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August 19, 2007

Mark Brazil

Jeff Howard


MARK BRAZIL: Thank you all for coming. Just kind of exciting news. Obviously I've got a career in Junior Golf and with the American Junior Golf Association, I'm very close with a gentleman by the name of Joe Louis Barrow, happens to be the son of the great fighting champion, Joe Louis, and he is the national director, I think Helen, is that about the right title, of The First Tee, and I remember in 1996, '97 when they first announced The First Tee in Central Park in New York City, that I really thought that was a really neat idea that they were doing.
I believe it was Todd Ludwickie was the National Director and Commissioner Finchem made the announcement about it and we were -- my boss and I from the American Junior Golf Association were there.
Obviously I've stayed very close with it during my days at the AJJ and since I've been here for six years, I've been thinking about trying to bring one here to the region, and about four years ago Jeff Howard, to my left, called me and said we'd like to -- "We understand, Mark, that you would be very interested in a First Tee Chapter."
He is, too. And we've been working together for the last four years just to make sure that our PGA TOUR event was in the right spot and in good enough condition, we were going to be on the schedule and then I knew that at that point we felt comfortable that we would be supporting a move with The First Tee.
I just want to introduce Jeff Howard and this thing is not officially done yet but he can get more into the semantics about that but it will be The First Tee of the Triad which, again, was my push all along.
It had to be a Triad initiative and the Wyndham Championship is going to be very excited about supporting this in a number of ways.
Jeff, welcome to the Wyndham Championship and thanks for coming.
JEFF HOWARD: Thanks Mark. This is very exciting for me. As Mark said, this is something we've worked on for almost four years and to have this wonderful partnership -- I don't know how much y'all know about The First Tee, but, in my judgment, it's one of the absolutely best premiere programs for kids in the country.
What it does is, it uses golf as the hook to get kids who otherwise wouldn't have an opportunity to play or be exposed to golf into the sport but, more importantly and much more importantly, it's a program all about building character, enhancing values, teaching kids how to set goals for themselves and teaching them values that stay with them for their entire lives.
The program is now almost ten years old. It's affected one and a half million kids already and with the legacy of golf in this area, we are long overdue for having a First Tee Chapter for the Triad.
What Mark mentioned is that we received the national letter of intent from The First Tee Organization which means that our application was received favorably. We are now what can be called a Chapter in Development.
So we have a non-profit corporation. We have received non-profit status in North Carolina. We're applying for the Federal non-profit status.
All those things are steps that we have to take and to lead us to actual programming for kids which we hope will begin early in 2008, full blown programs next spring.
So, we're just delighted to have the support and help from the Wyndham and Mark. They've been instrumental in helping us get along the road because there have been a number of obstacles, one of which has been a moratorium on any new chapters of The First Tee because it's been such a strong program and so many people want to have it, but we were able to surmount that because of the wonderful support that we've got in the community and from this tournament.
So, I'd be to answer questions you have about it. I am thrilled to be involved in this program.
I'm soon to step aside once we get an Executive Director onboard and my role will be just to help guide the program along with our Board and help raise money for it for the years to come.
Thanks for coming.

Q. What's your next step?
JEFF HOWARD: We're about to advertise for an Executive Director position. We're at the point where we really need someone full-time who is working on this. I'm still employed and I still work full-time so this has been something that I've had to do on the side.
I've done the application process working with some lawyer friends in Winston, we've gotten all the legal aspects of the program done. We now have Use Agreements in place at the Winston Lake Golf Course in Winston and Tanglewood, we're meeting with the Greensboro folks this Wednesday, the 22nd trying to get the Gillespie Park onboard. We truly want this to be a Triad chapter, hopefully expanding into High Point at the not too distant future, as well.

Q. When do you expect to be up and running?
JEFF HOWARD: In the spring, spring of 2008.

Q. What programs do you do?
JEFF HOWARD: The programs are real varied. They start with clinics and introductory clinics for kids using PE Departments in schools is one aspect.
There are tournaments but there's a whole curriculum and whole program that The First Tee has developed over this past ten years which is why we're not reinventing the wheel but really able to use these well-developed programs that involve mentoring, lot of volunteers from the community.
When you go to sort of 50-ish year old guys and talk to them about kids and golf it's easy to get them involved. It's a great way to not only get the kids involved but people in the community who want to do something for kids.
Mark, you know more about the actual work goes of the program. Maybe you can add to that.
MARK BRAZIL: When they first started and I think it still continues now, is that they have facilities, First Tee facilities and Winston Lake would be a per facility, Tanglewood facility, Tanglewood, maybe Gillespie, even Bryan Park would be a perfect facility over here and thus the Triad reach.
But really the end of the day, this thing is about life skills and using golf to teach life skills, to kids who never would ever have the opportunity to pick up a club and it's -- these facilities make it affordable with donated green fees, with donated practice facilities, with donated clubs and equipment that they can have that access to be able to go and learn golf and also learn life skills but there is -- First Tee.org, or maybe is it The First Tee, The First Tee.org, absolutely an incredible website, explains everything about the facilities, all the places -- they're all around the world now and we're a little late coming into this but I think that it's going to be good that we are -- we waited a little bit so that we can do this the right way.
We want to make sure that we are one of the better First Tee Chapters in the country.
JEFF HOWARD: Just to give you some idea, the City of Winston-Salem, has already given 250 hours at Winston Lake totally free for the program.

Q. I'm sorry to ask you this, would you just briefly explain how you brought this program to this area in the park and why it came here?
MARK BRAZIL: My background is in Junior Golf. I knew about The First Tee for a long time and as soon as I got here as Tournament Director, and with my relationship with National Director Joe Barrow, I always knew this is a great initiative by the PGA TOUR.
I always knew we wanted to bring a First Tee Chapter here and we had several people kind of bring it up to us. When Jeff Howard and I met, Jeff kind of lined out what he had in mind and I told him that our PGA TOUR would support this fully and we want to make this a partnership but we really wanted this to be a Piedmont-Triad First Tee Chapter with several different facilities as we grow.
So we're going to start in Winston-Salem and I think The First Tee is truly is probably the best Junior Golf Program in the world to introduce kids to the game of golf, and we're seeing -- in it's ten years in progress we're watching so many kids learn so many great valuable life skill lessons but also watching some pretty good golfers come out of the First Tee Program.

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