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March 13, 2018

Jay Monahan

Ernie Els

Tiger Woods

Orlando, Florida

LAURA NEAL: Good morning, everyone -- good morning in Melbourne, good afternoon here in Orlando, welcome to the Latrobe Room here at Bay Hill. I'm Laura Neal, I'm Senior Vice President of Communications for the PGA TOUR and I'm delighted to be here this afternoon for this exciting and important announcement for the 2019 Presidents Cup, which will be played at the Royal Melbourne Golf Club in Melbourne, Australia in 2019. Please join me in welcoming our PGA TOUR Commissioner Jay Monahan and for the first time officially our newly-minted captains for the 2019 Presidents Cup. For the U.S., Tiger Woods, and for the international team, Ernie Els.


Thank you for joining us and for your time today. As we begin today's press conference, please note that we will have media availability for Tiger immediately following this press conference, so we'll hold questions related to this week's event and the PGA TOUR as a whole for that portion of the presentation. But for this press conference I would like to start with a couple questions for our guests and then open it up to media here in Orlando. Before taking a few questions from for those joining us from Australia via teleconference. So my first question is for our commissioner, Jay Monahan. Jay, having been a part of the discussions to get to where we are today for this announcement, how excited are you in March of 2018 for the Presidents Cup that's coming in December of 2019?

JAY MONAHAN: Well thank you, Laura, and good afternoon everyone and good morning to our friends in Victoria, Australia. And I would just say that I'm extremely excited to be here to share in this news. I think you would be hard pressed to find two contemporary athletes who have meant more to their sport than Ernie Els and Tiger Woods. They both have been a big part of the bed rock of the Presidents Cup as ambassadors and as competitors in the event. To that, Ernie Els has carried the international flag as a legendary figure to the game both on and off the golf course while Tiger Woods has been one of the most transcendent athletes this sport and all of sport has ever seen. And they will do as they will continue to do what they have always done and that is to serve as a bridge to past team members and past captains who have laid the foundation for the Presidents Cup to the stars of today who fully embrace the hallmarks of the event. Those hallmarks being golf on a global stage, a love and passion for the game, and an appreciation for its impact. Its impact on emerging markets, its impact on their home countries and an impact on the charities that they all are so passionate about. And as you look up here at these two men, we think back to 2003 and the Presidents Cup, one of the greatest moments this sport has ever seen, I still wonder how they got through it, those three holes were as dramatic as any moment in all of sport, as they represented their teams and their captains Gary Player and Jack Nicklaus respectively to again just a great moment in our sport. And to take that moment and project it forward and to think of them bringing that passion to their teams is very special. So a great moment for the Presidents Cup here today. I just want to take a moment to thank the Arnold Palmer Invitational presented by Mastercard. As you look up here you see Mr. Palmer's bag to the right of the stage. He was the second captain of the U.S. Presidents Cup's team and I think as he looks at these two men, he looks down at these two men, he's got a big smile on his face, knowing that they're taking big steps in their respective careers leading their respective sides and I also know he has a particularly big smile knowing that these two men are playing in the Arnold Palmer Invitation presented by Mastercard the next five days. Also want to thank Visit Victoria, our hosts, Alister MacKenzie's Royal Melbourne Golf Club, a place I've never been to, I can't wait to get to, but it's clearly unique, it's stellar, it's one of the great tests and we're excited to return there for the third time. And finally, just the fans of Australia and hospitality we have all so many of us have experienced it in the past and we look forward to getting back there, yes, it's March of 2018 but it will be December of 2019 before we know it. Thank you.

LAURA NEAL: Thank you, Jay, well said. Captain Els. It's nice to have a nice ring to it for the first time, you've been a part of nine Presidents Cups as a player, as an assistant captain. What does it mean to share the news today finally that you are captain of the International Team for the 2019 event?

ERNIE ELS: I'm excited, thank you very much. It's obviously a great honor. As Jay said, both of us, myself and Tiger, we have given a lot to this event as players in the past and myself as a team member of the International Team has been an absolute privilege to play for the team and under the captains we have had in the past. We ever had some unbelievable times, playing in these events all around the world and for me to be leading my team into Australia, one of my favorite places in the world to play golf at, is really going to be an honor. It's going to be really exciting and I know it's a long way away, but I'm really looking forward to this. It's really kind of a dream job so to speak for me. I know we have got a hell of a job against a pretty formidable guy to my right here and a great team they have. The so we know we got a lot of work left, but I'm really excited to get to work and work with Jay and his team from the PGA TOUR and get down there to play on a great golf course.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Ernie. And Captain Woods, this is something people expected eventually, you being a captain of a U.S. team event. But they may be surprised that it's 2019 it's come so quickly. Why now, what made it the right time for you to take this role?

TIGER WOODS: Well I've enjoyed being a part of the last two cups, a Ryder Cup and a Presidents Cup. Working for Davis and then Steve last year. It was just a lot of fun for me to be part of it and on a different side as being a non-player and trying to help the guys as best I could. I understand my, I understood my role, what I tried to do, are how I could benefit the team and it was just a natural progression to one day become a captain. Serving as vice captain twice. So here I am as the captain of the 2019 Presidents Cup, and it's so exciting to be a part of it and I've been a part of eight times as a player, one time as a vice captain, and to have played it in Canada, to play it in South Africa, Australia twice, it's been a lot of fun to be able to move this cup all over the place. On top of that, our game is growing, it's becoming more global, and I think this event is going to be, it's only going to get bigger and better over the years. We have been a part of it from the very beginning, Ernie and myself, and we have seen it grow, we have seen it get bigger, and the fact that we can now be a part of it from a different side is going to be very exciting for both of us, especially given our history of battling each other for the past 20 plus years it's going to be able to fun to do it from a different perspective.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Tiger. Thank you, captains. One final question for you, commissioner, before we open it up to the media. The press release we distributed noted two changes to the format requirements and eligibility for the Presidents Cup in 2019. We have that each player will play a minimum of one match prior to the singles matches. This is a change from past years when players were required to play twice. And additionally the top eight players for both teams from their standings will officially qualify after the 2019 TOUR Championship and captains will later select four captains picks instead of two. Jay, can you please share your thoughts on what was made this the right timing for those changes in particular.

JAY MONAHAN: Well I think first of all any changes to the competitive format need to be agreed upon by both captains and when you look to 2019, we're obviously playing in December. In the past or just this past September we were playing in September. So that requires that brings in some different considerations and I think as they thought about how they wanted to best prepare and put forward their most competitive teams, having those two options, the option to have eight players selected at the TOUR Championship and then to determine when they want to pick their remaining four picks, which they will choose that time at a later point in time, and then being in a position where each player's required to play just one match, that doesn't mean that they only will play one match, but having that flexibility was something that they both agreed would be good for the cup and we obviously supported it.

THE MODERATOR: At this time we'll open it up to questions for the media.

Q. For both of you, have you given any thought to whether or not you'll be playing captains?
TIGER WOODS: Yes, I have.


ERNIE ELS: I think he's going getting in position to maybe play.

Q. How about you?
ERNIE ELS: No, I think we're, I'm going to be captaining.

Q. How did this come about on your end, at your age and interest in playing, why now?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it came about just through a group texted with Davis, Freddie, Jim and Steve and who we thought might be the next captain and they said that you would probably be on the short list. And I didn't really think about it in that way. But then after a little bit of thought I said, you know what, are that's, that sounds like something I really want to do. I called Jay up said, hey Jay, might you be interested in me possibly being the captain in 2019 Presidents Cup team? Silence.


And then he said, yeah, I think that might, we might be able to work that out. So here I am.

Q. Tiger and Ernie, you guys both played in 1998 and 2011 at Royal Melbourne what about that course do you think makes it a good Presidents Cup venue?
ERNIE ELS: Well I think just everything about it. It's a great golf course with great balance. We talk about balance, but you got par-3s that you're going to be playing wedges in, you're going to have par-3s with 3-irons, you're going to have long par-4s, 5s, weather conditions play a huge part. So it's really a test of your all around game. And then obviously the city itself of Melbourne, it's a wonderful sports city, they love their sport down there, very competitive kind of a nature of the place, with the Aussie Rules that they play and the cricket and stuff that you guys will probably pick up when you're down there. But it's a wonderful town to play golf in and the golf course itself, I mean this guy designed Augusta National, Doctor MacKenzie, so he knew what he was doing designing golf courses and you got to bring your all-around game to compete down there.

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it's good, it's a great test. As Ernie was alluding to. You have short holes, you have long holes. It's usually quick, fast and it puts a premium on creativity and execution. And there's so many different shot options that you have. I think Mr. MacKenzie tried to basically give you as many different shots as possible, try and hit all 14 clubs in the bag, and that golf course will bring it out. There's not too many golf courses where I feel nervous hitting a sand wedge and I got to play it 30, 40 feet away. But it gets so hard, so fast and so windy that it can happen. And plus if you remember it was about like 190 degrees there the first day and then it was like it was going to snow the next day. So, yeah, the weather can change very quickly and it is one of the, it's probably the greatest sporting town. They really enjoy their sport and they come out in droves and really support not just International Team but support us and they support the game of golf and they support sport. That to me it's why it's just so much fun to play there.

Q. To follow-up, more to Ernie, but your thoughts as well, Tiger. Australian crowds have always been very tame and friendly at golf tournaments, perhaps because we have been starved of the big names coming down on a regular basis. Would you like to see potentially like a more hostile crowd, maybe more towards what we saw in New York with the American support in 2019?
ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah, I mean obviously it's a home game for us, so to speak. It's the third time we are playing in Australia at Royal Melbourne. So as an International Team it's a home field game for us so we would like to think that we're going to have the majority of the support. But as Tiger said earlier, it's a global sport, kids heroes are their heros, whether they're American, South African, Australian, Chinese, they're going to support the hero and we're fine with that. I think momentum is a big part in match play, team sport, I think if we can get some putts moving our direction into the hole, like we did in 1998, I think the crowd can really get behind us a little bit more. But these guys are super stars, they don't get to go to Melbourne every year, so there's fans and fans. We'd like to get, as I said, momentum going our way and maybe we get some more noise coming our way.

Q. Tiger, would you like to see a more Ryder Cup style crowd in Melbourne?
TIGER WOODS: I think it might be a little bit like that. If you foresee the team being Leish and Jason, Adam, maybe other couple core Aussies and that, yeah, you could see that happening. They're going to support their own, right? But the International Team has been very difficult to beat there. The only reason we won last time is we made a few more putts as Ernie was alluding to. The matches are very close, especially on that golf course, it can swing so many different ways because of how difficult it can play and it's just about getting momentum. This kind of format you really thrive on momentum. Just making key putts at the right time and closing out matches and keeping that thing going and so far over the course of the cups we have been able to do that, but in Australia it's one loss, one win. Hopefully we'll get the better side of it.

Q. Go back to 2003, just curious, how many holes or how many hours, how many days would you have needed to finish that playoff?
ERNIE ELS: I thought I had him beat for once. He had a left-to-right putt, four foot of break seemed like and in darkness. I had a pretty straight one going up the hill. But I really thought maybe this time he was going to miss one. But he poured it in. And so I think it could have gone on for a couple of hours more.

TIGER WOODS: I beat him in regulation.


Q. As captains would you like to bring back that part of it?
TIGER WOODS: We were talking about that then and there that night for a very long period of time with certain libations and we couldn't believe the amount of pressure we felt and we both had won Major Championships, but nothing felt like that. I'll tell you the putt I made on No. 2 was, yeah, it was a really tough putt, but the putt on 1 really got my attention. We played 18, then we came down 1. And as I have lining up my putt I had to see this entire hillside of red and this entire team right in my line. And so I know if I miss, we lose. And it was a, it became a reality. Before I was just playing a match against Ernie in a sudden death. Then all of a sudden I realized if I miss this putt I miss it for all my teammates all of the people who came down and supported us I miss it for everybody. Then it became a lot more real. Then the next hole was a good putt.

Q. Did you think you would enjoy being an assistant captain and now a captain as much as you have and what is it about being a captain or assistant captain that gets you, that you get so excited. Same thing for you Ernie?
TIGER WOODS: I didn't know what to expect when Davis wanted me to be a part of his team. And it was amazing to work with the guys, to work with all of them to try and help them try to put them in the best position and the most comfortable position for them that they wanted to be in. And it was tough. And I was responsible for four guys, had a couple uncomfortable conversations that was incredible because I had to -- I went up to Dustin and said, Dustin, I need to sit you from Saturday morning. He had just won Player of the Year, he won a Major that year, he was the guy, but we thought we had a couple other guys that were playing well. But I said, I need you to come tomorrow morning with me to the golf course and be a team player, support your teammates, make sure you're there, you're the No. 1 player in the world, show your face, show your excitement for being there and that will get them all fired up. And I'm going to tell you what, he was an amazing team player. He did it and I said, you're going out first out with Brooksie in the afternoon, do whatever you need to do to get ready, just by you being here the guys will get your back, they will play well this morning for you. And it was cool. And that's the side of it that I hadn't seen before, because I normally am the one hitting the shots. So to be a part of it in that way was very interesting and very fun, very difficult. Then last year was the same. I thoroughly enjoyed the thought, the thinking of putting together teams and looking at different scenarios, moving guys around and trying to get them comfortable. Having great conversations with them leading up to the Cups. That's where I got to know a lot of these guys. I have been out, I've been away from the game, I hadn't been a part of seeing some of these young kids and their development. But now I get a chance to be a part of it with them and it was fun for me and then as I said it was a natural progression for me to one day become a captain. I didn't think it was going to be this quickly, but in hindsight it was perfect timing.

Q. Ernie, for you, they talked about some changes to the format to maybe make it a little built more competitive as far as having four captains picks now is that one of the beneficial things that you thought about along the lines with the other leaders of the team?
ERNIE ELS: Well, yeah. Absolutely. I think also the one year qualifications also to get guys that are really on form, qualify for the team and then it gives me a nice better time from the TOUR Championship onwards towards the Cup to make those decisions on which players I'm going to pick. And being at Royal Melbourne for what it is and the World Cup of Golf being played down there, it could also be very important to see how the guys perform in that event and because a lot of international players will probably play for their countries in the World Cup, so it could be a big week, so there's a lot to think about and look at. But also the playing players once at least once before the singles, not that you want to leave any players out, but I can really focus on parings that I feel can really work.

Q. Will the quality of the venue possibly influence your decision whether you would be a playing captain?
TIGER WOODS: Well I would like to get to a point where I would have to make that decision, get to where I'm playing well enough where either I could make the team on points. But I wouldn't want to have the conversation and go, "Self."


I don't really want to have that conversation, and so I let's just see how it progresses.

Q. Jay, would you like to see this competition have the same intensity as the Ryder Cup or do you think it's okay if it has its own kind of feel?
JAY MONAHAN: I think every event has its own feel. I don't think there is any shortness or lack of intensity in this event and you stand there on the first tee at the start of each match, you're there on Sunday night in each respective team's cabin, you're talking to the guys individually over the course of the week, they're fighting with everything that they have to try and win this Cup. On both sides. And I think we're extremely excited about where the Cup is and where the Cup is about to go. And I think its progression is and continues to be a phenomenal progression and we're going into a point in time where you're going to continue to see more young international stars step forward, more great U.S. players step forward, and by the time we get to Melbourne, you're going to have a new set of players that are challenged in ways that they have never been challenged before and do so in a team setting. So I think we're, I think it's right where it needs to be and Melbourne's going to be another demonstration of that.

Q. Tiger, now that you're captain what's the biggest challenge for you between now and the 2019 Presidents Cup to get the team ready and does your schedule change at all whether it's tournaments you play or who you play practice rounds with or anything like that?
TIGER WOODS: Oh, no, we're still almost two years out, so there's a lot of golf to be played, there's a lot of events to be won, points to be earned. So just keep it light, let them go compete. I'm going to try and beat them, they're going to try and beat me and we're just going to, as Ernie said, it's the second year that's the year of the Cup is when points start to get a little more intense and see where guys shake out. You just never know how a player's going to play two years from now. So I just want my guys all of them to be competitive, be playing well, be excited about going to Australia, to really bond well, to have each other's backs, to really enjoy the lead up to it, and enjoy the competition of it and enjoy the team format. And know that we are a great team and that we have each other's backs at all times.

Q. Tiger, I know you enjoyed your role at the Presidents Cup, at Liberty National but how tough was it not to have been playing then?
TIGER WOODS: It really wasn't that difficult because I, at that time, unfortunately, my back, it wasn't fused yet and so I hadn't hit a full golf shot yet, so it really wasn't that difficult because I didn't know what my future may hold for me. Now if I felt like I do now, then? Different story.

Q. Jay, two things, just to be clear is there anything in the agreement or whatever it's called now that allows for a playing captain?
JAY MONAHAN: No, I think that any changes to -- ultimately when we get to a point in time where that's a reality for either one of these two captains, then they're going to address that individually with their own teams. But there's nothing that calls that out specifically in the agreement.

Q. And secondly, just curious, in terms of the reach or impact or whatever of two captains, how do you think it would be different, I mean Jack and Gary are fairly big people in the game, but they also have been 20, 30 years removed since they last played. Outside of the tee shot at Augusta. What kind of difference do you think it will be to an audience to have two relatively contemporary players?
JAY MONAHAN: I think it's a huge impact. And I think it's a huge impact because for two reasons, one, they're going to bring the world at large to the Presidents Cup as they have done every time that they're competing on a global stage. And in doing so they're likely going to be bringing forward future stars and if you look at what's happening in the game right now internationally, you got HaoTong Li inside the top-40 in the world from China, Shubhankar Sharma from India who has played exceedingly well. We don't know who is going to come forward between now and then, but it's likely that stars from new countries are going to come forward with Ernie Els and Tiger Woods leading their respective teams. So I think it's just going to take the game deeper and wider than it's ever been and it's going to continue on the progression of reaching all the markets throughout the world in a powerful way. And this goes back to, this is part of the wisdom that I think Commissioner Finchem deserves great credit for in establishing this event when it was established, because this is the point in time where we all envisioned -- we're right where we thought we would be and now this is another opportunity to take the Cup and the game forward in significant ways on a global basis.

Q. Ernie, a question for you. Your predecessors Greg Norman, Nick Price, they both worked pretty hard to get the number of points available lowered. They kind of had their hearts set on 28, it's now 30. Are you comfortable with that or are you continuing to campaign?
ERNIE ELS: No, I'm comfortable with that. I think it's been a good change from 34 down to 30. I think there's enough points where everybody on the team is going to have to play for. 28 we felt was maybe a bit -- we don't want to hide too many players, if you know what I'm saying. 28, 30, there's enough points that we're playing over four days, it's a little different format from the Ryder Cup which I really like. So I'm pretty comfortable with that. They have made a big change, are as I said, through the years, things will keep changing, probably going forward. But I've always been, I've always been comfortable with playing for the 30 points. I have no problem with that. And the majority of the team feels the same way. So you just got to get on and play some proper golf and start taking it to the American side.

Q. Tiger, when you did first inquire with Jay, did the idea of playing come up? Did you mention that to him at that time? Was it on your mind at all, hey, can I do this and still play?
TIGER WOODS: I did. I mean, Hale did it in the first year. And I know it was the first year, the inaugural event, but he still did it. So I just wondered if that was an opportunity and he said that there's nothing in the bylaws that say that I can't do it. It's going to be dependent on myself, my assistants and the players, if I happen to get to that point. That's a bridge that's a long way away from now to be crossing, but if it does come to that point, it won't just be just my decision, it will be a collaborative effort, what is best for the team.

THE MODERATOR: I believe we have one question on the line from our friends in Melbourne.

Q. Having four captains picks and the pressing nature of the International Team to get a victory, do you think you might load up those captains picks with potentially Australians, given the intimate knowledge they would have of Royal Melbourne?
ERNIE ELS: That could be a possibility, obviously. I guess that question was directed at me.


Obviously, Royal Melbourne, it's a golf course where a lot of Australians have played through the years and they're very familiar with the surroundings and conditions down there and it could be a possibility. Again, we're quite a ways away, but if there's certain players that are really looking like they are playing well and have had a lot of success it could be a possibility. Now I want to choose the players that can have the best chance of getting the Cup back. And if that is the case where, for instance a Robert Allenby, if he gets going, the form, he's won quite a few events at Royal Melbourne, he could be a possibility for a player out of the hat. But really players on form, showing a lot of promise are the players I want to look at.

Q. Ernie, it seems with Presidents Cups that the Internationals seem best equipped to win after the Presidents Cup's finish because they have finally got teamwork in terms of their foursomes and four-balls. Is there any way of trying to encourage players to play more perhaps the Zurich Classic or some of the rare four-ball and foursomes events around the world to pair up some of your likely combinations?
ERNIE ELS: Yeah, absolutely we're going to encourage that as much as we can, get the players to play in these events, like the Zurich event. And even other events. We'll have get togethers and play those kind of formats to get the guys familiar with each other and especially the rookies, the newcomers, really get them familiar with that type of golf and even match play in general. Not a lot of our guys play a lot of match play so we're going to have to play some matches, get some rounds under the belt in that kind of format and really get them tested under those kind of conditions. So that's definitely on my agenda.

Q. Did it take you a while to warm up to a team competition or is that a misperception and what was the thing that most kind of surprised you about the dynamic?
TIGER WOODS: It didn't take long for me to warm-up at all. Think about it, I went from playing at Stanford, playing on a Walker Cup team and then making my first Ryder Cup team in the first year. So it was team, team, team, team. Probably the greatest misperception is that I was, I should have been one of the leaders of the team. But when you have Davis, you have Payne Stewart, Mark O'Meara, Freddie, I mean I was just a rook. That was my first full year as a TOUR pro and I just got on the team and I was just soaking it all in. '99 came along and it's the same thing, I was the youngest guy. I've been always the youngest guy on the team for probably about three, four Cups. So that was interesting. And then, so now it's a little bit different, I'm one of the older guys being a part of the Cup. So it was, it's been fun to be part of it all these years, but as far as misperceptions, I think that certainly has been, especially early on in my career because there were already so many established leaders of these teams and I was just getting started and I was still learning.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you, captains and commissioner, for sharing your time and this exciting news today.

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