont Country Club, to Pittsburgh, in 2016, we felt this was the very best move for the tournament.テつ We can't stress enough, Pittsburgh has been a fantastic host.テつ The players have loved playing Fox Chapel Golf Club.テつ For those of you who have played it, you know exactly why, and at this point we are entirely focused on making the 2014 tournament at Fox Chapel the most successful yet.テつ That won't be easy to do.テつ And we hope to return to Pittsburgh in the near future.
With that said, again, pleased to share this exciting news.テつ I'm going to turn it back over to Kelly who's going to continue the teleconference with both Kenny and Bruce.
KELLY BARNES:テつ With that, I'm going to turn it over to Bruce Stewart to talk about this year's event in Pittsburgh.
BRUCE STEWART:テつ Thank you, Kelly and Jay, for your nice comments.テつ We appreciate that.テつ We've been a really proud partner of the PGA TOUR and the Champions Tour for multiple years and excited about the future for us, as well.
This tournament, Constellation Senior Players Championship, is really an annual highlight for Constellation, for our largest corporate partnerships and in the markets that we serve, well over a million customers.テつ Over the years we've seen truly extraordinary golf, and Kenny, last year was no exception.テつ Couldn't be more excited to have you as the returning champion this year, and obviously look forward to great competition.
Fox Chapel as a course is truly bar none, and we've heard from all the Champions Tour players how much they really enjoy that course.テつ A couple things about our sponsorship that I think are worthwhile mentioning:テつ We give about $1.5 million, and we have given $1.5 million to about 15 charities in the Pittsburgh market through the course, and that's actually a really important element to us.テつ The charitable giving component underscores one of our core missions as a company, to make sure that we are active in local community organizations in the communities that we serve.テつ It's a big part of what we do.
For those of you that don't know us, just for a second, Constellation is one of the largest retail and wholesale competitive energy providers.テつ We do something very simple; we buy, manage and help customers efficiently use their energy to power their businesses, whether they're large or small, as well as their homes.テつ That can be power, that can be gas, energy efficiency, solar, you name it, across the broad spectrum.
And in keeping with our business and our mission, this 2014 tournament at Fox Chapel in Pittsburgh will be 100 percent green, which I think between the Champions Tour and Constellation we're excited about.テつ So all of the electricity and natural gas that will be used during the event will be offset by renewable energy credit that we will provide.
We encourage everybody to come on out.テつ The event is from July 24th to the 29th at the fantastic club, Fox Chapel.テつ Look forward to it.
KELLY BARNES:テつ Thank you, Bruce.テつ And now with Kenny, last but not least, you had a tremendous season last year and you kicked off your first of three wins at the Constellation Senior Players.テつ Just take us back to that week and what you remember and how it felt to win your first major.
KENNY PERRY:テつ Well, for me personally, it was finally a dream come true.テつ To have major championships at your fingertips and to lose them and to now finally have a major title attached to your name, it's been pretty special for me.テつ 2013 summer was incredible.
But I've got to also thank Bruce.テつ I've got to thank Constellation.テつ Without great sponsors, there would not be tournaments, period.テつ They have done a fantastic job there.テつ Coming to Fox Chapel, coming to a great sports town in Pittsburgh, love that area.テつ Love the golf course.
To me, I also love the membership there because it reminds me a lot of old Colonial there in Fort Worth which I have a great relationship with.テつ I really enjoy toasting champagne with all the members afterwards and sitting around.テつ They all came to me and they personally wanted to take the time to talk to me and get to know me a little bit.
You've got to have great sponsors.テつ You've got to have a great membership in my opinion, and then when you have a great golf course on top of it, it's just a win‑win situation.テつ I was truly honored to finally get my first major and to have that attached to my name, it really opened up a lot of doors and really allowed me to go on to win my next major a couple weeks later and to win the Charles Schwab Cup.テつ It was a huge stepping‑stone in my career.
KELLY BARNES:テつ And now we are going to open it up to questions for all the media on the line.

Q.テつ Do you have any thought of keeping the Senior Players Championship at Fox Chapel at all, and the decision to go to Belmont, how tough a decision was that considering the folks at Fox Chapel are really enthusiastic about making that a permanent site for the Senior Players Championship?
JAY MONAHAN:テつ I appreciate the question.テつ I think in any situation like this where you have, as Kenny just described, such a great golf course with a great membership in a city and a market that's supported your event to the degree that we've been supported with the Constellation Senior Players Championship, you have to consider it.テつ But at the same time, as I said earlier, recognizing that the U.S. Open was coming to Oakmont in 2016, we felt like it was probably in our best interest and in the best interest with the U.S. Open coming there to leave the market for one year.
It certainly doesn't mean that we won't be coming back.テつ Our expectation is we're going to have a fantastic event in 2014, and along with Constellation hope to continue this tradition in Pittsburgh.
If you look across our schedule, you'll see that in situations like this across our tours, when you've got major championships coming into a market or a major championship in a market where an event has previously been held, this is generally how we will handle the situation, which is to leave the market for a short period of time and come back to our primary market in the future.
I think looking forward, I think we'll give that every consideration.

Q.テつ Kenny, when you look at your career, 14 PGA wins, and then you go to the Champions Tour, how has your game evolved in the time that you've joined the Tour, the Champions Tour?
KENNY PERRY:テつ It's gotten worse‑‑ no (laughing).テつ No, I was fortunate that I've been healthy.テつ With 14 wins on the regular Tour, I played 27 or 28 years out there, and then when I turned 50 in 2010‑‑ I'm still fully exempt on the regular Tour; 2014, this is my last full‑year exemption on the regular Tour, so I've been very fortunate to have crossover, meaning I can still play the PGA as well as the Champions Tour, and it's been a luxury I've been thoroughly able to enjoy.
As we all know, as we get older, our games change, our bodies change.テつ I've got a few little tics, I've got a few skeletons in the closet now after all the years of working at it that come up now that I used to not do as a kid, but yet I've still got a lot of experience and a lot of local knowledge which I can draw upon.
I don't feel the pressure that I felt 30 years ago.テつ I was raising three kids.テつ I've got a couple grandkids now.テつ They're all married, my kids are married, everything is good.テつ My life is good, so I can just focus in on golf.テつ I can go out and practice and work at my game and try to be the best that KP be can.テつ Obviously my skills are not as good as they used to be, but obviously I still feel like I have the competitive ability if I get hot and at the right moment and in the right circumstance, I can still be very competitive on the PGA TOUR.
But I love the Champions Tour.テつ We have so many‑‑ all these Hall‑of‑Famers you play with, and you finally get to know them.テつ You're trying to beat them on the regular Tour, where now we're all more of a family out on the Champions Tour, which I really enjoy.テつ I enjoy hanging out with Hale Irwin and Ben Crenshaw, Tom Kite, Fuzzy; all these guys I always looked up to and wanted to be, I actually got to know a little bit now.
To me that's very exciting.テつ I love the Champions Tour for‑‑ I call it for of a social tour but yet it's very competitive.テつ It almost ran me back to the regular Tour how low they shoot out there on the Champions Tour.
I think my game has crossed over good.テつ I was able to win the Charles Schwab Cup last year.テつ Had a great year winning there at Fox Chapel and winning two weeks later in Omaha, the U.S. Senior Open, and was able to hold off Bernhard Langer down the stretch to win the Charles Schwab Cup.テつ So it was just a ‑‑ for me it was just a magical year.テつ It's one of the best years I've ever had in golf, period.

Q.テつ Kenny, you kind of touched on this, how the victory at Fox Chapel kind of jump started your summer.テつ You finally win a major and here you follow it up two weeks later at the Senior Open.テつ The second question is you shoot 63‑63‑64, I think, and I remember you talking early in the week about how you're not always comfortable going real low, yet the conditions there when it started to rain made it necessary to do that and how you just kind of had to adjust to that, maybe mentally having to go low.
KENNY PERRY:テつ Well, I agree.テつ Last year we played, as you remember, in torrential rains.テつ The golf course, it was unbelievable how well it stood up through all that rain that we had over the week.テつ And it was ball in hand.テつ I think when you give a professional ball in hand, you can get the mud off the golf ball, you can kind of tee it up a little bit in the fairways or around the greens and chipping and stuff.テつ It really gives you a huge advantage.テつ So I think it was really unfair to the golf course because that golf course, there's no way you can shoot 19‑under on that golf course under firm and fast conditions, under normal major conditions.
It was just unfortunate for it, but still, to me, my iron play was so good last year, and I was able‑‑ and I was putting tremendously, and that's just kind of what happens to me.テつ I get very streaky.テつ When I get to winning golf tournaments, I won three out of four on the PGA TOUR in 2003 and I won in 2008.テつ It's funny when my game gets hot, it gets hot, and that's what happened.テつ Fox Chapel started a great streak for me, to finally get the burden of not having a major title associated with my name, to finally get that title put to my name, it really relaxed me and enabled me two weeks later to roll right into Omaha at a USGA event, and I shot 63‑64 on the weekend there, as well, under firm and fast conditions under a USGA course setup.テつ Just mindboggling to me.テつ I don't know how I do stuff like that, it just happens.テつ I wish I could have figured it out 30 years ago.テつ (Laughter.)

Q.テつ Kenny, just wondering, you talked about being a streaky player, which you've been, and you were on such a roll last summer.テつ What's been the difference so far this year trying to get on one of those streaks?
KENNY PERRY:テつ Been drinking too much out of the Charles Schwab Cup.
I tell everybody I've got the Charles Schwab Cup hangover going on right now.テつ You know, I can't figure it out.テつ I'm actually doing the same things.テつ I'm playing the same golf courses that I played last year, and I actually got off to a very similar start this year as I did last year.テつ I really didn't wake up until the sun popped out and it got hot.テつ I just seem to play better under hot, humid conditions.テつ Once it warms up, to me I play ‑‑ summer and fall is kind of my time of year to play golf, and when it warmed up and my putter warmed up, and that's been the big difference.テつ I have putted pretty poorly this year, and I've driven the ball very poorly this year, and that's kind of what's held me back.
After I won there in Fox Chapel in the U.S. Senior Open, I was on a Delta flight and they destroyed my driver, and ever since my driver was broke‑‑ they broke the head, too, as well as the shaft, and it was irreplaceable.テつ I could not fix it.テつ And I have struggled ever since the middle of last summer until now with trying to find a driver that I feel comfortable with to hit fairways, and that's been the big difference. テつI told my wife, it was like losing a kid or something.テつ I don't know, it was very important how this club was.テつ I could hit the fairways, and once I lost it, it kind of put my game in disarray and I started tinkering around with different shafts and next thing you know instead of shooting 63, 64, 65, you're shooting 71 and 72 and you're getting lapped by the field.テつ That was probably the biggest reason for the change in play so far.

Q.テつ Kenny, if you look at the PGA TOUR, as far as marketing the Tour itself goes, how important is it for players like Fred Couples and Greg Norman to be more of a consistent presence at some of these championships?
KENNY PERRY:テつ Very much so.テつ I mean, when you have a Fred Couples that says last year at the end of the year that he wants to win the Charles Schwab Cup and he's going to go out and push and play all the Champions Tour events, very incredible.テつ It just gives the tournament credibility.テつ We need Greg Norman to come out more.テつ We need the stars, the people that you saw 20 years ago dominating the Tour, No.1 in the world or whatever.テつ If they'd come and support the Champions Tour events, it just makes it grow exponentially.テつ It just gets bigger and bigger and bigger.テつ It's very important.
Lee Trevino came to me and thanked me for supporting the Champions Tour, even though I've been fully exempt on the regular Tour the last four years.テつ I could have played the regular Tour and not even played any on the Champions Tour, but I chose to support the Champions Tour.テつ And it's been big.テつ It's been nice to have people come up and thank you for that.テつ I mean, it's very important that you have the stars from the past play on the Champions Tour.テつ You have the stars playing in the present.テつ If you've got a Rory McIlroy or Matt Kuchar, they need to support the PGA TOUR.
It is their marketing schemes that push these guys, and they help push the needle‑‑ you get a Tiger Woods, he pushes that needle tremendously when he's out playing a regular Tour event, so it's a very similar‑‑ Fred is our big draw on the Champions Tour, and we need him playing as much as possible.

Q.テつ A lot was made last year about Colin Montgomerie finally coming over and playing, and I talked to him last year at Fox Chapel, and he seemed pretty excited after the first couple days of the tournament and playing in it, and he wondered why it took him so long to do it.テつ How has his impact been so far, having him playing on the Tour?
KENNY PERRY:テつ It's been great.テつ He hasn't finished out of the top 10 this year.テつ I told him he'd figure it out.テつ I gave him a hard way to go last year.テつ I said he didn't putt well enough.テつ You need to work on your putting, I kept telling him.テつ But anyway, it gave him a year under his belt to kind of learn the golf courses a little bit and get around a little bit, and this year I don't think he's finished out of the top 10.テつ He's playing beautifully, and he's having a ball.テつ He's laughing and smiling.テつ He does a great job interviewing.テつ I love listening to the guy talk.テつ He's a very smart guy, and he's‑‑ it's funny, you watch him now, his fan base, I know they were hard on him on the PGA TOUR, but now on the Champions Tour it's dead opposite.テつ He's got big galleries and crowds; they follow him; they root for him, and it's really good to see.テつ He deserves it.

Q.テつ Kenny, how big a carrot was THE PLAYERS Championship that you're playing in for you last year when you won?テつ It's obviously a nice little perk.テつ And Bruce, because the Senior Players Championship was so well received here by the club, by the players, any chance after the men's Open in '16 of it coming back to Pittsburgh, to Fox Chapel?
KENNY PERRY:テつ Well, obviously being able to play in THE PLAYERS is a huge carrot.テつ It's as big as you want to make it.テつ This field is as strong as any on the PGA TOUR.テつ You will have the best of the best here this week, and I'm excited.テつ Any time I can come back to Jacksonville, and to be able to compete against them, it's truly going to be a dream for me because I have nothing to lose and everything to gain.テつ To me it's going to be all‑out, go out there, and if I play great, great; if I don't, everybody expects me to play average because of my age and stuff.テつ So it's highly motivational.テつ But I actually look forward to the challenge.テつ Just a great event, special people.テつ I have a lot of history here.
I had a great chance to win the year Adam Scott won.テつ I ended up finishing third, so I've had some success at this golf course, and it's not too long, so it's really not too long for me, it's just a matter of if I can control my nerves.
BRUCE STEWART:テつ On our return to Pittsburgh or the thoughts about that, we've had an absolute fantastic couple of years in Pittsburgh.テつ The city itself has opened, from the city officials all the way to the local towns to all of the commercial businesses.テつ We've sampled everything fantastic.テつ I think that Pittsburgh has had to offer, from going to the Rivers Casino to going to a Pirates game.テつ The hospitality we've had at the Fairmont has been phenomenal, and just so many of the great restaurants in town that have hosted not only us, obviously the Tour and all the guests, but clearly all of our customers.テつ We've flown customers in from all over the country because we are a national business.テつ They come into Pittsburgh, and they've had an absolutely top‑notch time.
It's a market that we're committed to.テつ It's a market we're in.テつ We've been in that market for years and years, and we intend to be in that market for years and years.テつ So as we sort of look at opportunities, the answer is absolutely.テつ We'll always look at an opportunity to come back into Pittsburgh and western Pennsylvania.
KELLY BARNES:テつ We just want to say thank you again to Kenny and Jay and Bruce for joining us today as well as all the dial‑ins we had.テつ Transcripts will be distributed after the call.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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