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June 18, 2019
KAREN STUPPLES: All right. First off, I want to welcome everybody here to Hazeltine. This is a fantastic venue for this wonderful championship. Quite frankly, it's amazing that we are here celebrating five years of the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
We have a fantastic panel here and everybody has had a massive hand in this event right from the very beginning five years ago to where we are now.
Suzy Whaley, Lynne Doughtie and Roberta Bowman. Give a little round of applause to start the day.
Lynne for you. Five years ago you had an idea that you wanted to get involved with the LPGA and this Major Championship.
Can you give us a little bit of insight as to how this came about and why you wanted to be involved with the LPGA?
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: It's so hard to believe this is the fifth year. It is just amazing and, you know, this was really for KPMG was all about our desire to develop and advance and empower women, and to be able to use the platform of golf to do that where we could elevate women on and off the golf course, it was just a perfect combination and this has definitely been a team effort with the PGA of America, the LPGA, to bring together something that is an amazing championship but also so much more than that.
Tomorrow we're transforming the pavilion into the Women's Leadership Summit where we bring together 300 women who have been hand picked by their CEOs from some of the leading organizations in the world to help them get to the C suite, really simply, and also do it as part of golf.
And then the most special part of all of what we do, I'm looking at them right now, these amazing young women who are part of the KPMG future leaders program where we're able to pay it forwards and use the proceeds of everything we're doing here to give these amazing young women the opportunity with college scholarships but, more importantly, some of the tools and help from some of us to be successful in their college as well as going forward.
So, putting all of that together I think we have a lot, all of us to be proud of when we look back at some of those initial conversations five years ago.
KAREN STUPPLES: I think from my perspective it's been a journey and I think when along the theme of journeys, this championship has it all from the first edition at Westchester Country Club to now here at Hazeltine, this championship continues to elevate and to make the players feel special.
When people watch the tournament they get a feel of how big this event is for the players and Suzy, when you crown that champion on Sunday afternoon, did you ever have any idea that this event would turn into the great success that it is?
SUZY WHALEY: You know, I think all of us dreamt of that. I think we all wanted to showcase the best females athletes in the world in a way that they deserve on network television, on championship venues that typically only hosted male championships.
We wanted to deliver an experience to them that was tremendous but also, as Lynne mentioned, to showcase women's golf in a way that compelled others to play the game.
We wanted to invite others to play the game and do it through watching role models, amazing worldly role models that are on the LPGA Tour and we're thrilled to be part of that.
When I lift that trophy on Sunday in honor of the 2019 Champion, it's really an honor of all the women that play on this Tour that represent the game of golf in such an incredible way.
KAREN STUPPLES: And you have a National PGA of America award winner that just happens to be the president of the LPGA Teaching and Club Professionals in Marvol Barnard. I believe you have an initiative, nice little videos revolving around this. We'll have a chance to see it right now.
(Thereupon the video was played.)
SUZY WHALEY: That's part of our PGA Journeys Campaign. We have 29,000 PGA professionals across the country, each of whom everyday is growing the game of golf at facilities they serve. Marvol just happens to be an incredible PGA professional.
She won our PGA National Player development Award last year. She also happens to be the LPGA Teaching Club past National President. So we're thrilled to honor her.
But even moreso than the accolades I mentioned about Marvol, what's she done and what we hope to do as PGA professionals is to invite people to the game. That's what our campaign is, "Invite Her" is all about where we actually extend an invitation to women, to girls and to men to participate in the game of golf with us and to seek out a local PGA professional, a local LPGA professional and help us be a part of their journey.
We're excited to highlight our PGA professionals in that ad campaign this year.
KAREN STUPPLES: Fantastic. I mean it's just great when you talk about all of that and it is just one big journey.
When I think back five years -- well, it would be maybe even more than that, six years now, I was asked to sit on the Board of the LPGA with Roberta and Mike Whan brought to us an idea that was this championship and how we progressed from there.
