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April 9, 2008
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Welcome back, ladies and gentlemen, to the 2008 Masters. I'm Billy Payne, and I'm privileged to be joined by Fred Ridley, Chairman of our Competition Committees, and, of course, Craig Heatley, Chairman of our Media Committee.
I must begin by telling you that Craig and Glenn Greenspan persistently have advocated your interest since last we met and I hope you're pleased with the resulting improvements to the working environment here in the press center.
We are particularly proud of our Masters Select Application, which you now have at every working station, which allows you to totally control your viewing experience while at the same time, retrieve important statistical and scoring information. We also hope you enjoy the much improved food service and quality, state-of-the-art projection systems and new arena chairs, and I can assure you that many more improvements are on the way.
Also in a couple of years, several more of your associates will meet their 40-year milestone here at the Masters, and we look forward to another very special encore presentation of the Masters Major Achievement Award, which we were honored to bestow on several of your colleagues last year.
As we reflect, we think that this year's Masters is special in so many ways. Fifty years ago, Herbert Warren Wind gave us all a great and enduring gift by naming holes 11, 12 and 13 Amen Corner. Our great champion, Arnold Palmer began his dominance of the Masters with his first win 50 years ago this week, and he continues to inspire us all as he now serves as our Honorary Starter.
Our first international champion, Gary Player, competes in his 51st Masters, beginning tomorrow, establishing a record, a remarkable achievement. He continues to serve as a terrific example of how this great game of golf can be a game for a lifetime.
We also finally remember our 1967 Champion, Gay Brewer, who recently passed away. Always quick with a story and a smile, he was missed at last night's Champions Dinner.
This past year has been a very busy time at Augusta National. Work progressed all during last spring and summer as we continued construction of our new practice area scheduled, as you know, to be first utilized during the 2010 Tournament. As you already know, the golf course changes were relatively minor as they affect the competitive challenges of our golf course.
Minor adjustments were made to holes No. 1 and 11, and the greens on holes No. 7 and 9 were completely regrassed to combat encroachment of bermudagrass, and to soften a couple of pin placements, yet have them available even in the most adverse weather conditions.
Most significantly, however, I believe was a creation of a new Patron viewing area, to hillside left of No. 16 green. Very significant wind damage during the summer of 2006 caused us to consider alternative uses for this specific area. And after much deliberation, we decided to convert the hillside into a viewing area for approximately 2,500 additional Patrons. The results are positive, and I think even dramatic as these Patrons can now view competition on holes 6, 15 and 16, a one-of-a-kind opportunity here at Augusta National and sure to become a favorite gathering place as has already been evidenced by the last two practice round days.
Finally with regard to our golf course, I would like to personally add that it is truly in magnificent condition. Certainly the best turf conditions of any Masters I have personally experienced. And I would like to recognize and to thank Marsh Benson and his entire team for their tireless dedication. Thank you very much, Marsh.
Most of you know that in October we announced a new international initiative to utilize the Masters reputation and our considerable resources to help grow the game of golf worldwide. Upon review, I think I made a mistake in calling this a "new" initiative. The fact is, our founders, Clifford Roberts and Bobby Jones, together with all of their successor chairmen, have actively endeavored to promote the game of golf through the conduct of a world-class sporting event, and, through the generosity of our significant monetary support to many, many worthy golf programs designed to attract others to the game.
So honestly, I think this current initiative is more accurately described as a continuing effort to reach more and more potential golfers, especially kids, by communicating with them and delivering content to them in the manner in which they want it delivered in this 21st century technological era. Our efforts here at the Masters will be long term. They will embrace partnerships with other prominent worldwide golfing organizations and will be unselfishly undertaken as a part of our continuing service to the game.
This year, we embark with a modest beginning. We are televising the Par 3 event this afternoon for the first time, hoping kids will be inspired by seeing golf competed and conducted in a fun and family manner.
And who knows, maybe it will send a message across the world that golf can be played and immensely enjoyed on only a 1,000-yard course needing just four- or five-clubs and taking less than two hours to complete.
Our new Junior Pass Program begins tomorrow, and a child between the ages of 8 and 16 will be admitted free when accompanied by an accredited Patron, and we are absolutely thrilled when we imagine how many of these kids will be influenced by this opportunity.
