June 21, 2022
Bethesda, Maryland, USA
Congressional Country Club (Blue Course)
THE MODERATOR: All right. You guys know me. I'm the LPGA's Christina Lance. I want to thank you all for being here with us this week for the 2022 KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Great to be at Congressional Country Club, this beautifully restored new Blue Course.
The world's best female golfers, going to tee off Thursday morning at 7:10 a.m. Before they do, we want to give everyone an opportunity to speak with our executive leadership team here. Starting on my right, we have the PGA of America's President Jim Richerson. In the middle Laura Newinski, KPMG's U.S. Deputy Chair and COO. To the left Molly Marcoux Samaan, LPGA Commissioner.
Jim, we're going to kick things off with you. I know you have some exciting championship news to talk about.
JIM RICHERSON: On behalf of the PGA of America, a terrific title sponsor in KPMG, we're really excited to announce that this year's 2022 KPGM Women's PGA Championship purse has risen from last year's $4.5 million to $9 million this year, with the winner's share set to be at $1.35 million. We're really excited about that. We know and hope that the players are really excited about that.
When this partnership came about, and we had the first KPMG Women's Championship in 2014, we really made a commitment. We really wanted to make sure we utilized this event to showcase the best women's players in the game and do that with one of the biggest purses. We've seen that commitment play out in this announcement today.
We also had the commitment that we wanted to showcase their talents and some of the best venues in the country that typically have hosted men's major championships. We're doing that here at Congressional Country Club.
We've taken these best players in the world to facilities like Atlanta Athletic Club last year, Aronimink, Olympia Fields, and others. Next year they'll be playing Baltusrol. We're excited to bring this championship to our new home, PGA Frisco outside Dallas, Texas.
We're proud to make sure we've honored those two commitments. And then from a PGA professional perspective, I'm really excited as well, too, about the nine PGA professionals and LPGA club professionals, teaching professionals, that qualified for this championship.
We're always excited to watch them play. They really represent their home facilities, the members at those clubs, their home communities in such a great way. Some of the best players, best operators, best teachers in the game.
We're really excited for those nine as well, too, and hopefully some of them, if not all of them, will make the cut and get in a little bit on that $9 million purse. It would be great to see.
In partnership and really the way this has worked since '14 is how can we continue to make it bigger and better? With the help of such a great title sponsor in KPMG and the best talent in this the game on the LPGA TOUR, we're really proud that we've honored those commitments.
THE MODERATOR: On behalf of our players and our staff and our caddies and everybody, thank you very much for that support. We're so excited.
That same thanks goes over to you, Laura. This is just an amazing day, a really noteworthy day. Why is it so important to KPMG to continue to raise the bar with this championship and the focus outside the ropes for things like the Women's Summit?
LAURA NEWINSKI: As you know, KPMG's involvement for the last eight years has been all about the advancement, the development, the empowerment of women. Women in the game of golf and women in the C-suite, in business. We're happy to be adding to that momentum by participating with the PGA of America in this purse announcement.
It's incredibly important not just to this event and in this moment and on this day, but to the momentum. Jim talked about the momentum that's built up to this point, but we think the momentum from here forward for the game and about the game for women.
It has been. Jim already mentioned it. It's not just about the purse, but it's about how the women feel, about the venues they're playing. Beautiful. The unbelievably beautiful venues and storied venues, and Jim listed most of those. That's important.
It's about adding to data and analytics and KPMG Performance Insights to what's available to women to bring the tools that they need to just keep advancing their game and getting better and making it more fun for viewers, and that's really important to us.
And it's important to KPMG that we've been able to have a KPMG Women's Leadership Summit the week of the tournament. Always on site, except for the COVID years. Always on site, and always full of all the energy that this tournament brings to have 300 women executives come join us on site and celebrate and learn and have cohorts where they're creating energy for community with each other to support their own advancement, taking content from what KPMG does with women leaders from politics, from business, from sports, and adding that content, adding the energy of the week, adding the role modelling and then the peer role modelling that we do.
It's just an incredible formula for that notion of creating, again, accelerating development, advancement, and empowerment of women off the course. That's a recipe for success for women executives.
THE MODERATOR: It's an amazing experience. I love it when I get to sneak in the back door. You might see me do that tomorrow. Thank you very much for everything you've done for this game.
Mollie, I'll move over to you. This purse news is incredible for our players, for the whole team at the LPGA, everything that happens here this week. What are your thoughts about how this news is helping to build momentum and elevating the women's game?
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: Absolutely. How cool is this on the week of the 50th anniversary of Title IX that we can make this amazing announcement. These guys said it beautifully, but in 1972 I think the total purse at the LPGA was $972,000, and now the first place prize is $1,350,000. Pretty remarkable growth. And even in 2021 I think our purses were just over $70 million, and now to be in 2022 over $97 million is really great.
I think the other way that you know how meaningful this is, I sent an email out a little bit before the announcement to the players, and I haven't had a chance to go through all of my emails, but I've looked at a few of them, and they have been hysterical. They've been some 'holy,' you know, and 'oh, my God.' And then someone else said that the news hit while the players were in dining, and all of a sudden they all scurried out to the range. That was the joke in dining.
This is extremely meaningful, but as these guys said, it's more than just the purse. I would say KPMG and PGA of America have been leaders with the LPGA for a number of years, and they've dug in.
Laura and I have had many conversations. How can we help? How can we showcase -- use your platform to elevate women, and how can we help support your initiatives to make the players achieve their dreams and earn a living commensurate with their talent?
At every turn, at all of the goals that they promised when we entered into this partnership, they've far exceeded our expectations.
The KPMG Performance Insights are amazing. We get to tell the stories of our remarkable players through that. We get to say, hey, listen, Minjee Lee, these are her stats from 125 yards out, from 150 yards out. This is the proximity to the hole.
This is Inbee's putting statistics and on and on. It's much more about overall elevating women, elevating women's golf, and we just could not be more grateful for the partnership. It's really reaching in and being innovative, being creative to make a real difference and have a positive impact.
THE MODERATOR: It's making an impact inside the ropes and outside the ropes with everything we do with Girls Golf and other activities. Thank you so very much.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: Just one thing. I think as Laura said with the Summit, KPMG was the first organization -- one of the first organizations to say we're going to use this platform to talk about our values outside of the game. Now many of our partners do that. It's a wonderful opportunity for the LPGA and also for our partners.
THE MODERATOR: Wonderful. Before I open it up, for Q & A, I do want to shift back to Jim real quick. I know this is the first of many events that's going to be held here at Congressional Country Club. We're very excited to be here, but I do know you have news to share about the upcoming schedule at Congressional.
JIM RICHERSON: It's been a wonderful partnership. The club here has really leaned in to support all of our championships, and this being the first. The KPMG Women's PGA Championship is one of our pillar championships along with the KitchenAid Senior PGA and the PGA Championship and the Ryder Cup.
Great thing for us in the partnership here is all of those events will be played here at Congressional in the next 15 years, culminating with the Ryder Cup in '37. It's amazing to think the storied history that Congressional has had over time, but the kind of re-introduction now with the new renovation that they just had on the Blue Golf Course.
Talking to the members last night at the Pro-Am party, talking to some of the members that played in the Pro-Am today, talking with the president and past presidents of the club, they couldn't be more excited to host this championship in particular. They're really excited to see how the women stack up against their new Blue Golf Course. They're so proud of the facility here, but they're really leaning in to the KPMG Women's PGA Championship.
They're all in in golf. They're all in in women's golf, and they've been a fantastic partner to date for the PGA of America, and we can't wait to see what plays out for kind of the new chapter of the new history of Congressional and the Blue Golf Course. It's going to be really exciting next 15 years.
THE MODERATOR: Awesome. We're really excited to be here this week and excited to kick off that relationship.
Q. For Jim: Certainly doubling the purse is incredible, and that will get a lot of attention, but could you expand a little on the element of venue and what it means in elevating this championship and some of the places where it's going?
JIM RICHERSON: I think it's best by what we hear back from the players, right? Them stating that we look forward to playing majors at storied championship venues. We've seen them ourselves on TV. We've seen some of these great highlights about past championships that have been played at different facilities.
And bringing those here, I think all the best players in the world want to see how their games stack up against the history of other great players. They want to see how their games stack up against the best and most storied venues in the game.
I this I that commitment that the LPGA, KPMG, and the PGA had for this championship was to do that. Bring those best players in the women's game to the most storied venues around the country, and we're seeing that.
The clubs are weighing in, and they're really leaning in on those championships. The players love it. They want to keep coming back, which is great.
To hear them say that we're a little selfish at the PGA, but when a player tells me this is the best championship that they play in, that is heart-warming for us, but it's also because of the commitment that the three organizations have had to make sure that we stay on track with that, we continue to focus to make sure that we're taking the players to the best venues, and we're making sure that we're showcasing their talents.
Q. So it's one thing to raise the purse. It's another thing to double it. Can you give us a little bit of insight into what the internal conversations were like on how you arrived at $9 million?