So, to Roberta, having seen the transformation from where we were to where we are now, have how the players responded to this championship and how important has it been for them and the growth of the LPGA?
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Yeah. It's really hard to express the journey that we've been on in five short years but this is what LPGA professionals, what everyone who had the desire to play at the top level, this is what they dreamed about, only it's better, and it is so exciting to see what has been set out here and you can see the players respond.
They're walking a little taller this week. They're smiling a little brighter. And 99 of our top 100 eligible players are here as they have been for the past four years.
This is just an incredible opportunity for them to show their craft and to inspire others to the game and, indeed, they respond. We will have just a fabulous champion to crown on Sunday and create a great memory there.
But beyond the venue and beyond the person, beyond the field, two other areas I just wanted to lift out and one is it's been 42 years since the LPGA and a Major has been here at Hazeltine, and when you are out on the course, take a look at the little girls there and watch how they're watching the pros and just wonder what kind of seeds of ambition and passion and interest are going to be sown this week. That's really exciting.
I have to say, girls are the growth engine of golf today so the ability or girls that may not know to find us on the Golf Channel, will find us on network TV this weekend and that's going to be really, really exciting as we bring new players to the game, new fans to the game and new sponsors to the game as well.
KAREN STUPPLES: Just like to tack on really there to Roberta's point, as a little girl growing up watching golf in the UK, I was really only exposed to men's golf and particularly The Open Championship, so for these young girls to have an opportunity to watch the best women in the world play, it really gives them the opportunity to inspire, it gives them the chance to have a dream that there is more to their lives than maybe just going to school and getting a good education like everybody expects them to do.
They can be tough, they can be aggressive, they can play tournament golf, they can make a living for not only themselves but their families.
It's a huge dream to have and something that what this partnership is doing really gives them such a fantastic opportunity. I'm just upset that I didn't get a chance to play because the way this tournament has progressed is really something very special, even for me to watch. I've been lucky to be part of the broadcast team.
Lynne, back to you. You touched briefly on it, The Leadership Summit. This is going to be the fifth year. Can you let everybody know roughly -- not roughly, but can you let everybody know what's going to be happening tomorrow in that important Summit?
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: Tomorrow's Summit will be extra special. We have about 300 women who will be attending the Summit, they are in for a real treat.
For the fifth year we have Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and that is the highlight every single year for these women to hear directly from her, her story and leadership lessons.
I think y'all know that our Inspired Greatness winner this year and also a keynote for the Summit will be Mia Hamm ham. That's going to be an amazing treat especially with all that's happening with the World Cup. I think we couldn't ask for a more deserving winner of the Inspire Greatness Award. We're really delighted to have her.
They will hear from other top leaders in business and sport and in golf. Suzy Whaley is on one of your panels this year as well and as I said, this is really all about how helping these women who are already very accomplished in their fields get to the next level and understand, we know it's working.
These five years have had a big impact and we are fortunate that we just tomorrow we'll be launching a leadership study that includes all of our past participants from the Summit and here is a startling statistic that I think proves that this is working: Nearly half of the women who have been part of our previous Summits have been promoted. That's a powerful statistic and I think one that we should all be really proud of and I think for the women that will be part of this Summit tomorrow, they will reap the benefits of not only this great day but a year long program and relationships that will carry them for life.
KAREN STUPPLES: One million people watched that live streaming last year. You can also watch Mia Hamm getting awarded her award at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow on the Golf Channel, which is another first. So, tune in if you can. That would be fantastic.
This is a little question for the three of you, and I'll go down the line. Do you feel that this event has turned the corner for the LPGA in terms of how they are viewed within the sporting world and stand within the business world?
SUZY WHALEY: Are you starting with me?
KAREN STUPPLES: Yes.
SUZY WHALEY: I would tell you that we are incredibly proud of this championship and the partnership that we built and developed over the course of the last five years but it's not time to rest.