Our Web site, Masters.org has been significantly enhanced to deliver information and offer participation to a more youthful audience by the addition of full-screen streaming video, photo sharing and blogs, among others.
Once again, we must be at the leading edge, delivering sports and entertainment to our fans as they want it delivered. To this end, we have recently acquired the domain name Masters.com and believe it will surely accelerate the continuing access of our international fans to the Masters.
As all of you know, from the very beginning of our tournament, considerable emphasis has been placed on amateur participation. Early on our founders, including the greatest amateur of all, Bobby Jones, established qualification standards which ensured a permanent and prominent place for amateurs in our competitive field; the ultimate prize of a Masters invitation has inspired amateur golfers over the decades to compete at the highest level. As they have done so, and as they have become heroes to their contemporaries, they have influenced others to take up the game. The U.S. Amateur, British Amateur, the U.S. Mid-Amateur, the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championships all have served as gateways to the Masters, and all have broadened interest in our great game.
Yet, there remains, we believe, an untapped opportunity in Asia and other parts of the world where amateur golf has its greatest growth potential. Together with our partner, the R&A, and other golf organizations, we want to pursue the development of amateur golf for the purpose of creating heroes and legends among the representative countries, establishing role models who attract other kids to the game, inevitably teaching them the disciplines and life lessons which can be the ultimate reward of a lifelong love affair with golf.
We are serious about these efforts and emphasize that they are incremental to our significant current support of golf domestically, and we look forward to sharing details with you as they develop over the next year.
Finally, and why we believe these ideas I've just enumerated are a good beginning and we continue to believe, as did Mr. Roberts that our best ideas often come from our Patrons and fans, so we want to hear from those fans around the world about their ideas to grow the game. To that end, and in collaboration with the worldwide media resources of CBS, ESPN and others, we are announcing today a worldwide promotion which encourages others to share with us their thoughts and creative ideas.
Immediately after this press conference, we are encouraging all golf fans to go to Masters.org, CBSSports.com, ESPN.com, BBC.co.uk, and in Japan TBS.co.jp, and between now and June 1 register and tell us how they believe golf could be improved and promoted around the world.
Registration forms will be available immediately after this press conference on our Web site with promotional instructions in English, Spanish, French, Chinese, Japanese and Korean. We want to know, how can we capture the interest of children in this great game; can golf be made easier; why did it take so long to play; what is the best way to get kids involved at an early age.
We look forward to what we believe will be tens of thousands of responses that we receive and honestly expect to report to you at a later date that we have uncovered some really great concepts and ideas which can be incorporated into our own initiatives and efforts.
Thank you. And Craig, I'm now ready for the first question.
Q. If you can just expand a little bit, you started a little bit about the Par 3 and televising of it, how long that's been in the works and what your hope is there, and as a follow, you know, is this maybe the beginning perhaps of more full-round coverage on the weekend.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I'll answer the last part of that first. No, I don't think it's the beginning of more full-round coverage.
I think it's an outgrowth of considerable thought and deliberation we have undertaken over the last two or three years about how can we use the reputation and the resources of the Masters to expose the game to a more youthful audience, to communicate to them that golf is fun, it is family, it's a golf for a lifetime but beginning even at the youngest of age and we think the entertaining value of what they will see today at the Par 3 will be a very strong message in that regard.
Q. Tiger mentioned yesterday that he is not playing in that; is that any bother to you guys at all or what's your feeling?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No. I think all golfers choose to prepare differently for the Masters Tournament. We are delighted that the overwhelming majority are playing.
And I will tell you that I have instructed them to save for the future those little caddie uniforms in Sam's size. (Laughter).
Q. With regard to the new ticket policy with the juniors and such, whose epiphany was this? Because, quite frankly, I think the public perception is that this club has been more exclusionary than inclusionary over the years, and this seems to be a pretty major philosophical overhaul to broaden -- open the gates, I suppose, would be the best way.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: You know, it is what it is. We want to expose this great game and opportunity to children, and the Masters tickets is so coveted, so rarely available, that beginning on Thursday, when the Tournament itself starts, you don't see too many children out here.
