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May 30, 2001
SOUTHERN PINES, NORTH CAROLINA
RHONDA GLENN: Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the annual press conference, Women's Open press conference of the United States Golf Association. We're happy to have with us today David B. Fay, who is the executive director of the USGA, and has been since 1989. Next to Mr. Fay, we have Cora Jane Blanchard, who is chairman of the Women's Committee of the USGA. Cora Jane is from Medina, Minnesota. And we have Kendra Graham, who is the director of Women's Rules and Competitions. And will be able to answer any of your questions about the golf course and the setup. First of all, David, in light of the Supreme Court decision on Casey Martin, would you please tell us the USGA's position.
DAVID FAY: Thanks, Rhonda. We have a statement. And I'll read the statement. And then we'll take questions after the questions come about regarding the Women's Open. The United States Golf Association has carefully reviewed the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in favor of Casey Martin in his suit against the PGA TOUR. The USGA recognizes the court's ruling that Mr. Martin be afforded automotive transportation during PGA TOUR competitions, according to the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Although the USGA was not a party to this lawsuit, the USGA respects the court's decision and will follow it in considering requests for automotive transportation from individuals with disabilities who wish to participate in USGA National Championships, including the U.S. Open. Casey Martin did not file an entry for the upcoming 2001 U.S. Open.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you, David. He will be taking questions, shortly. Cora Jane, I know we have an announcement of two new Women's Open sites on courses that have previously hosted the U.S. Open. So if you'll please give us those.
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: I'm delighted to announce that in 2005 the U.S. Women's Open Championship will be held at Cherry Hills Country Club in Englewood, Colorado. There have been seven other Championships, USGA Championships held there, three Men's Opens. So this will be a marvelous venue for the championship. The other one I'm particularly thrilled about, because my house overlooks the backyard of Interlachen Country Club in Medinah, Minnesota. That will be in 2008.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you. We might as well get to it, Cora Jane. Why did the Women's Committee choose not to give a special exemption to Nancy Lopez?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: We have guidelines, which we examine -- it's hard to keep your heart out of it when you're discussing Nancy. We looked at her competitive playing in the last few years, particularly last year and the beginning of this year. She is not a previous Open champion, which is one of the -- generally one of the criteria that we use. It was with anguish, really, that we did not. A big factor in our thinking is that this is an Open Championship, and if one spot is given as an exemption, you are closing the spots open to other competitors across the country, you are closing the Open. I think it's that simple. As it is, 63 spots, I believe, in this year's Championship are already taken up by exempt players, which only leaves 87 for 980 players across the country to try and fill. So we looked at it very, very carefully. Last year she was given an exemption. The year before she was given an exemption. And three years ago we honored her with the highest award we can give, the Bobby Jones Award. And so we just felt that she did not warrant one this year.
RHONDA GLENN: All right. Questions?
Q. Just wondering if you may look into maybe extending the qualifying to more than one round in the near future or maybe 36 holes or a sectional regional. Is there something you may do to make it tougher, to make it a tough test for an Open?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: We discussed this yesterday at our meeting, and it will continue to be examined. I think that sheer numbers probably don't warrant that now. Also, the difficulty of getting a course simply -- a good course that we want to be a fine test for this Championship, they're getting very hard to come by. And to get more than the one would be difficult. But we, the Women's Committee, are constantly examining these things. And at the amateur in late July when we meet again, we will again examine this. We are looking at the special exemption categories, as well, possibly changing those in the future.
Q. The LPGA's commissioner says he really doesn't have any qualms about individual players who you extend special invitations to. He isn't bothered by that. He is concerned about the uniformity in the courses where players are qualifying. Have you discussed that issue and -- first do you think that is a problem as he perceives it to be a problem?
RHONDA GLENN: Perhaps Cora Jane in answering that question, you might review how courses are obtained for sectional qualifying.
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: I think I will defer to Kendra for that.
KENDRA GRAHAM: We have made a great effort in recent years in emphasizing to our committee members who serve as officials in charge of sectional qualifying across the country of obtaining a golf course for qualifying that is going to be AS close a test to the Championship course as possible. And obviously we have qualifying across the country. So there's going to be differences as far as type of grass and different elements of the golf course. But we have taken great strides in enlightening our officials as to how to set up their golf course as far as sending them the course setup for the particular Championship. We do this for all of our Women's Championships, letting them know how long the course is to be played, how long the players hit the ball, the differences as far as par-3 lengths, par-4 lengths, par-5 lengths. So I think we have done our best in obtaining very good golf courses for sectional qualifying. I know, for instance, just off the top of my head two of our sectional qualifying sites this year for the Women's Open, one was a past Women's Open Championship site, the other was a 3-time USGA Championship site. And they're setting the golf course up to relative distances. I don't think we have the inconsistency from site to site that we might have had 5, 6, 7 years ago.
RHONDA GLENN: In addition, the South Florida qualifying site for the Women's Open was also used for qualifying for the Men's Open. So we're starting to get some better courses.
Q. This is another matter that I have heard players express, that they think that a pro, in the case of Nancy Lopez, should have the opportunity to be paired with touring pros, people whom she's familiar with or at least have similar type golf games. I wonder if anyone could comment on that, see if that is a valid concern.
KENDRA GRAHAM: All of the groupings for our sectional qualifying, and this is for all of our championships, are done randomly by computer at golf hours. We send the groupings to the official in charge who assigns the starting times. I would say to a player who wants to be, quote, unquote, assured or have a better chance of being paired with a fellow pro, that that player enter at a site that is more or less designated as a LPGA Tour site. Now, it just so happened this year we ended up having more of those sites. Typically we hold one of our qualifying sites the Monday following an LPGA tournament in the same city, and then the following day, Tuesday, in the city of the place where they're about to play. This year that was in Nashville and in Dayton, Ohio. It just so happens that the Atlanta qualifying site, which we have every year, kind of standard operating procedure, we have a qualifying site in Atlanta, happened to fall two days after the LPGA Tour event in Atlanta. So we ended up having a few more Tour players in Atlanta than we normally would. So that if someone really wants to be paired with a fellow pro, I think if they go to the quote, unquote LPGA tournament qualifying sites, they've got a better chance. For instance, at both of those sites we had 120 players, the majority being LPGA Tour players. The difficult thing, and we look at it for all of our qualifying sites, as soon as you start grouping according to handicap or according to amateurs versus professionals and putting say the low handicappers off first, and have the high handicappers later in the day, now you're fiddling with the time of day that they're playing, and possibly the time of weather conditions they're playing under. Once you start making one allowance, that opens the door for other allowances. Even though this is looked at every year for I will say all of our Championships, we feel the best route at this point is to do it randomly by computer.
Q. For someone who's earned their way into the United States Open, do you feel 18 holes is a worthy test?
KENDRA GRAHAM: That's a good question. Obviously we use 36-hole qualifying for many of our different Championships. As Cora Jane mentioned, the numbers for the Women's Open don't quite warrant yet local qualifying, followed by sectional qualifying. But I think the idea of a 36-hole test for qualifying to get into the largest, the best national women's championship is something that needs to be seriously considered and seriously considered right away.
Q. Do you expect to see it next year?
KENDRA GRAHAM: Cora Jane can probably allude to that better than I could, as far as what the Women's Committee is thinking.
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: In our meeting yesterday, no, after that. But as I said, we meet again the end of July. I don't know what the 21 other women will decide.
Q. David, back to the Casey Martin case, can you talk a little bit about what you believe the impact is going to be on the USGA and specifically if a ^ Ford /OELG go comes up again, we all know his condition, do you now have to let him in?
DAVID FAY: Well, we're looking at the opinion, as is the PGA TOUR and the LPGA, to try and determine its ramifications. So I don't have any fixed statement to make. But clearly it opens things up. For example, how badly handicapped does one have to be before the provisions of the statute kick in? It's also important to recall for the ADA that it's disabilities that are permanent in nature, not temporary. For example, a sprained ankle or a sprained back would not -- based on our understanding of the statute, would not qualify. With respect to ^ Ford /OELGer, I think what we'll have to do for all requests is to take them on a case-by-case basis. I don't think you can have a template of what constitutes -- obviously if a player had the same condition that Casey had, we would give that person a golf cart. But beyond that I think it's too early to say. With respect to ^ Ford /OELGer, I can also say he did not enter the U.S. Open again this year, either.
Q. Back to the part about more than one 18-hole qualifier. Were there any numbers thrown out, arbitrary numbers, as far as how many it would take before you would break it into more than one?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: No. No, there weren't. But we had a record entry this year of 980. The Men's Open, for example, had 8,400, approximately. So you can see there's a vast gap. I would be guessing if I gave you a number.
Q. Why are so few women entering, any thoughts on that, David or anyone?
RHONDA GLENN: It was a record entry, by the way.
KENDRA GRAHAM: I don't think it's necessarily how many few women are entering, it's how many women are at that level to enter. You're talking about obviously professionals and then anyone with a 4.4 handicap index or under is eligible to enter. And I know 980 doesn't sound that much when you talk about thousands and thousands of entries for the Men's Championships. But that's a lot of good golfers. That's a lot of good women golfers. And now we've got 150 of the best here to conduct this championship. So I think as the game continues to grow and as it grows for women, and we've got to start with the juniors, the girls who are playing in our Junior Championship and then in our Amateur Championship and obviously the opportunities to play in college, and it's going to take time, but eventually -- we've seen our numbers grow, and we'll continue to see them grow.
Q. The one thing that strikes me, you talk about you have 150 of the best that are here. Can you say that when you're giving them 18 holes and catching lightning in a bottle for 18 holes? Are the 150 best really here?
KENDRA GRAHAM: I guess that's open for argument. But based on how we determine who gets to play in this championship, as far as who is eligible to enter and then playing their way in, the approximately 87 who were not exempt who played their way in did so on the criteria that we use, which is what we use for all our championships. The fact that it's 18 holes versus 36 holes, you can catch lightning in a bottle for two rounds or one day. But the criteria we use, we have the best players here, yes.
Q. There's been a lot of discussion about the dominance of foreign golfers on the LPGA Tour, and in women's golf. And that comes from the fact that there's not as many junior players in the country. If you look at the numbers, it's like 11 percent on the AJGA. Just wondering if you want to discuss what you might do to promote more play among juniors in the United States that would filter up from there?
RHONDA GLENN: Cora Jane, do you want to tell them about the LPGA program that we have?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: Well, there are just so many junior programs, I hardly know where to begin. There really are. I think when you realize that -- you feel there's a lot of Swedish players, for example. It's still a very small country compared to the USA. We've got a lot of junior players out there. There is a program that joins the Girl Scouts of America, the LPGA and the USGA in a thrust to pull girls into the game, to show them the joys of it. We get them out on golf courses. The LPGA gals teach them, give them tips. We're working very hard at it. I think -- I've been around the country quite a bit in my travels with the USGA, and I think nearly every city has an association that nurtures junior girls. I think it's going to be big time. It's like the baby boomers when they reached adulthood. I think when these kids start getting to be 18 to 22, USA is going to be back on the map with wonderful players.
DAVID FAY: And just to follow up on what CJ is saying, the LPGA Girls Club program is very good. We have a comprehensive program, for the good of the game, which is -- which was created to make the game more affordable, more inclusive, to attract more players, more young players. We have the First Tee that we're involved with, as is the LPGA. I think, though, that we'll have to work harder in the United States, because thankfully there's so many opportunities for young women today. Title 9 has been one of the best things that has ever happened. I have two daughters, and the choice of sports that they have to select from is remarkable. And Kendra is much younger than I am, but I suspect that even when she was in high school it might have been limited to field hockey and maybe a little basketball and maybe a little tennis and golf. But now you have girls who are playing ice hockey, big programs in the colleges, Lacrosse, you name it. And the opportunities are there. But when you consider the growth in our girls junior, and I agree with Kendra, take a look at what's happening at the junior level and the increase in entries over the last few years in the Girls' Junior, that's a very good indicator of the growth to come. But I have no doubt about American play. But I think that the fact that the women's game has become such a global game is really a tribute to women's golf. It is not dominated by any one country. It looks like the Olympics out there, and I think that's a very good thing. And I think that makes the game healthy, because it's not just the game in the United States we should be focusing on. We should be focusing on golf as a global game. And we have that now, particularly on the women's side.
Q. I was going to ask you about the future sites for the Women's Open. You announced Cherry Hills and Interlachen today. Do you have a number of clubs actively pursuing the Women's Open or is it a hard sell? You have a 2.9 million dollar purse. Why not 3 million? Is there any reason you didn't step it up to the three million dollar mark this year?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: I cannot address the purse as David could. The hard sell? I am thrilled to announce that we are getting invitations from marquee sites around the country. I don't think I'm out of line in saying that the chairman of the steering committee here, in an informal setting a month ago said to me, we'd love to have you back here. And we'd come in a heartbeat, as soon as we can get the schedule cleared around. So that's my answer to that. David will have to address the purse.
DAVID FAY: Well, first on the sites. I think the announcement that we're going to Cherry Hills in 05 and Interlachen in 08, and we'll have an announcement, I would hope, in the not too long a period of time with regard to 06 and 07. And believe me, they're going to be golf courses that will be no scratching of heads as to what they are or their pedigree or their lineage. One course, you'll have to start playing Professor Plumb on this, but one course is a U.S. Open site, a U.S. Amateur site. And the other sites are also -- have also hosted national championships. As to the purse, we kept it at 2.9 so we could get that question (laughter.) But I think it's important to note how far we've come with the Women's Open. It's 2.9 and I don't know what the next highest purse is, it's 2.1. In an ideal world it should be the same as the men. But we're not at that ideal world yet. Not because of the competition, not because of the importance, because you have outstanding athletes here playing. But when you're dealing with events with prize money, the entertainment value is there, and you just have to consider that a bit. But focus more I think on where we were in 1999, and where we got to in the year 2000, and we're going to continue to move it ahead. I think that I would dwell on the fact that the 2.9 purse is significantly higher than anything else, I believe, in women's golf. And that reflects the importance with which the USGA regards the Women's Open.
Q. That brings up two questions, one for David I think, first. Does that imply that there's a formula to determine purse amounts based on TV revenue? And the second one for Cora Jane, not to belabor the qualifying point, but I think you had 10 qualifying sites this year.
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: 11.
Q. If you had to go to 36 holes, how many more sites would you have to identify for the same number of players?
KENDRA GRAHAM: As far as the sectional qualifying, we'd have 36 holes at each site. I think that's the next step we would have, that each of those sites would have 36 holes of qualifying. So we actually, in recent years, have only had 10 sites. We went up to 11th year because of the increase in the numbers of entries that we've had. And it's possible that will increase as time goes by, too. But I think the first step would be the 36 holes at each site. So it depends upon the size of the site, whether it be two golf courses, 18 holes on each golf course or if it's a smaller site they could play 36 holes in one day at one golf course.
DAVID FAY: In answer to the first question, there's no formula, because the revenue we get, you cited television, it's not broken down. We don't get X amount for the U.S. Open or X amount for the Women's Open or Senior Open or amateur.
Q. Continuing on the theme of formulas, is there a formula or how do you determine what the proper handicap level is for cutting off eligibility to your qualifiers?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: This was discussed yesterday in our meeting. I think it's very likely that that requirement may go down, a lower handicap. I really can't enlarge on that.
Q. What is it now?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: 4.4.
Q. Can you explain how you reached that number, 4.4 or whatever it is for the men?
KENDRA GRAHAM: I guess the easy answer is, well, that's what it's been for quite some time. So that's the number of the amateur level golfers as far as handicap that we felt could shoot a score to play in the championship. As Cora Jane's alluded to, the committee is looking at lowering that limit. We have a number of professionals in addition to amateurs who have a bad day, and it happens at all of our championships. One thing we instituted several years ago was a stroke policy, that on the day of qualifying if you shot so many strokes over the course rating, in our case it's 14 strokes over the course rating, you receive a letter saying that you will not be eligible to enter the championship, try to qualify in the future until you prove that your playing ability is at the desired level. So this went in two years ago. This would be the third year that we've had the 14 stroke policy. So we try to deter professionals and amateurs who will not be able to shoot a score within 14 strokes of the course rating to not even enter. And we don't allow them to enter if they prove that they cannot do that, once it happens. So it's not only amateurs. We have, unfortunately, a large number of professionals who receive the 14 stroke letters. In fact, more professionals than amateurs who received the 14 stroke letter. It's not amateurs that have a 4.4 handicap that might shoot in the 90s.
Q. Do you ever ask a player to leave in the middle of the round if that player is not performing to that level?
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: It has been done. There is a story that a player was having a very bad day and the official in charge happened to be nearby and the player said, gosh, maybe I ought to quit playing now. And the official said, would you like me to drive you in? (Laughter.) And that did happen.
KENDRA GRAHAM: Just so you know, as far as the 14 stroke policy, the letter goes, if you withdraw during the round or for whatever reason if you don't sign your score card, you receive the letter anyway. There's no way around it. So that person who shoots 50 on the front 9 and doesn't finish the round is still going to get that letter.
RHONDA GLENN: Actually, I was talking to the official who took that player off the course, and the player did not say, I'm having a bad day. The official said you're having a bad day, would you like to leave? There's a slight difference there.
Q. David, to go back to the Casey Martin issue for a minute, talk about the difference between handicap and disabilities. Do you think that you're going to have to put in place a difficult system on trying to determine, A, what a disability is, and B, determine if that person falls under the disability? As a hypothetical, if a person says they're disabled in their application, because of the time frame between application and qualifying round and in turn the event, if you can't determine if they're disabled in that time frame, if they did, in fact go to the courts and ask to be permitted to play, because of a disability, it's possible that they could not fall under the Disabilities Act and still play in the event. How do you respond to that?
DAVID FAY: Those are all good questions. And I don't at this point have very good answers. Because as you said, you raised a number of hypotheticals. I think the USGA will probably bear -- have to deal with -- I know we'll have to deal with it much more than professional tours, because we have over 30,000 entrants a year. 11 of our 13 championships require walking. As I said earlier, I think the only thing we can do is to deal with it on a case-by-case basis, recognizing -- I don't believe there will be -- we can develop a fixed formula, I just don't -- I also recognize that even if we were to say to an individual that he or she couldn't have a cart, that doesn't mean that that individual can't go to a lower court and receive an injunction. So I think we're going to have to play this by -- it's going to be one step at a time.
Q. Continuing on this, I guess you won't have a problem with the Men's Open. But will you begin to possibly face these challenges from contestants?
DAVID FAY: Well, first of all, you could conceivably have an issue with the Men's Open, Jerry, because sectional qualifying begins next week. And it's possible that a player could request a golf cart. So as early as next week -- actually, we might be getting requests or questions today, I can't tell you.
Q. Just to follow one more up on that, would you be issuing guidelines within the next couple of days to the people at those sectional qualifying sites? Because as you said, someone could walk up and say I'm disabled, because there's no provision inside the application currently that says that you should say if you're disabled or not?
DAVID FAY: Whether we're going to issue guidelines or not, I can't say. We're working feverishly to come up with something, because I think we're getting more calls from the qualifying officials, properly, wondering what they should be doing. But I would hope that one of those guidelines would be there would have to be a period of time before you rip it on the first tee, you have to make that request. You can't make it at the site. But this is all new to us. We went through hypothetical what-ifs in the winter. But we certainly didn't cover all of the possible situations that could arise. It's going to require a lot of work.
Q. A lot of people I guess are wondering what this means to golf. Have you given any thought, could you give us your idea of now what this decision might mean to make changes in golf in the future or make it look differently?
DAVID FAY: No, Jerry, I haven't even plowed through the entire opinion yet. So it would be too early for me to say. What I can say is that we have a great championship this week, so we're all going to be focused on that. What it means to golf, what it means to sports, what it means to really the fabric of American society and the interpretation of the ADA, we'll all -- we'll all have to work this out.
Q. Would you handle it on a case-by-case basis -- would you be willing to go to court? Is that the USGA's preparation mode, if you will, depending on who might come in and say I want a cart and I've got this disability, are you willing to go to court?
DAVID FAY: Doug, I don't want to say too much, because I haven't, for example, spoken with the executive committee, with Trey Holland. I've only had two conversations with our general counsel. I don't want to say here what we would and what we wouldn't do. I do think that if someone were to make a request for a sprained ankle, I think we would certainly say no. And I think then the ball would be in that person's court. And again, that doesn't necessarily mean that the person can't get an injunction for a golf cart. But it's going to be tricky. But we have an executive committee meeting next week. And I'm sure this is going to be an issue that will generate a lot of discussion.
Q. The burden still lies with each player, making the request, though?
DAVID FAY: Yes, the burden will definitely rest with each player.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you very much.
CORA JANE BLANCHARD: I was negligent in not telling you that the announcement of Cherry Hills and Interlachen is prepared already in a press release, if you'd like to see Beth Murrison or Marty Parkes.
RHONDA GLENN: Thank you very much. Ruffin, we'll let you take over. We know you want to discuss the junior golf initiative of GOLF 20/20.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: Rhonda, thank you. And thank those of you who stuck around. As you may know, GOLF 20/20 is an initiative that was started last year by the World Golf Foundation, with the support of the major associations and companies involved in golf. To look at this sport over the next 20 years and figure out how we can actively grow the game, both in interest and in participation. Interest in golf has never been higher. But as you may know, participation is a little bit more level than we'd like it to be. How can we capitalize on that interest and grow the game effectively over the next 20 years? We had a conference at the World Golf Village. Five major initiatives came out of that conference that the industry is supporting in 2001. One of the biggest and most important has to do with junior golf, which is the future of the game in America. How can we bring the game to more kids? What's needed in junior golf so that 20 years from now the kids out there today are active golfers and active participants in the sport. Plus we believe, as all of you do, that transferring the values that golf represents to the young people is a benefit to society. What we decided at the conference in November is that there's a lot going on in junior golf that we don't know about. We decided it didn't make any sense to start a new problem, there are a lot of programs out there. What was needed was more information and more communication. We need to know what these programs are. We need to know how many programs there are for girls. We were talking about that a moment ago, how many programs there are for youngsters, minority youngsters. And we need to help those programs communicate with each other and be more effective in how they operate. One of the things I'm happiest about with GOLF 20/20 is the collaborative spirit of everybody who's come together. And the USGA and the USGA Foundation are taking a huge leadership role in the junior golf piece, and Judy, as the leader of the Foundation, is a major part of that. Judy has been a member of the board of the World Golf Foundation since it started, very actively involved in what we've done at the Hall of Fame and with the First Tee and now with 20/20. I'm going to let her tell you about the specifics of the junior golf initiative that the Foundation is undertaking.
JUDY BELL: We're very pleased at the USGA Foundation to have this role and to sort of be the initiative of something that's going to pull junior golf information together in the country. And we have two projects under way to make this happen. One is a database that we're working on. And in an electronics world, of course, we've got to communicate that way. And we think that people throughout the country will be able to find out information, not only players, other programs, local champions from around the country that have junior programs will be able to get in touch with other programs. So it's an information database that we're working on right now to get set up. And the world will have access to it. And it is an exciting thing. The other thing we're doing is having about 12 pilot meetings throughout the country that we call these junior golf summits. And what we're trying to do is get all the programs, the heads of the programs in various locations together to exchange best practice ideas. And we're doing this in a hands-on way. And if it really works the way we think it could work, then we'll go throughout the country. So by a hands-on, our fellows, we have a number of USGA fellows that work out of the Colorado Springs Foundation office, and they're actually going to be there and handle these one-on-one. And we will get state and regional golf associations, the programs, the leaders, the local champions of these junior programs, plus USGA people, into these meetings, these summit meetings. And we have this very exciting program going on with the national golf course owners where we do tie in between the local programs and their golf courses. And they're offering a kids -- it's called Kids On Course. And they can develop access for a dollar a kid, because we obviously have to figure out how to get children on the golf courses. And of course all the First Tee facilities that are being developed around the country. The USGA Foundation is very active with the First Tee. And so we see this golf -- we're doing this under the GOLF 20/20 umbrella, if you will, which is representative of all people involved in the golf industry. But the USGA is hopefully stepping to the front and taking that lead position.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: This database, which is really a web site, is a huge undertaking. Trying to identify every existing junior golf program in America, where it is, who's running it, how many kids they're impacting, what their biggest issues are, and then updating that on an annual basis so it stays current. Trying to identify those, enter it into a database so they're accessible on a web site, you put in your zip code. And you can find the program in your area most suitable for your kids. That's a huge undertaking. But we want this site to be more than that, we want it to be a place for kids to go and communicate with each other, to learn more about the game, its history, its values. A place for parents to go find programs appropriate for their kids, and a place for program administrators to go find out how other programs solve the problems that they have in common, so that the programs can grow, and impact more kids, and also provide an opportunity for people who want to start a junior golf program in their area to get the information they need to do that. This has been tried in the past, but never with the resources of the entire golf industry behind it, not only to get it done, but to promote it and get it out there and make it work. It's a huge undertaking, and the USGA's resources are going to enable it to happen.
Q. Ruffin, if you had to make a guess, and I won't hold you to the number, but I'm not holding a pad, of what percentage of junior golf programs you've already identified, either organization, through requests, through money or collateral material, what percentage would you say you've already been able to identify, just from them coming to you asking for something, 60 percent, 20, 80?
RUFFIN BECKWITH: Yeah. (Laughter.) That's about right. There are a lot -- USGA has a database of junior programs, the PGA of America, the LPGA, PGA TOUR. So we need to get those existing data bases of information together onto one site and get that entered. What percentage that is of what's out there, I imagine it's smaller than we think. We could sit here and say there are probably 75 percent of the programs in this country that we know about, I doubt it. I doubt it.
JUDY BELL: I love to guess. I'd say 50.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: One of the challenges, Mike, is the definition of what is a junior golf program. Because there are junior programs that are instructional, there are scholarship programs, there are a lot of different kinds of programs for different age ranges, for women only. Is a one-day clinic at the local country club for the members' kids, is that a junior program? Well, if we can identify those programs, then we should.
JUDY BELL: I like that, Ruffin, for women only as a junior program, that's good.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: Did I say that?
JUDY BELL: Yes.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: Freudian, whatever. I think the answer to your question is there's a lot more going on out there than we have quantified to this point. And that's really the initiative. If we can get the media to help us promote it, the organizations, the manufacturers, get the word out there that there's this site that you can go sign up your program, and it becomes widely known, I think we'll find out there's more happening than we think. But what the number is, I don't know. While we're here, some of us, we have a little follow-up announcement. As I mentioned, the World Golf Foundation, one of its responsibilities is the World Golf Hall of Fame at the World Golf Village. And we wanted to take this opportunity today to make what I think is a most appropriate announcement, and that is that the selection committee of the board of directors of the World Golf Foundation about a month ago selected Judy Bell to become a member of the World Golf Hall of Fame (applause.) It's an honor for me -- I have a pin here. I haven't done this since college, but there you go, World Golf Hall of Fame pin. Judy was selected in the lifetime achievement category, and there will be a press release available for those who want to see it afterwards, along with Karsten Solheim. The press release also mentions that we will induct Allan Robertson, who was a Scot from the mid 1800's, recognizes the first golf professional. They join Donna Caponi, who gets in through the LPGA for the induction that will be on November 11th, Sunday November 11th, I hope that fits with your schedule.
JUDY BELL: I can work it out.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: It's an honor for me to be here. I could go through Judy's credentials. She was a phenomenal amateur player, 38 amateur championships. Curtis Cup captain. She played at the U.S. Open at the age of 14. Obviously the first woman member of the executive committee, first woman president of the USGA, the list goes on and on, I become more intimately involved knowing what she's done with the USGA Foundation, and an incredible job with those kids in Colorado Springs. It's a well deserved honor, and an honor for me to be the one to tell. Maybe she has a comment or two.
JUDY BELL: Well, you swept me off my feet and then you gave me a pin, so there we are. This is terrific for me to hear this news. I didn't know about it. And what's neat about it, is to have so many friends sitting in the room, and certainly Ruffin is a friend of mine, and that's great -- I don't really -- no one is going to believe this, I honestly don't know what to say (laughter.) But I see a lot of smiles around here, and it means the world to me that you all are here. And if anybody has anything to say, here's the mic.
RUFFIN BECKWITH: We could turn this into a roast (laughter.) Thank you all for being here for this. Congratulations, Judy. We'll see you in November, but sooner, I'm sure.
JUDY BELL: Keep your eyes on the Golf 20/20 and the junior initiative. Thank you.
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