home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


June 14, 2000

David Fay

Trey Holland

Fred Ridley


LES UNGER: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the USGA media conference. An opportunity for members of the Executive Committee and others to talk to you a bit and answer your questions. And without further ado, I turn it over to the Chair.

TREY HOLLAND: Good morning, everyone. My name is Trey Holland. I'm president of the United States Golf Association, and I'm joined this morning on my right by Mr. Fred Ridley from Tampa, Florida, who is chairman of our Championship Committee, and Mr. David Fay, who is the executive director of the United States Golf Association. Typically, the format of this press conference has been to focus on the Championship, and certainly we would like to do that this morning. I'm going to turn things over to Fred in a few minutes for him to make a presentation, a short presentation to you, regarding the Championship issues that may answer some of your questions before we open up the floor to questions and answers. But before I do that, I want to take an opportunity to tell you a little bit about something that the USGA is doing presently, and that's our For the Good of the Game Program. In late 1996, we committed $50 million over a ten-year period to provide affordable access to people who would not otherwise have an opportunity to enjoy the game of golf. In the three and a half years that this program has been operational, we have awarded approximately $14 million in grants to nearly 400 programs in 47 states and the District of Columbia. We're so excited about this program that the original goal, which was simply to provide affordable access for those who would not otherwise be able to experience the game, has now evolved to a point where we really feel that we can use golf as a vehicle to change society, both for individuals and society in general. And that's really going to be our focus as this program continues going forward. I think that we have two major challenges in that regard. One of them is: How do we measure our results in terms of the success of the program? And I think to do that we're going to need to incorporate advice and expertise outside the world of golf to measure how we're doing. And the second challenge that we have is actually providing ongoing access to the program participants. We have a program in place right now called Kids on Course, where children can play 18 holes of golf for a dollar at American golf courses close to their area. And we're optimistic that in the next several weeks, we'll be able to work out a deal with the National Golf Course Owners Association, which will free up more than one-half million unused tee times across the country for kids to experience the game of golf at a cost of approximately 50 cents per round. This initiative is, again, something we're excited about, simply because we feel that if we can teach kids honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, control of their emotions, perserverance, and they can carry those traits forward to their everyday life, that society will benefit from that. Without further ado, what I'd like to do is turn this over to Fred to talk a little bit about the Championship issues here at Pebble Beach this week. Fred?

FRED RIDLEY: Thank you, Trey. One walk around the Pebble Beach Golf Links the last few days, I think it's readily evident that the golf course is ready for the 100th U.S. Open Championship. Agronomically, the course is superb. The people here at Pebble Beach, working with our own Tim Moraghan, did a tremendous job. I can't imagine the conditions being any better, even in 1992. The golf course was actually about where we would like to see it as of Monday, which is not always the case in the Championship. But we're working right now with green speeds, as we have been this week, of anywhere between 11 to 11.5 on the Stimpmeter. And like I said, that's really not where we want to be. The rough is tough, as is usual. I've noticed comments from several of the players that it might not be quite as high as it has been in the past years, but certainly is very, very thick. One of the things that needs to be taken into consideration, the first three or four yards of the primary rough on the side of the fairway is really fairway grass, ryegrass that is run for this championship; so it's very thick. It doesn't need to be very high to be tough. But I think all in all, it's pretty well balanced. I think the comments from players -- I've even heard we're fair a couple of times, which is nice to hear. The new 5th hole has been a terrific addition to the Pebble Beach Golf Links. I think it's a hole that really belonged where it is all along. It certainly looks like it's been there for many, many years. Jack Nicklaus did a really good job. It's really been a great improvement to the golf course. We've added a little bit of yards with the new tee on No. 10, which shouldn't be a problem with anyone. I think the most obvious change, which a lot of people have been interested in, is the change of the 2nd hole from the par-5 to a par-4. I think that's spawned some debate, and I'm sure some of you may have some questions about that. I'll be happy to elaborate on that. But all in all, we couldn't be more pleased. The weather is a little hotter than normally here. You might have noticed a little bit of stress on some of the greens, but I'm told that's well under control. And it's nothing to worry about. So I think we're in good shape.

TREY HOLLAND: What we'd like to do now is go ahead and open things up for questions. We're yours for the next 15 minutes or so, and we will remain available after the press conference is over for anyone who has further questions.

Q. Fred, can you talk a little bit about why you did make the change on No. 2, since that seems to be a topic of great debate among the players?

FRED RIDLEY: As you probably know, the Amateur Championship last August was conducted on a par 71. I think there were several factors that went into that change. First, players were hitting the ball a lot farther, obviously. Last year, many of the players were hitting mid-irons into that hole from its current distance; some were hitting long irons. But I think the majority of the players were hitting anywhere from 4- or 5-irons into the hole. So from that standpoint we felt it was an appropriate test for that hole to play it as a par-4. The pine tree on the left obviously was a factor. As I mentioned, the pine tree on the left was somewhat of an obstacle to approach the greens certainly from the left side. With that gone, it really just opened up the hole quite a bit. I've noticed a lot of the players have commented that, really, records are kept in scores, not necessarily in relation to par. And I would agree with that. The U.S. Open record of 272 is 8-under par, and I believe Ben Hogan's record of 276 was also 8-under par. We recognize scores. So those would be the primary factors.

Q. I wondered about your youth program. Are you doing this in conjunction with any of the other programs that are out there or will this be solely USGA?

TREY HOLLAND: The program that I referred to, For the Good of the Game, is solely our program. However, I would be remiss to say that there's a lot of overlap with other programs and other organizations, and we are working very closely with First Tee, in particular. There are a number of sites where we've been supporting programs for a number of years that First Tee has also become involved in. And there are other grant programs working out there, as well. And so we do have a unique working relationship with other programs, to try to accomplish a common goal. I think to that extent, it's no secret that there's a conference planned in November which is designed to give all the constituents of golf together, including the governing bodies, manufacturers, government officials from across the country to begin to discuss how we can work together to facilitate the game going forward in future years.

Q. When private foundations, such as Tiger's Foundation, will they also be involved, since there once again is -- it's a major goal?

TREY HOLLAND: There are a number of private foundations involved to help subsidize and support these programs across the country, and we look forward to working with all of them.

Q. This isn't much of a heat wave for the rest of the country, but here it is. I want to know how this is affecting the preparations for the golf on Thursday?

FRED RIDLEY: Well, once again, that's an issue that the Pebble Beach staff is considering. Essentially, the greens are being cut twice in the morning and once in the afternoon; and they are being watered in the morning and then in the evening, just to insure that this heat does not cause a problem. But once again, it's sort of a technical question, but it's really a function of how much water is put on the greens to insure that they don't get out of control.

Q. With the emergence of these illegal drivers, how is that being enforced or monitored? Are the players on their honor not to use one here? Do you have someone on the first tee looking in their bag? How does that work?

DAVID FAY: Well, we sent a notice to all of the players that we have a process in place with respect to these oversize drivers. And ultimately, it is the player's responsibility that his clubs conform to the rules of golf. We aren't going to have someone on the first tee. I don't anticipate this to be a problem because of the publicity that's been associated with it.

Q. (Inaudible.)

DAVID FAY: Is the question what about a club that has not been tested? This week, if the club has not been tested, we will assume that that club conforms. If it is determined during the course of the competition before the competition is closed that it's a non-conforming club, then the player will be disqualified.

TREY HOLLAND: We will remain in the area for a short period of time if any of you do have further questions. We'd certainly be happy to provide answers to those. Thanks for coming.

End of FastScripts….

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297