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November 4, 1999

Tim Finchem

Ken Schofield


MARIA ACACIA LOPEZ-BACHILLER: Ken, I think you would like to address us with a few words.

KEN SCHOFIELD: Good morning everyone. I'd like to take a very brief opportunity to welcome everyone to the American Express Championship, the third concluding World Championship event in 1999. The first thing I very much would like to do, on behalf of our Tour, which has the privilege of being the host Tour, on behalf of the Federation, is to add a few words to Maria's acknowledgment of my colleagues, my friends on this table this morning. Each and every one of the gentlemen with me has played his most full part on behalf of his Tour to get us here today and hopefully conclude three outstanding championships during 1999. On behalf of our Tour we'd say welcome to you. I think we're very thrilled, indeed very proud, to have the opportunity to see the American Express Championship played here. And on behalf of the European Tour, to our colleagues who have arrived from left-to-right, from Japan, from Australasia, from the United States and from Southern Africa. A very, very warm and sincere welcome. I think that's maybe enough from me. And I will actually now like to introduce Tim, who I believe is going to make a few words of announcement by way of the charity program connected with the World Golf Championships, and specifically with this weeks American Express Championship.

TIM FINCHEM: Thank you, Ken. Let me just say how pleased we are to be here and thank Ken and his staff for the marvelous job they've done working to host this event this week. And to the other leaders of the other major Tours around the world for making the trip and being here with us. This week the American Express Championship will be giving 250 thousand dollars to local charities. The lead recipient of those charitable dollars will be the First Tee program outside the United States here at La Canada, a golf club locally. La Canada is a golf club that has a history of working with and teaching young people and making teaching facilities open to the public. And they're in the process of expanding their facility, bringing on a learning facility, and this will be hopefully the beginning of more First Tee facilities in Europe and around the world, so we're delighted about that. And we're pleased to be able to work with La Canada in that development. Beyond that, I would just say that we're delighted with the quality of the golf course and the condition of the golf course. The players seem very pleased. Interestingly, for the United States players, a very different kind of golf course than they played last week, where you could put seven or eight or nine of Jimmy Patino's greens on one green of champions. So it will be an interesting test for these players to play a very different golf course. We're glad to be here, we're excited, we have a great field and we look forward to the conclusion of this first year of the World Golf Championships.

KEN SCHOFIELD: Ladies and gentlemen, the Federation of Tours will meet later today to review the first year program and to take forward the plans for the millennium competition. If there are any questions this morning, I think together with my colleagues here, we'll do our best to try and take them and try and throw some light on any of the issues you may have. Thank you.

Q. Could you elaborate a little on the First Tee program, inasmuch as it affects the golf course next door.

TIM FINCHEM: We're going to issue a press release later today in terms of the detail. And I would ask our staff to give it to you. But the focus is that that is a 9-hole facility that will be expanding to an 18-hole facility, and will also have a permanent learning facility with it, to provide a teaching program. There will be an organization of children, expansion of the junior golf program, where kids who otherwise don't have an opportunity to learn the game can come in and learn the game and a dedication of access to kids, which is consistent with the First Tee principles of the First Tee program generally. And the actual detailed facility I will leave to someone else to make that available.

Q. Is it possible to give us a brief overview of what you consider the successes of the first year of your World Championship and perhaps those areas that required a bit of attention.

KEN SCHOFIELD: If I can stutter, I can talk longest on the first half of your question. I would have thought for those of you who were patient enough to follow the progress the first year, the formation of the Federation, which is still very much in its founding days, to have got within four days of completing the first year's program of three championships, I think that we would reflect on the fact that we've -- that here is a reality, that have come from the drawing board to be a reality, I think the level of support for them by the players from owl Tours has been very, very substantial. We'd like to think that that will be retained. And of course we will learn from them. It's a very ambitious project to link five Tours and indeed from January 1 we'll be linking the 6th Tour, that of the Asian PGA TOUR will be joining. And I think on this side of the table I think we all feel the opportunity to meet together and link our Tours, administratively has been a very, very big plus for our game. And getting the reaction of the players I think this week on the back of the first two tournaments, the match play which obviously has special characteristics, and the NEC Invitational, which I think Tim will probably agree was probably the most predictable within the program, because of the very long running and very successful venue. And the format that the NEC previously had got into. So I think this week will be very, very interesting. It's obviously the first time in Europe that we're having our money list and the PGA TOUR money list conclude on the same day in the same golf tournament. And I think in fairness we're pretty excited about that.

Q. There have been many players talk about the date for Australia in 2001, are those items of discussion yet?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I think the first item has been addressed both with the European Tour, and with the Federation colleagues with the announcement of this years Ryder Cup team. As far as the future is concerned, the program firstly will be debated for the year 2000. And then naturally we will have in place the program for 2001 and 2002. The initial announcement was a full two-year program, involving the first three championships, with the World Cup team competition, as well.

