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June 1, 2004

Kirk Triplett


TODD BUDNICK: We welcome Kirk Triplett to the 2004 Memorial tournament. Kirk, first off, let's get started and talk a little bit about your year. You're 32nd on the money list, and kind of a continuation of last year, finished 29th. You've been playing some very good golf over the last two seasons.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, I just wasn't ready to talk about that. I've done very well, just been playing some very consistent golf and feel very comfortable out there, just playing a few tournaments in a row, getting a feeling going. I took time off, spent time with the family, just very comfortable.

TODD BUDNICK: The more you play well, the more people see you, and obviously that's a positive with your new Tour For Adoption program. Maybe you can do a little better introduction than I can in that respect.

KIRK TRIPLETT: Yeah, what we've got is in partnership with the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. We started the Tour For Adoption program, where each week we feature a Foster child in the particular market that I'm playing in. This week, here in Columbus, it's Sentral right here. On the golf bag each week we display it on the front, provide information for people that are interested, not only in Sentral but other foster children, as well, and that's the goal of the whole program, is to get kids like Sentral adopted. Really the goal of the program is to create awareness that in your community there may be literally hundreds of children like Sentral in foster care that people need to consider adopting them.

The way Kathy and I got involved, we have four children, you can see a couple of them running around here, two of whom are adopted, and we got involved with some fundraising events three or four years ago up in Minneapolis with the Wendy's franchisee Mike Gibbons up there, got to know the people in the foundation and their commitment, and passion for the cause really inspired us to want to try and do something, and this is the result of that.

So we've done some fundraising of our own, as well as this program. We started this year in Phoenix. I think each week, you guys have done a wonderful job of helping us promote these guys, and I try and get kids like Sentral to come out -- you're pretty good at that -- each week, and we just give them a taste of what the Tour is like. But more importantly, we kind of show them that there's people that they don't know that care about them, care about where they end up and know how important it is for them to find a permanent, loving home, and that's really what we're doing, is carrying on the legacy that Dave Thomas -- carrying on his legacy. He was a tremendous advocate for adoption. I don't need to go into his legacy. The founder of Wendy's adopted a child himself, and he has done a great job over the last decade of promoting adoption causes. We want to continue that because we can't think of a better cause to put our efforts behind. It's great for the adoptive parents. I can speak on that behalf.

Kathy and I wanted to have more children and weren't able to, and we've been able to increase our family through adoption. We think it's been good for the kids -- well, we don't know that for sure yet, but eventually it'll be great for a young man like Sentral to find a permanent, loving home.

The other thing that's really great is it's great for the community. It's a tremendous drain on community's resources, the foster care program. As the professionals will tell you, it's certainly an excellent program, but it was supposed to be a temporary place for kids to stay. How long have you been in foster care, Sentral?

SENTRAL: Since I was 4.

KIRK TRIPLETT: So eight years. That's a pretty common situation. We need to move these kids through the system faster and find homes for them, and that's what this is all about.

Q. What kind of response have you gotten since you started this from fans, from the community?

KIRK TRIPLETT: Well, we've gotten tremendous response from the people out there on the golf course, always saying, hey, what's that, or I'm adopted or I have adopted children. There's a tremendous group of people that have been touched by adoption, and they're very willing to talk about it and share their stories and they know how important it is, and they're very excited to see something like this get the publicity that it's getting.

As far as the kids themselves, we've certainly had increased interest in them, but we started in January and we haven't had any of those particular kids adopted yet, although I'm told we're very close in Phoenix. When that does happen, we'll certainly make that known.

It's really neat to be out there and playing along. I'm out there, I'm working, I've got my head down and trying to make a par on that 17th hole, which I guess is the hardest hole now, and somebody will come up to me between 17 green and 18 tee and say, hey, that's neat what you're doing for the kids, or I'm adopted, or we have adopted children or my best friends are adopting a child. It makes me remember what's important.

Q. Did you have any history of adoption before you got involved as a parent, as far as any friends of yours growing up or any other family members?

KIRK TRIPLETT: I don't think anything that really -- where I looked at it in my life and said, that's what I want to do, I want to adopt children. There was nothing in my family like that. Like I said, it just kind of arose when Kathy and I, on our behalf, because we faced, like a lot of couples, infertility troubles, and we had the twins through the IVF process and felt very fortunate to have them, and really -- sort of went down the road of adoption if that wasn't going to work, and we got to the point where we didn't want to see the doctors all the time anymore and thought we'd just have two. Debbie Rolfing, Mark Rolfing's wife, the golf commentator, she's a foster care parent in Hawaii and she came and talked to us three or four years ago and said, I have two situations, is this something you guys are interested in, and boom, within a month we had Alexis. Now after going through it, we just think it's tremendously important to promote it, tell people about it, because the experts are here. I'll probably mess up the numbers, but there are 140,000 adoptable children in foster care in this country, or 500,000 children in foster care.

Foster care is a very hot topic. There's been a number of studies about the system and what needs to be done, and I think the bottom line for the most part is the system is fine, it's put the kids through the system, don't let them stay in the system as long as we're letting them stay.

Adoption could make such a difference. The babies are going to get adopted anyway. The kids like Sentral, he's got six years before he's off on his own and doing his own thing, and those six years for him could be the most pivotal of his life. If he gets the proper direction and gets a loving and permanent home, he'll have a tremendous example that he can fall back on when he has a family of his own, and that is kind of how you take little bites out of this problem. Those numbers are overwhelming, but the great thing about this problem is every time you have a success, you kind of slow the progression of those numbers. It won't take that long, but it has to be done one at a time, and you can't just throw money at it, you need people that are willing to be involved, and it's very, very rewarding.

What kind of family are you looking for, Sentral? What should a family know about you.

SENTRAL: The family I want cares about me and helps me make a difference in my life and helps my mom do what she is doing.

Q. Have you ever played golf or have you watched golf or do you like golf?

SENTRAL: Kind of.

KIRK TRIPLETT: That's better than last week. I asked him before, and he said, I've seen golf on TV, but when it comes on I change the channel.

Q. Do you like any other sports?

SENTRAL: Basketball, football, bowling and pool.

Q. What's your favorite basketball team?

SENTRAL: Kentucky. My favorite football team has got to be Ohio State. I hate Michigan.

Q. Who's your favorite golfer?

SENTRAL: (Indicating Triplett.)

KIRK TRIPLETT: You can see one of the neat things about a kid like Sentral is you're here and you're meeting him and he's a pretty cool guy, a pretty neat guy. And through no fault of his own, he's looking for a home, and we've got to find ways to get the parents that are out there that are thinking about things, well, maybe I want to adopt, maybe I don't. I read this terrible story in the paper about they came and took the child away, or I don't want to adopt a child that's too old for me to teach him anything.

You have to dispel all those myths because those are the stories that get told in the news and in the papers and on TV, and yeah, they're tragedies, they're break-your-heart stories, but most of them have one thing in common, and that is that people didn't follow the laws, they didn't follow through with the adoption the way they're supposed to do it. They also don't know about the foster care system. They don't know that it costs probably next to nothing to adopt Sentral. You may even get a state stipend; every state is different, so I can't speak to Ohio, but Rita probably can.

There's so much opportunity to make such a difference for these kids, and we have these fairs where we try and get the kids to meet prospective parents, and I think a lot of people, just everyday people, would be thrilled to do something like this. They take in exchange students, they host other kids for a variety of reasons. Why not do something like this, adopt a kid out of foster care who you can really make a tremendous difference in his life. Most people are thrilled to do something that's great for their community, plus along the way it's probably not a sacrifice for you. You're going to get something really good out of it.

Q. What does DTFA stand for?

KIRK TRIPLETT: The Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption.

Q. What's been the reaction from your fellow pros? What's happening with them?

KIRK TRIPLETT: They've been very interested in seeing it. My wife really is the one who came up with this idea. Briny Baird does the same thing for missing children and Canon sponsors it, their digital imaging systems. So she was looking at it when we saw him at the Tour Championship last year, and she goes, why don't we do that same thing with foster children.

Then we talked to Don and some of the folks at Wendy's and with the Foundation and they thought it was a tremendous idea, and I happened to have an open bag this year, and it's something that really means a lot to Kathy and I, so we made it happen very quickly.

I couldn't do something like this myself. I mean, that requires a tremendous amount of resources and contacts to find the kids like Sentral in all the different locations that we go to. The foundation has done a tremendous job of providing that support and setting up these meetings and the media stuff. Really almost every week we get the kids like Sentral to come out, we have the local news there, television news that's just been tremendous, the local television stations. They come out, they talk to the kids, and it's just like getting a piece on the evening news each week, and they've been very, very interested because it's so different.

Tuesdays and Wednesdays most tournaments there's not a lot going on, the media is out looking for stuff to talk about, write about, special interest kind of stuff, and we know that and we've been able to take advantage of it and hopefully will continue to.

But the pros themselves, to answer your question, have been very receptive to the whole thing. Davis Love, anything those kids need, he says, you tell me.

SENTRAL: Any more questions?

Q. What are you going to do this week, Sentral?

SENTRAL: I'm missing school.

KIRK TRIPLETT: What are you doing this summer?

SENTRAL: Going to camp.

Q. Where do you go to school?

SENTRAL: Crestview Middle School.

Q. What grade are you in?

SENTRAL: Sixth grade.

TODD BUDNICK: Thank you, Sentral and Kirk, for stopping by today.

End of FastScripts.

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