October 30, 2001
ANA LEAIRD: There are two gentlemen who I know don't need an introduction but we do have Chuck Watson, the Chair and CEO of Dynegy and the owner/developer and the man behind Champions Golf Club, Jackie Burke, and the gentleman to Jackie's left is Steven Frazier, who was the standard bearer today in Tiger Woods pro-am. Mr. Watson, I believe we'll let you get started with the announcement.
CHUCK WATSON: Thank you very much. Steven Frazier. Great time that we had today. You are a great young man and a great credit to the 1st Tee program and that's kind of what today is all about. Dynegy has been very proud to sponsor the Dynegy Houston Junior Golf Program. We are excited about the relationship we have had now for so many months and, really, the future in which we believe we can build this. And as part of that, we have always felt that Dynegy that if you can do more than what is there, and I think -- that's what I think a lot about golf and about our association with The First Tee is, that golf is not just about making -- hitting drives and making putts, it's about integrity, it's about relationships and it's about life and life experiences. The First Tee program allows a lot of kids that otherwise wouldn't get a chance maybe to have those kinds of experiences. Our association has been tremendous. And you combine that with my membership out here at Champions and somebody with the caliber of Jackie Burke, and we have concocted something together that I think will mean a lot to a lot of kids for a lot of years. I'd like to have Jackie explain exactly what this challenge is.
JACK BURKE: Thank you, Chuck. Thank you so much, Steven. The First Tee was a project -- I am not too sure how The First Tee got started. It was always a question in my mind as to how we are going to do this, because it's on a small piece of land. You have to have a pro out there, you have got to have machinery, you have got to have security, you have got to have a lot of things out there. So these young men can do this, and it's always in an area that's an area where they were raised. I always thought that maybe that the clubs in America, the golf clubs in America, should offer The First Tee to some of these kids that can -- it's fine that we get them started there, but we have got to take them to the next step. So it's always been my concern -- in fact, Robin, my wife, has always hounded me about it. She has pretty good feel for this, that the clubs should offer a day -- we are going to offer two days a year at Champions for these kids to come out and play and feel -- the important thing about golf is that golf as a club -- there's people at a club, and I want this young man to know these people and they want to know him. And so introducing them to the golf club -- and the golf clubs always gotten a bad rap as the country club set. You have got to go through that with the press, but this is not the country club set out here. You have got to have some game to get out here, and this boy does, and he will be here. And I just thought that I'd offer the two days, and then Chuck came up with the idea that we should challenge the city. And we got 100 golf clubs here. I mean, we can take care of a lot of people. So I think that all of the clubs should offer two days in the morning. We have instructors here, we have got food here, we have got everything. We just got to get them here, and we will take over. So that's what Champions is going to do. I want Houston Country Club and Lakeside and all these places that are serving that Baked Alaska out there, club, to come forward, and let's see if we can't get this thing put to bed. Because I like the idea of getting them started, but you have got to take the next step. I want him to play on a decent course. He was with Tiger today. He knows what you have to learn to do, and he needs the chance. So that's what we are going to do. And I appreciate you fellows coming here, and I hope we can get something going here. Thank you.
CHUCK WATSON: This could be exciting because if we can get the other courses to step up -- you know, our goal at Dynegy and at the Dynegy Junior Golf Program and 1st Tee is to have Champions and Jackie Burke be the leader as stepping up for two days a year. If we can get others to do that, how great it would be to have these kids get the opportunity to come to a club like Champions once a week. We have got 52 weeks a year. We ought to be able to do that with the number of clubs that we have, as Jackie said. That's really the goal. I don't think Dynegy is going to stop until we reach that goal because to have these kids have the opportunity to come to a course like Champions once a week, it is going to do a tremendous boost for their program and for their own character. So that's the announcement, and we would be happy to take any questions.
Q. Do you look to do this with any junior or will it be through The First Tee or some type of sanction program?
CHUCK WATSON: It would be the Dynegy Junior Golf Program associated with The First Tee, and it will be up to 30 kids, two days during the year, the club will pick, and any other club that we can get to meet this challenge have up to 30 kids come to their course, but it would be only those that are in The First Tee program.
Q. Have you received any kind of input or made any contacts about what other clubs are thinking about this? Do you think they are ready to jump on board?
CHUCK WATSON: Jackie started mentioning a few. I wasn't going to do that. I am challenging all courses in Houston. I don't want to put any pressure on any one of them, but you can bet, if you know anything about the past of Dynegy, they are probably going to get calls the next couple of weeks. Let's see if we can't have them step up.
Q. What will you do when school starts? I know that would take up a lot of days.
JACK BURKE: The First Tee is going to be -- there is where you qualify. The pro, or whoever instructor is out there, will qualify these young boys as to who gets to come to the clubs. They have got to produce out there first. And so it's up to them to get the club boys here. If they can't come -- he can't come all the time. That's fine, we won't book him. But The First Tee people, if we get 10 clubs or 15 clubs, they will do the booking and we will do it when we get here. Clubs aren't going to do anything, The First Tee is going to do it. The First Tee is all over the United States. There are 100 First Tees. It can go at every state. Phoenix has got them. They have got First Tees going everywhere. Even Masters put up $5 million for The First Tee. There's been a lot of money put up to this point. There's about 100 of them, and there will be probably more. But the kid gets to get started, comes up, sees what he has to do. I think he will profit from it.
Q. You are offering this opportunity for -- if I understand correctly, for The First Tee here in Houston?
JACK BURKE: Right. The law center. Law Park, we are offering that to them.
CHUCK WATSON: There's 1st Tee program here in Houston. As far as we know, there's no other 1st Tee program in the States that has this kind of a program that has offered to have young men and women in The First Tee program to come out to Championship courses. And again, if we can get one a week, and if it works in Houston, I am hoping to maybe challenge other cities to try to replicate it, as well.
Q. Are they going to be able to -- they come out and play a round or get --
JACK BURKE: We would do the instructions, they will get to play. We will have lunch for them and see that they get home.
Q. Steven, I am sure you have played at Law Park.
STEVEN FRAZIER: Plenty of times.
Q. I am interested, having an incentive like this for kids out there, how important is that?
STEVEN FRAZIER: Well, mostly minorities, they don't have this chance to come and play at Champions, go to the TPC and play all the great courses around Houston. And Dynegy and The First Tee, they are the ones that's going to make this program expand so that all of us can get this opportunity to do so.
Q. You have gone through -- obviously, as part of the Houston program, you have gotten the chance to go out and play different places. What type of benefit do you think this will be to young golfers to come to a course like Champions or some of the other places you have been?
STEVEN FRAZIER: They will find out what they have been missing out on. They will learn a lot more. (Laughs) they will learn how to -- not only learn how to hit a golf ball 350 yards down the fairway, but teach them how to respect, dedication to the game, love of the game, all the good stuff that golf has in it.
Q. Did you get the chance today to talk with Tiger any?
STEVEN FRAZIER: Yes. Not much, but after the round I met him on the range. He gave me a couple of autographs.
Q. What do you think about his game?
STEVEN FRAZIER: He's the greatest player that ever lived. I mean, to shoot 64 in the pro-am, that's pretty strong. Birdie 7 out of the last 10 holes. That's too tough.
Q. A young guy like you, is it a realistic goal for you guys to try to be as good as Tiger? You have already said he's the greatest player ever. He's obviously very talented. What does that do for someone like you?
STEVEN FRAZIER: That just makes us work harder. We know where we are going to need to be, we are just going to have to do the work to get there.
Q. You don't look at what he does and say, gee, I don't know --
STEVEN FRAZIER: No.
Q. You think you can do that someday?
STEVEN FRAZIER: Most definitely. You can ask anyone, they will tell you the same anything.
Q. Tell me what?
STEVEN FRAZIER: He's my competition in a couple of years. (Laughs).
Q. You are going to go to college, play college?
STEVEN FRAZIER: Most definitely, that's my main goal right there.
Q. Any ideas of where, maybe?
JACK BURKE: He's already in college, he's in
STEVEN FRAZIER: St. Thomas High School.
JACK BURKE: That's college.
STEVEN FRAZIER: That is preparatory college. I am having a real good experience. Colleges, I am looking at maybe UT or Texas A & M, one or the other.
Q. Are you related to the Reed that's already at
A & M?
STEVEN FRAZIER: No, most people get us mixed up. He's a fine golfer, too.
Q. Describe what 1st Tee is.
CHUCK WATSON: 1st Tee is a national program, actually, started in Atlanta. It is designed for getting inner-city kids to enjoy the game of golf and give them the opportunity to play golf. And at Houston we have, down in Law Park and south of Downtown, nine hole golf course great facilities, great training facilities, and this is a program that's designed to bring kids that, obviously, otherwise won't be able to see or enjoy the game of golf. It also brings them in and teaches them life they have training films object obligations they have to meet to be able to be in The First Tee program. There's about I guess, two-thirds boys and one-third girls, I guess, something like, that about two third, one-third. I have been out there a few times it's just great to see the enthusiasm that they have for the game and really how they start to learn how to respect each other as people and they go through classes and training and they have to work there at the park. So it really does teach them about life. Not just about golf. That's what really attracted Dynegy to it was not just the game of golf and not just the four, five Champions that they have had, this team and you can tell them better than I can I think 4 of the last five years they have won the national championship.
STEVEN FRAZIER: Last five years.
CHUCK WATSON: They have won the national championship. There's people like Steven, they are really becoming very good golfers, but that's not what 1st Tee is all about. It's about the 50, 60, 100, 200 kids that are off the street and on the golf course. That's the beauty of 1st Tee.
Q. Do you have a handicap?
STEVEN FRAZIER: Not exactly, but I sit around two right now.
CHUCK WATSON: It's a little lower than mine. (Laughter).
Q. I am interested, since Tiger came onto the Tour -- it has been five or six years now -- we haven't seen a stream of people of color, as he says, come to the Tour, haven't even seen a trickle. Is that a process that's ongoing? Will that happen someday?
CHUCK WATSON: I don't think there's any question about it. And I think that programs like 1st Tee, that The First Tee -- you have to introduce them to the game first off. He was introduced at a very young age, as you know. He was playing golf since he was two or three. There's not very many individuals that had that opportunity. But it's The First Tee program that I think, you know, when you have -- it's not 5 and 10 and 15 kids in 1st Tee in Houston, it's 2 and 300. What we can do to bring more kids, you know, off the streets and onto the golf course, by a program like this, I think it will be an enormous uplift for the program to get a lot more kids off the street and onto the golf course.
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