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November 12, 2003

Deane Beman

Tim Finchem


CHRIS REIMER: It's a pleasure to have both PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem, and former Commissioner Deane Beman here with us at World Golf Championships World Cup. Thanks everyone for joining us. We'll begin today with Commissioner Finchem making some opening comments and taking some questions and then we'll finish with an announcement by Commissioner Beman.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you and good morning. The purpose of this time is to ask Deane to make a special announcement that we'll get to in a little bit. I thought I would make a few comments about the World Cup and answer any questions about that or other subjects and then introduce Deane.

First of all, we're delighted to be here at Kiawah. We think it's a good test, a good place for the World Cup. I think the players around the world are going to be delighted with the golf course that they find here. This is the 50th anniversary of the World Cup, and as you are aware over the years, it first of all was probably the forerunner of major international competition and has done a great deal to grow the game around the world during that time. The Hopkins Trophy is named after the John Hopkins who had the vision of utilizing a world competition with numerous countries represented to help grow interest in the game and that certainly has been the case.

One of the goals of the World Cup is to introduce competition around the globe and we're pleased that that is the case. That is also the case with the World Golf Championships generally. Over the last five years of the World Golf Championships we're pleased they have now been played in seven different countries on numerous continents. The World Golf Championships have developed and become a very solid platform for international golf. And as we look at them in conjunction with THE PLAYERS Championship, the Major championships, the Ryder Cup and the Presidents Cup, we have a good mix of international competitions through the course of the year.

This particular year with had a great start with the Accenture Match-Play Championships, a good match between David Toms and Tiger Woods, where Tiger Woods was the first player to win all four of the World Golf Championship events. He has now won eight in total. The NEC Invitational was a great performance by Darren Clarke. Tiger won again at American Express, winning that tournament for the third time, and now this week we conclude the World Golf Championships with the World Cup.

The charitable recipient, which is an extension of what we do on the PGA TOUR, with the net proceeds of the tournament going to charity, the charitable recipient is First Tee globally and in the areas where we play, and we're delighted that they are three First Tee facilities in the state of South Carolina that will benefit to some degree from the proceeds generated this week.

So we're excited about this. We have a great field. We have 23 winners -- or players that have won 23 tournaments this year in the field. This should be an exciting competition and then of course we're off to the Presidents Cup next week in South Africa. We're really excited about that as well.

With that, I'll be happy to take any questions you might have.

Q. Can you talk about the fact that the conversation with World Cup too often resolves around who doesn't play in it as to who plays in it, ala Tiger Woods?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: First of all, if you look back at the 50 years, I don't think you can quarrel with the caliber of players that have played. Virtually every top player has played. Palmer and Nicklaus were paired, Freddie and David have played together three or four years, Sam Snead played. All the great players have played. Tiger has played with several different partners. He may play again. He's 27 years old.

I think it's healthy that other players have a chance to play. I think it's not so much about the individual as it is top players representing their country playing in a unique team format where they play foursomes and four-balls. This is not an individual game, and the caliber of the teams that are here are going to treat the fans to some pretty good golf this week. I always look at these things positively and I don't have a problem thinking positively when I look at the caliber of this field.

Q. Having said that, can you address how the rules changes have happened, how the teams are selected? Technically now, it's supposed to be No. 1 and No. 2. It's probably not going to be that way, and sometimes individual play doesn't necessarily put your best teams together.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We've gone back and forth on the eligibility. I don't think there's any right way or wrong way to do it. Our board just passed a provision yesterday for us to take to the Federation which would change eligibility to the various countries having the option to go to the top ranked player who wants to play being able to select his partner, if his partner is one of the top 100 players. You have situations around the world where certain players want to play with each other. They look forward to that opportunity. Forcing players to play together is not a bad thing. It happens at every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup. The captain says this is who is going to play together.

From the other perspective, we're more comfortable in that direction, and I think that's the direction we'll go.

Q. How are you going to work towards alleviating scheduling issues like this year in the future?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: If you look in the five years, you have one off. If you look at the schedule in the next three years, this is an abnormal situation where you have the World Golf Championships in the United States. The World Cup is a championship in particular that you want to move around the world because of the nature of the competition. That's been it's history, but every once in a while we want to see it played in the United States, as well. It just happened that that was the way it was this year.

Q. I guess I meant going forward, are you going to look at what's around? If it was played, say, in Europe you would have gotten better participation?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Next year it's in Spain, so we'll see what kind of field we get in Spain. In '05 it's in China. The World Cup will be going to places and the markets and the areas where we want it to go and I think it's very positive.

