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March 16, 2017

Kevin Bingham

John Fields

David Inglis

Orlando, Florida

(Curtis Strange video played.)

STEVE BURKOWSKI: Good morning. And with that we welcome you into the press conference for the Arnold Palmer Cup. I'm Steve Burkowski from the Golf Channel and on behalf of Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation we welcome you to the team announcement for the 2017 Arnold Palmer Cup, which takes place June 9th through the 11th at the Atlanta Athletic Club in Atlanta, Georgia. And joining me for today's announcement the CEO of Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation, Kevin Bingham. The coach of Team USA and the head coach of the Texas Longhorns, John Fields. And the coach of Team Europe and the head coach of Northwestern University, David Inglis. Also in the audience today from the Atlanta Athletic Club is Arnold Palmer Cup General Chairman Tom Adderhold who previously served as host chairman for the 2011 PGA Championship at the Atlanta Athletic Club. Tom, if you would take a moment to stand up and everyone recognize Mr. Adderhold.


STEVE BURKOWSKI: Amazing to think that Arnold Palmer Cup is 20 years old. The first one hosted right here, 1997, at the Bay Hill Club and Lodge and since that time each year an accomplished list of top male collegiate golfers matching the U.S. against Europe are selected to compete in this exciting Ryder Cup style tournament. And since the inception of this event it has been such a significant impact on both the collegiate level and the professional game as well. In fact, a total of 48 Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have won 178 victories on the PGA and European tours combined. Equally exciting, 22 Arnold Palmer Cup alumni have competed in the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, while posting an impressive 16-9 record at Hazeltine last fall. So, this really is just scratching the surface of these men that you're going to hear from an watch for decades to come, it all starts right with the Arnold Palmer Cup and now joining us again the head coaches for the United States and Europe, John Fields, David Inglis. I mentioned John Fields the head coach at the University of Texas, a two-time recipient of the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year Award presented by Golf Pride Grips. A national championship coach five years ago at Riviera. And a member of the GCAA Hall of Fame. David, the current head coach at Northwestern will become the first Arnold Palmer Cup player to become the head coach in these matches. I think that means you're getting old, David.

DAVID INGLIS: That's true.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: You represented Great Britain and Ireland in 2001 and was a member of the winners of those matches back in 2003. So as you can see, this upcoming Arnold Palmer Cup, two very accomplished coaches, leading their team to Atlanta, just under three months from now. And before we hear from John and David, to announce the teams, we have a very special trophy unveiling, so you can see what these two coaches are trying to win. And I want to ask Kevin Bingham to please unveil the new Arnold Palmer Cup trophy, if you would.

KEVIN BINGHAM: Well, on behalf of Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation, thanks everyone for being here today and just real quickly want to tell you the importance of the Arnold Palmer Cup to us at Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation. As you know, in 1997 Mr. Palmer decided to partner with the Golf Coaches Association of America and name this the Palmer Cup, which we now call the Arnold Palmer Cup, and here we stand 20 years later about to embark on some very special, special things. Trying to make the Arnold Palmer Cup even more special, because it involves collegiate golfers from European from the United States, but also because it's what Mr. Palmer exuded, that's what he was about. He was about young men growing up and becoming responsible, thriving citizens in this society and using golf as an avenue to do that. And the fact that they move on and they become successful in the pro golf industry is also a double win for us. And Steve said earlier, you saw the numbers that have been able to participate in Ryder Cups and win Majors. We have 30 Ryder Cup alumni playing this week in our field. Rickie Fowler, Brandt Snedeker, and our own Graeme McDowell, who is the host of our event are all ex-Arnold Palmer Cup players. So we're very proud of the heritage that this cup has become and what it has done for golf over the last 20 years. And we're extremely excited about what's going to happen moving forward June 9, 10 and 11 in Atlanta. This will be an interesting year, of course it's our 20th year that again that we will celebrate, but it's also the last year that we'll have young men only participating in the Arnold Palmer Cup and it's also the last year that we will have people from only young players from only the United States and Europe participating. In 2018 we move to Evian in France and we're going to have a worldwide field. It will be the United States versus the world. And we're going to have young ladies participating in the field for the first time in the history of the Arnold Palmer Cup. So we'll have 24 players on each team, 12 young men, 12 young women, all college golfers, as we have in a tradition that tells us that we will have and they will be competing with one another and against one another at Evian. And when we mean competing with one another, the alternate shot would be a young man and a young woman from the United States playing together from the same tees, playing against a young man and a young woman from the universities from across the world. So it's going to be a great event. It's going to give us a platform in golf that we feel like we have never had before. Where we have young men and young women playing together from the same tees, competing at the same level, and it's going to bring golf to a different place where we can have discussions that we need to have that are going to forward the game and make us all proud. So, with that being said, I want to unveil as you see the beautiful statute here before you. It has the obviously the Arnold Palmer Cup, but it is being held by a set of hands. Those hands are the hands of Arnold Palmer. These hands were cast here at Bay Hill, alongside the 18th fairway at the home of Roy and Amy Saunders, Arnold's daughter. They actually took his hands and they put them in a cast and those are actually his hands to the tee. And they have been a few upgrades to make them look a little more Palmeresque, but it is symbolic of the Arnold Palmer Cup and how we move forward and how Mr. Palmer is holding the cup in his hands and letting us know that we're always going to be in good hands as it applies to the Arnold Palmer Cup. So, we are extremely excited that Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation to be getting behind this 100 percent, it's one of the major initiatives that we're pushing forward as we move out and we get become stronger and stronger. Helping young people thrive, pushing college golf, pushing the game of golf, teaching young people to be better citizens and to be part of something bigger than themselves and to be part of a community is very, very important to us. And we're just excited about the opportunity and excited to be part of this. And we want you to join us in June when we go to Atlanta Athletic Club, Tom, thank you for everything you and your group are doing. And Coach Inglis, Coach Fields, best of luck to you, we're excited about the opportunity to move forward and we're excited about the future of the Arnold Palmer Cup.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: And a great future for sure. Two decades continues to grow in stature and success. Kevin mentioning the new format, very exciting moving ahead in 2018 and when you take a look at that trophy, John and David, I can see you just sort of in awe to realize that Mr. Palmer took the time and how special and meaningful this event was for him. I think that whichever one of your teams wins in June, to know that he'll be handing that off, not only this year, but in years down the road, sitting here in awe a little bit to relays that it is more than just atrophy, that is Mr. Palmer here in spirit and continuing to grow this game that he so dearly loved.

Now let's reveal the teams. Let's get down to it. John, the stage is yours, please share with us your 10-player team with some comments about the players you'll have representing your squad in a couple months time.

JOHN FIELDS: Okay. It's exciting. Sam Burns, he's our first player from LSU. Been a great junior golfer for a lot of years and has been at LSU for a couple now and has busted out with three wins this year. He's done an exceptional job. Chandler Phillips a Texas product that went to Texas A & M. Under JT Higgins leadership, Chandler's had a great year and we're excited to have him.

Collin Morikawa, a West Coast product, that chose to go to California. I've seen Collin play a lot of golf. And this year has been very special for him. He's had a lot of success.

Jimmy Stanger. The leadership that he provides at Virginia, Virginia is a one of the outstanding programs in America right now and Jimmy, as their 1 player, has set himself up to be their leader, but last year was really the guy that got them to the national championship on the last hole and at Vanderbilt's golf course and made an outstanding bunker shot and then got it up-and-down and got them to the NCAA. It was quite a moment.

Maverick McNealy, incredible guy from Stanford. Committed to amateur golf, collegiate golf, committed to academic, all the things that you like. But he's also a great guy and a great player and will be an incredible influence on our team.

Norman Xiong was in high school through December, Casey Martin got him to come in early at Oregon. Kind of like the calvary coming to Oregon and putting them right back in the picture to win a national championship. He's a great young player, has had incredible success right out, right off the bat in collegiate golf. I know Casey's happy to have him, we are too.

John Coultas, from Florida Southern, we don't see a lot of Division II, Division III, or NAIA schools in our competitions, D-I but John has played extremely well in the amateur circuit during the summertime, he is well known to all the players, he's a very fine player.

Sean Crocker, incredible guy out of southern California. He's a guy that I think originally when -- nobody really knew how to take him. He was maybe tied up in knots a little bit when he first came to Southern Cal, but he has become an incredible guy as well. I've watched him grow, Chris has done a fantastic job with him and now he's more of a fun loving, really great player. Very aggressive, following along the lines of some of the players that I've seen in college golf, he kind of reminds me a little bit of Robert Gamez who won this tournament at Bay Hill, because he just goes at everything and seems to pull it off all the time.

Nick Hardy. Couple times playing in the U.S. Open, played for Mike Small at Illinois. Outstanding player. Very, very competitive. Very professional with the way he goes about his business. And I think that obviously comes from Mike Small as well.

Doug Ghinn. He's my pick. Plays for me at Texas. Doug has had a great career as an amateur golfer, making it to the semi or to the finals of the U.S. Public Links, making it to the semi-finals of the Western Amateur, playing extremely well in several U.S. Amateurs and then helping us and leading us to the national championship last year to the finals. Doug's played in six matches for us, four at the national championship where he's 3-1 and then won both of his matches at East Lake this year, so he's basically he 6-1 in match play in college golf. So weather happy to have him as well.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: So those are the 10 players representing the United States. And head coach John Fields team. Now David, your opportunity to introduce everyone to Team Europe.

DAVID INGLIS: All right. Great. Thank you, Steve. We'll start with the players that came off the ranking. Our No. 1 player on the ranking was Hannes Ronneblad from Texas Tech in Sweden. He's had a great here year, obviously led our ranking and coming off win this week at Bandon Dunes, so he's rounding into good form.

No. 2 on that list, Fredrik Nilehn, also from Texas Tech and Sweden. So teammate of Hannes there. He's had two wins this season at Pebble Beach and in Hawaii in February.

Third off that list, Kristoffer Ventura from Oklahoma State and Norway. He's a returning All-American from the previous season, two seconds, third place at the All America Classic, and over half his rounds have been in the 60s this year. So playing really well.

No. 4, automatic selection was David wicks from Jacksonville and England. He started the season with a win at the Golf Week Program Challenge. And really strong spring so far. He finished 8th at the Gator, second at the Hait and fifth at Florida State last week.

Fifth on that list is Harry Ellis from Florida State and England. He's a former English amateur champion and coming off a second place finish at FSU last week. Again, in good form.

And the final automatic selection from our ranking was Rory Fransson from Missouri and Scotland. He's a freshman, has had a strong season so far, finished runner-up at the Gator, was unlucky to lose there to a birdie on the final hole, and was the stroke play medalist in the South African Amateur last year. So those are the six that were the automatic selections.

The two Committee picks, first Committee pick was Viktor Hovland from Oklahoma State and Norway. So again, matching up with Kristoffer Ventura Oklahoma State earlier. He's had a good solid start to his freshman season and lost in a playoff at the European Amateur last summer and finished 7th at the World Amateur the Eisenhower Trophy. Ranked 20th, he's actually the highest ranked European player that we had available, so it was a pretty easy pick.

And then the second Committee pick is going to be Stuart Grehan from Maynooth and Ireland. Stuart is a former Palmer Cup player, so he had some experience for us, he would be the only returning player right now. And winning record last year at Formby. And he had a terrific match play season last year going undefeated at the European championships, the Home Internationals and the St. Andrews Trophy.

And then the final player we'll unveil today, my coach's selection was Richard Mansell from Nova Southeastern and England. So Division II player, had a great season, has a first place, two seconds, two thirds, played well at the South Beach Amateur over the Christmas break and was is a returning first and second team All-American in Division II. So those are the nine players that the European team has right now, we have one spot available, we're not going to play a man down, we have one spot available and that will go to the winner of the R & A Scholars Championship in two weeks at St. Andrews. So they will, they will receive that last spot on the team. And then the other person I should introduce is Alan Murray, who is going to be the assistant coach, I don't look at him as an assistant coach, since he's been a head coach longer than I have, but he's formerly of UAB and now at University of Washington. So excited to coach with him.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: So the teams are set now for the United States and European. Maybe a quick comment now, seeing how dialed in these coaches are, Kevin, and we're still two and a half months away.

KEVIN BINGHAM: Excitement is going to begin to build. I can see the intensity on their faces and we're looking forward to obviously because it's the true spirit of golf a friendly spirited competition and look forward to it moving forward and just again honored to have these coaches and these young men that are going to be participating and look forward to great event.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: It's going to be a sensational event June 9 through 11 and we're going to open it up in just a moment for questions. But before that we would like to take a moment in remembrance of Mark Laesch, who passed away on March 4 after a long battle with ALS. Mark was the founder of Golfstat and his contributions really revolutionized college golf. He was an ardent supporter of the Arnold Palmer Cup, providing stats to both selection committees and providing his expertise to the development of the Arnold Palmer Cup Player Ranking. We thank Mark for his dedication and I speak for all of us up here, he will be greatly missed in the world of college golf. Our thoughts with Mark's family during this very difficult time. Again, an opportunity for anyone out here that might have questions for the coaches, to fire away. And while we do that, we're at Bay Hill, we're at Arnold Palmer's home, what's your fondest memory of or story regarding Arnold Palmer, John?

JOHN FIELDS: Well, for me, I graduated from college in 1981, I played professional golf in Europe in 1983. And a couple years later I found myself, like a lot of guys do, as an assistant golf professional at a small golf course or in Yuma, Arizona, oddly enough. Mesa Del Sol. And my boss, the head professional one day said, hey, if you would like, you can come down to the airport, we're going to pick up Arnold Palmer and he's going to come out and look at the golf course, because he had designed our golf course. And he had just flown in, I think from Hawaii, and was flying from Los Angeles to Yuma that morning. And I said, I'm in. I want to do that. And so he flew in and it was an older airport so you got to be really close to the planes. And I could see him in the left seat. That was cool. And nice Lear jet, I think, at the time I don't know what the number was, but it did say AP on the back. Everything about it was cool. And we got in the car and he treated me like I was something special as opposed to just an assistant golf professional at Mesa Del Sol and I'll never forget that.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: David? An Arnold Palmer memory?

DAVID INGLIS: Yeah, for sure. I've been lucky enough now, this is my fifth Arnold Palmer Cup to be a part of as either a player, assistant coach twice, and now the head coach. So, I've been lucky enough to meet him a few times and spend some quality time with him. The thing that the instance that comes to mind is in 2011 at Stanwich he had invited the two European coaches and the two U.S. coaches to come have lunch with him. So of course we said absolutely, yes, please. And we ended up sitting in the clubhouse there and obviously ordered an Arnold Palmer to drink, but he asked me where I was from, and I said, well I'm from Edinburgh in Scotland. And he said, I know where Edinburgh is, I probably know more people there than you do. So it was kind of a nice introduction to him and obviously his sense of humor, but just, so, it's been amazing for me in my young career just to be involved in such a fantastic event and to be able to spend that time with him meant a lot to me and the impact that he's had on the game of golf, it's just something to behold. So feel very fortunate to be part of it.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: Everyone certainly has a story or a memory regarding Arnold Palmer and again we have microphones here. If you have a question for the coaches up here and John, you've been at this a long time, what is this honor mean to you to represent the U.S. and lead them in the Arnold Palmer Cup?

JOHN FIELDS: Well, the Arnold Palmer Cup along with the Golf Coaches Association of America really exemplifies everything that is good about college golf. And to build something that has a match play format and to have that kind of generate into our national championship now, to me it has a lot to do with the Ryder Cup and trying to have success where we had kind of gone backwards. And to build passion. And if there's anything that I can think about that exemplifies Arnold Palmer it's the passion that he had for golf, the passion that he had for people and the passion that he had for this game. And he always left every dinner that I ever saw him speak, he always said protect the game and I take that to heart. I'm appreciative of this honor.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: David, twice played in this in 2001 and 2003. How in the world, 14 years later, are you now going to be the captain of this? How has this come full circle in less than two decades for you?

DAVID INGLIS: I'm not sure. There must have been slim pickings on the European side to pick me but, yeah, it's incredible. Playing in it twice, got to play as a representative of Great Britain and Ireland the first time and then we came to our senses and invited the rest of Europe to join and we won that first year. So that was a good move. Much like the Ryder Cup back in the '80s when they moved to the European team. But, yeah, I've only been coaching, this is my seventh season in coaching and only third as a head coach, so, yeah, it is shocking to be in this position, but I love the event and match play golf, it's in my blood growing up in Scotland, that's kind of the format that we play all our Major competitions over there. So, yeah, it's a fantastic event, really looking forward to it.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: John was the head coach of Jordan Spieth for a year and a half at Texas and we see what he's done on the PGA TOUR and you look at John Rahm, Justin Thomas, former Arnold Palmer Cup team members, how has this game changed the amateur collegiate level as they have made the transition? Because they're 20 something, barely old enough to have a beverage of an adult nature, yet they're out there winning on the PGA TOUR. What's changed from your perspective, John?

JOHN FIELDS: Oh, just the exposure I think that they're getting as junior golfers and then amateur golfers and everything just seems to be at a higher level, whether it's the United States Amateur or the Western Am, the Porter Cup, the Northeast and then along with college golf. And then having the Golf Channel be involved and come to events that are like an Isleworth or the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters and having you all out there, that gives these kids exposure, but it also gives them a belief that they're good and they're special and they can be out here and compete with the best players in the world right away. And they have proven that.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: David, when you prepare for the event in June, you've got a half dozen different schools now part of your team, how do you get a group like this ready for what they're going to experience when you don't really get to see them until maybe just a few days or a week leading up to the event?

DAVID INGLIS: Yeah, I think we'll get a couple of practice rounds together and we'll be there for maybe three nights before we start, so it is, it's a short amount of time to get ready. I think that from a European perspective we're kind of used to this. We're used to coming together as a lot of different countries and nations and joining forces. So and look at our list of players, we got two Swedes from Texas Tech, two Norwegians from Oklahoma State, we got three English players who all play in Florida. So, we have already got some common bonds. So I think that that will bring us together, but, yeah, that will be the challenge for the week trying to -- obviously don't need to motivate them too much, they will be pretty excited about playing, so but that will be the challenge for just a short amount of time bringing them together.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: Maybe the possibility of some built-in parings as we look a little on the surface of two kids from one school, two from another.

DAVID INGLIS: You would think, yeah, that's probably a good option. Obviously, in this format everybody plays, so you don't sit anybody. But those parings will certainly be explored.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: Question out here?

Q. For John. It's very rare now that you see a player play in three, four Arnold Palmer Cups can you talk about Maverick and how cool it is to see someone look that even as a senior will already have been graduated to still hold that commitment and play in something like the Arnold Palmer Cup?
JOHN FIELDS: Well, we have been fortunate, our team's been paired with Stanford on a kind of a continual basis, so I've seen Maverick play a lot of golf. But he really exemplifies the Amateur golfer right now. He may have a career as a professional golfer, that's up to him, but everything that he does, whether it's college golf or Amateur golf, I think he takes it so serious, so wants to be at his best and he's been an incredible influence for all the players at Stanford. I think he'll do the same thing for us and he brings a wealth of experience, so you can lean on a guy like that to help you kind of get things right. Last year didn't go our way, so we are here to compete, we want to win, and I think Maverick is going to help us do that.

Q. David, you're a player on first team leading the last European squad, what does that mean and how much has the Arnold Palmer Cup changed in those 14 years?
DAVID INGLIS: Yeah, that's a good point. It is pretty special to be coaching that final European team, obviously Kevin mentioned the format change going forward, which I think is tremendous for collegiate golf, the fact that anybody male or female all around the world can grow up with the goal of playing in the Arnold Palmer Cup, I think that's a special incentive and the event's gone from strength to strength. You look at the venues we got to play over the last 20 years, obviously started here at Bay Hill back in '97, I've been fortunate enough to go to Baltusrol, Kiawah, Stanwich Club, Royal County Down and now Atlanta Athletic Club. So, it's just a fantastic event and to echo John's words about the GCAA and the organization behind the event, Arnie's Army Charitable Foundation, just so many people put a lot of work in and make it such a special event for these players and it's something they're going to remember for the rest of their life. I look back and the fond memories -- I got to play Bryce Molder three out of four matches my first Arnold Palmer Cup. He was coming off four years All-American Player of the Year and the experiences of that. Played Brandt Snedeker, Ryan Moore, Bill Haas, so got to play with some phenomenal players over the years.

Q. I would like to know the program you use to educate the golfers, do you use technology and the new method to educate them or you still using the old fundamental kind of new innovation.
STEVE BURKOWSKI: Repeat the question, if you would.

Q. I just would like to know if the program you use it's innovated way to coach golf. Technology? Do you use any technology?
JOHN FIELDS: Technology?

Q. Yeah.
DAVID INGLIS: With our college teams?

Q. Yeah.
DAVID INGLIS: Yeah, we use a lot of technology at practice, whether it be Trackman, obviously now we our team uses a green mapping system called StrackaLine that helps and maps out all the greens. Obviously players in amateur golf can use range finders that have, you can shoot the pin, but is that, does that answer your question?

JOHN FIELDS: I think we all, we are all kind of on the cutting edge of technology in golf. The kids can video their golf swing now on their phone. So they can -- and with some of the programs they have, like V1, they're able to see incredible parts of their golf swing that you could never see before. And that's on your phone. The StrackaLine, being able to map the greens, to kind of mirror image what the PGA TOUR is doing, to give the kids more information when they arrive at a golf, they're a lot more prepared than they used to be. And that gets back to Steve's question, they're just a lot more prepared when they get to professional golf because of the opportunities they have with technology. You can overburden yourself, but I think that most people are, most kids, are educated a lot better today to as Harvey Penick said a long time ago, to take two aspirin, don't take the whole bottle. There's a lot of things out there for you, you don't need all of that, just a little bit from time to time.

STEVE BURKOWSKI: With that, we will put a wrap on today's press conference. Our thanks to Coach David English, Coach John Fields, Kevin Bingham for joining us. June 9th through 11th at the Atlanta Athletic Club and we appreciate you joining us today. Hope you all join us up in Atlanta in a couple months time.

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