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March 20, 2019
KELLY SCHULTZ: Good morning everyone, and welcome to this very special launch event for the LPGA's new brand positioning, DriveOn. In a short time, that video from LPGA commissioner Mike Whan will go around the world to introduce everyone to something that has become very special to all of us here at the LPGA.
As we know, Mike always speaks from the heart and is very passionate about this topic, so we knew the only way to get him under three minutes was to put him on video.
So before we introduce you a little more to DriveOn, I would like to welcome a few very special guests that we have here with us today. The first is our commissioner, Mike Whan, thanks, Mike. (Applause).
This week we have the privilege of celebrating 13 very special women who helped us get to the point we are here today at the LPGA. We have two of our Founders here with us today, Marilynn Smith (applause), and Shirley Spork (applause).
As many of you know, Roberta Bowman joined us back in November after spending six year on the LPGA board of directors, including two as our board chairman. Mike did a very good job convincing her to be here, and we are thankful of that.
DriveOn is a big part of the reason why Roberta has joined the LPGA, so there is no better person to help us take you through the journey of how we got to DriveOn. Please.
Welcome the LPGA's Chief Brand and Communications Officer, Roberta Bowman. (Applause.)
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Thank you all for joining us today. As Kelly mentioned, this is the work I came to the LPGA to do, to expand the LPGA's brand and to shine a light on the quality and character of our members, our sponsors, our supporters, and all that they do for women not just on the golf course, but off as well.
Mike's video did just a terrific job setting out the context of what brought us to DriveOn. Change is happening everywhere. In fact, the LPGA today is a very different organization than we were even just 18 months ago. We're best known for our tours, of course. The LPGA Tour that brings us to Phoenix today, and the Symetra Tour, the Road to the LPGA.
But the LPGA is much more than that. We have been building a pipeline of activities and initiatives that reach women and girls of all ages and all playing abilities. We have an amazing group of teachers, some 1,800 of them, that represent the LPGA every day in their communities. Last year we had 80,000 girls attend LPGA-USGA Girls' Golf.
We have a new leadership academy to help teenagers develop their sense of confidence on the golf course and off as well. We have 13,000 women that are members of our amateur association. Just recently as our women's network as matured, 150,000 viewers of our women's network site.
So of course our brand positioning needed to reflect all of that. There is change happening in the world as well. We talked about diversity and inclusion and authenticity. All of those are important values for business and society at large as well.
You know, businesses are known for the company that they keep and for the causes that they support as well. For many of our partners, investing in the LPGA has become much more than a sports sponsorship. It's a value statement. To our partners, the LPGA has come to represent a positive, visible, an authentic example of diversity and leadership and opportunities for women.
Our creative partner with this work was one of the best in the world, Ogilvy Worldwide. The brief film that you'll see in just a few moments was produced by Ogilvy Singapore, shot on location at the HSBC Championship just a few weeks ago.
It was important to us that we launch this positioning this week at this event, this event that honors our Founders and all that they represent. We wanted an opportunity to use this as a chance to celebrate our history, to honor our players, our teachers, our team, and all that they do.
Of course we needed this new positioning to reflect that, but we needed it to do more. Absolutely connect all of our activities, but needed to be positive and differentiating. Needed to connect our past with our present and our future. Most importantly, needed to be true to who we are, our values, our character, and that rich history.
DriveOn captures that and more. DriveOn is rooted in positivity, but it's a sense of optimism that goes beyond golf for sure. In truth, we didn't create DriveOn; it revealed itself. For nearly 70 years the LPGA has been driving on to break barriers and provide opportunities for women and girls.
What does DriveOn mean? In just a few minutes you'll hear from three LPGA members who bring DriveOn to life. In this room, there are several more.
What do you call the insurmountable odds that Pratima Sherpa faced as she set her dream to become a professional golfer. Some of you know her story. Pratima has come a long way in her journey. She's from a Katmandu, Nepal. She and her family live in a maintenance shed on the grounds of Royal Nepal Golf Club. That's where the seed of ambition first started, and she's had that cultivated with great support by her American adoptive family and all her supporters around the world.
As unlikely as that dream may have been, Pratima is going to be teeing it up next week on the Symetra Tour thanks to a sponsor's exemption. We're all going to be cheering for her. Pratima, would you please stand up? (Applause.)
And what do you call the confidence of Phoenix Girls' Golf alumni, Amy Bockerstette. Just a few weeks ago, Amy stared down all the nerves and crowds at the Waste Management Phoenix Open. She stood over that par putt and she said to the world, I got this. And you did. Amy, stand up. (Applause.)
And what of course do you call that audacious dream of 13 women back in 1950 to create an association where women could play professional golf? What do you call that courage, that motivation, that sing-minded determination? Well, we call it drive, as in DriveOn.
For each of the panelists that you're going to hear from today, golf has been their gateway of opportunity. If you're watching us here today or in this room, it's the LPGA that binds us together. Make no mistake about this: DriveOn is bigger than women and it's bigger than sports. It's for girls and boys, women and men of all ages, sizes, shapes, and colors.
We want through this positioning to give voice to the fire that you feel inside of you when you discover your passion and your gift. We wanted to give a name to the determination, the resilience, and the sheer grit to chase your dream.
Today of course is just the start of a new positioning and a new campaign. The posters you see around us and in this room honor the Founders. We drive because they did. We strive because they did. We stand tall because we stand on their shoulders, just as every girl who follows will stand on ours.
The centerpiece of our new DriveOn positioning is a 45-second film that is launching just today over social media and will be part of our Golf Channel broadcast at this Bank of Hope Founders beginning tomorrow evening.
It's a different kind of piece than we've done in the past. It's obviously longer. Truth be told, it was done in terms of concept back in November, but we've been using the time between then to retest, refine, to make it our own. I think we've achieved that.
We wanted to do something that was rooted in golf also, but had a message that was bigger and beyond that. We think of this as a 45-second spot that in many ways was 70 years in the making. If you are a girl, were a girl, or love a girl, this is for you. (Video shown.)
ROBERTA BOWMAN: I have to say every group that's seen this has wanted to see it again. Do you want to see it again? All right. Roll it, Brad. (Video played again. ) (Applause.)
KELLY SCHULTZ: Thank you for that beautiful introduction. Throughout its history, the LPGA has always been all about its members. We are pleased to be joined by three of those amazing LPGA members here today who will come up and talk a little bit more about DriveOn.
First I would like to welcome LPGA and World Golf Hall of Fame member, Nancy Lopez. (Applause.)
I would also like to welcome LPGA Tour professional, Lizette Salas. (Applause.)
Also joining us here today is LPGA T&CP member and site director of the LPGA-USGA Girls' Golf site in Miami, Stephanie Peareth. (Applause.)
Thank you so much for joining us here today on what we feel is a very special day as we introduce this film.
First off, just want to ask what are the reactions? Lizette, you helped take part in this and we saw up on screen. What was your reaction to seeing it for the first time?
LIZETTE SALAS: Well, I'm just honored to be a part of it. When they asked me to be a part of this campaign there was no hesitation. To be part of this special message, I loved it from start to finish. There is so much more that we did that day that it would be just an entire film, so I was really excited. I think it's a very powerful message that is needed today.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Nancy, you've been a part of the LPGA for a very long time. What did it mean to you to see this film and this positioning?
NANCY LOPEZ: Of course you know I'm known for crying, so I'm an emotional mess right now. I know when Mike introduced at the PGA Show, I sat there and watched what he was talking about and the points are up on the board, and I was like, Wow. We finally are telling the story.
I felt for all these years that I been on the tour the story has never really been told. I think as I sat there and listened to Mike and I watched everybody, I felt really proud about the women that have played this game, the Founders that have given me a chance to be the person that I was on the LPGA Tour, and then still promoting the LPGA Tour and hoping to be a role model for all the little girls that come up and want to be a golfer, a businessperson, somebody special.
I was just really was very excited about it and am really, really proud to be up here today.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Stephanie, for those who don't know you, you have a very interesting DriveOn story yourself. In the midst of trying to pursue becoming a professional golfer, you were diagnosed with an incurable brain condition. You have undergone several brain surgeries, and then you went on that journey to becoming a T&CP member and working in girls' golf. You've talked about the impact that's had in on your life. How has it impacted you?
STEPHANIE PEARETH: Simply, it saved my life, because I was told my dreams were over and I had to give up because I couldn't pursue a professional golf career and have the health issues that I have. So I ended up telling the doctors that I will decide what I can and cannot do. If it hurts, I won't do it. If it doesn't hurt, then I'm going to do it.
I ended up making that decision myself, and it was hard, because the rest of my family is in England, so I really had to come up with a plan of my own. Finding girls' golf and now living every day for all the girls and for what I do with girls' golf, it gives me a purpose and something to DriveOn to.
It gives me a chance to change the future for them and make sure they have the opportunities that I know a lot of us didn't of growing up as female golfers. It's just so inspiring to be a small part of the team that's doing that.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Roberta, when we first started working with Ogilvy Worldwide they really knew nothing about golf or the LPGA. How did you get them to sort of understand these inspirational stories that we hear about often and get that type of emotion we saw in that film?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Yeah, I'm having a flashback moment, because so many of the components of the Ogilvy creative team understanding the LPGA are sitting right here today. They began by watching the Founders film and understanding that incredible degree of commitment.
Then I would feed them a few stories, one or two a month. They saw Lizette's beautiful piece on LPGA.com on her journey, and they read about Pratima and all that you have you've done. Then they saw the clip of Amy. And they are not just supporters of the LPGA, but it's a big part of their heart as well.
One funny story, if I may. To say they're not golfers is a neutral way to phrase it. One of the members of the creative team - and I think she is watching today, so I am not going to say who it is - had a significant negative emotional event with golf. Her first experience, like many of us, her father brought her to a driving range and was teaching her how to hit the clubs. She should have gone to a girls' golf event.
With her first swing of the club she broke her father's nose. We had a lot to overcome to get that heart and soul, but I think the product speaks for itself.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Lizette, knowing it's your story, your backstory, how you got here to the LPGA that really helped shape this messaging for the Ogilvy Team, what do you think it is about your story that is so inspiring, and how does that play out that you hope the message young girls get from this film and all the messaging that comes with DriveOn?
LIZETTE SALAS: I mean, just if you were to know me just by facts of where I grew up and my family background, people would think I was not meant to be a golfer. I was against all odds. My parents are immigrants from Mexico; my dad landed a job as a mechanic; middle class working family; no golf history whatsoever.
But my father had a vision, a drive, to get me to the golf course; drive me all over the country on the Symetra Tour. We overcame obstacles as a family. He is my backbone. He told me I could do whatever I wanted as long as I worked hard and had faith in myself. I am here because of that, that drive, and we're here because of the drive of the Founders.
I am also here because of this woman sitting next to me. She was my role model. She laid the path for me, women of color, and I'm just so very thankful to be here.
KELLY SCHULTZ: You talk about that story, and the story of DriveOn is really talking about, as we said in the poster, standing on the shoulders of the women that came before, and then letting the future stand on your shoulders. Nancy, you are a great example of that just in how you give back to all the young players. But the story of how you two even became close is very interesting. I know with a phone call that game before Lizette's first Symetra Tour event. Can you take us through this story a little bit??
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I didn't know about her story until she came out on tour. I get asked to do that sometimes, to call young people or to give them some good words of advice. Lizette, being Mexican myself, and the stories were kind of pretty similar. My dad was an auto body repairman; owned his own shop; we were lower middle class.
But my dad always encouraged me, as her dad encouraged her, that no matter what color your skin is or where you came from, that if you're a good person, you worked hard - and he always would tell me my word was all I had in life. He encouraged me, never discouraged me. Never said, Poor me, anything negative.
Always pushed me to be the best you can be. He didn't know for sure it was golf. I'm sure her parents didn't know for sure either. They wanted to teach us the best they could because they wanted for us than what they had for themselves.
Then I met you here for the first time and it was great. To see Lizette do what she's done, I'm very proud of you, and always just love to say I know you. But the LPGA Tour gave me a lot of opportunity. I look at the players that I got to play with Kathy Whitworth and Carol Mann, Donna Caponi, Sandra Palmer.
They were all very encouraging always. They didn't make me feel like I didn't belong here. They knew I had to carry the baton for the next generation and I was taking it from them. I think that was so important, that they were that good to me. JoAnne Carner, my idol who encouraged me as well. I learned a lot from them.
It was fun to be able to take what they did for me and be able to do that for Lizette. That's what it's all about, encouraging these young women from all over the world that we're a family. I truly believe the LPGA Tour was and is my other family besides the girls and the grandchildren.
I'm very proud of that, and I am always proud to talk about the LPGA Tour and the great women that came before me and the ones that will come after me.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Stephanie, as we talk about these inspirational messages and the things you do to try to inspire young girls each day, what did you think they'll take from this film after seeing it? What do you think is the message they'll get from that?
STEPHANIE PEARETH: I know that personally over the last few weeks when the Nike ad came out, I showed it to the girls and they finished watching it and everyone had goosebumps because it was really special what they did.
Then after a few minutes the girls realized, Well, golf is not on there. That was a moment for me because I knew this had been in the works for a while. Been at the PGA Show listening to Mike speak. I knew there was something special coming for them this year, and it's going to make them feel more like part of the family knowing that it's okay to be different.
I teach that every day. When I get the girls coming in talking about school problems, something she's not happy with, I tell her it's okay. Be a unicorn in a field of horses. You can stand out, be different, all the Dr. Seuss quotes, just to inspire them to be themselves.
I know I start the year off with the girls doing their Little Girls, Big Dreams. Some of the parents are in the room when we're doing it, and I tell them you can write anything you want on this piece of paper and I'm going to put it on the wall. If you want to be a mermaid, if you want to ride a unicorn, you're going to put it on this piece of paper and it's going to be on display for sponsors, for anybody to see, and don't let anybody tell you that your dream is stupid you can't do it or it's not realistic.
If you believe it hard enough and you wake up every morning with the ambition to go pursue it and go reach for it and DriveOn for it, that's me doing my job.
We've got some very beautiful dreams on the wall. Small group of girls all want to be president or astronauts and engineers; some women's basketball players, golfers, teachers. So it's just amazing to see that we can inspire these girls to reach forward, and when people tell them that they can't do it, they can.
It's really important I let them know they can be anything they want to be.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Roberta, we're hearing all of these inspiring stories, and these women we could listen to tell their stories all day long.
But why was it so important when we looked at brand positioning to be able to tell the inspiring stories? What is it about the LPGA's history and DNA that makes it so important that these are a critical part of our brand?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: So I was an LPGA fan before I joined the board, and certainly before I took this role. In my experience as a fan, I wanted to emulate their golf swings. I admire how well they play the game.
But I'm inspired by the journey that they've taken to get here. This week there are 144 professionals playing; every one of them has their other than story. Maybe it's not as dramatic as others, but everyone who achieves this level of excellence has faced defeat or been the first or had that sense of resilience.
Honestly, it's the stories that give us all hope. I think that's a great gift to our fans as well.
KELLY SCHULTZ: As we introduce DriveOn, we're going to be asking people to share their own DriveOn stories, people who they know who inspire them, and also in particular why they themselves DriveOn. Lizette, when you think about that, why do you think you have so much passion to DriveOn within your own life?
LIZETTE SALAS: I think I get it from my parents. Coming to this country, not knowing what the result was going to be, that drive to have a better life for their kids; I think I get some of that from my family.
My drive comes from being the first in my family to graduate from university. I was a lot of firsts, but I want other girls to be the first in their families. I want more diversity, girls of color out on tour. A lot of people told me no, that I shouldn't, that I couldn't. Here I am today with these magnificent women. I know that the next generation can do it in an even better way.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Nancy, why do you DriveOn?
NANCY LOPEZ: When I came out on the LPGA Tour my rookie year, I looked at the purses and said, You know, I think we're going to catch up with the guys. We haven't. I was kind of aggravated by that, and I was surrounded by so many fabulous women and golfers. That was the big thing for me, was the purses. How was I going to help change that?
Driving on is perfect. I feel like I was always doing that but I never thought about DriveOn. I think it's just awesome. But I was always driving on. If I had to do ten press conferences in one day, if it helped the LPGA to DriveOn, that's what I wanted to do. It was my organization, something I had to help grow, hopefully to get those purses up.
Back then when you won a tournament you had to go back the next year and do the press conference for all the tournaments. I won nine my first year, so I had to do nine press conferences. I did because it was what I should do. It was my organization. I wanted to watch it grow. There were days I was kicking and screaming, but when I got there it was nice. I knew it was what I had to do.
I feel like LPGA golf gave me that other life, the life to DriveOn, to encourage, to play great golf, to be nice to the fans, to sign the autographs, to bring ten more people in the gate. That's what I wanted to do for the LPGA Tour, to help the players coming after me to make more money on the LPGA Tour, have more tournaments.
So it always inspired me to DriveOn. When Mike talked about it at the PGA event I was like, That's it. That's what I've been doing for a lot of years. DriveOn is perfect. I love that I've been able to try and help by driving on all these years for the LPGA Tour.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Stephanie I know those young girls, as you said, saved your life are really help you and inspire you each day. I'm sure they're a big part of the reason why you DriveOn, but how would you describe it, how would you describe it?
STEPHANIE PEARETH: DriveOn for me it's just to give these girls opportunities, opportunities to find something that they love, to have the confidence to go after it, whether it's golf, dance, another sport. To let them know if you're the best version of yourself and confident and empowered, you're able to go out and have the opportunities and go reach your goals. I think driving on is showing these girls that you can go do it.
KELLY SCHULTZ: I am going to open it up for questions. Please raise your hand if you have a question and we will get it to you.
MARILYN SMITH: Are you the Stephanie that I...
STEPHANIE PEARETH: Yes.
MARILYN SMITH: And you had three brain surgeries and you just got the Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award?
STEPHANIE PEARETH: Yeah.
MARILYN SMITH: Let's congratulate her for that. (Applause.) I have one of my books for you, too. (Laughter.)
STEPHANIE PEARETH: Trying not to cry right now. Thank you.
Q. I have two questions. Roberta, one question. In five years from now, ten years from now, 20 years from now, what do you hope is achieved because DriveOn was launched? What do you hope may be different?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: I think this starts to change the conversation and the perception of the LPGA. I think it brings more potential fans, sponsors, players, to the game. So all the indicators should be up. Randall, if we don't achieve that, Mike Whan can fire me. (Laughter.)
Q. Nancy, you said we finally get to tell the story. What did you mean by that?
NANCY LOPEZ: You know, just I think it's been a frustrating life for me as an LPGA golfer. To find the words that would I feel really boost us forward, it's hard to describe, because I couldn't put it into words until, like I said, I saw Mike talk at the PGA event.
As I watched that I said, Wow, why couldn't I find those words? I looked at words like independent, successful businesswomen on the LPGA Tour, what they do. Not just play golf, but a description of what we're all about.
It's weird. In all these years I never could put it in just these simple words, but words that mean something. Diversity, inclusion, authenticity. That's the LPGA Tour. Why couldn't I think of that?
It's been frustrating because I'm so proud of this tour, and yet I look at these women that work so hard, give 100%, and they run businesses besides the tour; they're moms; they're raising children; they're juggling a lot of things that people don't think about every day.
My hat's off to all the women of the LPGA tour. I raised three daughters on the LPGA Tour traveling with them. Always felt like I was behind the curtain. Couldn't really express myself the way I wanted to. I did in the presses room. I love to talk so I could do that.
But just made me really proud to hear all these words and realize, That's it. That's what I've been all about all my career, yet I couldn't figure out how to say it. I think DriveOn is saying that and making me feel like that breath of fresh air that I'm going, Okay, this is it. This is great. We have come to where we should have been so many years ago in talking about what we're really all about. Not just competitive golfers, but people, women, trying to lead other women, help other women.
Sometimes that just doesn't happen, so it's inspired me because of that.
ROBERTA BOWMAN: That was an excellent question. I approach all of this from the perspective of my background, which is in business, and what we are finding as I hire people is that sports and athletics are incubators of leadership and character. I want more women and girls, as they enter their career paths, to look around and see examples of strong women in sports.
There is a saying that you cannot be what you do not see. I think we have a huge opportunity to raise the profile for women in sports and the wonderful character and their incredible determination and skills through this campaign and I think the direction that other women's sports federations are going as well.
Q. As Mike said in the video, the women's movement is permeating the culture everywhere, particularly in corporate America. What are the sponsors' and corporate partners' roles in this launch?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: I have to say we have really had an incredible group of visionary sponsors who, as Mike will say, kind of got this about the LPGA even before we saw it in ourselves. So I look forward to us moving forward together, and in fact bringing more blue chip companies to discover the LPGA and what we can do to some of their marketing and relationship objectives.
I don't view sports sponsorship is as a zero sum game where you have to take from one to give to another. I do think there is a huge up side for women's professional sports to start to get more of that funding from a corporate level, because it is aligned with the values of diversity and opportunity and authenticity.
Q. Hi, my name is Hannah, and I have a question: Why did you guys never give up hope?
KELLY SCHULTZ: Lizette, do you want to start with that?
LIZETTE SALAS: Why did I not give up hope? Because I knew at a very young age that -- and I was taught at a very young age -- that the struggle and the dream is worth it. This was actually my first event as a rookie in 2012. When I got here, I knew and I got goosebumps, and my dad was there with me. I'm like, This is what we've been working for my entire life.
When I got on my first Solheim Cup in 2013, this is what I was meant to do. Every person that told me no, every door that was shut in my face for whatever reason it was, I showed them that I could do it. I think that's a very powerful message and one that I want to share with the next generation. Make their path a little easier than what mine was.
So that was my hope.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Nancy? Do you have an answer to that one?
NANCY LOPEZ: Yeah.
KELLY SCHULTZ: I could see that.
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, same for me. You know, of course I had great parents and I always wanted to be the best I could be. I wasn't satisfied with being mediocre. My mom would tell me if I made my bed I had to make it right or she would take it apart. She would say, If you're not going to do it right, don't do it. It was always trying to be the best I could be, and it was because of my mom and dad that I wanted to do that.
I think as I grew up, and, like I said, my dad never said, Poor us, I realized there was prejudice in my life that I didn't realize because he never said that. He always said, If you're a good person, you're honest, word is all you had, your color somehow changes. If you're a good person everybody likes you no matter what, no matter what your background is or anything like that.
So it is more I just wanted to be the best I could be. If it was to make my mom and dad proud, great. The best I could be on the LPGA Tour, to be able to play the best golf. I wanted to be the best I could be in anything that I tried. Wasn't perfect. I knew if I reached a goal -- set it, I wanted to reach it.
I think that's so important as a women being Mexican-American. It was so important to be able to be the best I could be, to show everybody I could do it.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Stephanie, what does not giving up hope mean to you?
STEPHANIE PEARETH: The way that I look at it, if I give up hope, what sort of message am I giving to the girls that look up to me and the girls I work with on a daily basis? So I said this at the PGA show, that I'm a firm believer that I've got one life and I want to live that life the best I possibly can.
I have two choices: I could just sit in a corner and cry about it and give up. What sort of life is that going to give me? I'm still living, I'm fighting, so I want to make sure that I'm able to live the best life. If I didn't have hope of things getting better than I would just give up. If I give up, then I'm not achieving anything.
That's not the message I want to leave to my girls or anybody who heard me speak in January. That's not what we're about. We're about driving on and pushing for these girls to have hope. If we gave up hope we wouldn't be sat here right now. I'm a firm believer in that.
Q. It was a beautiful national campaign. I loved seeing that. I would love to know what the pull-through is to reach that grassroots level of the campaign down to the local and regional areas so to really penetrate deeply with the next generation?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Yeah. I would say today is the first day of a campaign that should be measured in years. We do have these assets across the LPGA, our teachers, our women's network, our amateurs, our girls' golf organizations, and they're in line on this. They're so excited about it.
To be able to tell that story locally I think is where the real power comes from. I have to say I'm a planner in my life, and I would usually have this planned out for the next year or so. I'm actually going to wait and see what bubbles up over the next couple weeks and figure out where the momentum is.
We know we've got hundreds of stories of inspiration. We want to make sure that we are giving voice to all of those stories of hope. We've got the patience to do that. We've got the resolve to do that. We've got the content to do that.
It'll be fun to tell the story. Thank you.
Q. Lizette, I understand all the players saw this last night. What's been the reaction from all your peers?
LIZETTE SALAS: I could speak for the entire tour on the players side that they're so excited. Someone came up to me and said, Finally we have something like this. There is so many stories that can inspire a different background, a different girl. We don't really get to hear very often.
He every single one of the 144 players on this tour are so inspiring in their own way that they could connect with each part of the world. That's something that's so powerful, and it's about time we did something like that. To be a part of it is a really special honor. I think it'll just take our tour to the next level and just really empower women regardless if they're athletes or not.
Q. I would like to ask the question about education. You two ladies there had the opportunity to go to college. Do you think that influenced a great amount of your success as a player?
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I went after high school. A lot of people watched your golf and said, Oh, you need to turn professional. My dad never said that. I wanted to go to school. I thought, Well if I didn't make it in golf maybe I would make it in school. My goal was to get a degree in engineering. I was really smart back then with numbers. Once you just write your score down in a scorecard you kind of lose that.
But I went to school at Tulsa University. It was before Title XI. No scholarships for any women, which was kind of disappointing at that point. So that's kind of the DriveOn again.
So at that time Colgate-Palmolive gave a golf chairmanship, a portion of it, and Tulsa University was trying to create a girls' golf team. I wanted to go to Arizona State. They would not give me a scholarship at all. I looked at my dad, and I said, Dad, I'm not going to go to school then if I don't have a scholarship, which I felt like I deserved after playing high school golf with the guys; I felt like I deserved a chance to go to college and have a scholarship.
So with the partial scholarship that I got from Tulsa and the scholarship from Colgate-Palmolive, I had a full ride for four years. Of course I felt very grateful that I was having that opportunity, because if I didn't make it in golf maybe I could make a career out of something else.
I encourage, you know, people to go to college. It was a great time in my life. I got to play on a team, so I learned to play with team. I loved it. I loved learning things at school. Loved growing up away from my parents.
I had rules. I didn't really break very many rules when I went to college, because my dad always taught me to be in bed by 10:00, be horizontal, whether you're sleeping or not. You need to be resting. So I always did that, even though I went off to college.
It is great time in my life. It helped me prepare for the LPGA Tour when I won a lot of collegiate events and felt like maybe there was something else. I made those decisions. My dad didn't make them for me. He wanted me to be happy, because he knew he would be happy doing the things I loved to do and be more successful.
I so always encourage collegiate golf. They have a lot of scholarships for young people. If you don't make it on the LPGA Tour you have something to fall back on and you don't feel the pressure week in and week out of having to make a living on the LPGA Tour and maybe not being able to accomplish that. Have something else to fall back on.
Definitely encourage collegiate golf. Even though I went two years only, it was a great time in my life.
Q. I'm Kyra (phonetic). So I was just wondering, as members of girls' golf, what can we do to help and support DriveOn?
KELLY SCHULTZ: Good question. Roberta, do you want to take that first?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Just have fun with golf and bring your friends and come to our events and support our sponsors.
STEPHANIE PEARETH: I can second that. DriveOn. Do it. A big part of it is make sure that -- you're here today, so spread the message to the girls in your program and reach out to through social media to other girls in different sites and share your stories. Broadcast what you do so other girls can get inspired by what you do.
Once you make a move to the movement in the campaign, then people are going to tailgate on that.
LIZETTE SALAS: I would just say be yourself. Don't be afraid to be different. Smile every day. That's what I learned from Nancy, keep smiling.
And to encourage each other. I think as women, girls, we tend to get jealous of another person's success. I think we should really understand why that other person is being successful and how can we do the same for ourselves and how can we better ourselves every day?
So I think that's probably the most thing I can share, and how you can keep driving on and to grow this campaign, to be yourself, and have fun. (Applause.)
Q. Nancy and Lizette, you mentioned how it's important to empower women, but specifically women of color. So beyond just role models and representation, what do you hope to see with the next steps of that campaign to keep embracing and promoting that diversity?
NANCY LOPEZ: Well, I mean, I think with all these players telling their story it's going to help keep the campaign just going, which we never have done that. We have never told everybody's story. Everybody is going to be able it relate with something that's being said to them.
I definitely am going to talk about the DriveOn campaign and encourage people to watch the video, as I've always done with the LPGA Tour. I think the way that we comport ourselves is very important. To be ourselves, but yet be good to people. I think if you practice what you preach, that's how success becomes so great. I think the LPGA Tour and the players do that.
LIZETTE SALAS: I think also this video just gives not only women of color but women in general the green light to speak their story, how they feel, not feel afraid to speak up or to share about their adversity or struggles.
Everyone can relate to anybody, especially to these young girls. They need those stories of hope and inspiration so they can keep driving on. Now that we have this platform or have been given this platform by Roberta and the team here at LPGA, it's just given us a green light to just do our thing and be our own person.
KELLY SCHULTZ: Ladies, thank you so much for all your time here today. It was so great to hear all of these stories. I know I said we kept Mike to three minutes on video, but we couldn't let him speak on his own because he's so excited about this.
So I'm going to welcome up Mike Whan just to say a last few words about DriveOn. (Applause.)
MIKE WHAN: It is impossible for me to stand at a podium and talk. I've got to move.
First off, Kelly Schultz, that was expertly moderated. I mean, expertly moderated. I hope you'll show this film to your daughter. I know you got a young daughter at home. I hope someday when she's old enough you'll show her and it'll be inspiring to her.
My one DriveOn story was when Roberta talks about who has the gall or the drive to do something. Mine was sending an email to my former boss asking her to come work for me about a year ago and not taking her first six nos as an answer. I didn't give up hope. I knew it was in Roberta to do just this.
For those of you who now why we couldn't take no for an answer, because Roberta has brought DriveOn to life.
I want to tell you a quick story about how the day DriveOn actually began. I think the story you'll find interesting. We have a new board member that actually Roberta brought. He is the former chief marketing officer of IBM. In his first board meeting he said to me, Hey, Mike, what are we selling? When you're out selling the LPGA, what are you selling?
If you know me, that's a softball down the middle. I'll tell you what I'm selling. I started talking about hospitality, interaction with the athletes, our friendliness, the way we understand our sponsors' businesses, our customer profile cards, everything I talk about 360 days a year.
He said, You know, it's funny I've only been to four of your events so far, but doesn't look like that's what I sponsors are buying. I said, What do you mean? He said, Well, I went to the KPMG Women's PGA Championship and sat in a day-long women's leadership conference. I went to the Bank of Hope Women's Leadership Convention. I went to the Kia Classic Women in Sport Leadership Convention.
It seems like your sponsors are buying a lot more than hospitality and interaction. It was at that moment we all looked around the table, and shame on us. Our sponsors were already seeing in the LPGA what we weren't reflecting back in ourselves.
I had this in an interview last night. Somebody said to me, So you're kind of moving into this social media space of me too and women's empowerment. I said, Moving into? We have been in this space for 70 years. We're just adjusting the mirror. We've never really let the reflection be right back on us. We have always kind of showed what we thought people wanted to see, as opposed to just show us.
I started in this job ten years ago. For my very first press conference to almost the last one I did which I think was back at the UL International Crown in Korea, I always at some point get the same question in a room of people that don't follow us week in and week out, especially overseas. I always get the question that says how do you feel about the future of the game and what are you going to go to grow the game of golf?
I always feel like that is the politician being asked how do you feel about global hunger or world peace. You have a tendency to go into paralysis. Like what is one guy going to say to that? I always think about something that my parents taught me. When you're facing something bigger than you can handle, break it down. From the very first day I took this job I broke it down.
What am I going to do about the future of the game? I don't really impact the future of the game. What can you impact? I can impact women in the game. I have a unique position to do that. How are you going to do that? We had an incredible program called Girls' Golf that we were doing with the USGA that even we didn't really know.
If I were to ask a player on tour, Tell me about the Girls' Golf program, they probably would've had the same reaction I had in 2010. I don't know. I've heard about it. I think we vote on it once year. We decided to make that our difference and we did what we could: start a tournament; pass all the proceeds of the tournament to the future of the game; embrace our Girls' Golf program, advertise it, sell it, and go from 4,000 girls a year to almost 85,000 girls in the last year.
When we started this mission back in 2010, about 15% of the future of this game, kids under-16, were girls. When the new data comes out in a few weeks you'll see we're at 36%. If you've got a problem with women playing golf, get over it, because they're coming. They're already playing the game.
Then you got figure out when you have a big problem like this who can help you. If you know anything about the LPGA, we are the queens of stealing somebody bigger and smarter and stronger than us, so we tackled the USGA. They're making a huge investment in this game. It was RR Donnelley, it was Bank of Hope, it was Augusta National who writes a big check to Girls' Golf every year. We needed to find people that could move the needle bigger and faster than we did.
As my college football coach used to say -- which by the way I only played two weeks of college football; I had to gather a lot of that in two weeks, because I completely lost hope in my ability to be in the NFL -- when you walk in a huddle, they better believe in the play more than you do, because the ball isn't going to be in your hands very long.
This whole leaving the game or leaving life better for the next generation of young girls cannot be an LPGA thing, it cannot be a USGA thing, it certainly cannot be a Girls' Golf thing, and it can't be a few ambassadors that inspire you today and then you'll go back out here and do whatever you were going to do before you walked in.
You have got to -- I and I talking to you, too -- you have got to pick up the rope and pull, too. You've got to leave here today and do something today, tomorrow, next week, and more importantly next month when you stop thinking about this stage to leave it better for the next generation.
I don't care if that is tweeting this commercial 7,000 times in the next few weeks. I don't care if it's showing it to every little girl you have. I wrote one email last night to Jane Gettys. The only person who cries more on the LPGA than Nancy is me, so this is going to be tough. I have three boys; love 'em. 22, 24, 26 years old. 25. I know Austin you're only 25. Those three kids are the most important things in my life. I don't have a daughter. Last night I said to Jane, God I wish I had a daughter. I really want to email this to my daughter. Be my daughters, okay? Do something about this. Don't let this stop now. We've got too many good things going.
If you're a media writer, write about it. Yes, I know we're going to have a leader on Thursday and we'll have a and really good story on Saturday and there will be a rules violation on Sunday. Heaven forbid we don't write about that.
But write about something that's really going to make a difference when you're, when I am done, and the baton is in somebody else's hand. Do something that makes you feel like Marilynn and Shirley. They have to wake up every morning and think, Thank God we didn't give up. I didn't give up. This is my thing. It's all I've got. Find your thing, but leave it better.
Brad, as we leave, let's pull up the ad and let's walk away with, This is for every girl.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports