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June 12, 2019

Craig Annis

John Bodenhamer

Mike Davis

Navin Singh

Pebble Beach, California

CRAIG ANNIS: Good morning everyone. Welcome to Pebble Beach Golf Links for the 119th United States Open. We're excited to have you all here with us this week and thank you for your support in covering this great championship.

It's my pleasure to be joined by Mike Davis; senior managing director of championships, John Bodenhamer; and chief commercial officer, Navin Singh.

We celebrate the U.S. Open because we crown the game's national champion each year, an honor we take very seriously. But the U.S. Open means much more than that to the USGA and to the game, and we'd like to talk a little bit about that today. Mike, I'll turn it over to you for some comments.

MIKE DAVIS: Craig, thank you. Good morning, everybody. Thanks for being here today, but more importantly, thanks for your support this week. I know Pebble Beach is a tough place to be at. But anyway, it's great to be back here. And as we've said many times, we really do consider this a national treasure in golf. We've had a long-standing relationship with Pebble Beach going back some 90 years. We've played five U.S. Amateurs here, two women's amateurs here. This is our 6th U.S. Open. And in 2023, very happy to say that we will showcase the world's best women when they play their first U.S. Open here at Pebble Beach.

Really it's a great relationship. And we're off to a great week this week. I think many of you saw Monday evening was the World Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Very exciting. What none of you really would have seen last night is a wonderful celebration that we had of our past U.S. Open champions when they had a reunion. Handful of us were fortunate enough to go to a cocktail reception, and I will tell you it was just a magical time seeing Open champions, from Gary Player, Jack Nicklaus, Lou Graham, up to today's champions. And I've heard from several of them this morning that they had just a magical dinner last night.

We're hugely excited about the week. I will say this is my 6th USGA championship at Pebble Beach, and I've never seen it even remotely this good. Operationally it's terrific. Golf course is just superb. And special shout out I know to CEO Bill Perocchi and general chairman Dave Stivers, and I don't know if Chris Dalhamer is here, but he's the longtime superintendent, and just well done, guys, and thanks so much.

So before turning it over to John Bodenhamer and Navin Singh, it is not lost on us this is an important week, not only for golf, this is an important week for the USGA. And clearly there's been a lot written to date about that. I'm not going to go into that today, but I will say that we have been doing a great deal of listening. We've been talking to a lot of the players. There's been a lot of strategic planning going on the last year plus just to make sure that we continue to improve this important championship.

I will also say that this championship is not only important for the U.S. Open and the USGA, but, folks, this is really important for the game of golf. And by that I want to take a few minutes before turning it over to elaborate a little bit on it.

I think most people in this room realize the USGA is a nonprofit organization. We're mission driven. We're focused on doing things for the game of golf. We've been doing that for roughly 125 years. But I'm not sure most of you understand that the revenues that come from this week at the U.S. Open really fund much of what the USGA does.

We annually spend roughly $225 million on the game. And, again, much of that comes from this week. We oftentimes get the question where do our monies go? Well, part of it is running championships. It's not just this week, but a couple of weeks ago we had the U.S. Women's Open Championship, we have U.S. Amateur, Women's Amateur, Boys and Girls Jr., the Senior Amateurs. We do International competitions like the Walker Cup, Curtis Cup, World Amateur Team Championships that are all part of it.

And I will say, other than this week, we need to fund every single one of those championships. And, folks, it's not only just for the elite golfers for those championships, the well over 40,000 that file an entry for a USGA championship, but we really do believe that not only these championships but all the events do inspire the game and help grow the game.

We also spend tens of millions of dollars to make the game more enjoyable and accessible. So what's that mean? It's things like history of the game, it's celebrating the history, it's junior programs like The First Tee; Drive, Chip & Putt; the LPGA*USGA Girls Golf. We have hundreds of paid internships, not only for the USGA but for state and regional golf associations. We have a centralized Handicap platform. And there's certainly other ways we support state and regionals.

Then we spend millions of dollars on the sustainability both economically and environmentally of golf courses. What's that mean? Things like tougher grass research that lead to new generations of grasses that require less water, that require less fertilizers, fungicides, pesticides.

We've had a real focus on water. We believe that's going to be a pressure on the game that's going to continue to grow. Golf courses in the United States should be incredibly proud of that. We've seen reduction of water in this country go down by 22 percent in the last decade. And that's a savings of over a billion dollars we've seen. Important not only for our game but just for society itself.

We also certainly counsel on best practices of golf courses both on maintenance but also construction of golf courses.

And last but not least, I think you know we do governance functions where we spend tens of millions of dollars. The new Modernized Rules of Golf we put out. But for the first time ever in the game, there will be a global Handicap system that will come out January 1 of next year that we're doing in conjunction with the R&A that will allow people of varying abilities on a global basis to play on an equitable basis.

I could go on and on, and I don't want to bore anybody in the room, but the point I'm making is this is an incredibly important week, not only for the USGA and for the U.S. Open, but for golf because it does so much for the game.

So the 156 players that play here, the over 9,000 that tried to qualify for the U.S. Open, certainly our corporate partners and our broadcast digital media partners, and you, the media, you're all in a way, if you think about it, contributing back to the good of the game.

Bottom line, we're proud and appreciative of what this event does for golf.

And now let me turn it over to John Bodenhamer and Navin Singh. I'll start out by saying a couple years ago I did a reorganization of the executive team, and it really started out with I knew the fellow, and I don't think he's here today, by the name of Mike Butz would be retiring next month. Mike has done 39 straight U.S. Opens in a leadership position. And we knew this was coming.

And, secondarily, I wanted one person to oversee all aspects of our championships, and that's John Bodenhamer; and one person to oversee all aspects of our governance functions, and that's Thomas Pagel, which many of you know through the Modernized Rules; and then one person to oversee the commercial functions, and that's Navin Singh.

Before I turn it over to John, I'll just say that John's been a part of the team since I became executive director in 2011. He's been very engaged with championships since then. He's a keen golfer, an accomplished golfer, and a hard worker. And, John, very glad to have you he helm. So with that, John.

JOHN BODENHAMER: Thank you, Mike. Good morning, everyone. Really appreciate the opportunity to be with you. I think just to start I would say and echo what Mike said: We are super excited to be conducting our 6th U.S. Open here at what truly is iconic Pebble Beach. And I've been here -- I've been coming here since the 1970s, late 1970s, played college golf here and a lot of amateur golf. And more than a hundred rounds, I've never seen this golf course look better, especially the putting greens. It is truly magnificent. And that's really the result of a Herculean effort by the Pebble Beach Company and their leadership and a collaboration of our greens section and the golf course superintendent, Chris Dalhamer. It never gets old walking around those cliffs here at Pebble Beach, and it's going to be fun to do that this week.

As I said, we're very excited. We're also driven to provide the most skilled players in the world with the opportunity to earn the title of U.S. Open Champion and on courses that provide the most comprehensive challenge.

Our USGA team has been here on the ground and in the community for two years working with an outstanding team of professionals at Pebble Beach to prepare for what we believe will be an exceptional U.S. Open and also to deliver against the vision of providing the toughest and most complete test in golf.

We've continued to evolve our preparation and have welcomed some new and varied voices to our process and to inform our course setup process. We've been working in collaboration with a number of individuals and I would say even some experts that have some special local knowledge of the course and even quite a bit of experience playing it.

And while we've sought external input from others wherever we go for years and years and years, it really is a bit of an evolution to our procedures. And we value these new voices greatly. They've been tremendously helpful, and they've shared their experiences and really provided a greater sense of how this course plays on a day-to-day basis, especially under the very varied weather conditions that can happen on the Monterey Peninsula. And it's been helpful.

We're incredibly proud of the championship field this week and the truly open nature of this championship and all of our Open championships, everybody here that's earned their way into this field. And we did start, as Mike said, with 9,125 entrants. That's the 8th straight year that we've had 9,000 or more entrants. Folks that enter follow their dream to enter a national championship and progressed through more than 100 local qualifying sites and 12 sectional qualifying sites that are conducted by our allied partners around the country, along with three international sites from Japan and England and for the first time in Canada. They were all greatly successful.

And now we have 156 of the best players from around the world here at Pebble Beach, including 12 U.S. Open champions and 26 USGA champions.

We're especially proud considering the manner of Amateur golf and really has been a bedrock of the USGA since our beginning more than a century ago.

We have 16 amateurs in the field -- that's a good number -- including the reigning U.S. Amateur champion, the U.S. Junior Amateur champion, and the U.S. Mid-Amateur champion. And we're very proud of that fact. And even more so the last three U.S. Mid-Amateur champions are all in the field this week with two of them successfully advancing through qualifying.

We continue to take great pride in the democratic nature of this championship. It is the ultimate meritocracy in the game as being open.

We had something a couple of nights ago that I would like to share with you, our amateur dinner. It's the third year we've done that. Again, just to demonstrate how we embrace the amateur game. We had it over at Cypress Point Club, and five-time AT&T champion and U.S. Amateur champion Mark O'Meara joined to send special messages to our 16 amateurs and a small group of our USGA family.

And I can assure you, standing out and having a photograph with the 16th green in the background on a wonderful night Monday night will be a memory that they'll treasure for the rest of their lives.

We continue to strengthen our commitment to every player in the field. As we announced two weeks ago, the USGA increased the purse for the 119th U.S. Open to $12.5 million. But I would say the purse is just a total number. As a result of our continued investments and dedication to player relations, any professional who misses the cut in the U.S. Open this week will receive some missed cut money, and amateurs in the field will also be reimbursed for their travel expenses.

We have also enhanced our investments on the on-site player experience. As you may have heard in March, we strategically hired longtime PGA TOUR player and winner and U.S. Open competitor Jason Gore as our new senior director of player relations. And he's really been a wonderful addition to our team and really has provided us with a bridge to the players that we've really never had before in this much of an intentional way.

And it does give the players a voice into us, and at the same time it allows us to share our perspectives and the why behind why we make our decisions to the players in an expeditious manner. Jason turns all those questions around quickly, and it's really been beneficial in the eight or nine weeks he's been with us. He's been out on Tour each of those weeks.

But it doesn't stop with the experience they have themselves. The fans, certainly, our almost 6,000 volunteers who attend to help enhance that experience with the players and the fans competing for a national championship. I'd like to ask my friend, Navin, to discuss some of those ways the USGA is innovating with the U.S. Open.

NAVIN SINGH: Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. We set out to create a truly unique experience for today's sports enthusiasts. With our partners, fans of the U.S. Open now have a variety of options to immerse themselves in the past, present, and augmented reality future of the championship.

Through our partnership with Cisco, we have built a first-of-its-kind course-wide Wi-Fi network that gives us the speed and confidence to dynamically deliver content and new personalized digital experiences to our fans through the 2019 U.S. Open app, which if you haven't downloaded yet, I strongly encourage you to do so.

The app features live streaming in partnership with American Express along with realtime scoring and player highlights, news, photos, stats and advanced analytics, and not to mention social media updates straight from the action of Pebble Beach.

For the first time, the app's on-site map will include a wayfinding feature powered by Cisco. The new navigation will provide fans with step-by-step directions to easily navigate to their favorite players, iconic lotions, concessions and amenities around the course.

Other on-site capabilities include push notifications to alert of special events, autograph signings, and exciting action on the course.

Those not able to attend the championship will have the opportunity to experience the iconic course in new and enhanced ways. The virtual reality and 360-degree content capture, cameras will go inside the ropes, giving fans a close-up view of the historic course and golf's greatest players as well as behind-the-scenes access.

The virtual photo booth is another new feature of the app that enables fans around the world to share the Pebble Beach experience no matter where they are. This innovative concept takes a static photo and adds subtle movement to it, creating a near 3D effect that can be used on any social media platform. This will allow a fan anywhere to create a selfie on Hole 7 or Hole 18 or with the iconic U.S. Open Trophy.

In addition, through our partnership with Deloitte, we've also launched the U.S. Open augmented reality app, designed to provide golf fans with engaging and innovative digital experience for the 119th U.S. Open Championship.

Complementing our official app, it gives fans exclusive insights into player performance on three of the most iconic holes at Pebble Beach -- No. 6, 7, and 18th hole -- which come alive in three-dimensional augmented reality.

We've also opened the U.S. Open Vault and provided fans with a wealth of historic and iconic moments in U.S. Open history through all of our digital platforms. Rolex helps us bring this issue to life as we use interactive technology to share the greatest moments of championship history plus new feature stories from past champions.

On our new OTT platform, currently available on Apple TV and Roku devices, has been airing historic footage, including full final rounds of past U.S. Opens at Pebble Beach.

It will give fans everywhere free live streaming coverage of featured groups and featured holes 7, 8, and 17 all four days of the championship plus live coverage of first tee shots on Thursday. And always, we're grateful for our partnership with FOX, which will provide comprehensive coverage of the championship, including 45 hours of coverage on Fox, FS1, and Fox Deportes, along with life streaming on Fox Sports apps and connective devices.

We're going to have a special experience Thursday night with the groups including two-time U.S. Open champion Brooks Koepka and the group of 2000 U.S. Open champion Tiger Woods, which we featured on FS1, complementing our prime time broadcast on Fox.

Also, the final hour on Sunday will be produced commercial free in partnership with our friends at Rolex.

Fox continues to be an innovator in terms of digital coverage. This year they will add a live tethered aerial drone camera that will be launched from a boat along the coastline, giving viewers a unique perspective on the live action.

Fox will also introduce its new USGA Practice Tee channel, where Toptracer technology will be used to provide fans insights as players warm up from the driving range. Fans of Pebble Beach will see player shots being traced on LED boards at the range, while the broadcast and all streaming channels will be able to go into greater detail on swing technique and ball flight.

In addition, the USGA has invested in an automated highlight clipping technology, which will produce nearly a thousand highlight clips this week and, with the support of Lexus, will be distributed through our digital and social platforms.

We are excited to roll out these innovations across our platforms and trust they'll enhance your coverage of the U.S. Open.

CRAIG ANNIS: We will take questions now.

Q. Mike mentioned that you guys have been talking to players, having conversations. My question is what, if anything, has come from those conversations that has changed the way you guys have approached this tournament, mainly the setup of the course?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Well, I think we've listened intently. I know I've had individual conversations with a number of our past champions. There are a lot of different opinions out there. In fact, one of our past champions told me he didn't envy me in this position, because there were a number of different opinions. But we are better from listening to those perspectives. And we've engaged them. As Mike said, last night was a special night. And I think we've even built a bridge -- beginning to build a bridge in that way. It's just going to be really great. It already has been.

You know, everybody has an opinion about how the course should play. We've listened to it, we've taken some of that feedback and incorporated some of it, candidly. And I think also just from the standpoint of having Jason Gore on the team has engaged with some of the players in realtime.

And I think just having that dialogue and understanding their perspective and just really explaining some of the things that are maybe misperceptions about what we do and being able to share our perspective about the facts of what we're trying to achieve, really creating something special when they win, and it's been helpful.

Q. For Mike or John, were you listening to their opinions, or were you listening to answers to the questions you were asking? And as a follow to that, in what ways do you think you were not listening before?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I don't know that -- I think it's just reaching out, like we have. Jason has helped that tremendously. I think we've always made an attempt to listen to their questions and understand their perspectives, but now we're able to do it effectively with the bridge that Jason provides.

I think we've always tried to listen and incorporate what they think. But in the end, we have to make a decision about what we think is best for the championship.

Q. One of the areas of the discussion obviously is the setup of the golf course and the difficulty of the golf course. There are some that point to the difference between 2004 at Shinnecock and 2018 at Shinnecock. For example, where you lost the golf course Saturday in '04 and it didn't come back on Sunday; where you might have lost the golf course on Saturday in '18 and it did come back, and it was an excellent final round. Where do you think the line is between the players asking too much about making the golf course easier or the media doing that and keeping the integrity and identity of the championship as being the most difficult test in golf?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I would just answer that that we're going into this week with a great plan, and part of that plan is to do what we've always done. Our philosophy has not changed. We will continue to endeavor to provide the toughest test, the ultimate test, the most comprehensive test, whatever you want to call it, and really just to create something where players' shot-making ability, mental resolve, physical stamina are tested.

We're not going to lose that. It has been something that we've done for many years and will continue to do that. We think we're creating something special, and we don't want to lose that.

And I think this year, going into this year, certainly, we looked at what happened at Shinnecock last year, we dug deep into that, we understand it. And we didn't have enough water on the greens on the back nine the last year, simple as that.

We looked at that. We've got safeguards in place this year. No guarantees. There are no promises. The weather can change here on the Monterey Peninsula. But we feel good about the plan, we feel good about the strategy going in, and we have a few safeguards in place that we'll proactively use if we need them should the weather dictate.

Q. Given the problems you've had in the last four years in particular, just how important is it that you have a smooth U.S. Open this week?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I think it's critical. I think we've talked about it all year long, and, as Mike said, I think it's important not only for the USGA but for the game and what we do for the game.

We all feel a great obligation in that regard, not just to the championship but also to serve the mission of the USGA. But, again, I will say: We feel good about our plan. We feel good about what you see on the golf course and what we're going to present to the players as a tough but true test.

We will follow what the architect intended with that true test in the way the golf course is presenting both on the putting greens and the fairways. Pebble Beach is such a wonderful place with what we try to accomplish in achieving a tough test.

You think about this golf course and you think about what's unfolded here: 1972 and that 1-iron by Mr. Nicklaus; in '82, the chip-in by Mr. Watson; and Tom Kite and Tiger and Graeme.

We are endeavoring to set up and play a U.S. Open as the U.S. Open has always been at Pebble Beach and just let history unfold, as it always has, and it will take care of itself.

Q. There was a report that the players have been notified of a possibility of syringing greens between the morning and the afternoon wave. Are there any other things along those lines that players were notified of in terms of possible use of alternate tees or different yardages? Anything like that you can tell us about specific to this week's golf course?
JOHN BODENHAMER: Sure. We've got a couple of things. I think, as most of you know, we do provide different looks to players, different angles, different tees. We have a history under Mike's leadership of doing that, really creating different angles, risk/reward. We do things on the golf course with alternative sets of tees. You'll see that out there today during their practice round. We've done that most of the week. You'll see some areas meshed off that at least we're thinking about possibly using. It's all dictated by weather and the agronomic conditions.

Just to be candid, a safeguard, we do have a proactive syringing safeguard, so to speak, or a protocol we've used in the past, and yet we have it ready to go if needed. If the winds kick up unexpectedly and the greens dry out or we get a little bit of wilt, we'll be ready to go.

We did inform the players of that. We thought that was the right thing to do; that they knew we were prepared to do that, and they won't be surprised should we have to use it.

Q. You had alluded to some things that you might have incorporated into the setup this week that were maybe players' suggestions. I was wondering if you could enumerate those or a couple of those. What were things that they said that you said, okay, we're going to do that?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I think there are a number of things. I'll give you one example that came directly from a player, just really validated what we were thinking more than a new idea. You think about a hole like No. 8 and you think about how that hole is played, up the hill and the players will lay up in front of the barranca, and then it's perhaps the most dramatic approach shot in the game. Maybe the greatest hole in the game.

And so really the way that you see the rough presented there, we've been pretty generous in the fairways. And by the way, the fairway widths this week are identical to what they were in 2010. Our plans started with what we did in 2010 for this week.

We've modified it, but think about No. 8 now and you've got graduated rough. It's a little bit narrower than we had in 2010, but the fairway width is the same. And having discussions with players: Don't have the rough be too severe there. Let us take a shot at that green.

So you'll see some graduated rough there. And you'll see some players grinding over the ball thinking about should I go or should I not go. That's what we want. And that came directly from player feedback. They validated our thinking in that regard.

I can go throughout the golf course and give you other examples. It wasn't too many new ideas, just a validation of our thinking. I can tell you that it would take probably both hands and have to take off both shoes to count the number of times players have said that about a couple of the holes we're using graduated rough on. They seem to prefer that.

Q. You referred to this briefly. I think it's the elephant in the room. There's been a lot of publicity that you wouldn't have liked to have had over the past few years. How do you feel about that? How do you feel about the reputation of the USGA and the U.S. Open right now?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, this is the 119th playing. What's so wonderful about this championship and, frankly, all of our championships is we do go to the greatest courses in this country, and I think that each one of these courses have their own personalities.

You look back over the last four years, and one we had some agronomic problems; another we had kind of a perfect storm rules situation; another one people felt like the golf course was maybe not hard enough or tough enough for a U.S. Open; and last year, we talked about the Saturday thing.

But this is obviously very important. The U.S. Open is going to be just fine moving on. There's been ups and downs over the years. And, frankly, if you go back and read history, there have been plenty of times in the past where there's been maybe one view of the players and another view of the USGA. And I'm not suggesting there's a different view now, but we'll be just fine.

We're excited about this week. To come to a place like Pebble Beach is just magnificent. And we're going to be in your neck of the woods next year at Winged Foot, another tried-and-true historic U.S. Open course. You look at our lineup, and we're excited about all the U.S. Opens coming up.

Q. How much collaboration is there between -- or if there's any between the USGA and the superintendents and the grounds crews at the specific golf courses?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I think that's one of the more enjoyable things to speak about. Here this week at Pebble Beach Chris Dalhamer who was with us in 2010 for the U.S. Open, the experience that brings and the collaboration, he's just a great friend. There's a gentleman on his team, Jack Holt who's been here for 40 years and has been through every U.S. Open since 1982. That's just a deep partnership. Those are examples of the deep partnership we have with Pebble Beach and on the maintenance crew. And I think there are approximately a hundred individuals, hundred golf course superintendents, assistant superintendents, maintenance staff that come from all over the world to work here at the U.S. Open. I kind of think Pebble Beach draws a few more of them than maybe a few other years just because the office you're in when working at Pebble Beach.

In fact I met a golf course superintendent this morning from Portugal who came here just to work at Pebble Beach on the U.S. Open.

And so really the collaboration is deep. We're able to do things on the golf course that normally you can't do for another -- for a nonmajor competition. We feel very blessed and privileged to have that opportunity and allows us to present to the players something special which they'll always treasure when they do win and participate in.

Q. Is this the first year the Amateur's travel expenses have been reimbursed? Does that include any lodging? Are any of them staying at the lodge?
JOHN BODENHAMER: I can't answer the latter question, I hope not. Mike?

MIKE DAVIS: I tell you that's a no.

JOHN BODENHAMER: I would say it is the third year we've done that, I believe that's right. But it's been multiple years. And again, we kind of quietly behind the scenes look at our commitment to the Amateur game. And that's just something we felt was the right thing to do.

Q. Mike, what are the odds of going back to Chambers Bay?
MIKE DAVIS: You know, I'm going to have John say that, and I'm not trying to defer everyone, but John has been there a few times. I haven't been actually back since the U.S. Open. By the way he's a wash tone an guy. Full disclosure there.

JOHN BODENHAMER: That's right. I'll just say this, I was at Chambers Bay the week before they opened their new regrassed putting greens, I think that was back in late March, if I'm not mistaken. I was actually out on the golf course the day, on the front nine helping us cut holes, I wasn't on the front nine, but Eric Johnson, the golf course superintendent, director of agronomy at Chambers Bay.

You've had a U.S. Open or about to have a U.S. Open to the question about golf course -- we're a big family, really. It runs deep. And I think from a Chambers Bay standpoint they have done a magnificent thing for that community, that region, for that treasured asset, that is an asset that everybody, not only throughout the region, once you've hosted a U.S. Open, you go to Washington State and you're going to want to play Chambers Bay. And it is really good on the new poa annua putting greens. It was a big step that Pierce County took. And it wasn't done for anything that we asked. We have our 2021 U.S. Amateur Fourball Championship there, which we're really excited about. And they just came to us and said what would you think if we did this? Could we move the championship from '19 to '21 and do this and really present a great fourball and do something good for the community? And we were all in. We said absolutely.

As far as the U.S. Open, Chambers Bay has hosted one. We will pay attention. As Mike said, we've been doing a lot of strategic thinking where we go after 2027, when we return here. The good part is we've got time to figure that out. And Chambers Bay was certainly on our radar screen.

Q. You had announced in Washington at the annual meeting about the disabled golf championship that you're going to have, actually the World Rankings are in place now. Can you tell me more about what that future is and if you've picked a venue for that?
Secondly, have you ever thought about changing the percentage of purse for the winner in this championship from 18 to 20 percent, which will probably happen in the PGA Tour in the future?

JOHN BODENHAMER: I can say that when we announced our new national championship for golfers with disabilities we knew we needed, not unlike our U.S. Senior Women's Open Championship to take the time to do it the right way and really look to obtain multiple years of venues. We're in the process of doing that.

I can tell you, though, over the last two years since we've made that announcement we have developed a framework, a format. We have socialized it with our allied golf association community, they've helped us refine it. We've also socialized it with the major organizations and those within the adaptive community and they have refined it. And now we're taking it forward and looking to conduct that championship in 2022 and hopefully earlier. And we are thinking about sites now. That is kind of the last piece of the puzzle.

And you think about this championship and one thing we've learned going through it and we've done it in a collaborative way. It is a complex championship from the standpoint of not just what you need on a golf course to accommodate the adaptive community in a national championship but off of the golf course; hotel accommodations, transportation, all of those things that generally we don't always think about when we conduct one of our national championships.

And that's the beauty -- part of the beauty of this championship. We're thinking about things that will allow those accommodations to take place. We're bringing this group together with our allied golf association community that is already strong in some areas like Georgia and New York and out in Southern California.

You think about all of our championships over the years, even our Public Links championships in the '20s, and our public golf blossomed. Our junior championships in the 1950s, and the state golf associations all created junior championships. And even the Senior Open in 1980. And the PGA Tour champions. I'm not saying we're responsible for all that growth, but it certainly didn't hurt. And we view this the same way. We think this will spur the bridge between the adaptive community and the game. We think it's the right thing to do for the game and the right thing to do as human beings. And 2022, hopefully sooner.

MIKE DAVIS: With regard to the purse I've got to say it's the first I've heard of that. There are certain areas where we really do follow the Tours. Other areas we do our own things.

But I think about things, how, for instance, the policy for shorts. We followed the Tour on that for practice rounds. We allowed distance measuring devices in our amateur championships but the Tours right now aren't using those, so we've followed that.

With respect to purses, we've had a long-standing essentially policy where we pay 18 percent of the total purse to the winner, I believe it's ten and a half percent to the runner-up and then we disburse through an algorithm the rest of it. If the Tours decide to go to that -- we do that for your Women's Open, our Senior Open, and senior Women's Open, as well. I know our championship committee would look at that. Actually it's the first I've heard of the mention of that.

Q. What was your reaction to the recent Golf Digest story about the relations between the USGA and the players and specifically the talk of even a possible player boycott?
MIKE DAVIS: Well, certainly read it. And I would just say this, we have decided we're going to take the high road on it. We're focused on this week and moving forward. So I'll just leave it at that. Certainly it's in our -- it's in everybody's best interests to really look forward and make sure that this championship is conducted in the most favorable manner as it possibly can.

Q. The early distance numbers in 2019 are down compared to 2018. Just curious if the thought is if 2018 was more an aberration or maybe 2019 is more the aberration in that respect?
MIKE DAVIS: As we've seen over the years the distance numbers do go up and down. We follow from the elite side in terms of professional golf, we also follow amateur golf, but seven different Tours. And you'll note that some years, some of the Tours go up, some go down. And so that can -- there's a lot of things, how many players retired from the Tour. And maybe the younger players tend to hit it a little bit further. Some of it depends on weather conditions different years. Some of it could be that the respective Tours change setup of the golf course.

So I think it's -- if you're referring to maybe the bigger distance, what we call our distance insights initiative that we're doing in concert with The R&A, what's that been, and we've said this before, it's a very complex subject. It's been discussed for well over a century. And we felt it incumbent on USGA, us being The R&A and USGA, to take a holistic look at it.

And I think the important thing I would say this is not, it's not, focused on just the men's elite game. It's really focused on the game as a whole. It's looking at what have been the causes of distance increase? What have happened over the last hundred plus years with golf courses? How is the game now? And we're even trying to some extent look into a crystal ball and saying where is it going to be in the future? Because at the end of this the interest is about doing the right thing for the whole of golf for everybody. And again, it's not just looking at the top end of it. What about golfers who don't hit it very far and maybe can't play an existing golf course because of teeing grounds that aren't there?

So we've collected a lot of data on this. We have done stake holder research. I believe it's over 75,000 people from around the world in different areas. And the plan would be late this year, at least we're hoping late this year, we would put out not only the data, an executive summary of it, but the idea was to have the USGA and R&A say here's some things we've found from that data. Here are some possible problems. And maybe there are problems, maybe there aren't. But we will not be coming out with any proposed solutions this year. If we see any problems in the game that we do want to solve the idea would be to eventually go to the industry and say let's talk about it. But the idea is it's the long-term best interest of all golfers with a focus on golf courses, as well.

Q. Six months or so since the rules came in, there was a flurry of talk when they were first introduced. What is your feeling about the changes and the rules now, six months after they came in? And having listened to what people have to say about them. And I'm thinking really of the players.
JOHN BODENHAMER: Well, we've listened and we were out on Tour. We had our staff at the first Tour events actually officiating both on the PGA Tour and the LPGA Tour, the Tour graciously had us out the first few weeks and we've been out most weeks since really engaging with players. And certainly there were some concerns raised early on, and the dialogue continues.

I can tell you that, when questions come up, having Jason Gore on the team has benefited that, it's part of what he's bridged. I think as soon as he hears something those questions go immediately to Thomas Pagel of our staff, who is our leads rules person. And I think either the same day or the next day there's a conversation with the player.

And that's an example of what we really did not have in place before. And so probably not coincidence that it's quieted down a little bit because we're having a dialogue.

I would say another thing that I think is really beginning to permeate a little bit is that all the positive of these new rules. You think about it, certainly I'm not going to sugar coat it, there were concerns, and we need to continue to have that dialogue. A lot of the changes in the new rules are what the Tours spoke to us about over that seven years. And they were part of that process. They were in the room from day one. And that will continue.

But I think it's really important to highlight -- I think about it's often the positive gets unrecognized, where you could have 5,000 people out searching for your golf ball and kick it and move it and only you and your caddie couldn't before. Now just put it back with no harm, no foul. I don't know the last time any of you ever tried to cut a 3-iron around a tree and it hit the tree and came back and hit your bag or you, I've never been advantaged by that, and now the new rules eliminated a penalty on that. Or if you drop your coin on your golf ball and it moves, that's no longer a penalty. These are good things for the game. And I think we need to focus on all of those things on the rules. But also listen and really engage in dialogue about any concerns and work towards a mutually positive solution. That's how we view it.

CRAIG ANNIS: Thank you Mike, John and Navin.

Just one note for all of you before we depart. As you know, the USGA Museum has the finest collection of golf memorabilia in the world, and we have some of it out in the Media Center for you, that we'll be highlighting throughout the day. We encourage you to take a look at some of these exciting artifacts. We're honored to house those in our Museum in Liberty Corner. And we're happy to have them at the Museum.

Thanks for your time and effort in covering this championship and let us know if we can support you in any way.

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