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May 14, 2020
Juno Beach, Florida
CHRIS REIMER: Good morning, and thanks for joining us today for our preview teleconference for TaylorMade Driving Relief supported by UnitedHealth Group. On the line we have Dustin Johnson, Rickie Fowler and Matthew Wolff. Our fourth participant in the event, Rory McIlroy, couldn't join us, but we'll have a full transcript of Rory that we'll share after the call.
Before we open for questions, I want to acknowledge and thank a few partners that made this event possible, starting with UnitedHealth Group, who laid the foundation for the event with a $3 million commitment, which the players will compete for on Sunday as Dustin as Rory play for the American Nurses' Foundation and Rickie and Matthew represent the CDC Foundation. Thanks to TaylorMade for helping make this event possible and an additional thanks to Farmers Insurance for their $1 million contribution that will go towards a birdie and eagles bonus pool that will help create additional excitement during the event.
Special thanks to the leadership and members from Seminole Golf Club, one of America's most revered courses, for their support as the host of the event as the world tunes in to NBC and across all our available platforms to help raise funds and awareness for COVID-19 relief efforts.
A reminder to fans at home that they'll be able to contribute to PGA TOUR charities through Pgatour.com/drivingrelief powered by GoFundMe Charity.
Also joining us today on the call we have PGA TOUR senior vice president of tournament administration Andy Levinson and senior tournament referee Stephen Cox to assist with any questions you may have about health and safety measures or about the competition itself. In an effort to maximize our time with players I'll have Andy make a few brief comments about the safety measures that will be in place. If you have additional questions for Andy, I'd like to ask you to hold them until we get through our player questions and Andy will remain on the line until after the players are excused. With that I'll turn it over to Andy Levinson for a quick rundown of the top-level safety precautions that will take place on Sunday.
ANDY LEVINSON: Thank you, Chris, and good morning, everybody. Many of you participated in our media roundtable discussion yesterday regarding the PGA TOUR's plans to return to competition in June, and we outlined a health and safety plan that we have developed under the consultation of our medical advisors to ensure that everybody involved in the conduct of the PGA TOUR affiliated event will be in an environment that is as safe and healthy as possible and with a focus on minimizing risk and reducing the likelihood of exposure to COVID-19.
For the event this weekend, every participant has undergone testing and will also undergo screening measures when they arrive on-site at the event. Everybody is being asked to socially distance throughout the property and throughout the round.
We also will be providing sanitary wipes and things of that nature to ensure that good hygiene is practiced throughout the day, and of course, as I mentioned earlier, everybody is going to be very mindful of a proper physical distance, which is a critical element to the health and safety of everyone involved.
With that, I'll turn it back to Chris.
CHRIS REIMER: Thank you, Andy. I'll start off the questions here. We'll go with youth first. Matt Wolff, you're playing with three of the more dominant players of the last decade, three of the top players recently in golf. What's it like to be a part of this event with Dustin, Rory and Rickie?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, as soon as TaylorMade kind of came to me with this and said that they wanted me to be a part of it, I was obviously very excited. The most important thing is that all the money that we're raising, it's really awesome that we're giving money back to, like you said, the American Nurses' Foundation and the CDC for all the first responders and everyone out there battling, because it's definitely a disease that has affected all of us and made everyone's lives different. We're looking to get back to a new normal and everything, but it's definitely a pleasure for me to play against the guys like Rickie and DJ and Rory. They're obviously world No. 1, former No. 1, and Rickie is always a contender in huge tournaments and high up there on the World Ranking.
I'm looking to go out there and show everyone that I can compete with all them. I think that there's a lot of people out there that are asking why I'm in it, but I'm looking to, like I said, prove to them that I can play with the best in the world, and it's going to be a really fun experience and a great time that I'm happy to be a part of.
CHRIS REIMER: Let the record reflect my question wasn't why you're in it, it was just if you're excited to be in it. I'm just kidding.
Q. This is more just about generally going back to work hopefully in the next month at Colonial. You're all three in the field to play Colonial. Can I just get your feelings starting with Rickie about how you feel with the TOUR's plan and getting on a plane and going and playing in a tournament after all this time?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I feel like I can speak for pretty much all the guys out there that we've enjoyed some time at home, just because it's rare that there is some sort of break, so I feel like we've all tried to make the most and the best of it. But we're all excited to go play, as well. I feel like hearing how a lot of the board meetings and PAC meetings have gone, the TOUR is obviously taking it very seriously and going to all the measures needed to make sure that they're confident going forward when we do Colonial that it'll be the safest environment possible.
No, I'm excited to get back to play. It's been the longest break I've ever had, the most time I've been able to spend at home. But like I said, looking at it, the best way possible. We've enjoyed getting into a little bit of a routine, using it as beneficial as possible to work out, cook at home. The first month we went to the grocery store once a week. But no, at the end of the day, we all love to compete, so I think that's why you're seeing a lot of guys are going to be playing the first few events as soon as they can.
Q. Rickie, your buddy Denny Hamlin is also back in action this Sunday with NASCAR starting its engines at Darlington, and those guys haven't been able to practice their sport for 10 weeks. Who do you think will have the biggest first-lap or first-tee jitters, you or the NASCAR drivers?
RICKIE FOWLER: Well, I would say -- I would put it on Denny, if it was on the golf course. We've gotten to play a little bit down at Grove 23. He's been down a couple times. But I would say almost them being in the car, like you said, they haven't been able to put much seat time in in a real car. I know they've been able to do plenty of sim driving and sim racing, and Denny has done all right in there, I think with a couple victories. But it's got to be -- that's going to be pretty interesting for them to not only get back in the car but right back into the mix of it after having such a long time out of an actual seat and behind the wheel.
We've been lucky that a lot of golf courses, a few have remained open in south Florida throughout the whole time of this break. I decided to come back and start playing a few weeks ago, so we've actually been able to kind of play real golf, versus those guys have been stuck in a simulator, which simulators these days are pretty darned good and they're a lot of fun, but it's really hard to really simulate what it is like in an actual car.
Q. Dustin, I know you guys are all used to your routines out there. How difficult is it to kind of adhere to the things that you have to do differently now, and how much responsibility do you guys feel to do everything properly with all the millions of recreational golfers that are going to be watching the telecast on Sunday?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I think we have a big responsibility on ourselves to make sure that we practice all the guidelines that the PGA TOUR is going to set in place. Obviously everyone is going to be watching what we're doing, so I think it's very important for us to do it all correctly. We have a responsibility to ourselves and all the other players to stay safe and stay healthy.
But you know, I think the TOUR has done a great job with what they've put in place for us, and hopefully if we do get started at Colonial here in about a month that everything is going to go great, and we'll get somewhat back to normal. Like Rickie was saying, we miss competing. It has been nice to be at home and enjoy time with the family, but I'm ready to get back out there and play.
Q. Dustin, how much golf have you been playing? And secondly, when you get to Colonial, what do you think is going to be the weirdest part about the new policies and regulations?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Well, I'll answer the second question first. I think everything is going to be weird, just because it's going to be so different for us from what we're used to. I haven't really thought about what the weirdest thing will be, but it's all just going to be different. Obviously we'll get used to it pretty quickly.
And then as far as how much golf I've played, I've played a lot of golf here the last couple days.
Q. How much is a lot?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Not so much until -- I played my first golf hole since TPC on Sunday this week, or four days ago.
Q. What did you shoot?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I birdied the first hole. I got back into it real fast.
But yeah, I mean, it's been good. I hit balls a few times, but yeah, I just didn't really play any golf until Sunday. I figured I probably should play a little bit of golf before we tee it up here this Sunday. But I'll be ready; don't you worry.
Q. For Stephen Cox or Andy Levinson, are there any restrictions that are in place in Palm Beach County that would be applied on Sunday? In other words, can they show up more than 20 or 30 minutes in advance? Will the locker room be open, things like that?
STEPHEN COX: Let me just jump in here. Yes, we are working through with the county, who have been all the way terrific to work with so far. There are a number of restrictions for social golf, and I think for those of us who have been playing we've seen those, things like swimming pool noodles in the bottom of the hole and restrictions on touching the flagsticks and restrictions in terms of when players can arrive, and these are the types of exemptions that we are looking to have lifted for this event, given that we've only got a small pool of four players and have got a small number of people on-site and we have a very controlled environment.
We recognize that the players are going to need sufficient time to warm up and be screened, just like Andy mentioned there, and be mic'd up, for example. So all that does sort of take a little bit of time to get sorted. So we've asked for some exemptions to be modified beyond the 20 minutes, for example. Again, we recognize that although this is a charity match, it's not social golf that you'll see in various different communities, and we wanted to essentially try and lead into Colonial, so although there are no caddies going to be on-site and the players are not going to be touching the flagstick, we want the player to be able to putt without the flagstick in the hole and we want the noodle to be removed.
Now, these are the sort of things that we're still waiting to get confirmation on, and if it turns out that we're not comfortable going down that road, then we'll just proceed with the noodle in the hole, and that will give an opportunity to show that golf at the highest level can be played in a fun manner, but it is our intention to play golf just like we will do at Colonial in a few weeks' time.
Q. Could I get at least two of the players to talk about Seminole Golf Course and the challenges that that golf course will present?
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I've played it, I think, three times. One time I was there still as an amateur, playing in the Walker Cup practice session. And then -- actually maybe two times, yeah. And then with the pro-member. Both times I played it the weather was really nice, so I haven't really played it in high winds yet. It's right on the ocean, so that's definitely one thing that I've always been told, that the wind is one of its biggest defenses. I'm not sure what the weather is supposed to be like on Sunday, but I think that if the wind blows it's going to be a difficult course. But also the greens are extremely difficult. They're very sloped, a lot of subtle breaks, and I've even heard that people putt the ball often off the green and into bunkers. I don't think you're going to see that from us, but it's definitely something that I think putting is a huge advantage there.
We'll see what the weather brings because I think that's going to be the biggest factor in whether there's a lot of birdies or we're playing more for defense and just to make a bunch of pars.
Q. Rickie, what's your take on Seminole?
RICKIE FOWLER: I love Seminole. It's just a fun golf course to play, whether, like Matt said, you get it in good weather or you get it in the days that the wind typically blows east to southeast, but I was actually just looking at the weather, and it looks like we're going to have -- it says kind of north-northeast right now, but I'm sure that it's going to try and work its way to the east at some point. Thinking of that, No. 4 is a long par-4, that's going to be back into the wind that day, so that'll be interesting. It's very much a second-shot or approach-shot golf course. I'd say it's fairly forgiving off the tee, but with what Matt said, how the greens are kind of designed, they're pretty good sized, but as far as where you can land the ball and keep the ball on the green, kind of similar to a Pinehurst No. 2 in a way. A lot of balls will roll and feed off, whether it's back down through the fairway into bunkers, and that's where it can get tough, especially if the wind is up, but it doesn't look like it's supposed to be too windy on Sunday.
Yeah, I think you're going to see us having some fun off the tee, and then from there is where things will get separated on approach shots and putting.
Q. Dustin, there's a TaylorMade commercial we've all seen where part of it is you hit a drive and a lot of your other TaylorMade guys like Rory himself "ooh" and "ahh" appreciatively about the drive. How would you describe your partner Rory's driving?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, Rory is one of the -- I don't know, I think we've both probably got to be up there in the top drivers of the golf ball, especially right now. Yeah, I mean, he's a great driver of the ball. He hits it long, he hits it straight. I mean, I think he drives it really well, and he hits it -- when we do these competitions at the TaylorMade shoots, we're usually within a couple yards of how far it's going. So he's a great driver of the golf ball.
RICKIE FOWLER: I won't argue with DJ; he's one of the best drivers of the golf ball in the game.
Q. I was hoping to ask Rickie and Matt what you guys think about being the underdogs?
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I'm looking forward to Matt and I teeing it up, two OSU Cowboys. Different times, but we share a little bit of the same blood, so looking forward to it. Obviously you look at it on paper, Rory and DJ are nothing short of impressive, but we have a lot of these two-on-two games at home, whether it's during this time or weeks off throughout the year, and any given day, I think you see it, as well, out on TOUR, the depth of golf over the last few years and even past that, on any given day it's such a fine line. We'll take the underdog spot, but it can be -- when that day comes, basically it's a toss-up on who's got the hot putter, and could be just a battle throughout the day. One team might be playing better than the other. So I don't look at it at any side necessarily being favored. We're going to go tee it up and try and beat up on each other as bad as possible but have some fun. It's pretty cool that we get to do this and raise some good money for charity because this has been a crazy, interesting time for our country and the world, as well.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I mean, I kind of just have to echo what Rickie is saying. I feel like golf is unlike any other sport in the sense that on any given day, anyone can beat anyone, and maybe not anyone, but us PGA TOUR pros, we all are working really hard and we all have the ability to fire a low number at any time. I think it's going to be a lot of fun, and we're doing it for a good cause, which is the most important part, but it's going to be competitive, and we're definitely not looking to hold back at all. So it's going to be some good competition, and being the underdog you could say just fuels me and Rickie a little bit more, but at the end of the day it's going to be fun, and DJ and Rory I'm sure won't back down at all, so we're going to have to bring our games, and I promise you we'll do that.
Q. I have a question for the three players: What circumstances do you imagine will present the biggest challenge in maintaining proper social distancing with your caddies? I know it won't be an issue this weekend, but once the tournament golf resumes.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I don't know -- yeah, your caddie is going to be one person that it's going to be very difficult to always practice social distancing from, and it probably depends on who your caddie is. Like for me, it's my brother, so I've been around him this whole time. So it's not like -- I mean, obviously it's different in every circumstance, but I think it's going to be -- that will be the one tough part. But we are on a golf course, there's a lot of space, so we can do our best. But your caddie will be the one person that you're going to have to be close to at times.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I would say for me, for the most part I already grab my clubs out of the bag on my own and stuff like that. I'd say maybe when you're in the fairway or on the tee at a par-3 and looking at the yardage book and talking about the shot and what's going on, you've got to make sure that you're doing it separately and talking at a safe distance. And then that being where you wouldn't be able to whisper to each other. We might have to speak up a little bit more than normal to talk from more than a few feet away. I'll just -- maybe I'll keep a club in my hand and hold my caddie at an arm's length or something.
No, it'll be interesting. We'll kind of have to take it as it goes and learn, because it is all very different. I know they're talking being able to sterilize rakes and flagsticks after each group goes through, so there's a few things that we'll have to adjust to, but I think the TOUR has done a great job of setting up the guidelines and a kind of a base to where we're getting back to Colonial at the right time and as safe as possible.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I mean, they both kind of covered it. I think that there's mics pretty much everywhere around the golf course anyway, so it's not like us speaking up is going to pick up anything that they haven't already heard before. But you know, you pull your own clubs, but then you give it to your caddie to clean. They're going to be touching all the clubs anyways. I think that you really just have to trust the PGA TOUR.
One thing that I heard is that I think it's important to maybe like stay with your caddie, or anywhere that you go, your caddie goes, as well, because that way if you're being safe and you're making sure that you don't have it, your caddie would be like following the same rules as you, and if you both get it, then I'm sorry. But I think the PGA TOUR has set up really good guidelines, like Rickie said, and I think that wearing gloves or anything like that might help. But you're going to just have to trust that they don't have it and that the PGA TOUR is doing everything that they can to sterilize everything and making sure that we can have a normal round of golf with still being safe.
Q. You touched on a few weeks ago the fact that you and Rory were maybe thinking of teaming up for the New Orleans tournament. What do you admire about Rory as a player, and what do you like about him as a person?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, obviously he's a great player. I think everything about his golf game he does pretty darned well. He's No. 1 in the world, and he's done it well for quite a long time.
You know, and him as a person, I mean, I like -- I think there's a lot of things to like about Rory. I think he carries himself in a good manner. He's always been a good friend to me, and he's a good role model for kids, and I like the way he goes about things. He puts in a lot of work. He does a lot of things right.
There's not really too much bad you can say about Rory. Or at least I can't say anything bad.
Q. Is there a shot or some sort of moment in Rory's career that stands out that really impressed you?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I mean, I don't know. Obviously he's hit a lot of good shots. Off the top of my head I cannot think of one, sorry.
CHRIS REIMER: I think he took $10 million out of your pocket in '16 at the FedExCup, didn't he?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Oh, when he holed that shot from the fairway, yeah. I can't say what I want to say on here, but yeah.
Q. We'll just make it up.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, you can just make something up, sure.
Q. We're good at doing that.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I know you are.
Q. Dustin, Rickie and Matthew, with so much going on in the world, the return of sports can provide some level of normalcy. What will it mean to get out there on Sunday knowing the positive impact it could have on people?
MATTHEW WOLFF: I think it's really important. I feel like there hasn't been very many live sports. I know UFC has been back, but it's been really tough. Like I said, this coronavirus has really affected everyone's lives, and everyone wants to just get back to a normal, going to work or watching sports or anything like that, and to be able to bring that to them while raising money for a great cause is what I really think is important, and I'm happy to be a part of it, like I said earlier.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I think it's really cool to be able to bring some live sports back. I know everyone is taking the right measures to make sure it's done the correct way. Golf is one that is capable of doing that, as we're seeing with our match. I know Tiger and Phil have their match coming up, as well, and then Colonial being right around the corner.
It'll be something for people at home to watch. Hopefully we can provide them with some quality and fun entertainment.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, I mean, I think they covered it pretty well. For me, it's definitely exciting just to play, especially against -- we've got four guys that we all live down here and we like to play, so it's fun to get out and play a match. Obviously with no live sports really on right now, it's going to be -- I think the world needs something to watch, so I think hopefully we can go out and put on a good show, and it's for a great cause. We're raising a lot of money for people who really need it, so it's great to be a part of that, and I think we're all really looking forward to it.
Q. Dustin and Rickie, I'm curious, is there any way that you can get ready for competitive PGA TOUR golf, whether it's playing in matches like this one or at home or practicing? Is there any way you can actually get ready for competing in a tournament?
DUSTIN JOHNSON: I think -- obviously we take time off. This is a long break we've had off, but for us -- well, for me I've been out here for a long time, so I know what it takes to get ready, but it's still -- it's really hard. It's almost impossible to simulate actually being on the TOUR playing in a tournament. You know, you can do everything you can to get ready, but to actually simulate that is very difficult.
But you know, we're all very good players, and so we know what it takes to be ready to go out and compete, and I think you'll see that when the TOUR starts back up that the guys are ready to play.
RICKIE FOWLER: Yeah, I think like DJ said, it's tough to really get a full kind of simulation of what it's really going to be like. When you do step up on the first tee, you're always going to have those first-tee jitters, and that never goes away. But playing games at home, playing one-on-one matches, playing two-on-two matches, I've been able to play with J.T. and Tiger and played with Matt a couple times, as well. Any time you can go up against guys that you play with on TOUR, have matches and kind of push each other to check and see where you're at, what you need to work on, I think that's some of the best ways to get ready, but like DJ said, it's still not a tournament. There's that little hump to get over when you do go tee it up.
Q. Just curious for anybody, Dustin, Rickie, Matt, do you guys expect, if not in competition certainly, but when you arrive at a golf course or a tournament to wear a mask, and will the mask possibly be branded with one of your sponsors? And also, when is the last time you guys carried a bag? You have to go back to, what, college golf, junior golf?
RICKIE FOWLER: I actually carried a bag last year, played a practice round about a week and a half prior to the Honda at PGA National. It wasn't my favorite, but definitely brought back some memories of college golf. I think Matt is going to be in the best situation since he's not far off of college golf, so he may have the upper leg there.
It'll be interesting. I mean, I've been wearing masks when we go to the grocery store and stuff like that. Totally ready to show up at the course with one if needed or if it is -- makes people feel better or makes it a safer environment. I'm not sure about logos or anything like that. I do know -- I think I have a cool Pistol Pete mask on the way from my buddies at DuPree's back in Stillwater, so that might be in the mix for a daily mask.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Yeah, I haven't really thought about wearing a mask. I think, like Rickie said, if it's required to make everyone feel better, then I'm happy to wear it. But I'd rather not wear a mask. I think that the PGA TOUR is doing a pretty good job, or a great job to make sure everything is safe and making sure that we can go out there with a level of normalcy, just like kind of how we always would.
But yeah, I mean, I haven't even been on TOUR for a year yet. I played college golf -- the national championship was at The Blessings in Arkansas, and it was one of the hilliest courses I've ever walked. So I mean, it's been definitely nice having a caddie carrying my bag, but with a carry bag it shouldn't be too hard. Seminole is a pretty easy walk, as well, so I'm -- I don't think it's going to be any advantage for me because I was so used to it. I think we're all in really good shape and we're all not really thinking that is an advantage or disadvantage. I think we're all just -- we have to carry our own bag, and that's what it is.
DUSTIN JOHNSON: Yeah, kind of the same for me. I haven't carried my own bag since I can't remember when. But that's not an issue. I feel like I'm in good enough shape to carry my bag around for 18 holes without it being a problem.
And as far as the masks are concerned, yeah, if I need to wear one, I will. You know, obviously maybe going -- if we're out on TOUR, going in the clubhouse or if we have to go in the clubhouse or the locker room, probably wear a mask. But I feel like if we're outside and we're playing golf, there's not really any need to wear one unless it's required, but I think we'll just have to wait and see with that.
CHRIS REIMER: At this point I'll go ahead and excuse our three contestants. Thank you for joining us on the line today and for donating your time to Sunday's match, and thanks again to the UnitedHealth Group and TaylorMade for making the event possible, to Farmers for their contribution, and we want to thanks MasterCard and Rocket Mortgage by Quicken Loans as relief partners. I just found out we're up to $1.3 million already on our donation page at Pgatour.com/drivingrelief, so the donations have started. We're excited and appreciate you guys giving your time not only today but on Sunday for this great cause.
Any media wanting to stay on the line and ask any additional questions of Andy Levinson and Stephen Cox, I encourage you to do so, but Dustin, Matthew, Rickie, thanks again for your time today.
MATTHEW WOLFF: Absolutely, yeah. Thank you for having me.
Q. Stephen, both in this match, exhibition matches and when the TOUR resumes, from a rules standpoint and the social distancing standpoint, will this create any particular issues, or how will you handle the issues of players asking for rulings on the course?
STEPHEN COX: I think what we've tried to do is certainly this match this upcoming Sunday is the first time that we're going to be broadcast to the outside world for some time, so we're very keen to set the right benchmark and protocols going forward as we lead into Colonial. So the messaging that we're getting across to players, as I'm sure you saw yesterday with the sort of larger announcement, we've already sort of got a document to the players last week specifically relating to a lot of that sort of stuff. We're going into more detail, particularly as this one relates to team, a team format, so there's a greater likelihood of things like high fives and celebrating, picking up your partner's ball marker and ball on the green and all these sort of dynamics which are involved in team play. So we've sort of walked them through it already once. They've had glimpse of that, the type of protocols that they're going to need to sort of be thinking about, and then we'll do a player briefing prior to the match on Sunday just to try and reiterate some of these points.
Just like this match on Sunday and Colonial, these guys are fairly -- their sort of pre-shot routines and what they do out on TOUR is fairly engrained, so hopefully it sinks in, but inevitably at some point in time they're going to sort of forget where they are in the moment, whether that be celebration or otherwise, and hopefully you guys in the media aren't too hard on the players in that regard because inevitably it's going to happen. But we just try to do our best to try and get this across to the four players for our match, for them to be thinking about how they conduct themselves on the golf course.
Q. But in terms of making a ruling on the course, where a golfer drops in a hazard and things like that, will that create any issues?
STEPHEN COX: No, I don't think so, and again, we're just going to follow the guidelines laid out to the players, and we're going to follow exactly those guidelines. Now, obviously more applicable probably for Colonial, there are going to be situations where we're going to have to, for example, maybe touch a player's equipment, whether it be a ball which is cracked or we need to examine that or look at a player's club, touch a player's equipment. So we're working through those individual protocols, and those will be implemented on Sunday.
But again, going back to social distancing, you'll probably see a little greater separation between the player and the referee than you'd ordinarily see. You're not going to have the two heads together looking at something, and if that happens where we need to look at something very closely, we'll just maybe advise the player can you just give me a little space so I can get in there and look at the particular situation to observe these guidelines and protocols.
Q. Stephen, I might have missed this earlier and I apologize, but noodles or not, do you guys have any policies for this match on Sunday on handling the flagstick? And secondly, I was wondering about bunker rakes, but I'm not so sure there's going to be any need to rake any bunker at all, is there?
STEPHEN COX: So this comes back to the emergency Order 5, which Palm Beach County has got in place, and we've been working with them for several weeks to try and get certain exemptions for that. If you look at the Order 5 which relates to social golf now, rightly so, there's restrictions on players touching the flagstick, there's restrictions on arrival times as I've touched on earlier. The noodles are in the bottom of the hole and no rakes are on the course, just like when you go out at TPC Sawgrass there's no rakes around there and you sort of smooth it around with your foot.
Now, for us with only four players the raking is a bit of a non-event. There will be one rake and that will be on my golf cart, so in the exceptional situation where I need to recreate a lie or something like that, which is about the only situation given that the golf is closed, there's no golf playing either before or after us, in that situation I'll just come in there and just use that one rake, which will be on my golf cart. Otherwise there's going to be no rakes.
Flagstick-wise, we are going to encourage the players to do -- obviously it's on the assumption that the noodle is removed from the hole. We're going to have a situation where the players are encouraged, if they're putting from distance, to leave the flag in, and if they want that flag removed, then Mark Russell, who's the chief referee, he will essentially just remove that flagstick and hold it, and he will be the only person to handle that flagstick during the day.
In that regard, we're sort of satisfying that Order 5 mandate which prohibits the players from touching the flagstick. These are the sort of things that we're working through right now, and hopefully everything else is going to be confirmed for Sunday.
Q. This question is for Andy. I was hoping you could maybe describe or just lay out the testing procedure and screening that players either have already gone through or will face in the coming days and once they arrive on the property at Seminole?
ANDY LEVINSON: So every participant in this event has gone through a diagnostic PCR test, and on-site there will be additional testing as well as thermal screening and questionnaires. Those screenings will not just apply to the participants but to everybody on-site. It's a great opportunity for us to implement similar procedures to what we're going to be implementing when we return to competition on the PGA TOUR and see how they work, albeit in a very much smaller manner, as there won't be many people on-site at Seminole on Sunday.
Q. I just wanted to hear your thoughts about Seminole itself. Most people have not -- certainly haven't played it, and most people haven't even seen it, so it would seem to the golf junkie that as much of a draw as the players are, I feel like the golf course, because there's a bit of a mystique to it, is. Can you address that a little bit?
CHRIS REIMER: Mr. Cox, you've set up and been to golf courses all over the world. Maybe your thoughts on Seminole as a venue from the perspective of somebody who's set up golf courses for the best players all over.
STEPHEN COX: Yeah, I think this is one of the exciting elements to all of this is inasmuch as there's some fantastic charitable dollars being raised, I think you're absolutely right, there's a genuine excitement about seeing Seminole. It's not been broadcast to the worldwide audience before, so this is a new unique opportunity for people around the world to get a glimpse of Seminole. I live in Florida and I've been fortunate to have the opportunity to play golf all over the world, and I think some of the work that Coore Crenshaw have done just recently and continue to do on that property is very much an evolving process still as they prepare themselves for the Walker Cup.
I think not only the players as I just alluded to earlier, I think everyone is going to see what fantastic shot making, second-shot shot-making capabilities that you're going to have on show. I was there just this past week. My first visit on-site I walked the course and got a feel for it, and I obviously had the opportunity to play it, and I got a far better appreciation for particularly the green complexes, and I think as Rickie was talking about, the similarities between that and Pinehurst No. 2, I think that element is incredibly exciting.
From a golf course setup we're very, very lucky to have the likes of Bob Ford on-site. Him and I are going to work very closely to set up the golf course which is befitting an event of this style, showcase some of the fun hole locations that Seminole has to offer. Obviously the fact that it's on the ocean, the elements will likely impact what type of shot the player is playing.
Just again, just digressing a little bit, I can't speak highly enough of the members down there and the staff there at Seminole. To step up and do their part in this has been important. Our relationship is terrific. And to the outside world to get an opportunity to see such an American treasure is a bonus for everyone.
Q. Andy, this is kind of a follow-up to yesterday's conference call when you were asked about only giving players one PCR test and being comfortable with that, and I certainly understand it. My question would be as we get further down the line and testing becomes more available just in society in general, can you imagine the TOUR adding more layers of actual PCR testing along with everything else that goes into it?
ANDY LEVINSON: Well, certainly we have a plan that we've developed, as I mentioned a number of times, with medical advisers, and we feel very confident in that plan. But until we put that plan in action, we're really not going to have a great sense of how things are going, and so there's always opportunity to modify the plan and make adjustments.
I will say, as I said yesterday, that the plan does have many layers, and players will be doing PCR testing at home before they travel to the tournament and then again once they arrive at a tournament site, and then they will be, if they're taking, say, a charter, they'll be tested before getting on that charter. So that's a lot of viral testing in a short period of time, and it's consistent with other testing programs that we've evaluated.
But certainly as things change, we're going to be nimble and we'll have the ability to modify our plan if we feel it's appropriate.
CHRIS REIMER: Thanks to all the media on the line for joining.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports