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August 8, 2018

Ozzie Smith

St. Louis, Missouri

THE MODERATOR: Good afternoon, everybody. Welcome back to the 100th PGA Championship Bellerive Country Club, St. Louis, Missouri, and thank you for attending today's press conferences. We recognize and celebrate Ozzie Smith as the first ever PGA Championship host city champion for his work in not only bringing this 100th PGA Championship here to St. Louis, but for his remarkable work on behalf of PGA Reach, which we will get to in a short moment.

As a testament to Ozzie's investment in St. Louis, the 100th PGA Championship and PGA Reach, we have a number -- a number of his friends from sports and broadcasting here with us this afternoon to pay tribute to his good works.

Unfortunately, one friend that couldn't make it was Bob Costas, who had his flight cancelled out of New York City, but nonetheless, we have a great amount of St. Louis star power here today to lend their support to the 100th championship and their friend Ozzie Smith.

Two members -- and let me introduce them from my right -- two members of the pro football Hall of Fame, Ozzie's good friend Marcus Allen.

[ Applause ]

And a former member of the St. Louis Cardinals Super Bowl team who makes his home here, Aeneas Williams. Let's hear it for the longtime beloved Cardinals play by play man, Mr. Mike Shannon.

[ Applause ]

And a member of the national baseball Hall of Fame, Ozzie's longtime manager here with the Cardinals, Whitey Herzog.

[ Applause ]

We're going to skip a person we'll get back to, but from the St. Louis Blues, the original member of the team that launched here in 1967, Bob Plager.

[ Applause ]

How about a fan favorite and a member of the U.S. hockey Hall of Fame, Mr. Keith Tkachuk.

[ Applause ]

Two straight members of the hockey Hall of Fame, Bernie Federko and Al MacInnis.

[ Applause ]

And a current goal scoring stud from the Blues and NHL superstar Vladimir Tarasenko.

[ Applause ]

And the national -- and from the national broadcasting community, one of our game's great national treasures, who is here covering this week's 100th PGA Championship on behalf of KTRS, Jay Randolph.

[ Applause ]

Perhaps we cap it off with just the greatest female athlete in history from east St. Louis, Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

[ Applause ]

And finally, I'm proud to introduce someone who has known Ozzie, I believe, his whole, entire life and is uniquely qualified to speak to what Ozzie means to the city of St. Louis, and, of course, the Cardinals and now our game of golf. To help us set that stage, I'd like to welcome the lead voice of the U.S. Open, the World Series, and the NFL on Fox, our friend Joe Buck.

[ Applause ]

JOE BUCK: Thank you. Thank you. Is this on?

First of all, welcome to the living wake for Ozzie Smith. (Laughter). Got to be a little awkward for you to have everybody here on your behalf.

OZZIE SMITH: Hi, everybody. Hi.

JOE BUCK: That being said, it's an honor. It's kind of funny, when Ozzie first came to St. Louis in 1982, when that man, Whitey Herzog made the trade to make that happen and bring him here from San Diego, the word was back then that he was all glove, can't hit, Ozzie Smith and the wizard of Oz.

Well, he ended up with over 2,400 hits in the big league, so that wasn't true. When he came to the Cardinals, little did we know what kind of a defensive wizard that he actually was once he got here and was a world champion in 1982, but he was all of that. 15-time all star, 13 straight Gold Gloves, all those hits that I mentioned.

But what Whitey may or may not have known, I would probably lean toward didn't know, is the kind of person that Ozzie Smith was and is to this day. The great ones separate themselves by what they do in Ozzie's sport, in the batter's box or out at shortstop or whatever it may be. The special ones are the ones that do all that and then give back.

I know Ozzie was born in Alabama. He grew up in south central L.A., but he is a St. Louisan, make no mistake about that. We claim him as ours, and he claims our town as his, and that makes us all the more better for it. Let's say this. St. Louis is going to roll out the welcome mat for the PGA Championship. I think that's already obvious. I was out there walking, following Tiger around. The galleries are massive. They're respectful.

