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September 26, 2017
St. Augustine, Florida
JACK PETER: Good morning to everyone in the room and everyone on the phone. Appreciate you taking the time this morning.
The 2017 ceremony finally has arrived. We announced this class, we were talking about it a few minutes ago, I think a year and a half ago or something like that. Much like Christmas, it's finally arrived, so it's a big day in New York City.
We are thrilled and delighted to be able to kick off the 12th playing of The Presidents Cup and be aligned with that event. It's a big week for golf in New York City. A word about the class: It is an international class. It's a very special class, obviously with Lorena representing M√É¬©xico and Davis Love and Meg representing the U.S. tours, and Ian, our Welshman, representing Europe, and obviously the late Henry Longhurst. It is a stellar class, and they have earned it. They are being bestowed with golf's highest honor tonight at Cipriani tonight live on the Golf Channel at 7:00 PM.
We decided to move the induction ceremony around the world a few years ago, and this is the second time we conducted the ceremony outside of Florida. Two years ago we were at The Open Championship at St. Andrews and it was very, very positively received. We are looking forward to a great event tonight. In two years, we'll be out in Pebble Beach to kick off the U.S. Open.
So we think our strategy of trying to shine a brighter light on the ceremony and the institution by marrying it up with these big events is really working and we're very, very pleased with the support we're getting from all of our Hall of Fame members, the board of directors, the fans and everyone. It's been very gratifying.
Just as a note, we'll have a record number of Hall of Fame members in attendance, including our selection commission, so we would encourage everyone to tune in and enjoy the show.
THE MODERATOR: Meg, your thoughts, it's been a big run up to the induction. Your thoughts on the induction in general?
MEG MALLON: This is a great venue and great place to do this. We are just a block away from One World Trade Center. We have all been kind of able to enjoy New York a little bit while also enjoying the induction process.
So I think all of us are looking forward to getting to our speeches this evening and enjoying it with our family and friends and really realizing we are getting an induction into the Hall of Fame.
THE MODERATOR: Davis, you're a busy man this week. Talk about the induction and what that means to you and your family.
DAVIS LOVE III: It's incredible, as Meg said, incredible venue, during The Presidents Cup. Got two international teams going to fight it out under the Statue of Liberty. It's going to be incredible.
Like Meg said, it's really hitting home the last couple weeks for me. Going out last week and playing on the Champions Tour last week and seeing so many Hall of Famers. I was actually introduced as a Hall of Famer and it was really sinking in. But preparing my remarks and being at dinner last night with so.
Many Hall of Famers, incredible and it's getting more and more emotional. Realizing I'm getting inducted with a great class into an incredible, exclusive club. Very exciting.
THE MODERATOR: Speaking of having your name called on the first tee as a Hall of Fame member, Ian Woosnam is joining us. We had a conversation last night about how the Hall of Fame is going to change things for you. Talk about that this week has been like for you and your family.
IAN WOOSNAM: It's been great. Came over Friday and did a bit of sightseeing, been all the way around Manhattan. Very excited and very emotional, and as you say, the closer we get, yeah, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame with the greatest players ever, it's a big thing.
THE MODERATOR: What we've learned about Lorena Ochoa is she travels with the biggest entourage. She's here. We've spent a lot of time together in M√É¬©xico city and obviously here in New York. Talk about what the induction means to you and your family and how do you put that into words?
LORENA OCHOA REYES: We appreciate sharing this moment with our friends and our country. They are all here because they really helped me to achieve this amazing dream. It started really early when I was five years old, and I have my best friends here from Guadalajara that have helped me. It's going to be a good day of celebration and most important, to be able to share with them, yeah.
THE MODERATOR: Davis, you talked about it's starting to become emotional for you. Talk about the dinner last night that we had up at the One World Observatory and looking around the room; Gary Player is doing a toast and you're seeing the Who's Who list of Hall of Fame members. Talk about how that was.
DAVIS LOVE III: It was incredible going out to the golf course yesterday and then go to the World Trade Center look out over the harbor and see the Statue of Liberty in the golf course in the distance. Everyone was asking me, where the course was and how are you guys getting there; and to have so many Hall of Fame members to get to talk to. It was like the ultimate class reunion.
