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September 27, 2017

Jay Monahan

Jersey City, New Jersey

Q. Do you want to confirm the President is coming on Sunday?
JAY MONAHAN: We can't do that because he hasn't confirmed that yet. His people have been out and taken a good, hard look at the property and worked closely with our team. We are thinking that he is going to come out but he has not yet confirmed, and we don't know timing or all the underlying details that you would ask in a follow up question.

Q. It's a cool aspect having a U.S. President out there but what's the other side with all that's going on right now?
JAY MONAHAN: I think there's a remarkably cool aspect to it, to have three former Presidents standing on the first tee tomorrow to kick off The Presidents Cup, it's something we're really excited about, to have the sitting President come back, a person who is an honorary chair for The Presidents Cup, potentially, on Sunday.

I mean, the name of this event, it's named after the highest office in the land, and you've heard me say, you know, really, over the course of the year, how much how we've always respected the office of the presidency. So when we extended that Invitational, to me, that was part of the same process we've gone through previous years. And when he accepted, we were really excited to know that he had accepted that role and was contemplating coming out here.

We're excited to have him out here. We really are. We hope he comes and he'll be welcomed by us and by our players.

Q. I know the issue with the row came up and there was a lot of talk, and the TOUR's then, and I'm sure the TOUR's line is now, is don't get involved with politics, but it seems you can't avoid the topic. Would you agree with that?
JAY MONAHAN: No, I don't, because we have been consistent and we will be consistent on that front going forward; that this is a nonpartisan event. We are not endorsing a person. We are not endorsing a party. I mean, if you look to what's going to happen on Thursday, to have both sides of the aisle represented on the first hole, to me that's representative and reflective of this event. So it's not this event has never been a political event. It's been a golf event that unites the world's best players together. Unites fans all over the world in a team competition that has done and will continue to do a lot of goodwill.

I think players will contribute $5.5 million to charities that are important to them when we come out of this event, and I think it showcases our business model, and that, again, we've got a great competition, but you're doing a got of good, not only in this surrounding area, New York, New Jersey, but as the players take those contributions back to causes that are important to them.

Q. Figure out how to phrase this, but every time you stage an event like this, you're always trying to reach a new audience or extra people in ab audience. There's people out there who don't have a good sense of golf. They just see it as a white, rich man's sport. I think it's undeniable that people look at Trump as a face of golf. Does that not create problems, him being here, and your goal to broaden your reach?
JAY MONAHAN: No. I think no. Listen, there are a lot of people that are going to be out here. And to have a person that's President of this country, play the game, follow the game prior to taking the office of the presidency, be active in the game from a business standpoint, and being out here, we think that that's a positive.

You look at the eyeballs part of being if you go back to the decision to come to Liberty and New York/New Jersey, it actually was to specifically address your question, which was: If you can go to New York/New Jersey, you can use the domestic and international media profile that this city can generate, which we took a shot at yesterday with our 30 Rock takeover and having our international players talking back to their home countries and trying to go from what is a traditional Opening Ceremony, where hundreds of thousands of people watch it, to using the profile of our players domestically and internationally to reach 100 million people; but not just core golfers: Younger golfers, golfers in markets where these players are coming from.

And then to add to that, last night's event, to have not that we knew that Lorena Ochoa was going to be enshrined in the Hall of Fame, but to have the first Mexican to get into the World Golf Hall of Fame, first Latin American female, that's just a wonderful testament to our game, in addition to Davis and all the others that are there.

You had the inaugural Junior Presidents Cup, where, for the first time, and that was part of our thinking back in the day. 1994 was launch of The Presidents Cup and 2017 could be the year where we start putting these young kids together, particularly on the International side, so that when they are out here in future years, they have actually played together in team competitions before, which is one of the missing ingredients for the International side.

Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, hosting those young people, these are all the kind of things that you try and do to diversify your audience.

Q. One of the things I was thinking of is, you don't get, and again talking about reaching out, you don't negativity in golf. You either get people who like it or ignore it. Because of Trump, do you worry about more negativity being introduced into people watching than you would have had before?
JAY MONAHAN: I think we're no. We're inviting we've always invited the President, and like I said, this is not a political statement that we're making. It's the Presidents Cup. He's the President of the United States.

You know, we don't think about whether or not his involvement what the we never thought this way. You go back to 1994, what's the incremental lift from the President's involvement, I can't tell you what that's been in the past. That's not what it's about. It's about uniting the international uniting the game internationally and creating a forum for doing so. And this event it's just in the United States; it's around the world, and it's the 12th playing, and it's going to continue to grow.

We've recognized a long time ago that we would always be in this position and we'll always we'll get asked this question in two years, in four years, in six years, in eight years, and we're very comfortable, because again, it's the highest office in the land.

Q. You don't have President didn't dropping the puck in a hockey game or flipping the coin in a Super Bowl. What's it say for the game that you're going to have three presidents on the tee to start the event tomorrow?
JAY MONAHAN: To me, I get excited about the fact that three individuals ascended to the highest office in the land and golf was an important part of their life and continues to be an important part of their life.

I think that that sends an extraordinarily positive message, both in terms of the physical side, the mental side, the values, what they have seen and are athletes; and the fact that they are attracted to it and they are attracted to come out here and spend time in their extraordinarily busy lives to perpetuate something that we were involved in while they were in office, I think it's a great statement for our game. Generational; it's all the things we talk about I think are representative. You can break them down individually or look at them as three. I think it's pretty remarkable.

Q. To get back to Doug's question, and you talk about 1994 when it started, well, we're in 2017 and the world is a little different than 1994, especially on the athletic side and the amount of what I would say to be civil discourse and protest. You've had some players make some statements. Davis yesterday, I think Goydos, as well. How do you handle that? How do you handle those situations? Are those situations that you have to look at as from a violation or disciplinary standpoint of your own rules, and either if something happened here or some other event, would it be a concern of yours?
JAY MONAHAN: I would say that you look at, obviously our players, you heard from Steve and you heard from others; our players have spoken in terms of how they plan to respond to the National Anthem.

And then for some of the so you understand where the team is. As it relates to individuals, and I don't need to remind you of this; you're a lawyer. Everybody has we all have that bedrock foundational right to freedom of speech, and our players exercise that fairly consistently, day in and day out, week in and week out.

For us, I think that we're always going to respect their right to freedom of speech, and we I as a commissioner or us as a management team will never, ever do anything to restrain or constrain their ability to share their opinions, and the way I would respond to that question.

Q. Except when they are dropping f bombs about a course condition?
JAY MONAHAN: Yeah, that might be a little bit different. But that is a different

Q. What kind of when is the anthem being played? You changed things this year. I'm confused.
JAY MONAHAN: We're playing the anthem what is the exact time?

LAURA NEAL: The big change this year is we didn't do a big ceremony. Instead took advantage of the player's time and used the media for yesterday morning. That was the trade. Just to give you the context, but it was always planned that way. So on the first tee is a little consistent with what we've done before in Muirfield. Jack brought the trophy in and the Ohio State marching band played. This year inaudible bringing the trophy in and Rutgers is singing the anthem. But like in past years, guys are warming up on the range. It's for the crowd. It's not a sit down and acknowledge kind of thing for the players.

Q. We've seen at the Women's Open at Bedminster, there's talk of a distraction when he shows.
JAY MONAHAN: Keep in mind, we don't know yet. We're not confirming he's coming.

Q. If he does, is there any concern about a distraction? And second to that, what kind of story would you like to see come out of Sunday, and do you think will come out of Sunday?
JAY MONAHAN: I think you're always we have the potential for distractions in a lot of different flavors every single week. It's something you're always concerned with.

The story line on Sunday is I mean, just come back to what's going to happen in the field of play. And for us, obviously we want a great, closely contested, spirited, passionate competition that hopefully rides as late into Sunday as possible; that our athletes do what they do week in and week out, is that not only do they play great golf but they handle themselves in a remarkable manner, and that they have come together and they have demonstrated an appreciation for each other.

Now keep in mind, a lot of our our international players, they may be they may have been born in Australia, India, Japan; they are living in the United States. And so you know, they are this is an opportunity to unite, and hopefully that's where we come out when we leave on Sunday night.

Q. There will be no mention of Trump, you wouldn't think, if he's here?
JAY MONAHAN: I think there will be, yeah. I can't predict what that would be but I mean, I think it would be the President of the United States came and supported The Presidents Cup in his role as honorary chair.

Q. First time.
JAY MONAHAN: Yeah, first time.

LAURA NEAL: First time a sitting U.S. President, first time since 2000.

Q. You talked about the conversation with Stricker and the team had yesterday about what to do, does it make you uncomfortable at all that they even have to have that conversation?
JAY MONAHAN: No, it doesn't. I mean, I'm so confident in a Nick Price and in a Steve Stricker as leaders. They take their roles and I've gotten a chance to experience this firsthand, how passionate and committed you guys have seen it. But to me, very confident that they are going to handle that in the right way. And candidly, that is why Nick is here for the third time. That's why Steve has this opportunity and he's surrounded himself with great assistant captains. And underneath that, we have a group of players who, from my perspective, ask themselves the question in a situation like this: What would Arnold do, what would Jack do, what would Gary do; how do I leverage the history and the tradition and the values that I've seen before me to get to the right place in a situation like this.

And I just, so no, I really honestly, no.

Q. But I guess the question is beyond this, I mean, you realize as a commissioner, your sport could be called out at any time by the current President who seems to have an ability to do that. Does your decision making process now as a commissioner or as an organization, is it something where you factor that kind of information in in making decisions?
JAY MONAHAN: The way that we operate is to and this isn't an event that we're hosting for the first time. Everything we do around The Presidents Cup has 11 prior plays. Every time we play a tournament, you have decades of history and tradition.

In a situation like this, you rely on what is the essence of the event and what do we need to do to pull that essence forward, to build The Presidents Cup, put our best foot forward, and that's how you guide that's how you operate hour to hour, day to day, and that's been our thinking going into here.

We're always open to criticism, Alex. We're open to criticism from the golf media, the business media, from political leaders. It can come from many different areas and angles, but for us, we have to accept that fact and do the best you can with what you have, and we're fortunate to have a lot of great assets at our disposal from an athlete standpoint and tournament standpoint and a support standpoint.

Q. Across the board, that's how you would approach any event?
JAY MONAHAN: It is, yeah.

Q. Did you have a reaction last night talk about international players, watching Gary Player get choked up talking about the U.S.?
JAY MONAHAN: I did. I sat with Gary the night before, and he was thumping me on the chest, literally. It was pretty remarkable. My wife met him for the first time. She's like, wow.

He basically was saying the same thing. And he talked about in 1961 when he was with Vivian, he was offered a lot of money to move to the United States. But he wanted to remain a South African, stay in South Africa, represent his country and travel.

He to this day, I think he still questions whether or not he wonders what that would have been like if he had done that, but he doesn't question his ability to continue to represent his country, but also to feel like he's an American. He was just saying how lucky we are, our athletes are, and making sure that I understood that full well, and I did. But yeah, I think that was a there was a pause there where I didn't know where he was going with that. But it was a pretty powerful moment, and for it to happen again, obviously at the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony as he's introducing Ian, but here the week of The Presidents Cup, and I think that right there we have moments in this game. It's one of those moments that you just, it's pretty remarkable, particularly with everything that's going on in the world.

Q. Given the conversation that we're having right now and everything that's happening on the first tee tomorrow with the National Anthem, logically matches are getting ready to come out, was there any thought into having both teams walk out to the first tee hearing the National Anthem, just to make a point?
JAY MONAHAN: Again, I think that we have great confidence in Nick and Steve, and we've had this planned for quite some time. They are going to operate the way they want to operate as a team. I think organic responses, authentic responses, real responses, that's what you're seeing from our guys and that's what you're going to see tomorrow, and fully support that.

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