Let me move on to introducing my predecessor Deane Beman, who had this job for 20 years and did so much to get the PGA TOUR to where it is today. Deane, a lot of people don't know, Deane has a passion for what's involved in teaching the game of golf and what is necessary for people to learn the game of golf. It's an area he's always focused on, he's always been interested in, he's spent a lot of energy on.

In today's world, we're constantly searching for ways that we can make golf more accessible, more affordable, like First Tee, and ways in which perhaps we can ease the difficulty that we all face as newcomers to the sport. To that end, Deane has been doing some work and some research and planning and initiative that we at the PGA TOUR are very excited about and are going to support, as Deane will mention to you. But that's all I'm going to say and I'm going to introduce Deane Beman to make an announcement.

DEANE BEMAN: I've got a prepared release being copied, which we'll hand out here in a few minutes. Tim, I'd like to first thank you for the opportunity to be here today and talk about something that I think is important to the game, certainly it's important to me, and also thank the World Cup for giving me the opportunity to be here where significant press has gathered.

What you'll see in this handout that we'll have in a few minutes is what is called the Deane Beman 690 Experimental Teaching System. Many of you will say, What in the heck does Deane Beman know about teaching golf? He may know about putting on golf tournaments or playing in golf tournaments. I've got 10 grandchildren that I've struggled through watching a few of them learn how to swing, and my wife never played golf until she was 50 years old, and I had the honor of teaching her how to play. And I want to tell you -- I could lie to you and say that is what really spurred my interest in teaching beginners. I can tell you from grueling experience that was not a pleasant endeavor.

If any of you have ever taught your children how to drive a car or your wife how to drive a car, it's a similar experience teaching your wife how to play golf. What really happened in the 690, the significance of 690, is that the experts will tell us that after a year of a new player taking up the game, unless they're highly motivated, unless they go out and beat balls everyday and put a tremendous effort into it, the average new player doesn't shoot better than 115 or 120 after the first year. The significance of the 690, what I call the 690 Teaching System, I've developed a whole system of teaching that has the promise of being able to take a beginner that will give you average amount of time, not an inordinate amount of time, and have them be able to shoot in the 90s in 6 months. This is a very, very high goal. If we only come close to it, we have accomplished a great deal.

The problem in golf, which has only been recognized in the last few years, up until maybe five or six years ago, when we really had more golfers than could accommodate them on golf courses, it wasn't a great deal of concern that the TOUR and the attractiveness of golf and the attractiveness of PGA TOUR players and LPGA Tour players attracted a lot of people to the game, but we lost more than 50 percent of those people who can't today play because it was just too tough to get started, too difficult to learn, and it wasn't a great concern five or six or seven years ago, when we had more people who wanted to play than available golf courses. We built so many golf courses we've had a little falling off of interest and now that situation has reversed and now we're finding all those hundreds of thousands of people, that had we had a better way of introducing them to the game and teaching them, that we would have had hundreds of thousands more golfers than we have today because we lost them. It's too tough to get over that plateau that is so difficult to get to enjoy the game. And it's not only after a year, because most of the new golfers don't stick with it, after a few lessons and they can't beat the ball squarely; they go out on the practice tee and they see other people who can do it and they can't, it's very difficult and embarrassing situation.

There is a story, and I don't know whether it's true, and maybe Davis Love, if any of you talk to Davis Love, can ask him whether this story is true, his dad, Davis Love, Sr. was a Tour player and as he started raising a family, he decided that he wasn't as successful as he thought he would like to be on Tour and he was going to take a club job. So he decided to quit and, lo and behold like that, he got a club job. And he called his mentor and friend down in Austin Texas who taught Tom Kite and he called Mr. Penick, and he said, "Mr. Penick, my family is getting established. I know I can't stay out on Tour and I have to take a job. I got a job. The problem is I've never taught anybody how to play." Mr. Penick said, What's the problem? He said, "I need to come to Austin immediately. I've got to come see you immediately. You need to show me how to teach them how to play."

"Davis," he said, "I'll tell you what you need to do. I'm going to ask you to do something and ask you to call me in two weeks."

"What do I have to do?" He said, "I want you to go to a music store and I want you to pick any instrument and I want you to get a teacher, and I want you to take a series of lessons over two weeks and call me."

So Davis Sr. supposedly, as I understand it, he went to the music store and picked out some sort of wind instrument, a trombone, he got some sheet music, he got a teacher, and took a couple of lessons and he called Penick on the phone and he asks, "Davis, how did you do"?

He said, "Well, I got my lessons, I rented a horn, I got some music." He said, "Tell me about your experience." He said, "It was very difficult. I couldn't read the music." He said, "I couldn't make the horn make any noise." He said, "It was the most embarrassing difficult experience of my life." He said, "I really still want to come down and talk to you about teaching."

Harvey said, "Well, Davis, you now know everything you need to know about teaching somebody to play golf. You don't need to come see me. That's what every new golfer faces, what you just faced in the last two weeks of doing something you've never done before."

I don't want to ramble on here because you may want to ask me some questions. Let me tell you how I got started. I have three grandchildren, my oldest grandchild is now 19 years old, but when she was 13, 6 years ago, she is the oldest, and then there was an 11-year-old and a nine-year-old and we had them down to Jacksonville, and I decided I wanted to give them golf lessons.

They were down for a week, so I scheduled a series of lessons every day, and I went out after the first day to watch them and it was pretty ugly. They were being given good instruction. I was watching them, and the instructor would put their hands on the club. And after they got the first one, she tried to swing at it and was working with the second one, and after she swung once or twice, instead of her hands being -- her left hand was over here and her right hand was over here, and she couldn't hit it.

After watching this for a while, I went home that night and I went in my garage and pulled out three old clubs and I got on my grinder and I fashioned a grip and took the three kids and showed on this grip, with holes for your thumbs and where it is, I fashioned a very simple grip and put their hands on it and said, you take this back tomorrow. I went to the instructor and said, I want the instructor to use this. It was overnight. It was amazing. The inability to even meet the ball with these three young kids, overnight they had some reasonable success with just putting their hands on the club, and the instructor wasn't confronted with trying to minutely teach them how Ben Hogan held the club when he went into the U.S. Open.

So I started with that, and that was the genesis of this, and I said to myself, if it can make that much of a difference from one day to the next with these three kids, the problem is even greater with adults, because they're less inclined to follow direction, they're not as pliable as young people in learning and it's much more difficult for adults to learn. So I took that as the beginning.

I've been working for a few years with Golf Pride, and they've helped me build some grips, and then I began thinking, it's not just the grip, it's the whole system of teaching, so I put together -- I started four or five years ago, 1999, and went through a couple of drafts. As in any project, you get enthusiastic about it and I've talked to lots of instructors about it, and it laid dormant for a while, and then this year, as the 2020 Summit was being held, and listening to some of the output of the 2020 Summit, which is directed towards not only the long-term future of the game but what about right now, how do you get people in right now, I resurrected the work that I had been doing for three or four years and have defined it some and decided to actually launch an experimental teaching program, which involves using specialized grips. It involves a very programmed approach to learning how to play the game, and I'm personally convinced that we can achieve this or come very close to achieving the average individual, not the highly motivated but the average individual to be able to shoot break 100 and shoot in the 90s in 6 months.

I talked to Commissioner Finchem about it, and he said it's needed, certainly I'd like to support it. And Tim, through the PGA TOUR, has given me a grant of $25,000 to start the experimental program. I said, "It's my idea. If the Tour will support me to that extent, then I will donate my own $25,000. So we've made -- I've made arrangements with the First Tee, to make the donation to the First Tee and they're going to administer the finances of the experimental teaching program. I then started going out to the industry.

Gary Shaw, a partner of mine, who is the former president of the PGA, and he is arranging and has made an application to the PGA TOUR teaching grant. I went to Golf Pride and I went to Callaway, and both Golf Pride and Callaway have made a $25,000 contribution to the experiment. I gave them not a real extensive briefing, probably not as long a briefing as I'm going to give you. If you give me some interesting questions about it, I'll be happy to give you some insight into what the teaching system is all about. But we now have sufficient finances to bring a program through a year, 18 months -- it will take a year to 18 months. I want to put several hundred students through this program. I want to be able to prove the results with men and women of various ages, but I think we have the promise of being able to have a system that will bring people into the game in a much less painless fashion than we have ever in the past.

It's not to say we don't have a lot of great teachers out there, but most beginners are brought in by assistance, without a lot of experience, and the general way of teaching people how to play golf is to show them how to grip it and give them some idea how to stand and then ask them to swing the club and then they start correcting the problems that come into being. If any of you learned as adults, that's generally the way it's done.

This is a far different program, a very programmed approach. I just built a golf course up in Frederiksberg, Virginia, with Gary Shaw. We have enough property for 54 holes. We only have 18 holes, but we've built a driving range that will accommodate all 54 holes. We have a huge facility up there to do this experimental teaching facility, and it will be available for 18 months. We're going to house the program at a golf course that I've designed up at Cannon Ridge at Frederiksberg, Virginia.

To get that many people through in the period of time we want to, it requires having this in a major metropolitan area because it's very much a local -- it's not the kind of teaching program where you can advertise, bring people in, charge them a lot of money, because they have to be there locally. They have to keep coming back and be there for a 6 month period of time. It's obviously not the typical golf schools that are so highly profitable. This is not a profitable venture. We're doing this as an experiment. The information and the methods are going to be made available to anybody who would like to use them. Anybody who wants to come and visit and watch the sessions that we're giving while we're experimenting, we're delighted.

We're getting some good input from other teachers. Probably most of the things that we're doing, other teachers have used one or two of them, but have never put them together in this system that we think has the best chance of bringing an adult to enjoyment of the game at an early stage and not losing so many of them.

And with that as a primer, I'll turn it over to questions and try to respond in every way I can and.

Q. How many success stories have you had using this system and what's the time commitment for somebody during that 6 months?

DEANE BEMAN: What I'm looking for -- let's talk about the individual. I'm not looking for that extraordinary student who will give you a lot of time. I don't think that's a good test. We're looking for the average individual who would like to play who might give you in the beginning, for the first couple of weeks, maybe two or three sessions a week and then after that once or twice a week. We're not looking for somebody to spend their life for 6 months to break 100, because we know that's done. There are people who come into the game who are highly motivated and will give you a lot of time who will do that. We're talking about capturing that individual who will give you an average amount of time, somebody who probably is still working, who doesn't have a lot of time on their hands. That's the individual that we're looking for. We're certainly probably going to get some highly motivated individuals but we're going to keep track of the effort. Not only will we keep track of the system we use and the methods we use and the age, whether they're men, women, and what age they're entering this, but we'll keep track of what is the effort that they're putting into it, how many times do they come, how many times do they practice, so we have an appropriate experiment to be able to pass on to somebody else who will be teaching hopefully hundreds of thousands of people through this system.

Q. After you get out of the experimental phase, what do you anticipate it would cost somebody for 6 months, in general?

DEANE BEMAN: Frankly, I don't know. We're doing this in groups. We're not doing it in individuals. We're trying to keep the cost low. I think that in our experimental system -- I don't want to give free lessons to people because I want them to have some reasonable desire to play. We're probably going to charge $100 for a 6-month session to carry them through the program to show them the system. I would hope that the industry, the professionals and assistant professionals, that we can prove this system works, we can keep the costs low because you've got a lifetime of golf ahead of you, if we can get you into the game. I would hope the incentive is to keep the cost low, but I'm not doing this so that it's a money-making project. We're doing it experimentally and then turning it over to whoever would like to use the system. And I'm sure some people will charge a little bit and some people will charge a lot.

Q. The average cost for a lesson in Kiawah is $100.

DEANE BEMAN: If you have a club that has a membership and a lot of spouses don't play golf, my guess is -- what we're attempting to do is take not a highly experienced teacher to administer this program through a club. It could be done at a pretty low cost. That's one of the advantages of having a system. You don't have to have an expert teacher to administer this system.

Q. It can be done in a rec department or community?

DEANE BEMAN: It has the potential of being able to be used for recreational, high school and colleges. It has that potential. We're not doing that. We're taking probably the toughest golfer to get started, which is the mature adult, and we believe it would probably be easier to teach juniors. There are a lot of junior programs out there. We're trying to solve the problem of the loss of these adults that we can't get through a system and stick with us long enough to overcome the problems of learning how to play.

Q. You mentioned Golf 2020, and your program sounds very similar to PGA of America�s Link Up to Golf Program. Tim, you might speak to this.

DEANE BEMAN: It very well could be. I'm generally familiar with Link Up to Golf. This is directly connected with only teaching the game. Their link up to golf is an overall inclusive program of how to get people to golf courses, and of course teaching is a part of that. Clearly if this system past the experimental stage, proves that we can bring people to a higher proficiency at an earlier level so that they can endure the game sooner, this would be an integral part of that. This is not a substitute, nor is it in competition with anything else. We're trying to show that there may be, through a total system, a way of bringing people into the game, more people, sooner, less painfully, than currently is being done.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Let me comment on that. The Link Up to Golf is an effort to attract people, bring them in, change a little bit the intrigue with the way that they are brought into the game, because they are counseled and educated a little bit differently, but part of that is a set of lessons, every club will administer Link Up differently. They might charge X dollars for 6 lessons. The lessons are traditional lessons. Deane's program is suggesting that through the test phase, once you get to the lesson, there's a different way to do it. So Link Up, if this is successful, I can see Link Up, you know, saying, let's take Deane's philosophy and apply it to these five clubs that use Link Up, let's compare over the next three years the impact of that program on 100 people coming into the game with five clubs. If his test is successful I would assume you would see some of those applications.

End of FastScripts.

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