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April 24, 2019

Steve Worthy

Avondale, Louisiana

Q. The course is getting an upgrade; about $6 million has been set aside to do the greens and fairways. Is that something that's much needed?
STEVE WORTHY: I think so. I mean, you know, I don't profess to be an agronomy expert, but with the time this grass has been in place, some outside grasses creep in. This is a changeover they've made at some other places, most notably TPC Sawgrass, with great success.

I think it's just one more thing we can do to show the players that we're making every effort to make this the best it can be and get the best guys in the world here.

Q. With recently another championship-caliber course opened at City Park, is this an attempt to keep the tournament here and not move it to a different location?
STEVE WORTHY: Well, I mean, we're always going to look at options, but like I've said a number of times, we're very happy with where we are here. This tournament, the logistics are outstanding, the golf course continues to work. It's in great shape this week. I've had numerous reports from players about the condition of the golf course.

You know, I don't know that I would say a move is imminent in any case. We like it here. We've got the contract with Zurich now through 2026, and I would plan on us being here for the long-term.

Q. Taking a look at this course, it being somewhat unique for the PGA TOUR where you don't see any houses at this course, and there is always at least one or two occasions when nature sort of creeps up on to the fairway and players have a close encounter with nature, can you talk about the unique aspects of this course and then what the tournament does, do you have a wildlife wrangler on staff during these tournaments to help out when need be?
STEVE WORTHY: We've got some people who are experienced with the alligators. Last year we had one that seemed very eager to make his way on to the 18th green during the prize presentation, and we had a couple of guys over on the edge of the water there kind of keeping them back.

You know, it adds a unique flavor. I've said it before, I've got -- I moved here from a job in California, and a lot of my friends in California think we have alligators walking down the streets in New Orleans because they get so much attention on the telecast during the tournament.

You know, I think it's just part of being here. It's part of the kind of feeling like you're in a swamp and the cypress trees and the moss and it's a beautiful location. Alligators are part of the story, and fortunately we have not ever had any major issues with them, but they certainly get their share of attention.

Q. It has been somewhat of your calling card in advertising and marketing of this tournament.
STEVE WORTHY: It is. We like to focus on the best players in the world, but at the same time, every year on TV the alligators do tend to get a lot of attention, and if that's one of the things that we're associated with, we're okay with that.

Q. What did you hear from players last year? Have y'all made any kind of changes to the course from what you got feedback on?
STEVE WORTHY: Yeah, there were no substantial changes to the golf course itself. You know, coming out of the winter last year, there were probably a couple spots that were a little bare from a growth standpoint, and this year, not that it was bad, but this year conditions seem to have gotten very favorable reviews. The greens are in great shape, and that's usually what I hear from the guys. If they hit a perfect putt and it doesn't go in because the green affects it, that's a problem, but they've said the greens are in great shape, and that's always a big plus.

Q. To what extent, if at all, has there been any talk about in the process of the upgrades that are coming up to potentially remove or change some of the mid-fairway hazards that seem to have annoyed certain players in the past?
STEVE WORTHY: Yeah, I mean, I think because it's a TPC property, because of the interaction with the PGA TOUR with the players, there are always little tweaks. You know, you're probably referring to a pot bunker here or there that a guy isn't real fond of, and the work that'll be done after the tournament, I think there are some pot bunkers that maybe slightly adjusted, either expanded so a player would be able to get a stance, some of those. It's just normal maintenance. If you're hitting shots out of the sand, now a lip gets a little taller because the sand keeps piling on the lip and getting higher and higher. I think they'll make some of those adjustments. I think they're still looking at a few minor changes here and there and maybe moving a tee here or there, that sort of thing, just to keep it fresh and make sure the golf course plays the way it was originally designed.

Q. What can you tell us about the weather contingencies? Tomorrow is not supposed to be a great day. The rest of the weekend is going to be great. What are you telling folks that come out here, spectators, and what are your expectations?
STEVE WORTHY: Well, I mean, we really need to wait and see what's going to happen. The TOUR weather people that they have on-site have been incredibly accurate for the last five years, sometimes good, sometimes with bad news. But they believe that we'll have some precipitation in the morning but don't feel like -- they feel like we will likely be able to play through even 2:00 or 3:00, which would be wonderful. They felt like the more severe stuff with electrical activity would be later in the afternoon.

You know, it's always kind of a play it by ear from a ticket standpoint. If there's a certain point in the morning where if someone comes and they don't get but a couple of hours, we would honor the tickets the next day. It may be mid afternoon before we have an issue, at which point we feel like people have had a pretty good day of it.

We can't control the weather. We hope that we get a break, and certainly are excited about the forecast. The forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are all very, very good. With the format, particularly in alternate-shot, that was part of the plan so that if we were to have any delay tomorrow, as long as we get enough golf in tomorrow, we can catch up and still make the cut on Friday. So that would certainly be the hope, and hopefully we get a break and get the best of it with the weather.

Q. Any talk of moving up tee times because of when the showers are supposed to hit?
STEVE WORTHY: Well, we're starting early enough that no, not really. We'll start regular time, which is 7:00 tomorrow. We'll go regular time, and then Friday morning could be adjusted depending on how much we get in tomorrow, and then getting back out early because we would have a later start time under normal conditions on Friday.

Q. I was just curious about the Golf Digest theory that the format here, the novelty was maybe wearing off or something like that, and I don't know if -- you probably disagree.
STEVE WORTHY: Yeah, I mean, well, I would be concerned if I'd heard that, and I really haven't heard that from players. I think we didn't get everyone here this year that we wanted. You know, we had an incredible field last year, and I would still tell you we didn't get everyone that we wanted. With the change in the schedule, with PLAYERS moving to March, the PGA moving to May, I think some guys are trying to establish a rhythm. Some guys said, well, maybe I played a little more than I should have early, and so there's some guys taking breaks.

But you know, I really haven't heard anyone say that -- everyone has been positive. They like the fact that we're doing something different. They get a chance to do something different in the middle of the year. You know, yes, I would be concerned if I'd heard that, but I have not had any players tell me that they think the magic is gone or the format is not what it should be.

Q. At this point in the season, even if you don't have quite as many top 10 guys as last year you still have a lot of those top 20 guys. The season is not over; a lot of those top 20 guys can end up in the top 10.
STEVE WORTHY: Exactly. Some of the guys who are in the teens this year were in the top 10 last year, so the numbers move around. We have some great veteran players who have come back. We've got a lot of guys, top 20, top 30, the tie to the Presidents Cup team and some of the things that the International Team is doing, we're excited about. A lot of the hope is that we will be able to continue to tie in with Presidents Cup and Ryder Cup and serve as kind of a testing ground, and we've had some conversations with some guys about that going forward, and we kind of hope that that's going to help be an opportunity for them to benefit themselves by testing pairings and a benefit for us because it'll continue to get some of the best guys here.

You need them to have a connection when they go out and play, this kind of -- alternate-shot is -- those guys, all of them this week we still talk about it, and they're still unfamiliar with alternate-shot, and they don't do it regularly. So getting to do that in competition here while you're playing for $7.3 million, you get a feel, is this a good fit. I asked a Ryder Cup captain early this year when I was out, do you see the value here, and he said, you know, I don't know that two guys playing great here is an automatic that they would be great in the Ryder Cup, but it would be good to know. But at the same time I would tell you that you can put two guys together that you would know immediately -- you would know after the tournament that that's not a pair that you want to put together. So clearly -- he said, I think there's some value there. So we're hoping we can -- I think it's great for the international side to do that, and we're hoping that others are going to do the same.

Q. It sounds like that's what they're doing.
STEVE WORTHY: Just you never know who's going to be the right fit. This is a chance -- it might not be a --

Q. Jason Day and Adam Scott said that yesterday.
STEVE WORTHY: Yeah, it's going to tell you some things. I mean, they've got some guys playing together they think are going to be great fits, and they'll learn this week whether -- well, Oosthuizen and Schwartzel have had a good history, Oosthuizen and Grace had a good history, and both have played here together, made the cut and played well. Oosthuizen and Schwartzel finished third last year. I think it tells them -- at least it gives you confidence. You might just have a bad week and not play well, but it won't be because of chemistry. You want to make sure going in that you feel like the chemistry is good, and this gives you an opportunity to figure some of that out.

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