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QUICKEN LOANS NATIONAL MEDIA DAY
May 19, 2014
MIKE ANTOLINI: Good morning. Thank you all for joining us today for the Quicken Loans National media day. My name is Mike Antolini, and I'm the tournament director for the Quicken Loans National. First I would like to thank and recognize Montgomery County for all their efforts in the planning of this major event and also recognize our founding partners, AT&T, CDW and Lockheed Martin.
This year's Quicken Loans National is shaping up to be a terrific event. We are anticipating another great event this year at Congressional Country Club, and I'm pleased to share a few early commitments to date with you. Our defending champion, Bill Haas, will play; 2007 champion K.J. Choi; 2010 champion and 2013 U.S. Open champion, Justin Rose will be in the field, as will perennial Ryder Cupper Lee Westwood; the No.9 ranked player in the world at only 20 years old, Jordan Spieth; and 2012 FedExCup champion Brandt Snedeker. We're also pleased to have some notable newcomers to this year's field, including Patrick Reed, J.B. Holmes, Chesson Hadley, Gary Woodland, and U.S.Amateur champion Matthew Fitzpatrick.
We're still waiting for many more top players to come, but I did want to share some early commitments to date.
Turning our attention to today's program, we began our relationship with Congressional Country Club back in 2007 when this championship originated. We came to the Washington, D.C., area to this historic club and clubhouse, and it's played host to our championship for five years.
Earlier this year we also announced our continued relationship with Congressional Country Club, and they will host the event not only this year but also in 2016, 2018 and 2020. We are honored and grateful to the membership and the board of the club for their support of our foundation and our event. I'd like to introduce club president Steve Durante to say a few remarks. Steve?
STEVE DURANTE: Thank you, Mike, and before I say a few words, I just want to say welcome to you. I know that you're certainly no stranger or rookie to this, but to have you up here as the emcee at the podium for the first time is great. We've had such a fantastic relationship with the Tiger Woods Foundation, and I look forward to that continuing, and I look forward to working with you.
As far as the big welcome goes, Tiger, welcome. It's just so great to have you back at Congressional. It is always just a great, great infusion of energy and excitement to have you here. And on behalf of the board and the membership of Congressional, I'd like to welcome all the media today and our guests. In particular, I would like to recognize Mike Ellis. Mike is this year's tournament chairman, and I wanted you all to see him for a couple reasons. First and foremost, if it works out for me, all the problems will go to him and I'll get all the glory, so I'm looking forward to that.
Heather, I'd like to say welcome to you, as well. Thank you so much. We're just so excited about Quicken being here this year. I know that the company itself is just such a high profile company. We love to see some of the energy that you're going to be bringing from your NASCAR background, and we're looking forward to that.
Congressional certainly is no stranger to hosting golf tournaments, but we absolutely are just so fond of this event. The Tiger Woods Foundation has been such a great contributor to not only the Armed Forces but to the community and to the game of golf. To bring world‑class golf to the Washington area with the greatest golfer in the world at the head has just been fantastic for us, and so I'm very, very excited.
As you know, for all of us who live here, we've had a very, very wet, wetter than normal winter and spring. However, I've been told that that's going to provide a great, great foundation for the golf course. We expect the course to be as firm and fast as it ever was. Some of the additions and changes that we made as a result of our friend derecho in 2012, because of that storm we had to plant some trees, we had to make some renovations to the course. This weather has helped mature them. So we anticipate the weather only being a plus for us as we have a great tournament.
Lastly, I'd just like to thank the staff, the respective staffs of Congressional, certainly the staff of the Tiger Woods Foundation. It's just been a pleasure to work with them. I'd like to thank all the volunteers. Without the volunteers we couldn't carry off this event on a day‑to‑day basis, and lastly and not least importantly, I'd like to thank the membership of Congressional Country Club for supporting this event and supporting it in an overwhelming fashion.
With all of that, again, thank you all very much, and we're looking forward to a great, great tournament this year.
MIKE ANTOLINI: Thank you, Steve. We're thrilled to have Quicken Loans as our new title sponsor, and I would like to thank Heather Lovier, Quicken Loans vice president of business development, for their support and partnership of our event and foundation. Before I introduce our next guest, I want to play a video that will preview one of the special features of this year's Quicken Loans National. Turn your attention to the monitors, and please enjoy.
From Quicken Loans, please welcome vice president of business development, Heather Lovier.
HEATHER LOVIER: Thanks, Mike. On behalf of Quicken Loans we're extremely proud to partner with the PGA TOUR and Tiger Woods Foundation, and we're excited to hold the Quicken Loans National at such a beautiful course. With this being our first step in golf, I can't think of a better way to take a world‑class tournament and make it even more exciting.
We hope to make one person a millionaire with our hole‑in‑one sweepstakes. During the Quicken Loans National, on the 10th hole, if a hole‑in‑one is made, we will make one lucky person a millionaire. In addition, we'll also donate $25,000 to the charity of choice for that professional golfer that has made that hole‑in‑one.
Not only will we be doing that here at the Quicken Loans National weekend, but we'll also be continuing the contest through the end of 2014. The great way that people can get involved is by registering on Pgatour.com/QuickenLoans. We have two additional sets of prizing that will happen. So at any point in time from July through the end of 2014 at a PGA TOUR‑sanctioned event, if a hole‑in‑one is made, we will select one lucky individual and pay their mortgage for a year.
Not only will we be doing that, but we will also continue to keep folks engaged by drawing 10 additional names and paying their mortgage payment for a month from July through December.
We're so very excited to be part of this PGA TOUR event and cannot wait to get started.
MIKE ANTOLINI: Thank you, Heather. Very exciting. We're looking forward to all of the activation this year. And again, thank you for your support, and we look forward to bringing the tournament and the game to old and new fans alike with all of your promotion.
As you all know the Quicken Loans National benefits the Tiger Woods Foundation. At the cornerstone of our mission is the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to pursue a college degree. We see this as critical to breaking the cycle of poverty that afflicts so many American families. To date, the Quicken Loans National has helped the foundation open three Tiger Woods Learning Centers in the Washington, D.C., area, our most recent being at Marine Corps base Quantico.
In addition, we've funded 25 Earl Woods scholars in the Washington, D.C., area. Additionally, when we came to Washington, D.C., we focused our efforts on supporting our military and continue to provide countless programs in support of these brave men and women preserving our freedom. As part of that commitment, the foundation recruits children from military families into our Earl Woods scholarship program.
Here with us today representing this important work is one of our college scholars, James Green. James currently attends George Mason University, where he studies criminology and homeland security. He's in his first year, and he's going to tell us a little bit about himself. Please join me in welcoming James Green. James?
JAMES GREEN: Good afternoon, everyone. My name is James Green, and I'm an Earl Woods scholar. I've just completed my first year of college at George Mason University, where I'm pursuing a bachelor of science in criminology, concentrating in homeland security, and minoring in intelligence analysis.
Growing up, my biological father became a frequent abuser of drugs and alcohol. My mother knew that the environment he had created was not conducive to raising me or my sisters, so she courageously filed for divorce and took us to live with my grandmother. My mom remarried about a year later to her best friend from high school, who had just become a United States Marine. Anyone can be a father, but it takes true devotion and love to carry the title of dad.
Around the age of four, I was shocked to have a father figure come into my life who showed he actually cared about me. My stepdad did everything he could to make me feel important, and because of that, I became magnetized to him. I followed him everywhere. I asked him questions about everything, and looking back on it now, I was a real pain sometimes.
His positive actions and the way he virtuously carried himself made him my hero.
There have been some rough patches, though. My dad deployed several times after the War on Terror began, and he missed some of my life's major milestones. There were many holidays and birthdays without my dad's company, and that was tough on our family. All we could do was pray that he returned home safely from each of his deployments. I went to my sporting events many times and I watched other kids with their dads being taught good batting technique or the proper way to dribble a soccer ball. It was pretty depressing to think about as I didn't have any hero to confide in at the time, but I never felt resentment towards my dad because I knew his purpose was important.
My goal was to follow in my dad's footsteps and enlist in the U.S. Marines. That didn't happen. He sat me down and we spoke about a career as an officer in the military. We created a plan to pay for college through earning an ROTC scholarship, and that became my new goal. I ended up graduating as an ARGC Scholarship awardee from Quantico Middle High School. I also earned the Earl Woods Scholarship, and initially I didn't realize the scholarship would have such a huge impact in my life.
As an Earl Woods scholar, I feel as if I have a second family, a family that looks out for the interests of their scholars and consistently provides support for our dreams and for our aspirations. It has relieved a large portion of my college expenses and the stresses that accompany those debts which has been an immensely beneficial blessing to my family and me.
I've also learned a great deal of information about what to expect through my college tenure, seeking internships, job interviews, networking and other career‑oriented material as a result of the benefits offered by the program. I've had the opportunity to befriend greatly motivated fellow scholars attending schools all around our country, and we've kept connected as the years progressed. All of this has become more than a scholarship to me.
The Tiger Woods Foundation has benefitted me this year on many occasions. For example, during our pre‑college retreat last summer, I had the opportunity to attend a resumé building workshop and have already been able to reap the benefits from that this year. I created a resumé for an internship on campus I wanted to obtain, and I ended up getting the position, along with compliments on my resumé. I was excited and thankful to have learned what I did from the resumé workshop, as it paid off.
The foundation has also matched me with a mentor, Gregg Van Orden, who is here today. He is helping build my network in the intelligence community. Mr.Van Orden has taken the time to establish meeting dates with members of the Secret Service, Defense Intelligence Agency, U.S. State Department and U.S. Army Intelligence. I am honored to have all of these connections and the wealth of knowledge I'm sure they will bring.
I cannot thank the Tiger Woods Foundation enough for the support they have given me and the support I know I'll receive in the future.
I cannot say for certain where I would be if it weren't for the scholarship, but I do know it would be difficult to picture myself as successful as I've been thus far in my first year of college.
MIKE ANTOLINI: James, thank you for sharing your story with us.
Now please join me in welcoming two‑time Quicken Loans National champion and tournament host Tiger Woods. Tiger?
TIGER WOODS: Well, wasn't that pretty powerful? Well done, James. I'm proud of you.
First off, I want to thank Quicken Loans. We're excited to partner up with them for the first time. It's going to be fun to see what happens on No.10 here with the program if somebody makes a hole‑in‑one. With Congressional on board, we're all excited to continue the relationship through 2020. It's going to be a bunch of fun for all of us.
I know that everyone here has come out and supported this event over the years since '07, and we're so thankful, especially we've seen some hot weather‑‑ what year was that, a couple years ago when it was 110 or something out here? It's been fun to be here in D.C. and play this golf course and obviously play major championships. This is one of the great golf courses, and we're so excited to come back here, as I said, through 2020.
Earlier, you just heard from James, that's basically what it's all about. The Earl Woods Scholarship program that we've initiated has done, I think, wonders for people who are under the poverty line, people whose kids are not getting a chance in their life, and I know that I could never have gotten to this point without help, without a team, without people supporting me, and I was lucky enough to have two great parents. Not everyone is fortunate to have that situation, and to give and listen to these stories like James and many others, just gives us, I think, all a pause and seeing this is the type of impact we can have. With Quicken Loans and Congressional and everyone here who comes out to support this event, this is what you're doing. You're giving kids like James an opportunity to make something of themselves, and what he has done so far, and listening to his resumé, what are you, 19?
JAMES GREEN: Yeah.
TIGER WOODS: Really? That's pretty cool.
So again, thank you so much.
MIKE ANTOLINI: Thanks, Tiger. At this time we'll take questions for our panel.
Q. Having had major surgery myself two weeks ago, I do not even remotely feel quite myself yet. Can you talk a little bit about your spirit the last two months or so and the process that you've been going through?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's a great question because it's certainly debilitating initially, sore, pain. Those are all things that do go away over time. This has been a different procedure than I've had in the past. Certainly a lot more tedious, I think, with the workouts and the little things you have to do, little minutia things you have to do on a daily basis. That's been certainly a lot different than in the past with my other surgeries. This has been certainly eye‑opening in that respect, but I've had some great support.
I think probably the hardest thing over this period, it's been seven weeks I think almost to the day, has been trying to not do too much with my kids, Sam and Charlie. They saw me when I first got back, and I'm pretty sore and everything, but then again, they soon forget that and want to go out and play soccer and hit some balls or do something like that. That part has been hard.
Just to feel their love each and every time, it's pretty cool.
Q. Is there any way timetable wise to say whether Pinehurst is in the picture, and what about here?
TIGER WOODS: There really is no timetable. I think that's been kind of the realization to all of this is that there's no date. It's just take it on a daily basis. It's not going to be up to me whether I play or not, it's going to be up to my docs. I have to‑‑ obviously I want to play now. It would be nice to be able to go out there today and play with you guys, even though I really don't like to play with you guys (laughter), but it would be fun. I miss playing. I miss being out there on the golf course and doing that. I miss getting out there and hitting balls like that and just playing. I miss the game.
Forget about competing at the highest levels, I just miss being out there and just being around the golf course. As of right now, I can chip and putt, but that's it. We are going to just take it slowly, and I don't know how many more weeks I'm going to be at this pace, but at least I have something, so I'm able to actually get out there and chip and putt.
But as far as full swings and that timetable about playing, I don't know.
Q. I think one thing that a lot of people admire about you is your unyielding resolve. You set a goal out, you want to accomplish it. This being a different sort of setback, has this tested your‑‑ have maybe doubts crept in like they haven't before, and how do you deal with that?
TIGER WOODS: You know, I think the only doubts that I had was prior to the surgery. I couldn't function anymore. I've had knee surgeries in the past, but yeah, I was hurting going into it, but I was functioning. I could do things.
The time right before the surgery, I really couldn't do much. Getting out of bed was a task, and forget about playing golf at the highest level. I couldn't get out of bed. So yeah, I was certainly doubtful at that point.
What was I going to feel like? Am I going to be pain‑free? Am I actually going to be able to do this again where I can get out of bed and go out there and play with my kids and play golf? All those things are up in the air. But after I had the procedure, it was immediate relief, and it's just a matter of getting through that pain part. It wasn't the shocking pain or debilitating pain, it was just pain from the surgery, from the incision, but it wasn't like it was right before. That was no bueno.
Q. You talk about right after the surgery the pain went away. Jason Bohn had the exact same procedure and he said the hardest thing was right out of surgery that pain was gone, and you have to fight the urge to go out there and maybe overdo it. Is that one of the things you're fighting right now, to make sure you listen to your doctors and do everything right?
TIGER WOODS: Absolutely. That is certainly one of the hardest parts of it is that initial pain and that discomfort that I was feeling prior to the surgery is‑‑ that type of pain was gone. This was a new pain with the surgery and the incision. But I knew that would go away.
Once that went away, as Jason, I don't know if he's told you, but you can't bend over, you can't twist. You take that for granted sometimes. The hardest thing, as I've said, is not to do too much with my kids. That's been probably the most difficult and challenging part because they're very active and like playing sports and so do I. That competitive part of me wants to get out there and wants to be out there with them. I've had to sit down and play catch with Charlie sometimes just sitting on the couch and get a little mitt and play catch that way. I'd like to get out there and throw with him, but I just can't do it yet.
Q. With your time not being able to play with the kids, not being able to work out, not being able to hit golf balls, how have you been passing the time and how difficult has it been?
TIGER WOODS: I'll tell you what, I am damned good at video games. Yeah, that part has been hard at times. One of my good friends Romo went through the same procedure that I had, and he said you become an expert in all different types of video games, and he's right. You pass the time for hours doing that, and I certainly have done that.
Q. Aside from video games, of course like any competitor, which you are such a competitor, how do you reconcile that instinct in watching your peers like Adam Scott go up in the rankings and such just in that time period of waiting and harboring that back?
TIGER WOODS: Well, the thing is I've been here before. I've been in this position where I've come out of a surgery and I basically have directed‑‑ because of my experiences in the past, I've been able to focus on just rehabbing and focus on the little things like that.
I know that once I get to a point where I can start playing and start ramping things up is generally when I start getting antsy about getting out here and competing, but post‑surgery I'm really not because I know I just can't do it. But as I said, once I start ramping it up and just getting out there where I can start playing holes and start playing 36 holes a day, those type of things is when I get very antsy and want to get out there and compete. But until then, until I get to that point, I really don't feel that bad watching golf because I just know I can't do it at that level.
Q. When the doctor finally does clear you to do everything, and assuming no setbacks, how long will it take do you think? How much time do you need once you can do everything to be able to tee it up competitively?
TIGER WOODS: That's a great question. I don't know when I come back and start ramping it up how far am I away from being explosive. Do I still have that capability of hitting the ball like that? But once I start feeling like that, I don't think it would take more than a couple weeks to where I can get out there and feel like I can compete.
Now, how rusty am I going to be? The more time you give me, I think the better I'll be. But as far as‑‑ the great thing about what I've done so far and all my other previous surgeries is that I worked on my short game. Once I start expanding from there and start competing and playing, if I start spraying it all over the lot and not hitting it that great, at least my short game is solid. That's one of the positives to it.
Q. Do you anticipate playing in the Quicken Loans National? And Steve, whether Tiger plays or not, what does it mean to have his name associated with this tournament?
TIGER WOODS: Well, first of all, I'd love to play. But I just don't know. And as I said, that's one of the more frustrating things. There's no date, there's no timetable, just taking it day by day and just focusing on trying to get stronger and come back.
As I said, I want to play today, but that's just not going to happen. So just taking it step by step.
STEVE DURANTE: From the standpoint of having Tiger associated and playing in this tournament, I mean, unquestionably in my mind he's the greatest golfer that's ever played, and to have him in this field is just fantastic. What it means to the club, it really is just a bigger accentuation mark on an already great event.
Q. Tiger, another pivotal point in your career you've made a swing change. A back surgery is not small. Do we anticipate another swing change?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think there will be some adjustments made, but I don't know what they're going to be. A lot of that is going to depend on how I feel. I know going in my swing was pretty solid, but eventually I got to a point where I just couldn't do it much playing‑wise. But as far as making any adjustments, we're always making adjustments, always tinkering. That's what we do as golfers. But as far as any major adjustments or major changes, no, we're not going to do that. But I would like to‑‑ obviously when I get back and get my feel for things, I'll see where I am and how things are.
Q. Tiger, Arnold Palmer told me not too long ago he really doesn't like to play much anymore because he can't do what he used to do. Do you worry you won't be able to do what you used to do and dominate, and if you can't, is that something that weighs on you?
TIGER WOODS: So him that playing not much, so what, only 10 times a week (laughter)?
Q. He said he didn't enjoy it.
TIGER WOODS: There's nobody that plays more golf than that dude. That's awesome.
No, I would love to be out there and competing and playing. One of the things is I would like to, as all athletes, go out on my own terms. That's what ultimately I want to continue playing at the elite level for as long as I deem I want to do it. For some guys that's in their 60s and 70s, other guys it's in their 40s and 50s. But prior to the surgery, I didn't think I would have much of a playing career if I felt like this because as I said, I couldn't get out of bed.
But now that I've had the procedure, I'm excited about what the prospects hold, that I'm able to feel this way, and if that's the case, then I'm excited about my career. I'm able to do what I want to do for as long as I want to.
As I said, right before the surgery, that wasn't the case.
Q. Tiger, the last two answers you gave included the words "changes" and "athlete." You have in mind what it is to be a golf athlete. Have you or your training team or doctors thought about long‑term how working out might be affected?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, we're going to make some changes with that. I've made adaptations over the years. When I first came out on TOUR I was running 30 miles a week, and I was doing it for years, and even during tournament weeks I would still run five, six miles a day. But I can't do that anymore. I can't log those miles in, and we've had to make adjustments. I see the same thing here, that we're obviously going to make some adjustments going forward. But I still want to feel explosive, I still want to feel strong and mobile, and I think with the team that I have around me, they're fantastic. We're certainly headed in that direction right now.
Q. In regards to your foundation and scholarship, when you look at guys like James Green, the other scholars, what makes you most proud?
TIGER WOODS: Listening to them feel that confident in themselves and to see that that has come out in them when it's been beaten down or it's been in hibernation. Not everyone has the opportunity in life, and to see some of these kids who have gone through our program, to see the light go off like that has been‑‑ it makes it all worth it. People like James, they're just special. Just got to give them a chance.
Q. In the off‑season you sort of intimated that you were trying to manage your health for the long haul this year, and obviously it hasn't worked out. Were you told that there was one thing that led to this, one thing you did, or was surgery even a possibility going into the year‑‑
TIGER WOODS: No, surgery was not a possibility. With strength and strengthening and time off and anti‑inflams we felt that we could manage it and I could still play at an elite level. Whether I played three, four, five weeks in a row, things of that nature, would have to be altered. But I think with a limited playing schedule I could certainly do that. Well, almost like Stricks, maybe a few more tournaments than Stricks, but something to that accord.
But unfortunately that just didn't pan out.
Q. One of the players in your tournament, a marquee player Jordan Spieth, you've had a chance to watch him a lot the last few weeks. What do you see in him, and how good do you think he can be?
TIGER WOODS: I think he can be great. He's got plenty of power and confidence, and you can see how well he's been playing. The only thing that was a little bit shocking is at Augusta‑‑ I think Augusta or THE PLAYERS, I don't know which one it was, but he looked at the hole, one of those short putts, and I hadn't seen that since I played with him last year. We played, I think, in a Presidents Cup practice round one of the days, and I was and still am a big believer in what he can do in the game. He's got all the tools, and it's just a matter of gaining experience. He's only, what, 20, so just give him time.
MIKE ANTOLINI: Thank you all again for coming. We're excited, again, for another successful Quicken Loans National, and we look forward to seeing all of you June 23rd to the 29th.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports