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July 13, 2015

Peter Dawson

Ty Votaw


MALCOLM BOOTH: Ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon. Thank you for joining us for this International Golf Federation press conference. I'll just introduce the top table here. On my far right I have Antony Scanlon, the Executive Director of the IGF, to his left Ty Votaw, the Vice President of the IGF, and to my immediate right, Peter Dawson, the President of the IGF. We're just going to open up with a brief statement from Peter, and then an update on the course from Ty and then we'll open it up to questions.

PETER DAWSON: Thank you, Malcolm, and good afternoon, everyone. The Olympics in Rio are just over a year away now, August 2016, not long to go, and we thought we'd take the opportunity that the Open Championship affords to give you an update on the situation down there. As you'll see from the pictures on the screens, things will be moving along pretty rapidly since we last spoke, and I think it's true to say that the IGF is now very confident that we're in great shape to stage a first-class golf event in Rio in the Olympic Games in 2016. I'm going to hand it over to Ty now to update you on more specific details about the golf course, and then as Malcolm said, we'll take questions. Ty?

TY VOTAW: Peter, thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. As you may recall from last year, we provided you an update about where things stood in terms of the golf course in Rio, and at that time we were in the final stages of working with Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott and their team on the final shaping of the golf course as well as letting everybody know that our goals were to get the golf course sodded and sprigged during the fall of 2014 so that we could take advantage of the growing season in Rio that commences in the November-December-January time frame. As those pictures on the screen, and Peter referenced, reflect, we're happy to the report that the golf course itself is virtually complete, and we are now in full grow-in mode, and we've had a very good first year through the spring and summer months in Rio, and we're pleased with the overall progress that has been made to date, most of which wouldn't have happened without the great job that the superintendent, Neil Cleverly, and his team have done, the PGA Tour's agronomy team has also been down in Rio for several months assisting Neil and his team, and we've also enjoyed the support of Rio 2016, the Rio mayor's office, who has taken a very active role in all matters relating to the Olympics as well as other stakeholders to get to where we are, and we are approaching the second grow-in season, which is extremely important, to get the course in championship game levels ready for the competition, and as we take steps now to prepare the golf course and shape it further, we have to make sure that Neil and his team have the resources necessary to bring the Games to a competition and championship level, and we're confident that that can happen. Beyond the golf course itself, there's still a considerable amount of work to do outside of the competition area, some infrastructure, some roads, the construction of the clubhouse for the golf course is ongoing, and we are anticipating -- the exterior is being completed by November of this year, which is on schedule. Lastly, you might recall that there was an aerial photo of the course that was circulating prior to this event. Hopefully these pictures will be a greater indication of where things stand. We just want to reiterate at this time that those people who visited the site and walked the golf course and who are knowledgeable in all things golf course architecture that the job that Gil Hanse and Amy Alcott and their team have done has done an exceptional job of creating a layout that's both strategic and fair and esthetically beautiful, and we think it's going to be one that the players truly appreciate. It's everything that we think an Olympic venue should be and one that will serve as a lasting legacy for golf in Brazil going forward. So with that, I'll open it up for questions.

Q. I know that the PGA Tour agronomy staff was down in Rio just recently, and whatever they reported would have a long way in going into when you might have a test event. Can you give us some update on when you foresee a test event for Rio?
TY VOTAW: You're right, we did make a visit, not just the PGA Tour but the IGF and its representatives made a visit back in June of this year. We prepared a report that's in Olympic terms called an homologation report in looking at where things stood in the preparation of the golf course as well as the worldwide schedule of golf. The conclusion has been made and the recommendation has been made to the Rio 2016 that the November time frame that has been used as somewhat of a place holder on their schedules for a test event, we think it would be better to have the test event take place after having had the benefit of a second grow-in season, and in taking into consideration the availability of players, world-class players on a November-December time frame, has led us to recommend that we move the test event to the first quarter of 2016. And with that, we think we have a much better chance of having a test event be held when the golf course is as close to a Games-ready condition as possible, and we also think that the type of an event at that time given everybody's schedules is that it would be more of an exhibition, limited to a one-day competition, if you will, and we're in the process of working with world-class players on both the men's and the women's side of the game to look at that schedule and what would work best for all the various Tours around the world to make that happen.

PETER DAWSON: Just to add on top of that, the clubhouse construction schedule due to complete in November, perhaps going into the first quarter of next year, will ensure that and other buildings are ready, which also need to be tested as part of the process.

Q. There's a lot of legal problems around this site; do you envisage any of them having the possibility of having to move the venue?
TY VOTAW: We don't anticipate that happening. We think whatever legal issues that have arisen over the past couple of years have in large part been resolved to the satisfaction of everybody down there.

Q. When you say in large part, what's still remaining?
PETER DAWSON: There's nothing outstanding, nothing at all. All legal issues have been resolved. That's not to say someone won't invent another one, but there's none outstanding at this point.

Q. Peter, you mentioned that now you think you can go ahead and host a world-class event, which makes it sound like at some point during this process you were concerned about that. Can you elaborate about that a little?
PETER DAWSON: I think there were stages in the process where we were behind schedule, and we did think that unless things were caught up we're going to be in problems, I think we were quite clear about that over the past years, but we've increasingly grown in confidence, and I'm delighted to say we're now very confident.

Q. Was there ever a point where you had to look at an alternative site?

Q. Just on the field for the test event, how are you going to make up the field? Is it from the World Rankings? Will you be inviting players, some of the team captains perhaps who might be interested in playing?
TY VOTAW: We're in the process right now of working our way down the World Rankings to talk to players who may be able to participate in a test event. A lot of that is date-driven, what works for their schedules, so it's really a question of do you get the players first and look at dates or do you get a date first and then look for players, so we're in the process of balancing both of those things out.

MALCOLM BOOTH: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.
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