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March 17, 1999

Tim Finchem

Todd McCormack

Tiger Woods


BOB COMBS: Thank you very much one and all for taking the time to be with us this morning for this ceremony. I am Bob Combs with the PGA TOUR. Obviously for those of you in the media, it is almost superfluous to introduce these three gentlemen, but I am honored by their presence. On my far right, Mark McCormack, obviously chairman and CEO of IMG and chairman of the governing board of the Official World Golf Ranking. The No. 1 ranked golfer in the world, Tiger Woods, and on my immediate right Tim Finchem, Commissioner PGA TOUR; also here today in his role as a member of the governing board of the official World Golf Ranking. To begin our proceedings I'd like to ask Commissioner Finchem to step forward.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you. Welcome, everyone. The purpose of our get-together this morning is two-fold. First, to recognize the No. 1 player in the world during 1998 and also to do that by inaugurating the Mark McCormack Award. Mark McCormack began the World Golf Ranking system in 1987. And for ten years it was increasingly used in the world of golf to measure the comparative scales of players around the world. In 1997, a couple years after the federation of world Federation of PGA TOURs was organized, the Federation and the various Tours joined in a reorganization of the governing board of the rankings and that has resulted in increased use of the rankings both in the World Golf Championships, the major championships, THE PLAYERS Championship this year, and in other tournaments. Consequently, the World Golf Rankings that Mark started in 1987 clearly will have a long-term enduring involvement in golf and because of that involvement, the board of -- the governing board of the World Golf Rankings determined that the recognition on an annual basis of the No. 1 player should be done in Mark McCormack's name and that this trophy named after Mark McCormack would be presented on an annual basis to the player who finished in the No. 1 position the most number of weeks during the course of the year. I would like to congratulate Mark on the early work of the rankings. The rankings have been changed over the years, but the rankings basically are a very sound structured in measure, comparatively, with players from around the world. And it is appropriate that they have some place in the eligibility for the most important championships in golf. Now, for the presentation of the trophy I'd like to recognize the man who this trophy was named after, Mark McCormack. Mark.

MARK McCORMACK: Well, I'd just like to say first of all, what a great honor it is for me to have this trophy named after me. Golf, as all of you know, has been a major part of my life and all of the successes I have ever had in life I owe to the sport of golf; indeed to the gentleman that just left here a few minutes ago, Arnold Palmer. I think that official World Golf Rankings is something that I and all of us who have been involved with it for the past 12 or so years are very proud of and I think that it is wonderful to feel that a legacy of this sort is going to be left and that it will be with the sport of golf globally hopefully for as long as the sport of golf is played. I think it is a particular honor for me today to be able to present this award to a young man who has had an impact on the golf scene globally beyond almost anything in memory - anything that I can think of - and someone who is carrying the banner of golf throughout the world with great charisma and great class; great champion, someone who I think led the official World Golf Rankings for over 40 weeks during 1998. Someone who I have known for a number of years who has become a good friend, a great champion, Tiger Woods. Tiger. This is very heavy.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks, Mark.

MARK McCORMACK: Congratulations.

TIGER WOODS: Wow, I don't want to drop that one. First off, thank you, Tim, as well as Mark, thank you for having the vision for putting -- and more importantly for us as players, we all have our own little egos and it is really neat to be able to compare ourselves and our golfing scales and golfing prowess amongst players that we don't get to see everyday; that players all around the world we can't see except for a few times a year but we can compare our skills and the way we have been playing. It is real neat to be a part of players such as the Normans and the Faldos of the world who have played so well for so many years and to be actually be a part of that, it is truly an honor. I was just wondering since an IMG client, just wondering if this knocks off maybe like 1% off of my -- (laughter) -- It is great and I am very humbled by it. I have had a very good 1998, wasn't as good as I'd like to see it in the winner's column, but overall, it was a very consistent year and luckily I was able to fend off a great friend of mine, Mark O'Meara, as well as a person who has been playing some great golf for a long time now, David Duval. Thank you again, I think I am going to take this home and definitely cherish it because it is something that means a lot to me. Thank you.

BOB COMBS: We have a few minutes for any questions from the audience if you have any.

Q. Tim, are the rankings going to be tweaked in any way or come more under control of the federation, PGA Tours --

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Let me mention, first of all, that a replica of this trophy is going to be given to the chairman Mr. McCormack in recognition of the designation of the trophy. Mark could speak to this as well, but the governing board that Mark chairs includes representatives from all the major championships and all the major Tours. In a sense, a policy board, it sets the policy to the rankings. That board has made a number of changes to the rankings over the years. It made one last year. An analogy I always draw is between our tournament regulations on our Tour, the tournament regulations on the European Tour or the eligibility criteria the U.S. Open has or The Masters, those criteria change all the time based on issues that are raised - somebody sees something that is a problem - a player; somebody in the media; a fan writes a letter and says maybe you should consider this or consider that. Sometimes changes are a result of that. I would see the rankings and the rankings have been a living breathing changing mechanism and I would think that would continue in the future. But I will let the chairman speak to that.

MARK McCORMACK: I think Tim very eloquently stated the position that we have considered dozens and dozen of change over the past ten or twelve years to the rankings and we will continue to do so. Whether it is a player who has a concern or question or idea, whether it is a fan, whether even if it's a golf publication, we will give it serious consideration and deliberation. And, each year we have made some changes in the rankings we needed to do so. The idea here is identify the top players in the world. We wanted to make it as accurate as possible. And, I will say to you that if you just kind of look at the list, stand away from it, it looks pretty good right now as I see it.

Q. Commissioner, two questions: Will this be a calendar year?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: It has been a calendar year -- award would be a calendar year recognition, yes, most-number-of-weeks leading the rankings up to 52 weeks during the course of the year.

Q. You talked about some of the tweaks and changes. Does constantly looking at with the World Rankings and even you had eight or nine that you were looking at currently - could you be specific with exactly what you are looking at currently in terms of tweaks?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, let me preface this by saying that what Mark and the governing board have looked at in the last couple of years is something that I haven't seen in a lot of the commentary about the rankings which, as you know, I feel very strongly as very positive. The more discussion there is about the rankings, the more interest it creates in the rankings and the sport. Just like the rankings in college football, the debate that goes on in college football is great for college football. So having this interest is great. But if you take the top players that play the top 50 that play in the major championships and THE PLAYERS Championship and compare the percentage of their finish position in those major championships, take that; compare it to the finish position of those various Tours in the World Rankings, it comes out pretty good. So you need to have some benchmarks and some barometers to say, hey, these rankings really make sense in terms of measured by when players play on the same golf courses against each other. But there are a number of changes or tweaks that are under consideration all the time. Last year we looked at the question of - a European Tour question as to whether there should be some home Tour input in terms of the number of points awarded based on the strength of field just on a home Tour perspective and the board, I think, was unanimous. Mark eventually voted in favor of that change to provide some bonus points. Now, additional questions that are raised, should we consider a total point arrangement as opposed to a devisor -- should there be additional points awarded for multiple wins during the course of the year; is the scaling of points appropriate. But -- there is about eight or nine things on the list. But all of these things can be brought back to how would that affect the rankings and does that deviate the impact much from the benchmarks, the benchmarks really being set by the tournament positioning of players who -- where we have tournaments that everybody plays. We have a number of those now and with the World Golf Championships more to really measure and say, okay, the top -- over the last three or four years in the British Open, in the top 50 finish positions United States Tour has averaged 16 in the top 50 - I am just making these numbers up - and they averaged 16 of the top 50 over the last two years in rankings so you would assume from that based on the comparative system from players playing mainly around the world that that is -- if you do those benchmarks - and we can make that data available to you - it comes out pretty well.

MARK McCORMACK: One other point, we are constantly looking at the length of time of the rankings. We started out years ago, three-year ranking; now it is a two-year ranking. You probably wonder why it is a two-year with a heavy emphasis on the current year and the reason for it really stemmed from the sport of tennis. Years ago Bjorn Borg was, by far, the No. 1 tennis player in the world and he retired at age 26. And a year later, he was totally off the rankings. He was zero and there are 500 players ranked or something like that, and there wasn't one person you could talk to in the sport of tennis that won't tell you that if at that moment Bjorn Borg stepped back on the tennis court he would be somewhere much better than 500 in the world. What we tried to do is to take that into consideration and we are constantly looking at that element of it. I think, for example, had there not been a two-year ranking, Greg Norman would not have qualified for either the Andersen Consulting Match Play, or indeed for the 1999 Masters. I think that there is nobody that would say that Greg Norman isn't amongst the top 50 golf players in the world today and if we had a one-year system, he wouldn't be there. So, I think we are looking at all of these things in depth with some of the people who have the greatest interest in the sport in mind from the USGA, R&A, PGA TOUR and the various Tours.

Q. As a player do you understand the whole system? Can you explain it to other players?

TIGER WOODS: Can I explain it?

Q. Like do you understand the whole ranking system?

TIGER WOODS: I understand the majority of it. As far as the detail, how many points you get per tournament, no, I don't. I don't know that fact. I know that mandatory 40 events or 44 events must be played. They divide that up, so if you play 15 events two years as 30 events, still going to get counted for 40 or 44 events something like that; is that right?


TIGER WOODS: So that part I do know. So it leans towards the guys playing a little bit more than the guys who don't play as much. But it is just one of those things where no matter what you do, you just want to go out there and play well and I think the ranking will take care of themselves if you play well.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I would add to that that the difference between the first eight or nine or ten, twelve years of the rankings in the last year, especially this year, is that this year really means a lot in terms of access. So we are seeing players studying the rankings in some detail. As you folks know, you know a lot more about the rankings today than you did six months ago and my guess is you will know a lot more in six months. That is good because that stimulates questions and concerns from players, media and fans, which eventually will wash out in terms of improvements in the rankings if there are improvements.

Q. Would one reason for eliminating the devisor or consider eliminate uniting the devisor is to encourage players to play more tournaments?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Correctly or incorrectly there is a perception that the rankings are not an incentivization (sic) to play more. Now the reality is that just depends on performance over the last two years. It may be that the way you played a year ago or two years ago, it is in your interest to play more right now or not -- there is -- it just depends on how the points are distributed; what your schedule was the last two years and how you perform. We do get questions from players that say I am 61st on the list, it is three weeks to the Andersen Consulting Match Play, is it in my interest to play more or less the next couple of weeks, will it help me or hurt me? It really depends. It is not a question of playing more or less. It really is a question of how you played the last couple of years, but there is that perception and the devisor and the level the devisor does need to be evaluated from time to time to see if it is having that impact, or whether in reality or in perception. If it's just in perception, then we have a job to do in terms of communication with the players.

MARK McCORMACK: I think everybody also is always considering -- you know, I think every one in this room would agree I certainly think Tiger would agree, if someone were to win the four major championships in a given year, and play no other tournaments, that that person is the No. 1 golf player in the world. I think we are constantly looking at ways to be sure that the mathematics works out under all kinds of scenarios. That is a very unlikely scenario, obviously, but to try to identify the best player in the world.

Q. Speaking of playing a lot, you got a heavy schedule leading into Augusta. Talk about that and what is the state of your game going into that? You are playing the next three weeks.

TIGER WOODS: No, I am not.

Q. What are you missing?

TIGER WOODS: Atlanta. I put that press release out last year.

Q. What is the state of you game?

TIGER WOODS: West coast swing wasn't too bad. Had a pretty good west coast and this will be my first tournament in Florida and it is not going to bad. My swing is improving. My game is improving; just a matter of testing my skills on the fire again, getting ready for Augusta as well as THE PLAYERS Championship.

Q. Anything that is clicking especially well and anything that you feel like you need a little bit more polish?

TIGER WOODS: Can't really tell you because I haven't played in a tournament in two weeks. I can give you a better idea and better sense of it the next couple of days on what is going well; what isn't going well. Practice rounds I am really not that focused on them, I just try and look at the golf course; see what it has to offer. That is about it. If I go out and shank a few shots or hook a couple, that is fine, only a practice round. Come game time, and if I notice a few things that I don't like, I will definitely spend some time on them. I know that no matter what scenario it is, I will always -- short game is something I can always improve.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: You have been shanking a few?

TIGER WOODS: I am getting old and losing it.

Q. Looking at the stats the Top-10 on driving accuracy and putting (inaudible), constantly working on that?

TIGER WOODS: Also have to look at the fact that if guys hit the ball a long ways, generally not going to be the guys that are leading the driving accuracy. That is just a general observation. It is more room -- less room for error if you hit the ball 300 yards versus a guy hitting 260. Miss-hit 260, goes in the fairway. 300 can go in the rough. My putting this year actually been pretty good. I have putted better than I have in a long time. I have only had three 3-putts this entire year. I have rolled it really well. I have kept myself in tournaments by that getting up-and-down and the short game is better than I have had it. In L.A. I remember for the first three rounds I hit -- I missed 23 greens first three rounds. I got 22 up-and-downs 22 of 23 times. That shows improvement which I hadn't been able to do the previous couple of years. So I am getting better and refining my game each and every year and obviously I'd like to become a better putter, but we all would. And realistically, it is very difficult for myself, David Duval, John Daly, anybody who really hits it a long ways, to be in the Top-10 of driving accuracy. It is just one of those things very difficult. We are going to try and take advantage of certain holes and cut corners and try to get the ball down there; whereas, some guys can actually play it safe and use their accuracy to their advantage, we are going to use our distance to our advantage. If we had hit driver over the trees and put it in the rough, who really cares if you have 95 yards to the green? It is just certain things like that will add up over an entire year. I think that is one of the reasons why it is difficult to lead both driving accuracy as well as distance.

Q. Comment on Bay Hill how it is setting up; how it is playing so far throughout the practice rounds.

TIGER WOODS: It is not as difficult as I have seen it in the past. I have seen the rough up higher. We have had a very dry winter here, very warm winter in Florida, and we haven't got as much rain. Without rain, you can't have the rye kicking in and really flourishing. Plus I talked to the course superintendent, they have hit two records this year with play in December, -- January and December and January they had -- in February they had what was it, 6,000 rounds in February, which is quite amazing to take that much play. Of course you are not going to have the rough up, and hence, you are not going to have the rough up that high this week. It is playing great. Fairways are really running. I haven't seen the greens this firm in a long time. Balls are hitting, releasing; sand wedges aren't juicing back right away; they take a huge hop and then stop. You are going to see some guys hitting some shots short of the greens, trying to run the ball up. Front pins are going to be particularly difficult this week, especially if they hit downwind, you are going to see a lot of guys putting from 30, 40 feet, that is all they can do.

Q. A lot of this world ranking and speculation about one versus two fields a lot of talk about rivalries. If a rivalry develops between two players in the future, how difficult is it going to be for those two players to approach the victory records in Masters and other tournaments as a Nicklaus or a Palmer? Is the depth of the field going to, you know, make that difficult?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, the depth of the field is right now makes winning very difficult. I remember in looking at some of the highlights and some of the stuff on the Golf Channel as well as looking back to some old videotape not too long ago at my mom's, looking at some old tape, some of the scores guys were shooting, 12-under pars winning tournaments and 10-under, 8-under, Westchester 8-under, 10-under would always win. Now it is 15, 18, in order to have a chance; sometimes you have got to get to 20 in four rounds, that is not exactly easy to do. So obviously you can see competition is getting more stiff. We are pushing each other. You may shot a good round, but you have got to keep backing it up and backing it up again. I remember Nicklaus shooting 72s and 73s on an off-day and still having a chance to win. Now if you do that, you usually get lapped and you have got to come back with a 63 or 64, just to try and get back into the hunt. Usually these are things that are becoming more dif -- leading guys to win less and it is making it more difficult to win. Over time it is going to be very difficult to get a rivalry going between two players. You might have a group of guys, four, five guys competing and winning plenty of tournaments around the world, but I think to go a head-to-head, such as Arnold and Jack did and Watson and Jack, that is going to be very difficult to do.

Q. Speculation when David Duval was getting close to catching your No. 1, that you turned your game on a little bit to hold that position. Were you paying attention to those --

TIGER WOODS: I wish I could turn my game on and off like. That that is not the case. I know that I was playing well in 1998. I either was not getting the breaks at the right times or I wasn't capitalizing on opportunities I had. That is just part of golf. I understood that and David was playing some great golf and I just had to keep patient, keep working on the things that I had been working on and eventually they would kick-in. This year, at the Buick it finally kicked in. I shot 17-under par on the weekend, with a couple of bogeys. That is not too bad. So you could see where things are starting to come together, the things I have been working on are finally starting to come to fruition which is nice.

End of FastScripts....

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