So I was further impacted by the fact that we are generally regarded -- I think the Masters Patrons, spectators as the most knowledgeable and perhaps best-mannered in all of sport, and I thought, what a great combination, bring kids in to see their heroes; at the same time expose them to the great attributes of how our fans act and behave and enjoy the game of golf, that it was a win/win.
So thankfully, at Augusta, we don't have to worry about loss of ticket revenue. So it was just a good idea.
Q. Can you talk about the decision to get ESPN involved in the Masters, and there's been some stuff written about some of the reverence and decorum, will it be lost with the ESPN-ization of the Masters; any concern of that?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No. We have addressed all those concerns. I think you will discover that ESPN will be very respectful of the tradition of the Masters. We have discussed at length how we would like for them to portray the Masters. We are very much comfortable with their talent, their capability. We are very much impressed with their international reach.
They have wonderful people, and it's just been a pleasure working with them over these last several months, and I am certain they are going to do a wonderful job and they will look very much like they have been here forever, as well.
Q. Chris Berman is not going to be here; was that something that you guys --
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I have never had a discussion about that. We don't tell our broadcast partners who their on-air talent can be.
Q. In regards to the course, do you feel like you have it about the way you wanted it, and will you keep an eye on how it's playing this time to see if you need to do anything in the future?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: We are watching every shot and graphing every shot, every day, and of course, we are diligent in that process. As I said last year, we had the perfect storm last year of weather and very difficult conditions making the course play extremely hard.
As I said before, I think the course is just about like we want it, and I am very, very much pleased with it, and I think you'll see at least for the next couple of days it dry up a little bit and the soft fairways will become a little bit harder again, and it will be a tough, competitive test with a premium on accuracy and putting, which is what it's always been intended to be.
Q. Given your background with the Olympics, I think we all think golf and the Olympics would be a great way to grow the game. Personally, giving you background, and as Chair of this powerful institution, what can you do to help that along? Do you have any pull with the IOC, do you think?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I could pray a little bit. (Laughter).
As you know I'm a great advocate of golf being part of the program, and probably from a little bit different perspective; and Phil hit on it yesterday in his interview. Once a sport is officially accepted into the Olympic program, it becomes entitled to distribution through their National Olympic Committees by sport to some of the proceeds of the Olympic financial generation. So I suspect that it would be another way importantly to jump-start golf in a lot of countries.
So for this reason additionally, and plus I think it belongs there. I think the pride of representing your country which has already been displayed in golf through different kinds of formats is very strong, very powerful and wonderful theater and entertainment. You know, I guess I'm too busy now to have a direct role in the Olympics, but I'd certainly be an advocate if anybody asked me.
Q. Earlier this week I asked Padraig Harrington right here, could a player go low on this golf course in it's current configuration and among the things he said to me, he says, we know the committee can determine what the score is here. I've heard that before at other places, so I'm throwing this out and maybe Mr. Ridley would like to explain; his position is that you can set up this golf course to get within reason whatever score they wanted to get out of it. So could you comment on that?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I'll comment on it. You know, I think it's pretty clear that on any golf course, you can make it play more difficult or less difficult, so we would be no exception there.
You know, we want this to be a fair test of golf. That's the way we setup the golf course. We also want it to be exciting over the weekend; that's the way we set up the golf course. That's the way we've always done it and that's the way we're going to continue to do it. You don't have anything to add to that, do you, Fred? (Laughter).
FRED RIDLEY: I agree wholeheartedly.
Q. Throughout the course of the year whenever someone would win a PGA TOUR event that's now going to the Masters, do you have a favorite story from that from something you observed, and why was that rescinded in the first place, that invitation?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I don't know the answer to the second part of your question.
I do know that its restoration is attributable to my predecessor; while I announced it, it was his idea, and it was a great idea. And I thought we saw demonstrated -- how many times this year, Fred?
FRED RIDLEY: Seven.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Seven. Seven times this year exactly the positive reaction that we wanted, and of course, I remember the most recent and, golly, it was just so exciting, almost brought me to tears watching Johnson (Wagner, Shell Houston Open winner) react when he knew he qualified for the Masters. And so I think we achieved exactly what we wanted to and I'm very pleased with the decision.
Q. Speaking about the amateur involvement and everything, has there been any discussion about expanding amateur invitations in the sense of maybe taking the top two in some of the other national events, like the Public Links or the Mid-Amateur, or do you like the number where it is now?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: There is always thought about how to produce the best competitive field and still preserve the amateur traditions that are a part of our history.
Nothing is specific-event directed as you have indicated in your question, but we are always thinking about what is the appropriate place, number, where do they come from, the representative group of amateurs. So it's an ongoing thought process, but nothing currently in the works that would change where we are in our qualifications for amateurs.
Q. You talked about allowing boys and girls 8 to 16 to come in.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Yes, sir.
Q. Half of that equation, the boy half when they ask the person who brought them in, "But Daddy, sometimes I would like to join the club," and the girl part of the equation can't join the club. Do you see that changing?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I would tell you what I've told you in the past, that I don't talk about membership issues; that that's reserved for the private deliberations of the Members, and other than that, I'm not going to talk about it.
Q. As it relates to the youngsters coming in, do you have an estimate of how many you expect to come in; and secondly, is there any concern about viewing being so crowded?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Yes. We sent out several letters to our Patrons. We even asked for a response from our Patrons about what days they intend to use it, if they intend to use it at all. We got very good feedback from them. Our patrons are loyal, long-term, and they usually respond to inquiries and mailings that we send them. So we got a pretty good handle, pretty good handle. We've got some bets going about it -- (laughter) -- but all the numbers are pretty close.
We think certainly it is a manageable number, and once again I would say to you as I did, earlier, Doug, not only is it manageable and we're not worried about any behavior issues. The behavior and manner that is they observe from our Patrons is going to send a great educational lesson to them.
So we look at it really the opposite way; that it's a great learning environment for them, as opposed to us worrying about how they -- because our Patrons are not going to let children misbehave here.
Q. What kind of number are we talking about?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I'm not going to tell you.
Q. Just thought I'd ask.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: That's like a speed-of-the-greens issue.
Q. That was my next question.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: (Laughter).
Q. I'm wondering what's behind this initiative that the club has taken to try to grow the game and how much impact can a private club, in Georgia, albeit a very prominent private club, can have in Asia and other parts of the world.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Well, what's behind it is a direct reflection of the lifelong writings and teachings and conversations of our two founders. They always believe that we should not only put on the best tournament, but be a very positive influence in the game of golf, and we have played that role through the years, through our participation in various important organizations and through our financial support of those organizations.
And so that's really what's behind it. Why do we think that we can be successful this way? I've been talking at length with Peter Dawson about this idea, because we respect the R&A tremendously; we want and need their help. And he had a great observation.
He said, you know, the reason that we want to be part of this and help you is this is different. Most golf development initiatives have been bottoms-up, starting in communities and neighborhoods and trying to build locally and grow there. He said, this is the first one that he's been aware of where from the top down, from a prominent member of the golfing community who has lots of resources can try to create those role models and heroes and opportunities. And so he's intrigued by that, as are we.
All we promise here is to give it our very best, and this is, as I said, it's a long-term undertaking. We think we are going to be successful, and we're going to try real hard.
Q. The Tournament has long guarded some of the experience of the Masters for its Patrons who come on site and slowly through the years of the TV coverage and Par 3 Tournament you're exposing more of that stuff to the outside. Is it something that's moving towards Internet merchandising or do you see a line being drawn where there's a difference between the experience here and outside?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I think that I never thought of the Par 3 in the context, reserving something special for the people here in person. That's usually a carrot that you hold out when you need to sell more tickets, but we have never needed to sell more tickets, so we have never needed to say, you can only do this if you come here. So that really didn't come into it at all.
You know, we think sometimes about limited time windows, international net merchandising, but we really don't need to do it, and I can't imagine that we would do that, unless for some reason it facilitated someone being able to acquire the merchandise that we wanted to acquire for some other purpose, but that's not in the works.
Q. We love the hunting game at Masters.org and I was wondering if you expect to see a Masters video game in the future or at least Augusta National Golf Club included on existing video games?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Well, we are not going to be included on other people's video games. (Laughter).
We have, and maybe that's the next logical step if these initiatives get some traction; another way to capture the interest, and so we are trying to stay ahead of the technology, so I would not be truthful if I didn't tell you that we have looked into that. But we are far from making any decision about it.
But if it helps us spread the goodness of this it game, then in the future we'll take a hard look at it.
Q. The NBA and Major League Baseball are very active in China; the NFL is taking games abroad; would you ever consider extending your reach by operating or putting other facilities --
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No, sir. No, sir. We may pay for somebody else to put facilities in Asia if it helps grow the game, but it won't be -- it won't be the Masters. We may let them use our name a little bit, you know, just hypothetically: 'The Asian Pacific Confederation with the assistance of Augusta National has built this learning facility,' but that would be the extent.
Q. Back to the television coverage for just one question. Does the relationship with ESPN diminish in any way your long relationship with CBS Sports?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No, sir. As far as I know, they have worked together great and you know, a little competition is good. But I think they are getting along famously, and we deeply value and treasure our long-term relationship with CBS. Let us be very clear on that; they are our No. 1 media partner.
Q. Is there a reason you didn't go younger than age 8 when the kids get in with the Patrons during the tournament days; is there some sort of formula you guys used?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No. No. I don't know how we came up with that. I can't remember. Somebody said seven; somebody said six. I said eight. (Laughter) Scientific.
Q. You've instituted some changes that have brought more exposure to the tournament and the club this week, is there any changes in policies or initiatives or programs the other 51 weeks a year that may bring more exposure or open up the club to others?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: This club belongs to our members. We don't play it 51 weeks a year, of course, but no, there's no additional bleed-over from the Masters that encroaches upon the Membership experience.
Q. Can you talk about the challenge of keeping the greens as fast as you want them, but not crossing the line as has happened in some other championships in recent years?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I could if I knew anything about that, but Fred does. Fred, you can answer this one.
FRED RIDLEY: Well, monitoring the greens, certainly, is one of the big parts of the course preparation each year, and the goal is to have as consistent putting surfaces from year-to-year and throughout the week.
We saw last year, as Billy has mentioned, with regard to the scores, really was a function of a very unusual weather pattern.
But we went about preparing the golf course, and the greens in particular, exactly the same way that we prepare them every year. We are constantly monitoring the moisture content, the firmness of the greens, and we want them to be as much as possible the same greens on Sunday as the players see when they arrive on Monday.
Q. Just one more with regard to the kids. How are you going to monitor when the Patrons come in, are you carding people? Do they need birth certificates? What if a kid says he's 11 and he has a beard and mustache and he's trying to get in to see some golf?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Well, we are scanning the badges of the Patron and we are matching identification that he will have with him at that time with who our computer says he is. And if they match, then he can bring -- you know, we are not ID'ing or checking the age of the kids.
So we have a special kind of Patron. There won't be any bearded six-year-olds slipping in. (Laughter).
Q. With the winning year-end stipulation, has there been any thought about the Fall Series guys and if it would be extended to them; that would bring as many as six more people. You may or may not be aware, the Greensboro field this last year was weaker than some of the fields based on available World Ranking points and such than some of the Fall Series events which seems a little backwards in some respects.
FRED RIDLEY: The field size really is a balance, and we really want to make sure we keep the intimacy of the size of the field, and so that's always a consideration.
Over the years, there have been a number of changes in the qualifications. They have sort of ebbed and flowed. I think with respect to the Fall Finish, you know, in one respect, it's recognizing that the TOUR, in fact, PGA TOUR has divided the TOUR into two distinct seasons. I would add, though, there is certainly a way to play one's self into the Masters by virtue of the performance in the Fall Series, and that happened with Steve Flesch this year.
We are constantly looking at the field size. We have 94 players this year, and that's about right, so we have to consider that issue in determining qualifications.
Q. This is the 10th year with the second cut as we've come to know it. There has been some debate among the players and everybody about whether or not with all of the other subsequent changes to the course that it's necessary and whether it would play like it used to without adding anymore. Did you all consider any changes to that?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: You know, we have always had different length grass here all the way from the very beginning.
I listened very carefully to the player interviews the last several days and looked back at last year's, and they are split almost right down the middle about their opinion about the second cut.
But I think, first of all, we like it. We think that it does put a premium on driving accuracy. However, we do believe that when you're in the second cut, it's more difficult to reach some of the pins because it does impact the ability to spin the ball.
The opinion I've just expressed, if you ask a hundred people, 50 would take the other side, but we like our side, and that's what we're going to do. We like it. Other than tweaks maybe for Patron flow, drainage, otherwise, you could expect to see it for a long time in the future.
Q. Do you have any particular concerns more or less now than maybe in the past about pace of play, and is there sort of a general message that your Rules Committee kind of has with the players out here for this tournament?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I think we take up that issue regularly, and Fred, you reported to me last week about that. Do you want to --
FRED RIDLEY: That's right. Obviously for the enjoyment of the game for the players and the Patrons is to move the field along. We look at that every year. As a matter of fact we have actually tightened up the pace of play this year. Our target time is four hours and 45 minutes, which is a seven-minute reduction from last year.
Now, whether or not we can achieve that is another story, but we think by encouraging the players and letting them know that this is the expected time, because that is one of the elements of whether or not a group is out of position, we think that we might speed up the play marginally, which I think would be good.
Q. Going back to the winning-in a year, and dovetailing that with the international scope, would you consider extending winning-type invitations to events such as the HSBC World Match Play or a top Asian tournament, something like that?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Probably not, because it would put at risk the number of players in the field and when we get above the number, the mid 90s, it really puts at risk our ability to restart after weather issues, to complete play on certain days.
It's very important that we design a process and hope that we end up somewhere with a number at mid-'90s and no more, and any additions would put that at great risk and something we would not look at favorably.
Q. Monty had comments looking at the reasons behind issuing an invitation; will that be discussed in a review of the tournament?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: His comments or our --
Q. The attitude.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I was ready for that question. (Laughter).
Colin Montgomerie is a great man, a great competitor, a great representative of the U.K. We wish him the best luck. We think he'll be back here soon and hope he plays well here, and that's really all I have to say about it.
Q. Dovetailing on the international aspect and any amateur aspect together, would the committee ever consider an invitation to the world No. 1 ranked amateur at the time of the Masters? I don't believe he's been invited here, he hasn't won the British Amateur or any of those things, but would you add a highly-ranked professional international player?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: I'm not sure that's the classification that we would like to but I wouldn't rule out in our future the possibility of adding another amateur participant.
Q. I know we ask it every year, but is there any new discussion on the development of a golf ball that would be used here at the Masters?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: No, sir. We haven't found it necessary to revisit that recently and we still kind of have the same position that we have had for the last several years; that it looks like we are not going to have to do it.
But it's something that we kind of hold in our pocket if we ever had to.
Q. Follow-up to an earlier question about the initiative with the kids, contrasting with the perception of Augusta as he exclusionary and being more inclusionary. I realize the impetus was mostly to grow the game, but does that factor into it how the outside world perceives Augusta?
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: Well, I'm going to make -- so I don't have to tell you, we don't have to talk about Membership; I'd rather tell you how we came to is.
We believe it's the history and culture and obligation to make efforts to grow the game of golf. We have always done it. We are going to continue to do it. We don't think it's inconsistent; we don't think it's inappropriate; and we don't think it's unappreciated, nor do we think continued efforts to do so in the future will be considered any different.
Q. Going back to slow play, because of the size of the field and the independence of the organization, you're probably in a better position than anybody to do something about it. Is there a possibility in the future you might start penalizing players shots in a meaningful manner that will change their behavior?
FRED RIDLEY: Well, we have a pace of play policy that we think is appropriate. And it provides some very detailed parameters for how quickly a pace we expect the players to play, and we think our officials, who are the best officials from around the world, understand that policy, and they will enforce it when it's appropriate.
So we are comfortable that we have a good pace of play policy. This is a golf course that just takes some time to play, but we are monitoring it very closely.
DOUG FERGUSON: As we've kind of sensed near the end of this, I just wanted to publically state on behalf of the GWAA and golf writers from all corners of the globe how much we appreciate what you've done in this building. We've talked a lot about you being on the leading edge of running a golf tournament, and you've done a pretty fine job for the press, and if we had only one improvement for next year, if you had someone to write our stories, that would be perfect.
CHAIRMAN BILLY PAYNE: We could do that, too. (Laughter, applause)
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