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October 10, 2015

Tim Finchem

Songdo IBD, Incheon City, Korea

LAURA NEAL: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for joining us this afternoon. I know it's been an exciting morning already, and there's more great golf to come. We are going to pause for a couple of minutes for an exciting announcement.

If I can introduce our dignitaries that have joined us this afternoon: PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem; the Honorable John Eren, Minister For Tourism and Major Events, Victoria; and Brian Thorburn, Commissioner of the PGA Tour of Australasia.

Like to turn it over to Commissioner Finchem to make an announcement, and then we'll hear from each of our speakers before opening it up to Q&A.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Laura. We are going to do this efficiently so you can get back to watching the great golf.

But we did want to spend a few minutes and share with you that because of an agreement that's been reached between the PGA TOUR and Victoria Major Events Company: The State of Victoria in Australia will serve as the host of the World Cup next year in 2016 and The Presidents Cup in 2019.

This partnership marks a return of The Presidents Cup to Australia for the third time in its 25-year history; and the fifth time in 58-year history of the World Cup of Golf, it will be played in Australia, as well.

The venue for both events will be at one of the very many Melbourne-premiere golf courses in the Sandbelt region, and we will be announcing a date in a few weeks. But we do not have the date confirmed today.

Both events will be in 2016 and 2019 will be in the November time frame as we have historically played these events in Australia.

I would also like to report that at the 2019 Presidents Cup, I will be a Fanatic (laughter).

But seriously, I would make a couple of additional comments. One is that we've had an absolutely delightful experience in Victoria with The Presidents Cup. It's been there twice. Both times it was magnificently received, well-presented. It certainly had a sense of bigness.

And of course in '98, the first time we played down there, the International Team really skunked the U.S. Team. So it's been very competitive. We look forward to that, as well.

With regard to the World Cup, we will be returning to the two-team format World Cup that we've been away from for a Cup or two, teams by country. And we'll also shift back to the focus that the World Cup has had for most of the last 58 years, which is to really use the World Cup to create more interest in the game and more participation in the game.

So for all those reasons, we are delighted, absolutely delighted with today's announcement. A lot of people have spent a lot of time working on this and making it happen, and I want to thank, certainly, everybody at Victoria Major Events, particularly Brendan McClements, who is sitting down here, and did all the work with our team to make this happen; and Sir Rod Eddington is here, as well. Both of these gentlemen have been just wonderful for us to work with in previous years, and we look forward to doing that again.

I also would like to thank the Minister and the leadership at Victoria for supporting this. This was necessary to make this happen, and I particularly want to thank the Minister for being with us today. Not so sure he's here for this press conference as he is to get his picture taken with Adam Scott (laughter).

HON. JOHN EREN: I want a photo with the Fanatics.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I'd like to thank Brian Thorburn on behalf of the Australian Tour for being here. He will speak in a few minutes. We want to use both of these spectacular events to grow the game, and certainly that's having that impact this week in Asia, and we are going to work very closely with Brian and the Australian Tour to use these the same way in Australia as we have in the past.

An individual that's not here, John Linden, is the Chairman of the International Golf Association which has been the custodian of the World Cup. In its 58-year history, it's played all over the world, all the major players have played in it. John did a great job of providing leadership to perpetuate what the World Cup stands for.

So with that, I'll turn it over to the Minister to make some remarks and then we'll hear from Brian.

HON. JOHN EREN: Thank you very much. Thank you for those kind words, Tim.

Firstly I'd like to congratulate South Korea, this beautiful city, Incheon, this wonderful golf course, the Jack Nicklaus Golf Club, for being the first city in Asia to host this prestigious golfing event.

Of course, we are not new to prestigious golfing events. In fact, Melbourne, of course, would like to be the golfing capital of the word at some point, but we are the sporting capital of the world and that's a world-recognized fact. We are the major events capital of the nation and we are the most liveable city in the world. And the culmination of those things make Melbourne and Victoria a great place to live and have these wonderful events.

Of course this event, The Presidents Cup, we've held on two other occasions in '98 and in 2011, and I think that was the only occasion, correct me if I'm wrong, Tim, that actually the Internationals won the event for the first time in its 20-year history in Melbourne.

So we again look forward to having The Presidents Cup in 2019. Of course this Cup would be the largest golfing tournament in the world with some 992 million viewers right across the globe, and at the end of the day that's what counts in relation to boosting our economies through tourism.

And when you combine the World Cup, the World Cup of Golf that we've held on four different occasions, and the latest was in 2013, and all of those events have been held successfully. One thing we do well is, of course, supporting major events and we intend to make this even bigger next time around.

So when you combine the World Cup of Golf and The Presidents Cup, those combined events will be viewed by some 1.7 billion people across the globe, and that's tremendous for branding in terms of Melbourne, and again, cementing our position of being the sporting capital of the world, and of course the most liveable city in the world, as well.

These events contribute tremendously to our economy. We understand the value of them. Major events contributes some $1.8 billion into our economy, and we want to grow that segment. We want to make sure we get as many events as possible so that Melbourne and Victoria continue to be the No. 1 place for these events and organizations like the PGA TOUR; that if they want a successful event, they will have it in Melbourne. That's why I think for the first time, we've held this event, The Presidents Cup on two other occasions, and we'll be holding it on a third occasion.

Outside of the U.S., we are the only nation that have held this prestigious event on three occasions. So we must be doing something right. And of course, we know that we are doing something right when we have two major golfing events such as the World Cup and The Presidents Cup coming back to Melbourne.

So I want to congratulate all of the people involved. I know there are literally hundreds of people that do the behind-the-scenes work that culminate in these wonderful announcements, and I want to acknowledge all of those people, of course, and they know who they are.

And I know I've got my team here in Brenden and Sir Rod and Luci, and I know that you, Tim, have a wonderful team behind you that make you so successful and indeed, the whole organization.

When you can boast that you have the largest viewing audience in relation to so many events that you have; and I see even today that literally thousands of people are coming in and watching this wonderful game. It means so much to the economies of cities around the world. Of course it's something that's enjoyed by many people, not only the ones that actually play the game, but indeed for those that like to view the game, as well.

So there is local satisfaction in terms of Melbournians obviously love their sport, and we love it so much that we want to see golf actually increase its events in Melbourne. And of course we will have discussions about what further possible events we can have.

It's a great day for Melbourne, Victoria, and indeed it's a great day for Australia. This event will again put us on the map right around the globe. And we are really excited about the fact that some 56 of the world's best players will compete in the World Cup, and of course, again 24 players will compete in The Presidents Cup in 2019. So they are the cream of the crop; and you can hear the yelling in the background (Fanatics cheering in audience), all the excitement that comes along withholding these sorts of events. So we are really excited about 2016. I know the Fanatics are very excited about it, as well.

We've held some really successful events in Melbourne. I'd like to just point out why we are the sporting capital of the world and why we are the major events capital of the nation. We have successfully held the Australian Tennis Open, again, this year, with record crowds attending, millions of people viewing that. The Australian Formula I Grand Prix, we have successfully held that with many, many millions of people, again a different demographic of people watching Melbourne and all the wonderful surroundings we have to offer right throughout the globe; the Soccer Club; the ICC World Cricket Championship; the International Champions Cup in soccer; we have had the Spring Racing Carnival coming up; and of course we are back into the Boxing Day test and cricket again. Just started the AFL Grand Final, we had 100,000 people view our local game.

We love our sport, and we know we do it really well. And we look forward to our partnership with the PGA TOUR, and wish, of course, you all the best in your endeavors for the next tournament in 2017, and we look forward to having you in 2019. Thank you very much.

BRIAN THORBURN: Well, I'd just firstly like to say that today's announcement is great news for golf in Australia. As Minister Eren said, this is great news for Australia, as well.

On behalf of PGA Tour of Australasia like to thank Tim Finchem and your colleagues at the PGA TOUR, as well as the Victorian government, particularly Premiere Daniel Andrews and Minister John Eren for their commitment to golf in our country.

Australia is blessed to have all the ingredients that attract world events, and in golf we are truly blessed to have some of the world's great golf courses, especially on the Sandbelt in Victoria. Melbourne has a city and fan base that embraces events like these.

So in 2016 and in 2019, you are going to see great events played on great golf courses in one of the great cities of the world.

Since the inception of The Presidents Cup, our country has averaged four Australian golfers on the International Team, and this week we again have four players, the largest national cohort of players representing the International Team. And we have a rich and long history of the World Cup of Golf; we've had five Australian team victories and three individual victories.

Major champions such at Kel Nagle, Peter Thomson, David Graham and Wayne Grady have all been on winning World Cup teams. In 2013 of course, Jason Day won the individual event, and with Adam Scott won the team event.

As the defending champions in the World Cup, we certainly look forward to the World Cup and Presidents Cup returning to Australian shores, and we think that its symbolic of the continued growth of golf in Australia and a testament to the quality and success of our players competing around the world.

So once again, the PGA Tour of Australasia wants to thank and extend its gratitude to the PGA TOUR and to the Victorian government for your support of golf. (Applause).

LAURA NEAL: Thank you, gentlemen.

Q. Commissioner Finchem, Incheon was breaking new ground; Melbourne, you're going back to something familiar. But compare and contrast the decision and motivation in both cases, please.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I'll try. It is very different, because obviously we've never played in Asia before at all. But the result has been fantastic, because we had so many people come up and tell us this week that this event will spur interest in the game; it will spur the understanding that Korea can put on big-time golf events.

We've had a very positive reaction from representatives in other Asian countries this week about President Park's involvement and what that means and the message it conveys, and what's great about golf.

So it was new territory and it's worked out well. And Australia is different. Australia, we know the event, we know the events can be great from a presentation standpoint, there isn't any question; we've been there before.

Really the challenges are, with every golf tournament, you always want to make it better. And here, I think we're looking for ways to work with Brian, work with the Minister, work with people in golf in Australia and figure out ways to leverage both of these events in Australia to impact the game going forward from an excitement and a participation standpoint.

And also, on the TOUR side, from the standpoint of the elite players competition, as well. So we look forward to those challenges. They are different challenges, but in both cases, important.

Q. This question is about the current Presidents Cup that is being held for the first time in Asia. So what would be the significance of the 2015 Presidents Cup being held for the first time in Asia, and what kind of impact can we expect for it to have for the future of golf?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I think I understand the last part of that. I think that historically, wherever golf has -- and it's a global sport now, but it's going through these phases where it gets to a certain point; it was true in the U.K., it was true in the United States, and it's true in countries in Asia.

I think this week is an accelerator to what's happening there. And also, President Park has demonstrated that golf can be a pars sport on a wide basis. It's not an elite sport. It's not created for elites. It's created for anybody that wants to play it.

Our challenge, those of us who work in golf, is to ensure that that happens. And this week helps in that regard. It's a little early to measure it but I think the extent to which the combination of this week, followed next year by golf in the Olympics, ought to result in more positive momentum.

Golf generally is growing in Asia, but it needs to combine creating elite players with creating access to the game by many, many more people for it to reach its potential. And that's a challenge everywhere; it's a challenge in the United States. But it's worth the effort, and we think this is a very positive week to impact that.

Q. With all this emphasis now on this -- this excellent emphasis with these events here in this part of the world, and particularly with the announcement here for Australia, how do you see the development of golf in Southeast Asia, which is a bit closer to Australia, over the next five to ten years? Do you see this helping and stimulating growth in Southeast Asia in golf course development?
BRIAN THORBURN: Yeah, definitely, I think there are a whole range of activities that will help, not only the World Cup and The Presidents Cup. You see the PGA TOUR with the PGA TOUR China program, and hopefully that will elevate more Chinese golfers to the ranks and you'll see Chinese golfers excelling at the World Cup; and being broadcast back into Asia, that's an aspirational benefit of these kind of tournaments.

It would be wonderful in 2019 if there was a Chinese player or a southeast players on The Presidents Cup International Team. We have Thongchai Jaidee already. We've got Sangmoon Bae, we have Hideki Matsuyama from Asia, and it creates great interest in those markets. The more of that can happen, the better.

There's a whole raft of programs underneath that are being run by the various tours: The Asian Tour, OneAsia, and most importantly PGA TOUR China, which again, over a period of time develop more quality golfers this those markets, which will hopefully play in these tournaments and similar tournaments down the track.

LAURA NEAL: Gentlemen, thank you so much. Congratulations, congratulations to the Fanatics, and enjoy the rest of the day. Thank you.

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