home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 7, 2016

Mike Whan

John Veihmeyer

Condoleezza Rice

Lynne Doughtie

Pete Bevacqua

Sammamish, Washington

KRAIG KANN: Good afternoon everybody, my name is Kraig Kann on behalf of the LPGA, the PGA of America and also KPMG I want to welcome you to Sahalee Country Club and the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.

We've got a very distinguished panel here today, as you can see, to my right. I'd like to make some introductions. From left to right, the Commissioner of the LPGA, Mr. Mike Whan. The CEO of the PGA of America, Pete Bevacqua. U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, Lynne Doughtie. The 66th Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice is here with us today. And the Chairman of KPMG International, John Veihmeyer. Thank you all for being here.

In a few moments we'll share some exciting news tied to the KPMG on the topic of leadership. But first let's talk about the tournament week, the Championship itself, which puts the very top players in this game, 100 of the top 100 on the money list here on a spectacular golf course for women's golf and a big stage for the game in general.

Pete, the PGA of America's involvement in this Championship, I think we could describe it as ground breaking.

The most important thing for you is what? Why the PGA of America and a women's championship?

PETE BEVACQUA: I would tell you, Craig, that this for us, really, is an extension of our strategic plan. We're all about bringing diversity into the game, inclusion into the game. When you think about the PGA of America, a hundred year old organization, we've done so much for women in the game, in terms of women PGA members, making sure that there are opportunities for women and girls to get involved in golf through programs like Drive, Chip and Putt, our PGA Junior League golf, Get Golf Ready. But when we had conversations with our officers and board of directors a few years ago, we said, you know, we had never done anything on the grand stage, the National and International stage to really celebrate the women's game. And that's what started all of this for us. That's what started the conversations with Mike, which obviously led to that relationship, and by extension, our relationship with KPMG. And for us at the PGA of America, as a staff person, when you walk into our headquarters, we would walk in year after year and you're greeted by these, I would say two, two and a half times the size of life posters of our champions each year, and they would always be men. You would see the champion of the PGA Championship, our Kitchen Aide Senior PGA championship. You'd see our Ryder Cup captains. And now when you walk into our headquarters and you see Inbee Park, and you'll see the champion that is crowned here this week, that means a lot for our organization.

And a lot of what I do is go around the country and speak to our members at our 41 sections, and I would tell you the topic that comes up with really the most pride is the organization's move behind this championship and our relationship with KPMG and the LPGA. And this in year two, to already see how it's matured and advanced, it's wonderful for us to be here and it's an honor for us to be on this stage and to be a part of this week.

KRAIG KANN: A very big week. Mike, this is year two of this new look Major Championship. From your sense, what are the players saying? What's the feedback you're getting? I know you're one of those guys that walks the golf course and listens to the feedback.

MIKE WHAN: Yeah, it's exciting to walk in. First I would say generally speaking I try to stay off the range at a major, because I'm not sure I need to be out there talking. But there's a giddiness. Obviously that's a major, that's enhanced. They realize this is career changing this week. There's a love affair going on with the golf course, that's for sure. The way it's manicured. The way the PGA of America has created a feeling here.

It's funny, I was walking over here, I stopped on the 10th tee and Alison Lee was teeing off. A little girl said daddy, she couldn't see, so he put her on her shoulders, so she got a better view. And maybe this sounds a little corny but I kind of feel like the little girl on dad's shoulders. Because my father used to say if you can't see where you want to go, find somebody to lift you up. Between the PGA of America and KPMG I feel like we're the ones sitting on the shoulders, getting a better view. We feel elevated. The tournament is elevated. Women's golf is elevated. With what KPMG is going to do all day tomorrow with Dr. Rice it happens to elevate so much more than what goes on on the golf course. We feel blessed.

I'm blessed that Pete took my call a couple of years ago, and even more blessed that he said let's get in the car and meet halfway and see what we can come up with. It's a pretty special week. And to think this is year two, most players say this feels like the 22nd year, not the second year. I give a lot of credit to the PGA of America and the KPMG for thinking better than I ever was in that initial phone call.

KRAIG KANN: Maybe the bigger story is you can't see without getting a lift on top of somebody's shoulder. The galleries are great, and it's only early in the week. I think that's a story in and of itself.

Mike, one more thing for you before we move on. This is year two. In a short period of time, what's the biggest thing that you've noticed from this tournament? The biggest accomplishment that you would say has happened in such a short period of time that stands out?

MIKE WHAN: Respect. If I had to capture in one word what players feel, when they got out of their car on Monday, is they feel respected. They respect this tournament. They respect what's going on outside the ropes and what KPMG is doing for women that aren't just athletes, but are moving up the corporate ladder, as well. We have a lot of tournaments on Tour and a lot of those tournaments strive to be among the best. But to think something in its second year is already put among the best. There's a sense of history here obviously when we combine with the LPGA Championship, there was some built-in history. Instantly this has the respect and has the attention. I said last night at the Pro Am party, every Tuesday the week before an event I get a piece of paper that talks about the strength of field for the next week. It talks about who of the top-10 in the LPGA are in, who in the top-20, who in the top-30, and it goes all the way up to 100. In my seven years this is the first time that that sheet of paper said 10 for 10, 20 for 20, 30 for 30, all the way out to hundred for a hundred. There are always five or six players that are injured. And I promise you there are five or six players that are injured right now, but they're here, they're playing, because of the respect they've had for this event. I've never seen a hundred for a hundred and in year two that's pretty amazing.

KRAIG KANN: Pete, one more for you. Kerry Hague sets up the golf course, I know you don't do that, but you've gotten a good look at it. I'm going to give you a chance to story tell a little bit about Sahalee, itself, and why it was so important to come here on this golf course and show it off like this?

PETE BEVACQUA: You mentioned Kerry Hague, and he is just an absolute genius at setting up golf courses. When you think about what he's done for our PGA Championship and the Ryder course, for well over two decades, he's not afraid to invite drama. And I think we'll see that this week.

There are a lot of good and great golf courses in this country, I'm not sure there's one that's more beautiful than Sahalee. It is just absolutely spectacular. And the condition of the golf course and it is as pristine and Major Championship-ready as any golf course I've ever seen in any event. To be here in the Pacific Northwest, such a great part of the country, with the LPGA, with KPMG, on this golf course. I know I think back to those conversations I had with John and I had with Mike and we had with our board of directors, we wanted to make sure that this championship went to the type of golf courses and venues that men have historically played, not only tournaments but major championships. And that's what you get here. You think back to our very own PGA Championship where Vijay Singh was our is champion, when you think about the U.S. Senior Open and Bernhard Langer, this has a wonderful Major Championship pedigree, and this will be the next chapter in that history.

I think for year two we couldn't be anymore pleased with the location, with the golf course, and I think you're going to see a lot of drama out there, as Mike said, from a hundred of the hundred best players in the world and the rest of the field, as well.

KRAIG KANN: Had a very well-known LPGA player stop me today on the range, and said Kraig, best course we've ever played on on the LPGA. Pretty big stuff.

Lynne, I want to get to you. You got a nice little walk yesterday and got to see this place up close. This brings together the best of women's golf and puts them on a huge stage with a great opportunity.

But there's another stage this week, not the one you're sitting on, but one that puts female leadership front and center. Tomorrow is the KPMG

Women's Leadership Summit. This is year two of that. Can you talk about the goal of the summit from year one and where you see it right now?

LYNNE DOUGHTIE: I think that's one of the things that makes this championship so special is that we combine it with this Leadership Summit tomorrow on the 18th green. It's a fantastic opportunity for us really the sole purpose is to get more women into C-Suite. And that's what it's all about.

So we have about 100 mile accomplished leaders in business and sport, media, politics, with 200 of the next generation of business leaders, who have been hand picked by their executive teams of their companies to attend this Leadership Summit, as well as a year long program of leadership development in helping them get to the next stage.

So it really fits that theme of we want to lift them up. And this summit is a great opportunity to do it. And we have an amazing program tomorrow. Our keynote speakers, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, Annika Sorenstam, and a host of other amazing leaders, Amy Hood from Microsoft, Diane Bryant from Intel, Regina Dugan from Facebook. It's great being on the West Coast this year, because we can tap into the technology companies.

So it's going to be an amazing opportunity. Last year we thought it couldn't get any better. I think this year we have such an amazing lineup. And I think when some of these leaders look back we believe that they will point to this summit as really a catalyst for lifting them up within their organizations.

KRAIG KANN: To go back to Mike's point, I think when it comes to the speaker lineup, you've got five of the top five, ten of the top-10, 15 of the top-15, 20 of the top-20. Well done on that. Consistent message that you hope comes from the summit is what? What's the one thing everybody should walk out the door telling somebody else that wasn't there?

LYNNE DOUGHTIE: I think the point of the summit is we want to develop, we want to advance and we want to empower women. And we think that we can do that by making connections and relationships.

So I think the important thing -- this isn't about just a one-day conversation with amazing speakers. It's about relationships that will be developed and carried on throughout a year long program, where you've got mentors and peers helping you as you progress within your career.

KRAIG KANN: Stacy Lewis is obviously a KPMG ambassador. She's going to take part with a collection of U.S. Olympics athletes, for those who don't know tomorrow, a really special day. And we're going to bring them in for a follow-up press conference here in this room on this stage.

Question about the players for you, Lynne, what's the feedback that they've given you? I know we're involving more of them to take part and listen in and I think that's a really neat thing, as well.

LYNNE DOUGHTIE: I think this is so special for the players. The players can be around these highly accomplished women in their own right, in business and in other industries. And it gives them a chance to hear from them. On the flip side it also gives the women in business the opportunity to get up close and personal with golf. And I think that's an amazing opportunity for so many of the participants in this summit, as well.

So this year we do have more of the players that are going to be in the room tomorrow, as much as they can. And I think that will be a huge benefit for them.

KRAIG KANN: Dr. Rice is the keynote. We're going to make you hold off for just a minute and deliver a big message.

John, I want to bring you in for some major news in just a second. First a little bit of an appetizer. Clearly you were in the room with Mike and with Pete in talking about this event. So it's only fitting that you share some thoughts. This is just as much your baby than anybody else's. Now we're here year No. 2. What are your thoughts? You walked around yesterday and you had a permanent smile on your face.

JOHN VEIHMEYER: I feel a little bit like the proud father. It's just a weird parenting group, it's Mike, Pete and me who feel like the parents, here. But it is amazing, I think.

We talked about creating something unique when we first started talking, and I think Pete used the word about, for the PGA of America, this is a natural extension of a lot of what they do. And I think for KPMG this was a great extension of a long commitment to advancing, developing and empowering women. But to do it in a way that combines the great game of golf, elevating that on the course the way we've already heard Mike and Pete talk about, but combining it with an opportunity to really do something tangible and meaningful that Lynne talked about in terms of advancing women in the C-Suite, in business.

And the third leg of the stool, which we envisioned from the very beginning, if you ask me what makes me feel really proud this week is that in the first two years we've done an amazing job of the championship on the course, the Leadership Summit, connected with the championship right off the course on the 18th green. And this year we're able to talk about that third leg of the stool, which is what we're going to do year-round with the proceeds that come out of the championship and our Leadership Summit each year. It's tremendously exciting, frankly. This is going to be a great week at Sahalee.

KRAIG KANN: Let's break some news, shall we? And I'm going to let you do that. From here toward the KPMG Women's PGA Championship will officially have a new charitable component. What can you tell us?

JOHN VEIHMEYER: Well, for actually Mike, Pete and I, from the beginning, this is what, I think, we were all waiting for. And we've worked hard on it to make sure we came up with something that we thought would not just be impactful today, but 20 years from now, would have a legacy that we could all look back on and feel incredibly proud.

So today we're announcing the KPMG Future Leaders Program, which will take all of the proceeds, as I said before, from the championship and the Leadership Summit and put them into a year-round charitable program aimed at developing and creating great opportunities for that even younger generation of women.

And the most exciting part of this is that Dr. Condoleezza Rice who is joining us here today, has agreed to be the ambassador, really facilitating this program for KPMG on an ongoing basis, which I think is not only fantastic for all of us, but frankly sends a really powerful message about what we intend this to be going forward when we have one of the most, if not the most, respected women in the world today who has decided to dedicate her time to making sure that the KPMG Future Leaders Program is all that we want it to be going forward. So this is huge news from our standpoint.

KRAIG KANN: Absolutely huge news. Dr. Rice, I'm going to turn it over for you. And the simple question is why take part and why the need? Is it an issue that there was this need?

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: First of all, I'd like to say it was great being out on this wonderful golf course today. A lot of fun. And, yes, it is narrow. But it is fantastic. And we all had a wonderful, wonderful time.

I wanted to do this because I'm often asked, how are we going to make certain that we have women leaders in government, in politics, in business, in academia, and I always say you have to start early, because the habits of leadership, the inspiration to see yourself as a leader starts really quite early.

And so I'm very excited about the Future Leaders Program that we are launching today. I'm particularly excited because the young women, there are going to be 16 of them in this inaugural class, and they were chosen because they've already demonstrated perseverance and dedication. They were chosen because they are college bound. They were chosen because they had a minimum of a 3.5 grade point average, and they've already shown leadership qualities. We have three of them with us today. I'm going to ask then to stand up. Evelyn Valencia. Evelyn is from California. Destiny Bronson, Chicago. And Kayla Combs, from Kentucky (applause.)

They are three of the 16 young women who will join me this summer at Stanford University for an opportunity to learn a little bit more about what it's going to be like to be in college, how to navigate that, how to make it a really terrific experience. We're going to have a chance to see mentors, particularly women, who have succeeded, because the truth of the matter is that nobody gets there alone. When you say I got there on my own. Well, none of us did. We all got there because there was someone who took an interest in us, someone who advocated for us, someone who saw leadership qualities in us. So we hope that the young women will see that.

We're also going to have a chance to take advantage of some of Stanford's great golf experiences, and great golf opportunities because the chance to play golf at an early age, I wish someone had put a golf club in my hands, not skates on my feet. But it is a really great game for business. It's a great game for making connections. I can't tell you how many times I've heard women say, oh, we have a corporate outing and they have golf and I'm not able to play. Well, if more women can play, they can participate of those corporate outings, as well.

I'm really excited about the future leaders component of this, and I just want to thank John and Lynne and KPMG for taking this on. It's going to be a terrific opportunity for these young women. (Applause.)

KRAIG KANN: We're going to take some questions here in just a second. If you would like to raise your hand and get a microphone we'll get that to you.

John, back to you, and the retreat part of this whole component. Can you share a little bit about the future leaders -- the program retreat?

JOHN VEIHMEYER: The Future Leaders Program has several really important components. And first is a scholarship component. High school girls across the country are eligible. We had hundreds of applications this year in our first year, so you can imagine how competitive it is. And I told our three young ladies with us today, that they ought to feel incredibly proud of the competition that they were deemed to be more worthy of being in this program, because it was an amazing group.

So it's an annual, for all four years of college, scholarship to the university of their choice. They all don't have to go to Stanford. We're trying to get most of them to Notre Dame, if we can (laughter).

So there's the financial element to try and make sure that these young tremendously talented and accomplished women can get to the college that they really want to get to.

But we didn't want to stop there with just a financial scholarship. And that's where the program that Dr. Rice began to talk about came into it. We want to create a cohort feeling among these 16 young girls; bring them together for a three day retreat at Stanford; talk about leadership skills, begin developing some of that confidence on the one hand and also skill building on the other, that will help them, we hope, be successful not just in their college career, but really launch them into a successful career, no matter what they choose to do after college.

And we're combining that with an opportunity to be mentored. We've got very experienced, successful women who are asking to be linked up and connected with each of these 16 young girls and serve as a mentor and coach for them going forward. Because as Dr. Rice said, none of us got to where we are today without help and a whole lot of guidance and support. And we wanted to build that in as a critical element of that, as well.

The fourth piece is golf. I think golf has an underlying theme in everything we're doing around the KPMG Women's PGA Championship for the reasons that Dr. Rice just talked about. No matter what you choose to do, you don't all have to become professional golfers, it would be great if you did, but even if you don't, getting introduced to golf, realizing what a fantastic game it is, and it's a game for life that will serve you well in business, politics, no matter what field you chose to go into. And we wanted that to be a critical element, as well, and the PGA of America and the LPGA will team up to provide some instruction and introduce these 16 young women to the game of golf in a way that they have not had the opportunity to before.

So it's not just a scholarship program. It's much, much more. We hope coming out of this that she's 16 young women build relationships for life, not just with each other, but with their mentors that they get hooked up with as part of this program, as well.

KRAIG KANN: In this political year we picked a golf course where left doesn't work and right doesn't work, you play it right down the middle, choose your own path, very politically correct. I hope everybody is aware of that.

Q. Dr. Rice, this has been a wonderful event to talk about the inclusion and the inspiration that a civil game like golf brings. And I wonder if you see in the future golf elevating our civil discourse or if you think the increase in coarsening that we're seeing in our culture may have the opposite effect and bring golf down?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: I think golf can be one of those places where we act and we hope that people act as we would like them to act all the time.

When you're on a golf course a couple of things are very interesting. No matter who you're with and who you're playing with, people want each other to do well. You can see it in a group like today. People try to be honorable. They tell the truth about their scores. They work hard at the game and it can be frustrating. But the people who are really most successful at it are the people who can sort of put that aside and move on to the next shot.

And I also think that the United States of America has come a long way to make we, the people, a more inconclusive concept. And all of our great institutions, and golf has been one of those institutions has had to come along to help make it a more inconclusive place, so golf is becoming more inconclusive for minorities, for women.

I hope by elevating the women's game and the way that we are we can attract more young women into the game. I would like to attract more minorities into the game. But it's extremely important that this golf look like -- that golf look like America. And this is a part of an effort of golf to look like America. If America could look a little bit more like golf, we would all be better off.

KRAIG KANN: Mike, Pete, I want to give you a chance to follow that up. Over the last let's just call it five years, the narrative on the game has obviously gone through some discord, people challenging the validity of the game, where it's going. And leadership, things like this. This stage, itself, the platform, really sends a completely different message. Each of you leads an organization that's very key to the game. And over the last couple of years things like this are big to try to take the game to the next level?

MIKE WHAN: Well, I think inclusion and cohesiveness has to start at the top. I've said this in many a press conference, so I apologize to people, but I left the golf business for ten years. And when I came back in 2010 the most noticeable difference to me in the golf business was the connection the different golf entities had with each other. The fact that I'm on the phone with the PGA TOUR once a week, that Pete and I are talking once a week, that this kind of thing happens. Our coalition with the LPGA and the USGA to have a 900 percent increase in girls' golf and almost 80 percent increase in the amount of girls under the age of 18 playing this game over the last five years.

It's not that these organizations didn't like each other or didn't know each other ten or 15 years ago. But the level of involvement, the level of back and forth that goes on today, I mean just in my personal experience in seven years on the Tour we've got a partnership with the USGA that's turned into a Founders Cup and a mega growth in girls' golf. We have a partnership with PGA of America that's turned into the KPMG Women's PGA Championship. We just announce a partnership with the PGA Tour with a lot to follow, and more recently than that, something now with an alliance with Top Golf. Those are things that have happened in the last couple of years. I'm not saying those didn't happen 20 years ago but they certainly didn't happen at the frequency and the interaction that's happening today.

I think if we wanted to talk about being more inclusionary, I think we want to talk about opening the boundaries, it had to start with leadership at the top. One of the things we've started doing at the top of the organization, is realizing that if we don't want the same golf 50 years ago, then we better stop leading, and stop accepting how we led yesterday as the way we're going to lead tomorrow.

I'm excited about the future of the game because I see people that have a stake in the future of the game, really changing the way we're thinking about it.

PETE BEVACQUA: I would echo what Mike said. I think golf in the past has tended to be fragmented. And maybe from the entity perspective a bit territorial. I think what is refreshing, whether you were to ask the PGA of America, the LPGA, the TOUR, the USGA, is that we realize that we all need each others help to truly figure this out, to truly grow the game.

Our mission at the PGA of America is to serve our 28,000 members and grow the game. We know if we want to truly be successful at growing the game we can do more with the cooperation of the other major entities in the game than we can do alone.

And to echo also what Dr. Rice said, golf has to look more like the fabric of American society. When we talk about this internally at the PGA of America we want golf to be more inclusive. We want golf to have more minority participation. We want more boys and girls playing the game. Not just because it's the morally correct thing to do, and you can feel good about the organization when you put your head on the pillow at night, but it's also good for the business of the game. We shouldn't hide or run for that. We should be very vocal about that. Bringing more diversity into the game is not only the right thing to do for the game, but it's the right thing to do for the business of the game. We've embraced that. Our membership embraces that. And I think golf right now, we certainly have our share of challenges, but I think everybody is pretty motivated and energized by the direction of the game.

Q. Dr. Rice, you spent some quality time with the World No. 1 today. Can you give us your impressions of Lydia, the person?
CONDOLEEZZA RICE: First of all, she's just a terrific person. She's funny and marvelously intelligent and curious. And just really nice to be around. And oh, my goodness, if I could have that kind of tempo in my swing, I would give anything. She just has a beautiful game. But, you know, in a scramble you're playing the best ball. And Lydia was just very encouraging to everybody. And all of us felt included and all of us felt a part of it. She's just a great team captain, too.

I've met a lot of the golfers, the women golfers here, and to a person, they are people that you would like to be around. And they are -- it's going to be a great championship. I'm going to be following a lot of them very, very closely, because I've had a chance to meet them. But what you really realize is these are quality people first, and they're quality golfers, and that's an awfully nice combination.

KRAIG KANN: Dr. Rice, you can keep that microphone handy. A final thought from you. You are the keynote for the summit tomorrow. I want to give you the final word and perhaps a message for everybody that walks out the door here, not related specifically to Lydia, the stage, the platform, and the opportunity to grow the game and leaders.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE: The opportunity to grow this game is an opportunity to put women on point in in a chance to play a great game that's a lifetime game. I know I started it very late, so it had better be a lifetime game.

It gives us an opportunity to showcase at the summit, women leaders. The truth of the matter is there are a lot of great women leaders, and you often don't hear their stories. Those stories when they're not told and not heard can't inspire other women to see themselves and say that could be me.

So when we have the chance at the summit tomorrow I'll talk to these women who have every capability to end up in the C-Suite about making certain that they are passionate about what they're doing. Making certain that they work hard at what they're doing. And to work hard at things that you're not just good at doing, but things that are hard for you.

One of the wonderful things about golf is that you're always trying to improve not just on your strengths but on your weaknesses. And a part of getting ahead is actually working hard to overcome those things that are hard for you. And I've often said it's sometimes more fulfilling to overcome something that's hard than to just keep working at something that's easy. And golf teaches you that.

And finally I'll have a chance to say to these women that this is a great time to be a woman on the rise. Don't let anyone talk to you about limitations. Don't let anyone talk to you about glass ceilings, just go for it. If you're prepared and you're confident and you've worked hard the sky's the limit. And that's the message that I'll want to leave these young women with tomorrow.

KRAIG KANN: Dr. Rice, thank you very much. To each and every one on the panel, thank you so much for your thoughts and insights. Thanks to all of you for coming. Enjoy one of the biggest stages not just in women's golf, but in all of golf this week. Thank you for coming to Sahalee. Enjoy the week in Seattle.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

ASAP sports

tech 129
About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297