We are constantly striving to make it the best event in women's golf, to challenge ourselves to raise the bar, to ensure that all the best female athletes in the world that are playing on this Tour are recognized as such and be able to continue to play courses like we have coming up, Aronimink, Congressional, Baltusrol, it's important to us and I don't want to speak for my friends up here but I always believe that we can do more and we will strive to do more.
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: I think Suzy said it really, really well. We have a lot to be proud of in what we've accomplished but we're not resting and it starts on Sunday.
We get everybody together and say that was great but how can we do more. And so this is all about continuous improvement and striving even higher and we're committed to do that this year as well.
ROBERTA BOWMAN: I love those answers. I've been taking notes. I love that question.
What I will say to give credit to Suzy's organization and Lynne's as well, I think this event has allowed us to think about reframing the business case for women's sports and women's golf in particular and the coupling around leadership and diversity inclusion, which are core objectives of virtually every corporation in the world today has made people look at LPGA differently and see possibilities that perhaps just a traditional sports hospitalities, value proposition, community sports would not.
I'm very, very grateful because we look at this women's Summit as a terrific example of how to do that coupling. And today, 14 of the LPGA events have their own programs that are highlighting the link between women's leadership on the golf course and women's leadership in business.
So for that you should take full credit.
KAREN STUPPLES: I think this kind of leads me nicely into my next question which, again, will be for Roberta and it is one where I think that this relationship both with KPMG and a number of other valued marketing partners for the LPGA formulated a drive, a Drive On and, Roberta, I know you've got a video for us to watch but I'd like for you talk very much about that.
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Thank you, Karen.
Drive On that Karen mentioned is the new LPGA brand platform. We unveiled it just three months ago in Phoenix and I have to say we have been so, so gratified by the reaction. It is a way to express our brand being positioned around diversity inclusion leadership but also around that fire of passion and hard work and tenacity that it takes to achieve your goals.
The LPGA, of course, has nearly a 70 year history of creating opportunities for women and, in fact, being a beacon of diversity and inclusion.
So we wanted to celebrate that as well. So, this week we are going to be launching the third spot in our Drive On campaign. We actually filmed this back in January but we wanted to wait for this week to unveil it.
You can think of it really as a chance to talk about the different dimensions of LPGA players beyond the golf course as role models and as leaders and because of the wonderful example that this women's leadership Summit has presented, we think of it in many ways as part affirmation, part inspiration and, to our friends at KPMG and the PGA, part appreciation as well.
Would you roll the film?
(Thereupon the video was played.)
KAREN STUPPLES: As a player, when I first watched this unveiling at the Founder's Cup earlier this year, it really took my breath away, how finally the players had a voice to everything that they've been feeling for such a long time.
So, all credit to Roberta and her team for putting this Drive On campaign together.
And I'm going to address this to Suzy as the mother of two daughters and really a barrier buster in terms of what you've been able to achieve and do with your career, too, how does this all play out with you and how proud does this make you feel to be part of the PGA of America and this organization coming together with this tournament?
SUZY WHALEY: It just makes me so thrilled that golf is a part of my life. I think it first starts with the game and it first starts with the fact that I love the game but the game has given me so much in my life, I can't possibly give it enough back.
I met my husband through the game, I have these two incredible daughters who play collegiately golf. We still love to play golf together.
I've had opportunities and doors opened to me because of events I've competed and played in. For me it starts there and I think when something starts organically with something you love to do you want to make it better for those that come behind you.
For those that open doors for me in front of me, the LPGA players who are role models, to me, the people in my life at the PGA of America, many of the men who mentored me to be in the position I'm in today, I can only say thank you to that but to be a part of this, something that I think the PGA of America we talked about for so very long, adding a women's high level event to our other great championships that we have is something that I don't know that I can put into words because, for me, it's emotional, it's something that means the world to me.
I played in Major Championships, I know what it's like to be a player teeing it up in them. I also know now what it's like to bring opportunities to those that are following in our footsteps.
I have a chance to play with Maria Fassi today, the next superstar of the LPGA. To realize all of us have been a part of allowing her to showcase her talent and skill on a venue like Hazeltine with the press and NBC covering it and the Golf Channel, is something that I think our whole team at the PGA of America is incredibly proud of.
Our whole board is coming here this week to Hazeltine to participate, to be announcers on the first tee and for us that's the greatest honor and so we're thrilled to be a part of it.
KAREN STUPPLES: Awesome. Continuing the theme of elevating and to give women an opportunity in all manner of ways, we saw on the videos Stacy Lewis. Stacy Lewis says she's a mother and we've seen a nice little trend in the women's game just recently that started with KPMG and Stacy Lewis in how you are supporting her through that pregnancy.
How important a decision was that for you to make?
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: I get asked this question a lot about the decision and it was really -- there was no decision. We were all so happy for Stacy and Gerrod and everybody. Your first child and it's such an amazing thing. I know when Stacy and Gerrod told me about it, I was just so excited.
It probably, it was probably the next day I said how does this even work with the contract and then we said, well, of course, we will provide to Stacy what we provide to anyone at KPMG, and parental leave is important and it's important for the professionals on the Tour.
And so for us it was just the thing that we knew was the right thing to do for Stacy and we're so proud that others have followed suit in the regard to the importance of parental leave and making time for that really special moment in all of our lives.
There's no more important role than being a parent and we were glad that we had the chance to help Stacy through that.
KAREN STUPPLES: Personally I'm very glad that you did decide to go down that path because it was so hard for mothers in the past to be recognized and do both and I know, Roberta, you wanted to speak a little about this, too.
ROBERTA BOWMAN: You know like Suzy, I'm more like Lynne on this panel. I spent my entire career in business and we would always want to be part of the working mother's top places to work.
I have to say if working mother researched what the LPGA Tour is doing, I think we would be at the top of the list and there's three reasons for that.
We have recently updated our maternity policy for our players and this was driven by the players, and we are very proud of the outcome and the flexibility that provides our new moms.
Secondly, as Lynne mentioned this notion of sponsor relationships and continuity, and, Lynne, I know you're reluctant to take credit here but somebody had to be first, and in addition to KPMG we are so proud of CME and Dow and Diamond Resorts for taking the same bold action and, indeed, it shouldn't be a bold action but it was and I think it's the trend of sports contracts for women as well.
The third aspect though is one that I don't know that we get a lot of recognition for but I think it is one of the most incredible corporate partnerships that I've had the privilege of being part of and that is the on-site child care that moves with our Tour throughout our North American stops.
Think about this for a moment. You're a new mom and your job changes every single week and goes to a new city where you don't know anybody. How are you going to play and raise a family?
So in the absence of child care, many of our players would have to choose motherhood or doing and playing the game he they love.
Because of the generosity and foresight of Smucker's, we have had child care that moves with the Tour and we've had it for 25 years and I think that that is really an incredible part of the success of our players having the ability to both do what they love and to raise their kids.
And, Karen, I know it was really important part of you raising your son as well.
KAREN STUPPLES: Absolutely. No doubt that my son, Logan, has turned out to be the little star that he is mainly due to daycare. Probably had nothing to do with me at all.
I'd like to thank you ladies. Open up for questions now that I've hogged this microphone far too much. I'll open it up to questions.
Q. Lynne, you were mentioning statistics on five years. I wondered if you anecdotally have a stat on how many of the participants have taken up golf or maybe had an interest in golf that had not been exposed before in the Summit?
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: That's a question. I don't have that statistic. I'm looking at Georgia because I don't think we asked that question but we should probably ask that question going forward.
I do, anecdotally, know that we hear every single year that we, as part of this program, are introducing many senior executive women to golf for the first time and doing it in a way where it's comfortable that they're being assisted by top professionals, and we know that golf is great for business.
18 holes, you can build really great relationships and you can also do -- get a lot of business done and I think for men and women as well, it's just fantastic and to add that as a component, having the instruction as part of this program I think we definitely have encouraged more women.
I mentioned the year long program. So many of those groups use golf as sort of the catalyst to get back together and continue to take up the game.
SUZY WHALEY: If I can just add, the KPMG Women's Golf Clinic spurned off this summer as well that we hosted all over the country. Of course, we're incredibly proud of the Future Leaders Program that we have where the young women that come to that program learn golf from me this year and other PGA professionals out in California and LPGA professionals, and then what's really special is then when they go out to college we set them up with a PGA professional near wherever they're going to school so they can continue their golf and their lessons.
That's been something that I can tell you for sure they are all playing since the Future Leaders have started, they get equipment and are ready to go.
LYNNE DOUGHTIE: Don't tell everybody yet.
SUZY WHALEY: You don't get lessons and I'm not coming but other than that, it's all good. Don't tell anybody else. I'm sorry. Anyway, there you go. I'm going to stop talking now. Be surprised.
Q. Wondering, you mentioned earlier it's been awhile since the women's game has come to Hazeltine.
What about this venue, this course and this State made it attractive to come back?
SUZY WHALEY: Well, when we were here for the Ryder Cup obviously and we've had PGA Championships here as well, this is just an historic venue for a championship, U.S. Opens, U.S. Women's Open.
It's always a privilege and honor to be back at Hazeltine, A, because of the staff here, the incredible job they do, Ruth "Kimmelshoe" our general chair has done amazing things, Renee, our tournament chair. On and on about all that.
The venue itself, Robert Trent Jones, spectacular golf course. The length of the golf course I'm sure hasn't escaped any of you and I can tell you that Maria didn't have a problem today with that length whatsoever.
But, you know, when you come here the Minneapolis fans are enormous sporting fans and saw it at the PGA Championships we've had here and during the Ryder Cup.
I can tell you from a sneak peek we are breaking records here for ticket sales. So, excited to have fans from all over Minnesota come out, participate in this. Young girls, as Roberta mentioned, are already out there today. PGA of America loves it here and we're thrilled to be able to bring this championship here.
Q. We love you, too.
SUZY WHALEY: Thank you.
Q. I guess for anyone here, what gaps existing in the women's game do you think are the most realistic or most important to continue to narrow?
SUZY WHALEY: Well, I mean more women need to play golf, first and foremost. We want to give more women the opportunity. Want to give them a valued experience on golf courses that they enjoy.
So for us at the PGA of America, it's all about how to recreate that environment, how do we ensure that women and young girls have opportunity or are able to go out for three holes or 9 holes or an environment where they can putt for half an hour.
As far as the Tour game, the LPGA Tour game, what gaps? I certainly see domestic corporate sponsorship gaps. I would love to see that, to have partners like KPMG is something pretty incredible.
I would certainly like to see that grow and see more United States domestic events on the LPGA Tour based on those corporate sponsorships.
ROBERTA BOWMAN: Our philosophy, the only people that aren't LPGA fans are people that haven't experienced us. We have a fabulous product, we have great sponsors and it's really just a matter of more exposure to grow the game.
In that spirit, I do think a near term challenge is converting current golfers that haven't experienced the LPGA Tour or aren't fans -- and, for the life of me, I don't get this, we hear over and over about how much more relatable the LPGA game is to the average recreational golfer.
We've gotten lots of new interest in that and I think as we tell that story and even using this week as a case in point, we'll continue to grow the game and growth is really the name of the next objective.
KAREN STUPPLES: I don't know about you but I could certainly listen to you guys talk for hours on end about your experiences and everything that you've gone through to be here, but we've run out of time, unfortunately.
So, Suzy Whaley, President of the PGA of America; Lynne Doughtie, U.S. Chairman and CEO of KPMG, Roberta Bowman, Chief Brand & Communications Officer of the LPGA, thank you for breaking down the barriers and starting this trend for the LPGA golfers.
Thank you very much.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports