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November 4, 2015

Joe Sanderson Jr.

Andy Pazder

Steve Jent

Jackson, Mississippi

MARK STEVENS: Like to thank everyone for being here this morning for this special announcement. This is an important day for the tournament in Sanderson Farms. We'll introduce our speakers. You've got a sheet in front of you with all their titles and details. Each of the speakers will give some comments and we'll go ahead and take questions at the end. On my left, Jeff Hubbard from Century Club Charities, Andy Pazder from the PGA TOUR. Mr. Joe F. Sanderson, Jr., from Sanderson Farms, and Steve Jent who is the Executive Director of this Sanderson Farms Championship. So with that, I'll hand it over to Mr. Sanderson to make his opening remarks.

JOE SANDERSON JR.: Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. As you know, Sanderson Farms became the title sponsor of this golf tournament two years ago. We're in our third year now, and we took it on as a one-year commitment to see how it fit. And we felt good about that even though we only had four months to gear up for the first tournament. We had more time last year, and we were a bit more successful with that, and we signed a three-year commitment.

We're now in our second year of that three-year commitment, and we only have one year remaining. So it was time for us this summer to contemplate the future and what kind of commitment we were going to make going forward.

When Sanderson Farms takes on a responsibility, it's typically longer term than three years. When we build a new complex, that is typically a 50 or 60-year commitment. When we hire someone, it's long-term, we make a long-term commitment to an individual. When we sign up a grower, those are typically always 15-year contracts.

So our commitments to the people with whom we deal are long-term. We make that same commitment to the communities in which we operate, and the institutions with which we deal.

So as we contemplated the future of this tournament, we thought a three-year or five-year commitment was not appropriate. So we're here to announce today that we are making a ten-year commitment with the PGA TOUR for the Sanderson Farms Championship.

We believe that it is important for particularly for the charities and particularly for Children's Hospital to know that we're going to be here for that period of time, for the Jackson Metro area and the State of Mississippi to know that they can depend on us.

Our dealings with Commissioner Finchem and the PGA TOUR have been outstanding. We respect what they do, what they've done in the past, and we trust them for the future. Everybody knows their reputation and we have experienced it firsthand. And because of our trust and belief in them and our desire to serve our charities and our state, we're happy to make this announcement here today.

We also want to thank a few people. Steve Jent and his staff, Century Club Charities, the Country Club of Jackson for their wonderful hospitality, and as much as anything, the people of Sanderson Farms, Lampkin, and Mike, and Hillary, and a lot more people that you'll see around here today and the rest of this week that have made this event a really special time for our company.

Now I want to introduce Andy Pazder, COO of the PGA TOUR. We've worked with him as well as the commissioner, and I'm honored that he made the trip to Mississippi today to join us in this announcement. Andy, thank you very much for being here. Anxious to hear your comments. Thank you.

ANDY PAZDER: Thank you, Joe.

My name's Andy Pazder, it is my distinct honor to represent the PGA TOUR today. It's not just a great day for the PGA TOUR and all of our members that are here this week, but it's a great day for the state of Mississippi. I was thinking this morning and reflecting back, Joe, three years to our first meeting, it was your first year as title sponsor, and you've already mentioned the names, but it was yourself, and Hillary, Lampkin and Mike, and I'll never forget what you said that day which is "Andy, we're not just in this for the short term. We're in this to impact the State of Mississippi, the City of Jackson, and most importantly," you said, was to have a powerful impact on charity in this community. What you've done for the Children's Hospital is the model of what we want all of our PGA TOUR events to strive for.

On behalf of the PGA TOUR we obviously thank you from the deepest of our hearts from your commitment not just to us, but to the state and the community. I'd also like to point out the great work that Century Club Charities have done.

Jeff Hubbard's representing that group today. Your leadership in Peter Marks and Johnny Lang and so forth have carried this tournament for many, many years. One of the hallmarks of great PGA TOUR events across our schedule are a great title sponsor. Everybody in this room would admit we have that in Sanderson Farms. A great host organization, we have that in Century Club Charities, and also a tremendous host venue. Thank the staff and the members of the Country Club of Jackson, and I'd like to echo that thank you.

So, Joe, on behalf of the PGA TOUR, I would just express again a deep sense of gratitude for your faith and belief and commitment to the PGA TOUR and our players, and more importantly, everybody in this room understand that Joe and his team believe deeply in the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson. We look forward to ten more great years.

I should know that with this commitment on Joe's behalf, this tournament is title sponsored through 2026 which makes it the longest sponsorship on the PGA TOUR. So, Joe, we thank you again for your commitment.

It's my pleasure now to introduce Steve Jent, the Executive Director of the Sanderson Farms Championship, and works 52 weeks out of the year to bring this to a head this week. Steve, with that?

STEVE JENT: Good morning, everybody. Think you can agree with me this is a pretty exciting day in the history of the tournament. I think Andy said it right, a PGA TOUR event starts with a title sponsor, and you can't put a first class event on without a great title sponsor. And I think we've got the best title sponsor on the entire PGA TOUR. I'm a little biased.

But I would tell you, when I was trying to put together my notes for today, just real quick I want to throw this out here, I thought about Robert, Marilyn, Morgan, and I don't think they were able to make it here today, but just what 48 years and what they went through to kind of get it started. And I think they'd be proud to know what we're talking about today.

But I think what today's announcement provides from us as a tournament staff is stability, which is what I think every tournament wants. It allows us to do some planning and going forward to do some things that now we have some security to know that we can go ahead and put together a 10 or 11-year plan.

Joe actually kind of reminded me that now I've got a job for a little while longer, at least 11 years. But for the staff, it does kind of bring that stability. We think for the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson, it does the same. Just confidence that there will be a world class professional sporting event that comes here every year to drive the economic impact to the region, to the state, and to the charities that we support.

That, again, I know Jeff's going to touch on it here, but that's what's important is driving the charity dollars for the state. Last year we generated over $1.4 million, and we hope to do that again or even better. There is never any pressure from Joe to do any better.

I just want to tell a quick story. When we were designing the trophy that's over my left shoulder here, which Joe kind of single-handedly said this is what I want to take a look at, and when they designed it and designed the pedestal we were laughing a little bit last year. And I said, Joe, there's 10 extra spots for future champions on that, so now we're one short. We'll need a bigger pedestal.

So it's an historic day for us and the staff. I want to turn it over to Jeff Hubbard, the secretary for Century Club Charities and let him make a couple comments.

JEFF HUBBARD: I just want to say on behalf of the 275 members of Century Club, Joe, how thrilled we are beyond words with this announcement. This is so wonderful to be associated with such a first class organization as Sanderson Farms, and having watched this for a long time, I will tell you that I want to make sure that just for a second we don't get the cart too far in front of the horse, and that is this.

On behalf of Century Club, we exist for one reason, and believe it or not, it's not for a golf tournament. It's for our charities. And we are so thrilled, sorry to use the same word again, but it's the only thing I can think of, that we were able to give $1.1 million to Friends of Children's Hospital.

So think about the next ten years. I think my first thought was we're going to have a golf tournament for ten years. My second thought was children who are not yet born and won't be for a number of years will have the impact of this decision, Joe, and on their behalf, I thank you for that because that is what we are here about today and the impact will go a long time.

Then we have other charities also that we do for birdies and other things, they will be impacted. Not to mention as Steve Jent mentioned, the impact on the economy of the state of Mississippi. This is a win-win-win-win scenario.

Let me give you the bad news. There is none, especially with the PGA. Thank you guys from The Century Club. We look forward to this for the next ten years, and we look forward to working with you.

MARK STEVENS: Thank you very much.

SPEAKER: Joe, and everyone involved, Century Club Charities, Friends of Children's Hospital, on behalf of the children of this state, I want to say thank you. Thank you very much.

Q. Steve, what has the response been like now leading into year two and having the event here at the Country Club of Jackson?
STEVE JENT: It's been phenomenal. We would have liked for better weather, but nine inches of rain in a few days, so the golf course is probably playing a little different than it was last year. But the response on the players and the caddies and the officials were that it's even better than it was last year.

I mean, the greens, they talk about these greens all year long that's better than major championship greens, and these are really special. So the feedback we've gotten from the sponsors and from players and everybody is that last year's event was such a great event, they want to be a part of it this year. I think we see that.

Half of our field wasn't here last year, I mean, whether it's through the Web.com Tour or other players that are committed. We've got a lot of new guys that are now seeing the Country Club of Jackson and our city for the first time. So it's been very positive.

Q. Mr. Joe, is this kind of like a dream come true for you when you first thought of being a sponsor for these events as far as being a big company right here in Mississippi? What's that mean to you?
JOE SANDERSON: Well, we look upon this as a responsibility. It's good to be able to help, but it's also a responsibility to us to serve, and our board feels that way about it and we do that in a lot of different ways with a lot of states. But for the children at the hospital, we have toured the hospital, and you all know that my granddaughter has been a patient at the hospital, so I am familiar with the hospital.

It's a lot of fun doing the golf tournament. But we work eight days from Sunday to Sunday. It's a wonderful event, but we kind of look at it as a responsibility as much as it is a joy to do.

ANDY PAZDER: If I could add to the PGA TOUR's perspective on that question, I'm going to slightly embarrass you, Joe, with this story. But I mentioned earlier that there are three pillars that make for a great PGA TOUR tournament, I mentioned title sponsor, and it is a dream for the PGA TOUR to have a title sponsor like Joe Sanderson. I think many of you in the room know Joe is a bit of a golf nut. Is that reasonable to say?

JOE SANDERSON: I'm an enthusiast. I'm an enthusiast.

ANDY PAZDER: I want to tell you a quick story that will prove that to everybody. I find out after the 2013 tournament that Joe personally hand wrote thank you notes to 66 players who entered the Monday qualifier. When Steve Jent told me that, I said, he did what? I said, man, this is going to be a great relationship. So it is a dream for the TOUR to have a partner like Joe Sanderson and his team for certain.

Q. Do you think in the future some more big players will come over like the British Opens and all of that, to just drag them over here?
JOE SANDERSON: We intend every year in every way to make this tournament better. I have every confidence that the staff at the country club and on this golf course is going to do that. The golf course in every amenity that we can do, for example, the gifts that we give the golfers, the food that we serve the golfers, the service that we provide the golfers and the caddies will continue to be excellent and better every year. Those two things and that will continue to elevate. And if the opportunity presents itself, and we can recruit by word of mouth or otherwise other golfers, then that will happen, I believe.

Q. How did the commitment this long work for future dates and Tom Watson's tournament?
SPEAKER: Right now the ten-year extension is an extension of where we stand right now it's an opposite field event. Opposite the HSBC event in China, which just signed a five-year extension, I believe. So that is the standing of the tournament now. We'll be opposite of it. That doesn't preclude us exploring other options down the road.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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