We're the new class coming in, but it's just amazing. You know, I asked Tom Kite to introduce me, but to be able to talk to him about it last night, to be able to see all the ladies at the fun table get to start taking pictures. I was standing on the side and not in the picture and my wife, Robin, said, "You know, we're going to get to do this every year." To have that kind of set in that we're going to be part of this class, this group, this club, for the rest of our lives; it was an incredible night.
I haven't seen Chi Chi Rodr√É¬≠guez for a long time and for him to met my son and for my son to be able to get advice from Gary Player on fitness, and Chi Chi Rodr√É¬≠guez on his swing; just for my son to be in the room was an incredible, incredible experience.
THE MODERATOR: Davis mentioned Tom Kite is going to be presenting. Ian, talk about the decision to have Gary Player present you tonight and what that relationships that been over the years?
IAN WOOSNAM: Obviously I've known Gary a lot of years. Played a lot of tournaments around the world with Gary, and also the Masters, going to the dinner with him on Tuesday. He was one of my heros and I thought he would be one of the perfect guys to speak for me.
He's my sort of height and he's tenacious, and I just thought, you know, he's just a really good friend and I thought he would be perfect for me. Interested to hear what he's got to say tonight.
Q. I write for a financial publication called The Street, so our readers are Wall Street guys that golf. I was wondering, having worked with sponsorship for years and years, how do you guys spot a good business opportunity or a good investment?
IAN WOOSNAM: Seems like the other way around (laughter).
DAVIS LOVE III: I've been lucky on the PGA TOUR, not only playing but being on the board -- Jack Peters and our board of directors are incredible (typing/keyboard interference) their stock seems to grow up. There's a great group of PGA TOUR sponsors and LPGA Tour sponsors and you learn who the leaders are and who are the guys that really understand business and understand that golf is good.
Q. And what about any sort of business ventures outside of golf, outside of sponsorship? And this goes for anyone.
DAVIS LOVE III: We're all pointing at each other.
I think golf covers every -- we go from car companies to financial companies. FedEx is an incredible sponsor for us because they are an international brand. For everyone, it's a great way for company to not only entertain clients but expose their brand to the world.
Q. For Davis and Lorena, I'm wondering how you make -- how do you make the Hall of Fame more relevant in terms of the players of today and also at what point in your lifetime career, post-career, for Lorena, as well, was the Hall of Fame an actual goal that you were aiming for?
LORENA OCHOA REYES: Yes, hello, thank you. Well, I think for me, golf, it was just a very difficult and strange game to play, starting in M√É¬©xico when I was five. And then I started competing in the United States and started feeling more comfortable that I could have a career and a life playing golf.
Well, it's great to see the change in the game. Today in my country, there are many, many boys and girls playing. More than a hundred players are playing in the different schools. They have a scholarship in the States. I think we are going in the right direction, and so it's great to be able to help in that way and make a change and have more golfers representing M√É¬©xico in the different tours.
When I was playing, I'm very -- you know, I stick with what I want to achieve and what are my goals for the next two months, three months, short-term goals, all the time. I didn't realize maybe until I was in my sixth or seventh year on Tour, I started thinking about the Hall of Fame, and not until that moment, it made me realize that I had an opportunity and a chance to be in this special place.
Actually I finished, and when I retired, I didn't compete my ten years, so it was something that I thought hopefully in the future it will happen to me. Having this news and this surprise, the support for me, getting the induction this year, has been a dream come true and more important, just to be able to say that I'm with this wind elite group and friends, it's an honor to be here. Thank you.
DAVIS LOVE III: As a kid, like Lorena, I wanted to play on the TOUR and see if I could work my way up and belong. I played by the Hall of Fame when it was at Pinehurst as a kid, and then as a PGA TOUR Board Member, watched the move to St. Augustine. And I've watched the changes over the last four or five years to try to make it more relevant; to have it at St. Andrews; to have it at New York City; to have it at Pebble Beach every other year, and really show people what an incredible place it is and what an incredible club it is.
I'm glad that the changes have been made. I guess I really thought I might get in, or it was actually a goal after Freddie Couples' induction ceremony. I always looked up to Freddie and tried to hit it as far as him and be as cool as him but it never worked.
To think when he got in and he gave his speech and he mentioned me a few times; we're basically the same year and did the same things in the game, and that's when it became -- when I realized I might actually get in.
But it really hit home, I think last year with Bubba Watson. He said, "He want to be in the Hall of Fame and I want to be a Ryder Cup Captain. They are really the same thing." And to think that I have done that over the last few years is just an incredible blessing. I just hope this class can carry forward what the classes behind us have done and grow the Hall of Fame.
Q. Do you think there's any responsibility for the younger group of players to embrace this, or are they already doing so many different things and being pulled in so much different directions; this being the Hall of Fame.
DAVIS LOVE III: I think at my stage in my career, my life, as a board, whether it's now Charley Hoffman on the board; Charley gets it. The next generation that comes in is on our Player Advisory Council, on our board, are the top players: Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, now Justin Thomas. Those are the guys are the ones -- their goal is to be in the Hall of Fame. They have a checklist like Tiger Woods of goals they want to accomplish. We'll pass that on to those guys just like we've passed on the core values of the game and the etiquette we'll pass down that the Hall of Fame is something they need to grab a hold of and have as a goal. I'm certain they will. The game is in a good place right now with our young leaders.
JACK PETER: If I can just make a comment on that topic. I think it's important, to your question about the younger players, Jordan Spieth after he won the 2017 Open Championship, unprompted by any of us in this room, looked at the camera and said, "This gets me into the Hall of Fame."
I think it's important to remember that Jordan is the tender age of 24. So when he was four years old, we opened our doors in St. Augustine. He literally has grown up with it, and it's very gratifying to see young kids really aspiring and buying in and talking about it on their own volition. It's very -- and the same thing with Jason Day when he won THE PLAYERS Championship. And like Davis said of Bubba, it's fun to watch the kids aspire to it.
Q. As you go back over your careers, what is the one shot that stands out the most to you, and Meg, if I could be honest, if it's not the 11-wood, I'm going to be disappointed.
MEG MALLON: I knew you were going to bring that up. I told you how hard it is to hit a high cut with an 11-wood on the 72nd hole of the U.S. Open to win it. Don't give me any more grief about that. But that was a memorable golf shot.
LORENA OCHOA REYES: Hi, hello, Doug. I don't know --
JACK PETER: You hit so many good ones.
LORENA OCHOA REYES: Maybe if you ask Natalie Gulbis, I was playing against here, 1-up going to 18 and I hit my driver to the right. It was in the rough, maybe 140 yards, and I have a 6-iron and I was trying to land the ball ten yards in front of the green. I hit just a nice little cut left-to-right short -- I ended up two feet from the hole. I think that one, the pressure -- it was to win $1 million. (Laughter).
IAN WOOSNAM: For me, the putt on the 18th green at the Masters. It's not about hitting all the shots. You have a seven-foot putt. And I can remember times I used to be on the putting green in our own local golf course and think: Well, this is for Masters; this is for the U.S. Open; this is for The Open. It's just that moment and you're in that time, and I think this is what it's all about, trying to hold that putt. I would say that's my best performance and my best shot, really.
DAVIS LOVE III: I wish I'd have had a putt on the last hole to win the Masters. (Laughter) the guy behind me came in and had one and beat me.
I think, you know, looking back on my career, that putt I made on the last hole in the '93 Ryder Cup, it meant a lot at the moment but in my career going forward, it set me up in Ryder Cup and International Team play, Presidents Cup, to have just an unbelievable experience of being on teams, playing on teams, captaining teams.
I'll never forget Lanny Wadkins coming out on that green and talking to me about making that putt and what it meant to our team that year, what it meant to American golf to win at The Belfry. I wouldn't take that putt over anything, really.
MEG MALLON: How about that shot you hit -- on 16 --
DAVIS LOVE III: It was just (laughter) tried to talk me out of it --
MEG MALLON: I get one more. So my first major, it was the storybook where all three of us had a chance to win a major and I was the last one to putt. Same like Ian, the same feeling. It was a 10-footer to win a major, and you know, when you make the putt like that and you get to jump into your caddie's arms and have that moment, it was really cool.
Q. After learning about your nomination to be inducted, who were the first people that you talked to or the first initial reaction that you had about this news because it had to be really career-defining.
MEG MALLON: The Commissioner called me on my drive back down to Florida, and he was in China and the first thing I did, I paused, because I started crying, and then I said, "Are you kidding me?"
And he said no, and then he said, "You can't tell anybody for 24 hours." So of course I called my whole family and all my friends (laughter). But they kept it under wraps, so it was good.
LORENA OCHOA REYES: To me, I was at dinner with my husband and I get a phone call from my Commissioner, and he says, "I have some news for you." I'm thinking of my tournament -- maybe it's not happening or maybe we have more money and we can have a bigger event. I was thinking about my tournament because we had been discussing; it's always a struggle at the end of the day to be able to do it.
No, good news, great news, and I was trying to guess and he told me about the Hall of Fame and the news. I was just smiling -- good, good, wow, and I would sit down and have a nice dinner together like any other night. And I told him, "We cannot tell anybody." Neither him nor I could sleep. We were just looking at the ceiling. It was impossible, not being able to share the news like Meg, because Mexicans are crazy, I would be -- (laughter) the next day, Jack called at 10:00 A.M. -- actually, my kids were crying. When he called, Diego was crying, and after that -- it was amazing. Thank you.
IAN WOOSNAM: For me, it was all a bit of a shock, wasn't it, Jack. I had been out to lunch and didn't have my cell phone with me. I don't know who rung me, it was so quick -- all I knew was I had a press conference in about ten minutes. A little bit of a shock (laughter).
DAVIS LOVE III: I'm with Woosie. It was all a shock and I couldn't believe it. I was good at keeping it under wraps because I didn't know what to say. I mean, who do you call? Guess what, I'm in the Hall of Fame. I kind of played it under the vest a little bit.
It took me literally months and months to be able to just call somebody and say -- because it was just so shocking. Like I said, when I saw Fred go in, I knew I had a chance and obviously being on the board, talking a lot about how it worked and finances and behind the scenes, it was always right there in front of me but I just didn't want to really admit that I had done enough it get in.
It took me a while to get used to the fact. Believe it or not, I don't like the attention. I like to give back and be a part of it, but I'd rather -- like Freddie, I'd rather do it quietly and stay out of the way.
MEG MALLON: Amen.
DAVIS LOVE III: Took me awhile for it to settle in, but the last few months, for David Graham to come up to me and talk about what it and say meant to him; and the other players, that I had gotten in. Guys calling me, not just Jack Nicklaus or Arnold Palmer, but Andy Bean who has been a great friend of mine. To have him come up to me and talk to me, for like a long time and really tell you what you accomplished, it really sets in.
Anyway, took me a while to get used to it. Now it's fun. I get a text, obviously the last week, it's just building up more and more, the congratulations. It's been a great 18 months.
Q. One of many special treats for golf fans when they visit the World Golf Hall of Fame in St. Augustine is to see the memorabilia. Which item of golf memorabilia is your most cherished, and why?
LORENA OCHOA REYES: Well, I think it's impossible to answer because I like to put my first set of golf clubs, or the ones that I won my first Junior World Championship when I was eight years old, they are in St. Augustine, and you can see them there, my first pair of shoes. They were really hard with the metal spikes. They were really big, too, because I used them for like three years. I'm going to pick those because that's where everything started. It will be nice to see them. I can't wait to go there with my family.
MEG MALLON: That is a hard thing to answer because there's so many memories in your career, whether it's a major, participating in Solheim Cups, some of the ugliest outfits you've ever seen that you can't believe you still have, sweaters that go down to your knees in Scotland from the rain. Everything sparks a memory and a good memory that I've put forth to the Hall of Fame, and I'm really looking forward to bringing my family to come see it.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you everyone who joined this morning. As a reminder, the induction ceremony will be on at 7:00 on Golf Channel.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports