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February 23, 1999

Tim Finchem

Tod Leiweke

Misa Tanaka

Tom Watson

Ernie Wright


TOM STIPES: I'd like to on behalf of the International Federation of PGA Tours and Andersen Consulting World Golf Championships Match Play Championship, welcome all of you to the beautiful La Costa Resort and Spa. It really should be a wonderful week. It is a historic gathering of the talent of the top 64 players in the world, 64 of the top 65 gathered together here for Match Play Championship. It should be an historic beginning to what would be a wonderful form of competition this year, 1999, and throughout the rest of history. I think what we wanted to do today was to share with you some very valuable insight as to how the World Golf Championships and particularly Andersen Consulting World Golf Championship will benefit local and national charities, and we have got an esteemed group behind me that will speak afterwards. First, I'd like to draw attention to the fact that Gary Beckner, director of global events for Andersen Consulting has joined us. The world press has joined us. We will have, I guess, at last count 300-plus credentials representing 317, similar number of nationalities representative of the First Tee tomorrow. It truly is a gathering of the world's greatest. La Costa is up to it. We made an announcement about a month and a half ago of the gracious aspect of this championship as it applies to national and local charity. And that announcement was that on behalf of the 1999 Andersen Consulting Match Play Championship, we are allocating $125,000 to Pro Kids Learning Academy and Golf Center, which is of course the local facility for the first great First Tee national initiative and Ernie Wright representing that organization will speak in just a bit. But without further adieu, I would like to introduce a man without whose visionary leadership certainly would not have taken the shape that they have, and that is our commissioner Tim Finchem.


COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, Tom. Welcome everyone. This conference is about First Tee. And let me preface my remarks about First Tee by saying a couple of things about the World Golf Championships. We are delighted after a little over four years of work to get to this point and to look forward to tomorrow to have the first ball in the air of the World Golf Championships. I'd like to thank first of all, the players primarily on our Tour, on the PGA TOUR, but also on all of the other Tours for supporting the work of their Tours and working together over the last several years to get it to this point in sharing the vision. Secondly, I'd like to thank our sponsors starting with Andersen Consulting, our sponsor this week, NEC our sponsor in August at Akron, and American Express our sponsor at Valderrama for giving us the resources and investing the resources necessary to stage these events on a world-class level. Also I'd like to thank Greg Norman for his determination and suggestions of 1994, but for also representing in golf what can be done when you effectively market to the worldwide marketplace, and all of the comments he has made since the inception of our announcement two years ago about the World Golf Championships. Today we are announcing that the World Golf Championships through the Federation of PGA Tours will designate the First Tee as their designated charity at all three of our events. This will result in significant financial resources for the First Tee. We don't know the exact amount of money this year that will be raised for the First Tee, but we do know that this week at least $500,000 will be generated for the First Tee. In each of the three locations of the World Golf Championships, some of those monies will be designated and ecology marked to a First Tee facility or program or chapter in the local community. Here that designation is for Pro Kids, and we will hear a little bit more about that in a few minutes. Let me just mention briefly that in a short period of time we have made great strides in our first -- the first level of our goal which is to move toward 100 facilities, announced and committed and in production by the year -- some time in the year 2000, and also to determine working with all the other golf organizations, our players, and determining what resources are available to be able to set our long-term agenda for the First Tee facilities. But fundamentally we are where we began, and that is committed to the premise that to grow the game of golf. Every kid, whereever he or she lives, should be able to play if they want to, and they can watch a great player like Tom Watson play, be able to have access and affordable access to a facility where they can learn how to play and programs at that facility that can help them learn how to play. I want to especially thank Tom Watson for being with us today and lending his support way beyond what he has done in Kansas City and building junior facilities there over the years and his commitment to Junior Golf, but lending his support to the First Tee program as well. I'd like to introduce the fellow who we brought on almost a couple years ago, a year and a half ago now to lead us putting the staff together, organize the effort, work with the communities, and Tod Leiweke has done a fabulous job in doing the things that he has been asked to do, and he has taken it in directions and in a quality level that none of us anticipated when he was selected. We couldn't be more delighted and on behalf of the Oversight Committee of the World Golf Foundation, I want to thank Tod and all of our staff for the job they have done and introduce you to Tod Leiweke.


TOD LEIWEKE: Thank you. Actually, Tim it was about a year ago that I started at the First Tee and I looked at my calendar and said, Boy, was that a spectacular year, I am not sure I can go through it again. I received the other day my notice from Delta Airlines and it was an 80,000-mile year; so we have travelled all over the United States and, really, North America, trying to give life to the First Tee, and I think the good news is that the Oversight Committee, which is represented by the PGA TOUR, PGA of America, the LPGA, the USGA and Augusta National. The premise of the First Tee was very sound. The idea that kids deserve a place to play, the idea that kids' lives would be better with places to play, that idea is currently resonating in 60 different communities where we have formed boards, and with those 60 communities, we feel we are well on the way to our goal of 100 facilities and developments sometime in the year 2000. How do we measure that? There is lots of ways to measure it. I want to pause for a moment and introduce Ed Mauro who is representing a group in Providence, Rhode Island and he and his group are putting together a golf course named the Button Hole Golf Course. So, measuring their success we can look at lots of things, funds they raised, the land they have acquired, but I think at the end of the day, Ed and his group and those 60 other groups are destined to truly touch and effect the lives of hundreds of thousands of kids. So, today the dream lives on. Without financial support we simply couldn't foster this dream and perpetuate this dream, but we are very pleased with the support here today and also pleased to support such groups as Pro Kids. In 1993 a local board had a dream here, a local group that preceded the First Tee's dream. And I had heard lots and lots of good things about Pro Kids, but it wasn't really until I was able to go to that facility and see what they are doing in their neighborhood and community and see the lives that they are touching, it really validated those 80,000 miles we have traveled and the amount of work that has been required to give life to the First Tee. Ernie Wright is the leader of that. He is the chairman of the board of Pro Kids. I want him to come up and tell you all little bit more about his program. Thank you.


ERNIE WRIGHT: Thank you, Tod. Thanks to the Andersen Match Play World Golf Championships for the generous contribution they have made to First Tee and Pro Kids. I'd like to take a minute and introduce our director of golf, Chip Bolin. Chip has been with us from the beginning. He is the individual that developed our lesson plans, our grading system for our beginner, intermediate and advanced golfers, and he knows each one of these kids individually and he has done a tremendous job in helping them find their place in golf and life. Professional golfers always given donations to the golf and charity and junior golf. In San Diego, when we started in 1993 we found very few minorities playing in the San Diego Junior Golf Program. But now with our affiliation with First Tee, First Tee can provide the much needed vehicle to take what in San Diego has been a project and nationally make it a movement. I was very impressed in November in Florida when 38 or 40 groups were assembled, and to know that we are not the only cluster out here in San Diego trying to make a difference in the minority area. So we are very proud to be a charter member of the First Tee program. Pro Kids was officially formed in October of 1994 with the commitment of providing basic instructional golf. Now, the big difference in what we all are here about is taking children, especially disadvantaged children, and instructing them golf in the fundamentals all the way through to advanced play. This bussing of kids to a golf course to be in the way once or twice a year, is really not a very good way of teaching kids golf in all the fundamentals of golf. So we obtained a golf course here in San Diego from the City of San Diego, still a public course, and we have the public play, but the children have priority and the children don't have to pay to play as long as they are card-carrying members and are active in school and in civic work. City Heights is a unique part of San Diego, probably the most mixed ethnic group you'd ever get to. We have somebody from everywhere in the world there. In 1993 when we first went over to the Big City Park, and it has tennis courts, basketball, swimming and a lot of things, and in one corner it had a 18th hole par 3 golf course. So we had approached some of the kids playing basketball said, you know, what that is over there. "Yeah, old people go over there and hit a golf ball." This is 1993, before Tiger. And we said, "Who is your favorite golfer? " They looked for a minute: They said Michael Jordan. Today, these children know everybody that is playing here today and they are charted on computers and their scores and competition is recorded. In City Heights with the diversity in the population on a daily basis, 34 different languages and dialects are spoken. There are many one-parent and welfare families, gangs, drugs, prostitution are a part of that community. The annual income is probably $20,000 or less. However, in our four and a half years there, we have found 90 percent of the people there are good law-abiding citizens. Kids love a positive challenge, and golf was a positive challenge for them. Parents participate with their children. They want to participate with their children when they are doing positive things. And now the parents agree with us that many of golf skills are transferred with life, desire to learn, honesty, to accept equally the joy of winning and humility of defeat, to be respectful of others and to respect yourself. When we started we realize now - we didn't realize when we started, but we realize now that we could not have picked a better place than City Heights because those children needed us and those of us in the community who wanted to give something back really needed them much more. Again, as has been said, we wanted to provide affordable and accessible golf and get our kids in the San Diego Junior Golf Program. Last year over 90 children participated in the San Diego Junior Golf Tournament Program. We started the first lesson group, we had 12 kids. Today we do 270 to 300 children a week with lessons. In the summertime that goes up to about 500 children a week. So I think Pro Kids has realized its vision and with the help of Andersen and the First Tee, we can expand on that even more. So once again, I thank Andersen and First Tee for this association and we are looking forward for bigger and better things, and we are very happy to be part of this national movement. I would like now to introduce one of our students and freshman golfer's, budding star, Misa Tanaka.


MISA TANAKA: First of all, I would like to say that I am very proud and excited to be here today representing Pro Kids Golf Academy. Golf is a tough sport. It requires you to challenge yourself, be patient, and persevere; or, as Winston Churchill ones said, "Never give up." A year and a half ago, I knew relatively little about golf. Pro Kids Golf Academy gave me the opportunity to earn clubs and receive instruction. All of the students at Pro Kids feel a stronger sense of direction, accomplishment and appreciation. The accountability and integrity that golf requires has made us realize that golf can help us even in the game of life. As we grow and continue to develop our skills, we will then be in a position to mentor other junior players and give back to this game - much like those of you have been the source of continued inspiration to so many other golfers. It is now my pleasure to introduce a man instrumental in the lives of so many golfers as mentor, author and above all, gentleman; a player who has overcome many adversities in his life and has gone on to prove that he is one of the greatest golfers of all time. The winner of the Vardon Trophy three years in a row, the Masters twice, five British Opens, and of course, we will never forget the 17th hole of the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach, the man who leaves a legacy through the rules of golf from my generation and many generations to come. Ladies and gentlemen, our gratitude and warm welcome to Mr. Tom Watson.


TOM WATSON: I need lessons in how to talk in front of the public like you. You are very good. Ernie, this has been -- reading about your program; not actually physically being at your program - this is what we want to happen all over the country and in Kansas City where we have built a facility, but we have hit a few bumps along the road as far as the participation. I think we still have the problem there of trying to get the kids there. We need some help in that area. I am sure you can help us there. The program, the First Tee Program, if you look at it, what it does is it takes kids -- it takes kids from disadvantaged families and puts them on a golf course. Now, the problem with golf in the past has been accessibility. For whatever reason, how many times have you gone to a golf course nowadays and the greens fees are over $100? To buy a set of golf clubs, they are way up there. Just all the paraphernalia that goes with it, it is difficult. It is difficult, to say the least. What the First Tee program does is provides equipment. Provides more importantly a place to play and it provides instruction. This is something that I think is very, very important in continuing the type of continuing golf and what it has been doing in the past. And that is making sure that they the kids of this country have some form of golf to participate in. They used to have caddie programs. Caddie programs were the biggest part of getting people involved with golf in the disadvantaged areas of our communities. Now what we are doing, we are trying to open up golf courses all over. As Tod says, we have 60 programs that are in process right now, and we hope to more than double that in the next two years and try to get programs where we can get kids on the golf course who have never seen the game of golf; who have never been a part of the game of golf and are going to learn that golf isn't just for old people to play. That is our vision. And we are beginning to go what I call -- we are in the first stage right now. We are not yet to the booster stage. We don't have a lot of these -- the facilities actually in working order, but the first stage has gone off. We are off the ground and we are rocketing into the next two or three years in creating what this program is going to be. With all these peoples' support and testimonial from Misa over here, that it is definitely working, we are going to see it happen. Thank you.

TOM STIPES: Before I wrap it up, I'd like to reacknowledge one more time a very successful inaugural mission in front of the International Press for Ms. Tanaka. Very impressive. (APPLAUSE) I'd also like to reiterate what Ernie says, professional golf has always been very kind to charities in North County and San Diego County through, of course, the Mercedes Championships and the Buick Invitational. We are happy to continue that legacy and look forward to doing many great things. There is substantial funding directly to Pro Kids and into North County charities. Again, Ernie, thank you for coming out today. We are happy to be a part of that. I'd like to close by taking some questions and answers, Chris. Do some Q and A?

Q. This event, the Andersen International Championship is drawing upon players from around the world. The $500,000 that will be raised and subsequent funds, you have spoken of this as a national program. This is an international tournament. Do you have any intention of taking the First Tee beyond the borders of the United States to disadvantaged kids in other parts of the world?

TOD LEIWEKE: I took this job. I moved from Vancouver and I turned to my friends the day that I was taking the job and they said, "You are bringing it to Canada." I said, Excuse me? I called Tim quickly. He said "Certainly." We are actually active in Montreal, I am going to let Tim speak to the international component. But, as we say, kids are at risk all over the place not just in U.S. cities, and the Montreal project potentially is going to be a very fine one.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, this was a federation decision to designate First Tee, a decision made by all the Tours that make up the Federation, and there is a commitment on behalf of all of the Tours to inaugurate the First Tee program in their regions. Some of them are a little ahead of others in terms of where they are in their planning, but this is very much a global concept. The focus here in the United States is the United States but the other Tours will be building a First Tee program in their communities and countries as well; so we are delighted with that.

Q. Any other kids from San Diego area, City Heights going to come up here and see the tournament, or are any of the pros are who are getting knocked out early going down to see the kids?

TOM STIPES: We will, in fact, have a group of kids representing that facility at the Tiger Woods Clinic, which will happen on Monday; private clinic, we are going to invite them up. We will also have an exhibition by Dennis Walters on the practice range on Saturday. They are integrated into the process. About 45 days ago we made a presentation similar to this and there were about 20 of them behind us and I left. As I drove away, I knew something was special about that group, everyone of them came up, it was a firm handshake, a gleam in their eye, direct eye contact. There was a pride of ownership from them about that facility and about their involvement in the game of golf. It was a real intangible example about -- the give back has manifested itself. We are happy to have them out here this week and it will provide some lasting memories for them, yes.

Q. Could you talk about the Akron event charities?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: There will be a designation at the Akron golf event. The Akron charities, of course, as their traditional charitable base that they will continue to fund. And this will be the commitment to a First Tee facility in the Akron area will be above and beyond that. It won't disturb the traditional charitable giving. It will be incrementally above that giving.

Q. Any details on that facility?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We have some, but we are going to wait and talk about that the week of that particular event.

Q. Tom, you have been so involved in Kansas City. Can you talk about the perception of golf being a rich man's game and how have you managed to overcome that in Kansas City?

TOM WATSON: We haven't done a real good job of it in Kansas City, to be honest with you. The problem still is the idea of getting the community and mentors involved and getting the kids there. That is the direction we are going. We are going to be hitting the high schools, the high school programs, the Boy Scouts, the Boys and Girls clubs, getting -- but making sure we have an adult mentor with the kids to bring them and get them involved in the game right as we speak. That hasn't happened nearly enough. We haven't really gone to the programs strongly enough to get this done. That is our fault. But there are changes in place to make it happen. But the game has been perceived as a rich man's sport, but, in effect, people can play it without being wealthy. But it is an expensive game to play. Getting back to the point of equipment, cost of playing the golf courses, also accessibility for beginners at golf clubs, that is awfully hard to go to a golf course and get involved with a program and play a lot when you are not welcome. The most important thing about this First Tee program is to try to make it very simple, that, you know, very understood that you are welcome whether you can hit that ball or not. You are welcome. That is not been the case in the past of having kids show up at golf courses.

TOM STIPES: I guess if there are no other questions we will wrap it up. We very much appreciate your attendance today and look forward to a great week together as the World Golf Championships debut.

End of FastScripts....

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