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September 13, 2007

Alexandra Armas

Carolyn Bivens

John Solheim


BETHAN CUTLER: Welcome everyone. Thank you for coming in today. I'd like to introduce our speakers who are going to share a special announcement about the future of the Solheim Cup.
First of all, we have actually Alexandra Armas, executive director of the Ladies European Tour; Caroline Bivens, the Commissioner of the Ladies Professional Golf Association; and John Solheim, Chairman and CEO of PING.
To begin, I'd like to invite Mr. Solheim to offer a few comments.
JOHN SOLHEIM: Well, first off, it's great to be here. The tenth event. I'm very pleased to announce that PING, the founding sponsor of the Solheim Cup, will continue its support of the Solheim Cup for the next eight years. It's -- you know, this is exciting. We'll continue through competitions through 2015.
From the very beginning when we were offered two, three events and decided we wanted to do ten events, our goal was to stay involved for the long-term, and that still continues to be our goal, and this is the next step in that.
We're looking forward to many more Solheim Cups. And you look at the result of what we have, the competition that the ladies do here, and the play is phenomenal, and it's just -- it really gives the whole PING team and the Solheim family just a wonderful feel to be involved in this. Thank you.
BETHAN CUTLER: We're ready for some questions, please.

Q. Mr. Solheim, I was wondering if you could tell me a little bit about the very first Solheim Cup and how it compares to the competition now?
JOHN SOLHEIM: Well, the party last night I think had as many people as the gallery did back then. You know, that first Solheim Cup was a starter, you know, and was -- actually our agreement was in 1990 and we had the event in 1990, so not near the planning time that it should have, but it got started.
The play, even though the score didn't look like it, was pretty phenomenal because the Europeans were constantly hitting it inside of the Americans, but the Americans were draining the putts, and once you have to match a putt, that's pretty tough and it didn't happen.
You know, that event was so special. And one of the funny things I'll always remember, the biggest party afterwards was the Europeans.

Q. I was just going to say, Mr. Solheim, surely if PING pulls out of the Solheim Cup, there isn't a Solheim Cup. I mean, aren't you sort of tied in for as long as it takes? Because if you leave, then the Solheim Cup becomes something else, the Taylor-Made Cup or the Titlist Cup.
JOHN SOLHEIM: Lot of us feel that way, and, you know -- you know, that's our goal is to be with it forever. You know, sometimes you don't know what the future holds, and we leave that in the Lord's hands.

Q. Connected with that, I would say it probably makes very good financial commercial success any because for one thing, you don't have to pay prize money, do you?
JOHN SOLHEIM: Well, that's the phenomenal thing about this event. It's people playing for their country, for -- you know, that's completely different. I mean, still it's not a cheap event to put on. I mean, it's just -- the costs are probably much higher than most events. But, you know, it's really nice the way the ladies do it and how proud they are to play for their countries, and they just -- that's what makes it so special about this. You know, it's not the dollar, it's -- you know, that's why we love being involved with it.
BETHAN CUTLER: Any more questions?
Caroline, would you like to make a few comments just about the tournament and the way you see it going in the next few years.
CAROLYN BIVENS: Well, I don't want to go too quickly by this one. Sometimes we spend too much of our lives looking at what's coming ahead. Rich Harvest Farms is going to be a terrific event, but, first of all, we need to enjoy Halmstad.
This is going to be a remarkable week. For any of you who were over yesterday and watched the Junior Solheim, you know how hard fought that was. Came down, it was very, very close.
I think we're going to see exactly the same thing here. It will begin unfolding tomorrow, but this will be golf at its very best.
Someone talked about the economics of this. There have been many years that women on both teams have helped defray their own expenses. This is not an inexpensive event, but it is not about the money. This is about pride, and this is about playing for their country. And so no matter who you are, you can be the best player in the world, and we've got some of the very best players, women players, in the world that are out there, they're playing for a lot more than themselves. And I would argue that the pressure that they feel is even greater.
So, John, we are thrilled to have you continue to participate. The Solheim family and Karsten Manufacturing have created something and I think very many organizations can look back on and say that in a period of less than 20 years, you've built something that's very enduring, and we're proud to be part of it.
BETHAN CUTLER: Alex, would you like to make a few comments about what this tournament means to women's golf in general?
ALEXANDRA ARMAS: Yes. Good morning. Thank you for being here. My first experience with the Solheim Cup was at Croooked Stick two years ago. And I've been to many golf tournaments, and going there you had an expectation, I guess. And to be honest, I couldn't have expected what I experienced. It was, you know, the crowds, the support of the crowds, the enthusiasm and the players and the passion that the players play with, I think it's the real essence of what golf is about.
I think, you know, thank you for your continued support for the event, and, you know, I guess thank you for the vision, for starting it in 1990 and we look forward to working together for coming events. Thank you very much.
JOHN SOLHEIM: Thank you.
BETHAN CUTLER: Do we have any more questions? That concludes the press conference. Thank you all for coming in. We look forward to a very successful tournament.
JOHN SOLHEIM: Thank you all for being here.

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