Q. Mr. Schofield, does it seem right that you have a player who's won six times this year, and then comes in the last tournament of the year and could not win the Order of Merit based on one tournament; could you talk about this, since this tournament is larger than you play for week for week?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I would certainly love it if we would have more purses on the European Tour that would be closer to five million dollars United States money. The majority of our members at the top end of this year's European money list have had the opportunity to play in all three of the World Championship events, each of them containing a five million dollar purse. And those same players, a great majority of them have had the opportunity to play in three of the four majors that do count towards the European Tour money list, the sole exception this year being United States Masters. The reality is that the other players starting with Sergio Garcia, who of course has missed one of the World Championship events and two of the four majors has played dramatically and exceptionally well on a very limited schedule, having taken the Amateur medal as recently as this year's United States Masters. Of the 200 players with an opportunity to win, Goosen and Westwood have admittedly had less than six wins. But if you look at their place finishes on their regular basis, and indeed in terms of both Westwood and Goosen, either in terms of winning, tying or top three finishes, their performances have been phenomenal. And yes, this is a very, very big purse to end, but some of them may have done what Jeff Maggert did, who just hit the first ball today, and Sergio Garcia did run second in the United States PGA Championship and did run in the top half dozen in Akron. And yes, he has won the Irish Open and yes, he has run second to Colin at Lochlomond, and he has won the German Masters, and if he does win on Sunday night, I think he'll be a phenomenal first year European No. 1 money winner.

Q. I don't mean to suggest that he's not worthy by any stretch.

KEN SCHOFIELD: You suggested this was all on one deal, and I'm saying to you as far as we're concerned, there's been a minimum of six huge purses internationally, three of the four majors, the three World Golf Championships, and then a European Tour domestic season with a number of purses rapidly increasing. That's the way it is.

Q. Does it not send a message to players that it doesn't matter what you do from start to finish on the Tour, as long as you do the best in three marquee tournaments. This is nearly double the purse of the Open; is it not?

KEN SCHOFIELD: These are very, very big first prizes. And I hope -- our job on this side of the table is to try to increase the opportunity and the reward for all our members. And that's what this program is firstly dedicated to do. And bringing them together in the highest level of competition. I think anyone who can win this first prize here in this field, as in San Diego, and as in Akron is operating at a very, very high level.

Q. How disappointing is it to you all that an event designed to bring all the world's top players together hasn't done that this week with a number of withdrawals?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, I think it very, very seldom if any golf tournament in history has brought together every single great player by way of ranking on any occasion. I think what we have set out to do is to substantially bring together the qualifying players in this program, a new one, and I think that as far as we would be concerned I think that that stands. We've lived through years when the Majors have been like the benchmark for fields. And you can go back through history, whether it's Lee Trevino passing up The Masters for years, thinking he couldn't hit the ball high enough, to fellows that couldn't fly from this side of the Atlantic, and that happens, due to injuries.

TIM FINCHEM: I think it's always disappointing to lose any player in any tournament. In the United States we face that every week when we have 42 terrific events and players average about playing 25 or 26. It's always going to be the case. And when we move these championships around the world, it addresses another layer of difficulty. In this particular case there were a couple of players who had unique sets of circumstances involved. But it's disappointing. On the other hand, and I think the most important thing is that the vast majority, a very high percentage of players decided to play, and we have a wonderful feel. And whether it's the size of the purse in the last event versus the other tournaments, whether it's three or four players who did not want to travel abroad, whether it's the impact on eligibility, whether it's the schedule of this event played in juxta position to this event over here, all these issues are important issues, but the thing about the World Golf Championships is whether or not they are meeting the purpose for which they were designed, which was to organize golf at the highest level in a way that appealed -- maximized its appeal to the world marketplace, including fans, media and corporate investors in television. And we believed that these championships have greatly succeeded this year in moving us in that direction. The details of where is best to play, what is the best schedule, what are the independent tours' series of variety of regulations that relate to all these championships and integrate them into their Tours, all of those issues are being dealt with. We've dealt with a myriad of them this year, and we'll continue to adjust. But the fundamental is proven correct, and that's the important thing that's come out of this year. And like with any tournament, I know Ken is in the same position with THE PLAYERS Championship in the United States and all of our tournaments every year, we sit down and try to figure out how to make them better. Augusta National, they always try to make it better. If it couldn't get better, none of us would need to be sitting around doing this. It will get better. But we're off to a great start. That's the important thing. And we are meeting the major objective of which we set out and I think that's also very important.