JIM RICHERSON: We could tell you, but we might have to kill you. (Laughing).
It's been a lot of fun, right? Again true partnership. This is a true friendship. How can we continue to showcase the women's game? Part of that is, how can we grow the purse?
There was a lot of conversations, as you can imagine. Huge commitment from KPMG and a commitment from the other two organizations, the PGA of America and the LPGA, to get there.
It's something we've talked about over the years, a lot over the years, on how can we continue to showcase? We talked to the players. How can we make this championship better? From small things, like things that happen in dining, things in what type of access their family has this week, what can we do better to treat the caddies in this championship? Some small things to obviously very, very large, like the purse.
It's really trying to analyze and look at all aspects of the championship and get that feedback from the players and make sure that we're taking that into consideration when we make those types of adjustments.
Really on the $9 million, I think that was a commitment from all three, but a huge commitment from the title sponsor KPMG.
Q. Any specific small things this year?
JIM RICHERSON: Well, hopefully you'll see them all play out this week on the golf course. I think a lot of it is you're going to see one of the best and toughest venues for this championship I think we've had since 2014.
Kerry Haigh is the best in the business at setting the golf course, so there's a lot of holes here at Congresssional on the Blue Course. You have a lot of options, so I think that comes into play.
I think the ladies' feedback has been we like having a drivable par-4 during the tournament. We like par-5s that we can reach in two, but we also like the strategy of some days it has to be a three-shot hole. We like tough pin place wants.
We're listening to that feedback and making sure we're incorporating it, and then the club here has just gone really over the top. Congressional, their leadership here from their president and the board all the way down to the staff, you know, they're really looking at everything. How can they make it better and an unbelievable experience for the players? From dining to their welcoming to the locker room experience to the range and on and on and on.
I don't know if it's any one thing, but hopefully all those things combined make it the greatest KPMG Women's PGA that we've ever had.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: I think from our perspective we wake up every day trying to think about how do we provide the environment for the best players in the world to reach their peak performance and play at their best. That's a tremendous commitment from these guys to be able to provide that. The players feel that and care about that. We are confident that they'll have that this week.
Q. In connection to what you said, it looks like on top in addition to showcasing it's a demonstration of your recognition of the value of women's golf and these players from the point of view of the sponsors, of the organization, and all that. And there's been kind of an exponential growth in that value, no? Do you expect that exponential growth to continue, and do you expect the rest of the organizations and majors to follow suit?
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: We've had a tremendous response from all the majors, and we're on an upward trajectory. I think there is a tremendous amount of value in our women as athletes. Yes, we expect that to continue to grow.
But people have to go at their own pace, and we have great partners across the entire TOUR, and everybody is drilled in to how do we continue to grow?
LAURA NEWINSKI: I will say as a sponsor, we like the notion of pressure and momentum in the growth in the game, in what it brings in terms of attention and awareness and, like you said, Mollie, the recognition of the value of the sport as the entertainment value, the participation value, the drawing women into the game, more women into the game.
As a sponsor, this isn't a competition. It's a come-along and let's do right by the game in terms of what we're putting into it.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: I think we've had over 12 of our partners this year increase their purses. And, again, going from just over $70 million in 2021 to over $97 million is an over 35% increase. So I think many of our partners following that lead are stepping up.
Q. Mollie, given all that's going on in the men's game with the LIV Tour and what Jay Monahan is grappling with, how concerned are you that something similar could come for the women's tour, and what are the conversations like internally on how you might respond to such a rival tour?
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: Listen, we wake up every day trying to make the LPGA the leader in women's golf and to make it the very best TOUR. That's what we focus on. We have a great staff. We have great partners. We have the best players in the world. We're really just doubling down on what we're doing.
We're really confident and we're really thrilled with the momentum. We wake up every day trying to grow our organization.
Q. I want to ask Laura about the Leadership Summit. When you create something like that, I guess you don't know what it will morph into. Now you have players out here skipping off the practice green to go and dial in. How powerful an initiative has that turned into?
LAURA NEWINSKI: There's been a lot of things about the Summit in the eight years that we've been doing it that have stayed the same. Our commitment to advancing women's careers. Our commitment to the investment that we want to make in setting sponsorship and mentoring and role modelling at the forefront of what we're wanting to do with executives women.
But you're absolutely right. The excitement and the enthusiasm has been growing on site here on the course of the women. We love seeing them show up, and we love the buzz in the locker room about the Summit.
In our boardrooms and in our C-suites of all the companies that are participating in this Summit in sending representatives from their organizations, loosely we would have 50 or so organizations send a number of people. It's now waiting list. It's now you can send one or two because so many companies are interested in getting their women into that event and to experience the level of excitement, enthusiasm, exposure to this great game combined with Condoleezza Rice to this year Indra Nooyi, the former CEO of Pepsi, PepsiCo.
Just really amazing experiences that have come, and just like the purse, the experiences keep getting better and better and better every year for the women in that Summit.
Q. Going back to the course at Congressional, I mean, there are some playing improvements, and one thing that is impressive is the visual part now and how you can see everything and the sides and how it's becoming kind of a stadium golf course. I wonder if this was your vision for Congressional this week and for the future, and is that the same vision for your sights for the next majors?
JIM RICHERSON: I think that was the vision for the club. They wanted to create that type of championship venue. As you said, open up the venue to see some of these beautiful vistas and beautiful golf holes and give you that sense as a spectator that you are seeing more action. You're hearing the cheers from two or three holes across the fairways. Now you can see it. You can hear it. You can be part of that.
We look for great championship sites. We look for great championship partners. It's not one particular type of golf course. Our PGA championship this year in Tulsa at Southern Hills is a different type of design and layout here, but both fantastic host facilities for different reasons.
Congressional has had a great history, has been a great host of major championships, and we're really proud that we're part of kind of the reintroduction of the new Blue with the KPMG Women's PGA. And to hear the club and how excited they are for this championship to help kick that off, that new chapter, is really exciting.
I think those that are fans of golf, those that are seen either in person as a spectator at previous championships here or seen it on TV, they're going to see a completely different golf course, which is really fun and exciting if you are a golf fan.
You know Congressional. You know the name Congressional and some of the championships here. You don't know the new golf course. So it's really exciting that we'll get to show that to kind of the golf fans around the world and I think it's exciting that the ladies this week will be able to showcase their talents and show everybody just how great their game is up against one of the best venues in the country.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: Also, focusing on the fan experience too is important at all of these courses. It's like getting people really close to the athletes. Again, the best athletes in the world. How you set up the course, how you set up the build, again, being able to create energy around those dramatic moments is really important. That's what the women deserve.
Again, the best women in the world should be competing with the best fans in the world, and that's really what we're all in this to do.
Q. For Laura: KPMG always has a presence in D.C. I think I saw there's an office at Capital One Arena, a workspace. How special is this to make this in the shadow of the Nation's capital?
LAURA NEWINSKI: We do have offices in all the major cities in the country, in the world. This particular market has particularly embraced both, as you have heard from Jim, the tournament itself, but also our client base and how they're showing up to come enjoy the game.
Like you said, getting close to the players. Seeing the panorama. What we're going to see from the KPMG viewing spot is pretty incredible, and hundreds of our clients have raised their hands to be here to watch that happen with us as guests of ours. That's really exciting.
We also had an exciting announcement this week. I don't know if you were hinting at this, but I'll say it anyway. We opened a KPMG Innovative Center in Capital One Arena. Really a first of its kind in terms of how corporate America is showing up in an intersection with sports America, if you will, and putting the suites -- putting viewing suites to use 365 days a week by putting an innovation lab, a design thinking space right in the suite at Capital One Arena.
We're very excited about having announced the opening of that this week. We're very happy that our clients are knocking on the door to have their chance to go experience what it means to solve some of their hardest problems with some of our most creative people in this really amazing new space at Capital One.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: You guys have really been the innovators in the intersection between business and sports.
LAURA NEWINSKI: That's exactly right. Yes.
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: Started here.
LAURA NEWINSKI: Heard it here in Washington D.C.
THE MODERATOR: We're going to wrap things up here with Jeff.
Q. On this weekend in Michigan you had, I think, six of your top eight players on the board. I have to think it's real helpful for the TOUR when all the stars are firing like that. How significant is it to have Nelly after being on the sideline jump right back into that mix?
MOLLIE MARCOUX SAMAAN: She's an incredible athlete. I think we all just marvel at her swing and her performance and the way that she's been able to bounce back. She's played phenomenally well in both tournaments that she's been back.
I had the pleasure of having dinner with her last week, and she's a competitor. She's an athlete. She drives everybody else. It's amazing that she was able to be back here to defend her championship.
And, yes, what a leaderboard last weekend. I think I probably got 100 texts from people just saying, oh, my God, look at this leaderboard. This is incredible golf. Just to see them perform under that pressure during the playoff was also remarkable.
THE MODERATOR: Mollie, Laura, Jim, we're in for an exciting week. Thank you for joining us. Enjoy the rest of the week, and here's to a great championship. Thank you.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports