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 27, 2017

Pete Bevacqua

Lynne Doughtie

Mike Whan

Olympia Fields, Illinois

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon. I'm the PGA of American's John Dever, and I want to thank you very much for joining us today at Olympia Fields Country Club for a very special announcement, and to get that started, I'd like to begin by welcoming from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the CEO of the PGA of America, Pete Bevacqua. You've got some news for us.

PETE BEVACQUA: Yeah, thank you, John, and thanks, everybody for being here. Beautiful day at Olympia Fields. Just a couple of days away from the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, and no better place to announce that with my good friends from KPMG and the LPGA, we've all agreed to sign an extension to keep this wonderful partnership going forward. We're going to extend through 2023. We're going to continue to make sure that we make this one of the very best events not just in women's golf but in golf. We're going to increase the purse starting next year, taking it from $3.5 million to $3.65 million starting in 2018.

Obviously we're here this week. We'll head to Kemper Lakes next year. We'll head to Hazeltine in 2019, and we'll continue to just go to great sites around the country, and Lynne and Mike, I know I speak on behalf of Paul Levy, our president, our officers, our board of directors and our members around the country that when we started this partnership three years ago, it was so incredibly important for the PGA of America. It's been an honor for us to work alongside the two of you, and I can't thank both of you enough.

THE MODERATOR: Next, ladies and gentlemen, I'd like to welcome from New York, the U.S. chairman and CEO of KPMG, Lynne Doughtie. Lynne, congratulations on the news, and the trajectory of this championship is on a strong path. We've got the KPMG's Women's Leadership Summit starting tomorrow. Perhaps you can share what might be in store tomorrow.

LYNNE DOUGHTIE: Yeah, well, I'd also just like to echo what Pete was saying, that this partnership with the PGA of America and with the LPGA to create not just a major championship but something really special to elevate women on the golf course as well as off the golf course, and so to be extending with both of these amazing organizations is -- it means so much to KPMG. I can tell you this is one of the more special events that we do, and it's not just an event, it's something that everyone across KPMG feels so incredibly passionate and proud of, and so tomorrow, we have the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit, and what that's all about is CEOs across the U.S. inviting their next-generation women leaders to attend a leadership development program that is going to happen on-site right by 18 green, and they will be part of an event and year-long programming where they hear from motivational speakers like Dr. Condoleezza Rice, IBM chairman and CEO Ginni Rometty. We'll have a gold medal Olympian panel, as well. It's just an amazing time to ensure that we're getting women to the next level in business but also taking women's golf to the next level, as well.

So we're very excited about that, and then, of course, we couldn't be more delighted about all the proceeds of both of these events going to fund our Future Leaders Program.

THE MODERATOR: Yesterday we got some great news involving Phil Mickelson and the KPMG Future Leaders Program. Could you fill us in on that, please?

LYNNE DOUGHTIE: Yeah, so that was a great announcement yesterday regarding our Future Leaders Program, which enables girls in high school to have scholarships for college, but it's much more than just scholarships. It's also about leadership development for them. The women who are going to be in the Women's Leadership Summit tomorrow will be their mentors throughout the next year, their first year in college, and Phil and Amy Mickelson also contributed -- their foundation contributed to this really important endeavor that we're doing, so that we can offer even more college scholarships. We were able to increase the number 25 percent, and I'm really proud -- and these girls are amazing, I must say. There were hundreds and hundreds of applicants, and we're really delighted that we have three of our future leaders who are here with us today and who will be with us in the summit, and can I just ask you to stand just so we can all recognize you?

These are amazing accomplished young women who are going to go on to do amazing things in their college career, and they will be really made special with a retreat at Stanford University. Dr. Condoleezza Rice is the program ambassador for that, and they will also get an introduction to golf. And we were talking about that over lunch, and they're really excited about that, as well.

So all in all, all aspects of this championship, the amazing golf, the women's leadership summit, and the ability to give back to these girls who go on to do amazing things is what this is all about.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Lynne. Next, ladies and gentlemen, please help me welcome from Lake Mary, Florida, the commissioner of the LPGA, Mike Whan. Mike, in light of today's news and the announcement, could you tell us from the LPGA's perspective how this championship has served to elevate women's golf?

MIKE WHAN: Well, I would say as much as I like media centers and interview rooms, I wish you would have said what you just said, Pete, in the middle of player dining because I think we'd have had to wait 10 minutes for the ovation to stop between players, caddies and families. Telling them that this is going on at least through 2023 would literally be the best message that I've given in my eight years as commissioner. Every week I show up on an event, and I can't help myself, I keep this little note, this little list that I call "why didn't we," why didn't we.... Why didn't we change that, why didn't we -- I can't come up with anything for my list, so I'm going to be scouring this place for the next five days because it's perfect. I mean, it literally is perfect, from the way you arrive to the experience if you're a player, caddie or fan, to what's going to go on here Thursday to Sunday.

The late great Louise Suggs said to me in 2009 in a hotel lobby in Houston, "you only have one job, kid," she called everybody kid, I thought it was just my nickname, but turns out she called everybody kid. She said, "you only have one job, kid, and that's leave this game better than you found it," and if I do nothing else in the rest of my time as commissioner or erase everything I've done until now, this one event would have been able to keep my promise to one of the founders of the LPGA. I just want to say on behalf of her, all the women that came after her, and the players that are lucky enough to play in this venue and the venues to come until 2023, thanks for believing in us. Thanks for elevating us. And thanks for making an event that quite frankly was better than we envisioned. I like to think I dream big. I didn't dream big enough here, and thank God I met the both of you because this is truly special.

And you just don't have to take my word for it. If 100 of the top 100 players show up for an event, it doesn't require a press meeting. The best on Tour said, I'm coming here. The best on Tour are playing 13 weeks in a row, so they've had to make a bunch of choices, and this choice was made loud and clear by their attendance. It just doesn't get any better than that. I'm afraid of saying more because I don't want to screw it up.

THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, at this time please raise your hand if you have any questions and state your name and let us know where you're from.

Q. Mike, can you talk about the success of girls' golf and how that -- and how passionate you are about girls' golf?
MIKE WHAN: Well, kind of falls under the same category of leave it better than you found it. When we started back in 2010 we had about 4,000 girls a year being introduced to the game in the U.S. I joined the LPGA a year after the Olympics announcement was made, and I honestly didn't really understand the whole Olympic impact. I didn't understand what was meant by Olympic movement, and then I traveled the world, and I realized once golf became an Olympic sport -- around the world a lot of countries call Olympic sports podium sports, meaning it might just put our country on a podium with our flag going up and our anthem playing, and if you're podium sport, you get training and schools, nutritionists, coaches, and I started seeing all around the world that these things were happening for women's golf, which was unbelievable, but the American in me said, none of that's happening here. We've got to get more girls in the States, as well, to make sure that we're also fueling that plan.

So we got together with the USGA, we kind of pushed it to another level, we talked to the PGA TOUR, the PGA of America, Augusta National are all big supporters of girls' golf, and today I'm proud to tell you that almost 70,000 girls versus 4,000 eight years ago are being introduced to the game, and for the first time in the 100 years of tracking golf, girls under 18 is the fastest growing segment of golf in America. In fact, for 50 years, if you looked at golf, it was about 85 percent men and 15 percent women, and if you looked at junior golf, kids under 18, it was about 85 percent men and 15 percent women. And when you talk about changing the face of the game, it happens with folks like you right here in the front row. We decided to focus on the future by focusing on youth, and today 33 percent of kids under the age of 18 are girls, and those girls, 50 percent of those girls are under the age of 12, so they're going to be with us a long, long time. I wish Louise was here and I could say, I don't know what golf is going to look like in 2045, but I promise you it's going to look more female, and that's a pretty cool thing, and the nice thing is we started that through girls' golf, and then we met people like Lynne and John, who said, what about a Women's Leadership Summit, what about scholarships to get kids in schools that otherwise wouldn't get to those same schools. So it's when your idea catches fire and somebody else takes it to the next level that it's really an exciting time. If you're under the age of 18 and you're a female and you want to join the game, this game is going to look, feel and be a lot more like yours than it ever has in 100 years.

Q. Pete, the women's major championships haven't always been played on the traditional historic venues that so many of the men have played. Can you speak to just what the challenge has been trying to get the women in some of these sites? Obviously you're having success at it, so what's the reception been?
PETE BEVACQUA: Yeah, I would say when we started talking about this championship, and I think back to the conversations we had with Mike and his team at the LPGA and KPMG and I see John Veihmeyer in the back and with Lynne, it was one of the tenets of this championship was going to be to take it to golf courses that have hosted men's major championships and men's premier golf events. So we set that as an expectation. We said, hey, that's going to be a mandate. We're going to make sure that happens. And you've got the Westchester Country Clubs, the Sahalees, the Olympia Fields, the Kemper Lakes, the Hazeltines, and we're not ready to announce others yet, but I can promise you there's unbelievable golf courses coming behind 2019.

The reception has been so unbelievably positive and welcoming. It's been easy. And that's good news. When we've talked to these great clubs around the country and we explain what the KPMG Women's PGA Championship is and when we talk about the KPMG Women's Leadership Summit and our great friends at NBC and Golf Channel that broadcast this event, those conversations really have been easy, I would say surprisingly easy. People get it, and I this that I goes to what Mike said, getting more girls into this game, getting more women into this game, people in the golf community, the golf industry at the club level, they understand that needs to happen, and I think there's no greater example of that than the types of country clubs, private clubs, public golf courses and facilities that we're taking this championship to.

Q. Mike, when you originally -- I don't know what the word is, morphed the LPGA championship into the Women's PGA Championship, I'm sure there was some resistance from the old guard in the history of this championship, and I know you've retained the history, but what's the reaction been from maybe some of the women who weren't so sure about losing that identity now that they've seen it?
MIKE WHAN: Yeah, I think that's fair. It wasn't universally understood, and if I was being honest with you I had some of the same anxiety because you're taking a 60-year major with a lot of history, and I wanted to make sure we found a way to balance the two. But it's kind of like going to Wrigley tonight. You know, you probably don't get it until you've been there, and once you've been there, you realize why it's Wrigley. I think if you don't understand the KPMG Women's PGA Championship, you haven't been to one yet, and once you come to one, and tomorrow night we're going to have a past women's championship dinner, I feel pretty comfortable what the response will be there because at the end of the day, all the LPGA members really want is to know that the game and the opportunities for women are elevating, that the next generation -- your daughters in the room will have more opportunities in this game, whether they play professionally, work in the game or just play and are fans, are going to be better than they were when they were a kid.

So when you talk about the LPGA changing and say, wait a minute, the LPGA Championship, that can't change, and then you show up at Sahalee, and it's just a bunch of high fives. I mean, it's bigger. You know, the stages are bigger. The purse is bigger. The TV is bigger. I watched an hour and a half of Golf Channel today and then watched it again because I haven't seen that much Golf Channel and women's golf in eight years. I couldn't help myself. If I had had a DVR, I would have DVR'd it and watched it again tonight. It's worthy attention to the golf world this week, and that's what most of those players that voice their anxiety want to see for the LPGA, and that's what they're seeing.

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