Q. Is the World Cup of Golf going to be a World Golf Championship event next year?

TIM FINCHEM: That's a matter that's under review now. We hope to be able to answer that question by the end of the year, in the next few weeks. That has been our objective and we should have more to say after the next few weeks. I wish I could give you more information, but there are a number of factors coming together to help us answer that question.

Q. Mr. Finchem, one of your leading players yesterday suggested that things were getting so much better in the U.S. Tour it's becoming and would continue to become increasingly difficult to induce the American players to travel abroad. I wonder if you might comment on that. Our leading European has also expressed sympathy with that point of view, understanding why they might want to come to Spain, for money that was not much better than they could earn at home several times a year.

TIM FINCHEM: I think that's right. I think it is more difficult. We have one player, David Duval, who's played on the PGA TOUR five years, and he's only requested two conflicting-event releases. He absolutely does not enjoy traveling overseas, he thinks it puts him at a competitive disadvantage. He doesn't sleep well when he travels and feels like he can't play as well. In addition to that, I think there is a general tendency among the players to -- because they can stay home, in their minds they can play better, if the financial rewards are signature, it is more difficult. I think that's exactly right. And I think on the other hand, I come back to the major point that the World Golf Championships in the long-term, properly conducted, properly positioned can have the effect of, in conjunction with the major championships, THE PLAYERS Championship, the PGA, European PGA and the Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup can have the effect in the long-term of properly positioning the sport globally competitively and that in and of itself produces signature value back to each of the Tours, including ours, No. 1. And No. 2, I don't think you can have a series of World Golf Championships, even though I think this is the right number, without some of them being played around the world, which we have done. We have to rely on our players enjoying this competition, enjoying the opportunity to play a number of times during the year against the best players all over the world, and recognizing that in the long-term it is very much in their interest and the interest of every Tour, including our Tour to do so. And if they agree with that assessment, I believe they will support the World Golf Championships, and that at this juncture I think they do agree with that.

Q. To come back to the World Cup of Golf. That was the tournament which when this whole thing was conceived, was to take the World Golf Championships around the world. If it isn't to be part of the World Golf Championships, doesn't that series detract from the whole concept?

KEN SCHOFIELD: You've been good enough to afford with me on a one-to-one basis that question in Akron, and I think you have on the record my comments there. And I think Tim has added to them this morning. I think it would be wrong for any of us to draw premature conclusions with any of the arrangements with the World Cup of Golf, which I think was actually never scheduled to come in before the 2000 season. We're still in 1999. The World Cup of Golf has a lot of attention in our Federation meetings. And I think that as soon as the plans, which would be certainly to maintain the World Cup of Golf, and mainly traveling nationally, I think it would be in everyone's interest to give us the opportunity to try to conclude satisfactorily the plans for the World Cup, as indeed we've done for the Andersen, the NEC and the Amex.

Q. Can I ask you a question about Jesper Parnevik. Would the procedure of taking away his membership have been the same if you had been aware, as you became aware yesterday that he was actually resting because of an irregular heartbeat?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I think the procedure would be exactly the same. Jesper, as with any player, has a right to make a registration appeal to the Tour's medical committee. And indeed he will have that opportunity if he so avails. But the reality is that as of Monday evening at 5:30, when the voice box withdrawal was made, Jesper was coming up short of the minimum number of requirements for the 1999 tournament, was removed in order that no member from his position downwards would be disadvantaged. And that is the situation.

Q. I understand that these World Championships will be reviewed and need fine tuning. But significant events in Melbourne, (inaudible)?

ARTHUR SANDERSON: I have heard this is the case, and of course this subject will be discussed in our Federation meeting today. Australia is a long way away from Europe and the States, of course. But that date has been set now for some time, and there's no suggestion at this point that we change it.

Q. That date's not possible?

ARTHUR SANDERSON: We have our eye on the tournament schedule season starting in the next fortnight and we do have events in Australia scheduled, of course. So the flexibility to move it is very limited.

Q. On a lighter note, I'd just like to ask a question for the five, starting with Mr. Shimada. What are your golf handicaps these days, please?

ARTHUR SANDERSON: I might like to answer that. Mr. Shimada and I played golf yesterday and we had a very successful afternoon. I'm not about to tell you what my handicap is, but Mr. Shimada has a very low one.

Q. He won the money?

ARTHUR SANDERSON: No, we don't bet.

Q. Where did you play?


KEN SCHOFIELD: Officially suspended December 1, 1971, long-term prison sentence.

TIM FINCHEM: Whatever it is, I'm not playing to it.

LOUIS MARTIN: I can reiterate, we have far too much other business to do than play on the golf course. Our handicaps are not in the discussion.

End of FastScripts….

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