The game of golf and the sports world is going to be reminded this week of how special a town this is. Baseball is always king here. St. Louis is always described as a baseball town. But it's much more than that. I think anybody up here who played for the St. Louis Blues would tell you it's a hell of a hockey town. I think anybody like Aeneas, who played for the St. Louis Rams, would tell you this is a hell of a football town and it's just unfortunate that they went back to L.A.

But we get a chance to now show the world, the golf world, the sports world, how great the sports fans are in this town and beyond. We've always drawn from beyond St. Louis. That's going to be the case here this week.

This is a special guy, and what he has done -- I know John's got some questions he's going to ask him about the Reach program, something that is near and dear to Ozzie's heart, to give kids a chance in high risk areas, lower income areas, to learn the game of golf. But it's like putting sugar around the information pill or putting sugar around the medicine. You're giving them the game of golf, but you're also giving them something that they can hang on to, something that they can do, something that they can look forward to, learning the rules of the great game of golf, being respectful to your fellow competitor, calling a penalty on yourself, giving them something to have and hold and learn that this is one hell of a sport. If I didn't know that before Fox got into golf, I certainly know it more and more now every time we do a U.S. Open.

So my only role here is to say that we -- this big group of people, when you say Ozzie's going to be honored, you see who wants to come out and say, thank you, Ozzie. Well done, Ozzie. Great job, Ozzie. He's been like that since the second his plane touched down in St. Louis in 1982, and he will be like that for many, many years to come. He is a great person. Hell of a baseball player, better person, the great Ozzie Smith.

[ Applause ]

THE MODERATOR: All right. Why don't I start Ozzie off with a couple of questions, and then we'll hit the floor, as we say. Ozzie, maybe tell us about the concept, how the concept of PGA Reach originated and why it was personally important to you to play a leadership role in making that concept become a reality.

OZZIE SMITH: First of all, let me say that, you know, I get a lot of credit for it, but there are a lot of people in this room, starting with the membership of Bellerive, Mike DeCola, Ed Glotzbach, Jeffrey Kreafle were all people that were part of this idea when we first started. When I was asked to become president of the Gateway Chapter of the PGA, I had no idea what I was getting into. I said be a president? What does a president do?

Because I retired from baseball and I wanted to -- I wanted to relax a little bit, and I didn't want all of the responsibility. But getting involved, I realized that it was a great way for me to introduce kids in the inner city to something that I was not introduced to when I was a kid growing up in south central Los Angeles. And I was never exposed to the game of golf, and I didn't start playing golf until I retired in 1996. And I realized that it was a great way for kids to learn discipline, self confidence -- all of those things that make you a better citizen.

So it was my goal to allow kids in the inner city to get this at an early age. Now, we talk about golf and we use golf as the hook, but it's really about educating kids, and we felt that -- the superintendent felt that kids get in trouble because they had so much idle time. Golf is very time consuming. So we thought that, if we could combine golf and get kids interested in it, then we could keep them in the classroom a little longer and hopefully build better citizens. In building better citizens, we build a better community. I have always wanted to be proud of the community in which I live, and this is a great community that I live in.

THE MODERATOR: Let's ask you a little bit about that community. Tell us -- tell me. I'm an outsider. I'm here for the week, ten days. Tell me about St. Louis, which you've made your home since the World Series title years of 1982. What makes it a great host for an event like this?

OZZIE SMITH: Well, first of all, it's the people. It's the people that make any community. And these people here are some of the most giving people in the world. When you have an event or you need help, you ask for it, you get it here, especially if you're associated with sport in this town. They're people that give, give, give and keep giving, and it's all a part of what makes this city so special.

We have the arts and stuff that we have here in this city. We're one of the great zoos, the museums here. It's a city that's rich in culture. So it was a very easy decision for me to make this my home when I came here in 1982 because the people were so warm and so -- so giving to me and my family.

THE MODERATOR: Let's hit the floor for some questions for Ozzie or the gaggle of friends we have with us today.

OZZIE SMITH: No questions. That's good.

THE MODERATOR: Have we answered everything?

OZZIE SMITH: We've answered it all.

Q. So who do you think's going to win the PGA Championship? And why?
OZZIE SMITH: You know, there's so many great golfers out there today. I think going in, Justin Thomas, just having won, probably has the momentum going into this, but it's going to boil down to who putts the best, you know, who gets the ball in the hole.

You watch these guys hit on the range, and it's amazing watching at how all of them can hit the ball so far, can keep the ball in play. So it boils down to who's going to have that good week of putting.

Q. Ozzie, can you talk about like some direct benefits, what you're seeing with your Reach program, how they're having a real effect on kids in St. Louis?
OZZIE SMITH: Well, the fact that kids would want to get involved in something like this, the interest that we've shown, and I must say at this particular time that we have some wonderful professionals that are also a part of this who spend a lot of time with those kids down there. A lot of times as president or leaders of organizations, we don't necessarily have hands on like a lot of these professionals in this area.

The other thing is that -- that has happened from PGA Reach is something we're very, very proud of called PGA Hope, and PGA Hope deals with veterans who are locked in, who have nothing to live for, depression. I was just out at Whitmore on Sunday, and they had a program out there where veterans from all over the country come and be a part of the competition and stuff. These are guys who, they didn't have anything else to do, and they got involved with PGA Hope, and now they have something to live for again, and that's very, very important.

Q. Ozzie, I asked Ali Wells earlier this year this question, and I'll ask you the same question. The Senior PGA and now this PGA Championship has been the carrot at the end of the stick, so it's easy to make this program visible to everybody. The PGA leaves Sunday night. How do you keep this in front of people going forward without that carrot?
OZZIE SMITH: Okay. That's really -- that was always the goal, and that's part of what PGA Reach is about. It reaches beyond 2018. We try to come up with a guideline by which other cities who vie for championships have a guideline that they can use to try and put together a program like this that's beneficial to kids, beneficial to the city, and hopefully we'll be able to do that when the championship leaves on Sunday.

What we're hoping to do or my long-range goal is to build a nine-hole recreational golf facility in the inner city that would allow kids the opportunity to learn the game of golf, and not only the game of golf, but the business of golf.

Q. Ozzie, can you tell everybody who your favorite caddie is out when you go and play at Tahoe every year.
THE MODERATOR: You have to answer.

Q. Okay. Don't tell everybody. A serious question. So have the other sections of the PGA, like over in Kansas City where I am, have they reached out to you and your group to try to mimic what you're doing over here? Because this has been a total success over here in St. Louis.
OZZIE SMITH: Not yet, not fully. You know, I'm good friends with Joe Carter and George Brett, and I'm sure that, if those guys get involved over there, they'll probably have the same type of success that we're having here because it's about having a face and somebody who's committed to it. If those guys commit to it, I'm sure that they could probably have the same success, and hopefully we've given them a guideline by which to operate.

Q. Jackie, it's been a long time since you were on my sports interview TV show. One of the greatest female athletes ever. Great to see you. Can you catch us up on what you've been doing and your connection to golf. Are you a golfer? And your contributions to this organization.
OZZIE SMITH: Besides Topgolf. (Laughter).

JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE: First of all, I'm still doing work with my community center in east St. Louis. I do a lot of personal and motivational talks, and my connection to golf is Ozzie Smith. And what Ozzie has been doing to ask me to come here today, that I am truly honored and blessed. Whenever you're doing something with young people that teaches them beyond the field and instilling in them character development and leadership, that they can have these two for the rest of their life.

Me as a golfer, as Ozzie said, I don't know what -- what is it called you hit with?

OZZIE SMITH: It's a club. It's a club, Jackie. It's called a club.

JACKIE JOYNER-KERSEE: But I can outrun the ball. Anyway, Ozzie going to teach me a few tricks. (Laughter).

Q. You've always been a people person, so I commend you for that, but what year did you get the burning desire to really have the passion to learn and perfect the game of golf?
OZZIE SMITH: Well, I didn't start playing until I retired in '96. And when you're always asked to play in tournaments and stuff, you want to be very -- you want to be decent. So to be decent at the game you have to play, you have to work at it. So like most of the guys up here on this stage that play this game, you have to commit yourself to it, and I committed myself to it in '96 that one day I'd be able to beat my caddie up in Tahoe from Kansas City by way of Augusta, Georgia. But it's one of those games that I know I'll never -- I knew I would never perfect it.

And I think it's the thing that draw all of us to it is that we know that we'll never perfect it, but we want to get ourselves to a point to where we're respectable. I continue to work hard at it. I still got callouss from where I hit golf balls. And I tell people all the time that you don't really start understanding the game of golf, for me anyway, until after you hit 2,000 or 3,000 golf balls, and I just -- I just -- I work hard at it. It doesn't always show. The most dangerous time with golf is when you think you've got it figured out. When you think you've got it figured out and -- put my jacket down. When you think you've got it figured out is when the game will jump up and bite you. So I try and stay away from that.

Q. Ozzie, thank you for everything you do in St. Louis. I have two questions. One, how many children have you actually reached in St. Louis and changed their lives? And number two, how can everybody get involved to be involved in Reach with you?
OZZIE SMITH: All you have to do is go to PGAreach.com to learn to volunteer and be a part of it. But we have a wonderful staff at PGA Reach with Ali Wells. We started with Josh -- I don't know. If Josh here? Josh has moved on to bigger and better things. But it was people like Jeff Kreafle, who used to be the GM here, that helped us get off the ground. I think in one weekend kind of put this whole program together, the concept and the idea -- or my concept and idea of what I thought this could be.

And as far as kids are concerned, we're just starting to get kids who have started to graduate and get involved and understand the importance of giving back. The most important talent in life is the ability to give back, and I think that that's the one lesson that we can leave with all the kids, and we're starting to see those kids start to give back to their community.

Q. This question is for Whitey. Whitey, while you were managing, what was your policy about players taking golf clubs on the road? And did it apply to the guy sitting next to you?
WHITEY HERZOG: Well, I'd love to have a trunkful of golf clubs. Anybody that wanted to take their golf clubs on the road, I never said anything about it. But, you know, when I played ball, they wouldn't let you swim. They wouldn't let you play golf. They wouldn't let you do any of those things. But, no, I always thought getting out and relaxing a little bit.

You know starting pitchers are the best golfers in the world outside of the hockey players. They're much better athletes at playing golf. But what I want to say is -- I want to say something about Ozzie. You wouldn't even know -- I wouldn't be up here if he hadn't played for me for ten years. And the greatest thing I ever did was get on that airplane on December 26th, 1981, fly out to San Diego, and try to talk him into coming to St. Louis. And when he did, that put the icing on the cake because he was the glue that put the club together and we had a great time.

But it's pretty nice to be an ex-manager to see one of your ex-players give his time and all of his things he's done for so many good things. And Ozzie, I'm very proud of you. Thank you.

[ Applause ]

JOE BUCK: To answer the second part of that, for the guy sitting next to Ozzie, for Whitey, you're talking about Mike. There's nobody at the PGA of America or anybody with the R&A that could set up a golf tour like Mike Shannon could set up that follows along a Cardinals road schedule. This man, you could get on Olympic Club before they play a U.S. Open. You could get on Medinah while they're playing the U.S. Open. If Mike Shannon wants to get you on a golf course, you are golden. This man made me fall in love with the game, but special guy.

And a bagful of Ozzie autographed baseballs gets you on any place in this country.

Q. Sounds like this is the first time this honor has been bestowed on somebody, correct? Ozzie, can you talk about what this means to you.
OZZIE SMITH: Being the first anything is great. I had no idea that, you know, an honor like this would be bestowed on me. I'm very humble. I'm very honored that something like this would happen. When we started PGA Reach, this was not the goal. The goal was to make the place in which I live a better place. And I will continue to do that. So it's very special day. And the fact that all of these guys are up here behind me means the world to me.


AENEAS WILLIAMS: I just had a question. With the tournament starting tomorrow, before the first tee off, can we get you to do the back flip?

OZZIE SMITH: Yeah, I'll bring the trampoline and plenty of medics. (Laughter).

THE MODERATOR: At this point, thank you, Ozzie. Thank you, St. Louis star power celebrities. We appreciate your time and effort to be here today. I think what we're going to do here is I'm going to get out of the way, and everybody is going to pose for a picture here together so we can keep and remember this moment for years to come.

OZZIE SMITH: All right. Thank you.

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