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May 21, 2008

Carol Mann

Brian Whitcomb


KELLY ELBIN: Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, to a very special news conference to celebrate the 2008 PGA First Lady of Golf. At this time I'm pleased to introduce, from Bend, Oregon, the 35th president of the PGA of America, Mr. Brian Whitcomb.
BRIAN WHITCOMB: Thank you, Kelly, and good afternoon, everybody. I hope you're enjoying your week here at Oak Hill and the 69th Senior PGA Championship.
One of the special things that happens during this championship, of course, is our recognition for the First Lady of Golf. And we are so excited, this is the 10th year that we have had this, with Barbara Nicklaus being the first recipient. Of course some others that have been included in this prestigious award are Nancy Lopez, Renee Powell, Kathy Whitworth and last year of course, Peggy Kirk Bell. So it's an exciting time for us and it's going to be an exciting evening. This year's recipient is Carol Mann, of course, and I could go on for a long time, talking about the accolades and what she's contributed to the game of golf, not only playing, but in just the giving back to this great game and the people that have played it. But I'm going to let her talk a little bit about that and we'll more formally talk about this later on this evening of course at the Eastman Center, but among other things this week Carol took part in some initiatives, women's initiatives, earlier this week and we got those outlined for you and we're going to present those to you when we're done with this press conference.
So I hope that you will take advantage of looking at all the things that these women's initiatives have in store for us down the road.
And it's now my great pleasure to introduce a lady who, well, she's a special lady, I admire her so much. I look back at her playing days with admiration and I remember that impressive record, of course, we all do, she's got a Hall of Fame playing career, but just as importantly, if not more, she's got a Hall of Fame career at giving. At giving to society, giving to the people that play this great game. And it didn't matter if it's been teaching beginners, it didn't matter if it was to teaching a Russian how to play, it didn't matter if it was how to show a cosmonaut how to hit a golf ball out in outer space, Carol left nothing to chance, and her passion and commitment to teaching and leaving people in a better place with regards to this game of golf, is unending.
So tonight at the Eastman Theater downtown she becomes the 10th recipient of the PGA First Lady of Golf award. So it is one of the proudest things that a president of the PGA gets to do, and it is my pleasure and distinct pleasure introduce the 2008 PGA First Lady of Golf, award winner, Carol Mann.
CAROL MANN: Thank you. Thank you, Brian. I haven't been to Bend, Oregon since Wilson sent me and Patty Berg out there in about 1962. How are things in Bend?
BRIAN WHITCOMB: They're just all right. But we're waiting for you. The door's always open.
CAROL MANN: I'll be back. I'll be back. I would like to say thank you so much for your warm welcome, but especially to the PGA of America for bestowing this honor on me. And when Brian called me and I think it was late January, I was stunned. I thought it was a dream, that I was hearing a recording just out of my own mind as opposed to something real.
My first reaction was, well, they must have run out of other people to give it to me. Because I feel, I don't feel, I don't think about recognition, I don't think about honors. I just think about what's next. And so it's caused a lot of changing in my thinking over the past couple months. Especially getting ready for tonight and the video that's been produced so generously by the PGA of America that my friends tell me that they have participated in, my brothers have been interviewed with Bob Denney and with Mallory Crosland and various others. And I mean, so many things have happened in May life that have changed in the past two months.
My boss from the Hall of Fame is coming up. My former boss from AT&T is right here in the room, Jim Merrigan. Joe, you know Jim from years ago, okay, he came up because, well, I was offered the chance to invite all these people to come with the generosity of the PGA of America and a lot of them said yes.
So they're here and I have friends from Houston coming up later today and more friends from Houston are already here, Jonathon Tamayo who I started teaching when he was about 12 or 13 years old and now he's graduating from Cornell University this coming weekend.
And his father and his father and his mother gave their three children to me to teach for years. And another lady's coming up, her three children were given to me for years. I can't even tell you the honor that I feel in having these kind of people here with me at this time to share in this and all my time has been focused on them. And now they get to actually see more about me and I hope it is okay, Jonathon. And his sister's coming up tomorrow. She's just finishing her first year at West Point.
So I mean, I've had such a privilege and an honor to not only play golf, but then to get to convey more things about golf to people like Jonathon and his sister, Christina, and then through the Women's Sports Foundation and unknown people and including Monday here, with the ladies that we worked with at EWG. And it was cold, Brian, it was really cold. But once we got rolling, nobody cared. And that was great. And I know it hailed at one point. But we also didn't care about that either.
We just kept going after it. Trying to get those balls in the air. So do you want me to answer questions?
BRIAN WHITCOMB: If I could just interject too, I think all of us that have an interest in and a historical perspective in this game of golf, I hope you come to see and understand the significance of what Carol did, not only on the golf course, but the significance of what she's done as an inspiration, as a model, to, as a model of action, and somebody who would instill the inspiration to go out and play this game.
I think in America there's only about six percent of women in America play this game. But if we have more Carol Manns around that will tirelessly give towards these people to make them understand the mag any Tim and the enjoyment of this game, then more and more women will play this game. And when I think about the life skills that the game possesses and that you can bring your children and your husband along with you and you can spend time to interact with your children on a golf course, I can't think of anything better. And I'll tell you, what was it ten tournament wins in 1968 I think it was?
BRIAN WHITCOMB: Just ten that year? That's that Annika Sorenstam, that's that Lorena Ochoa type records there that we're so envious of today. And so with women's golf and with ambassadors like Carol Mann at the forefront, I just hope that the game of golf provides a great opportunity for women in golf. And I just can't think of a better advocate for that than Carol Mann.
I was going through my formative years when Carol was making her big splash out there on the tour and I can tell you that all of us, all of us were interested with and respectful of the people who could play the game at such a great level. And so Carol, even for me, you were a great inspiration for the way you not only played the game, but the way you conducted yourself.
And then to go on and be the president of an association and lead that association, and still, to give at the World Golf Hall of Fame, I mean, think of that commitment to the game.
It's been a life-long passion and we were talking about several things today and passion came up a lot. I know no one has more passion than you.
CAROL MANN: That's true, I don't know where it comes from, but I'm going to try to access, communicate a little bit more about that tonight. I'm not going to get into that right now, but I do think that I have an unlimited reservoir of energy related to golf. And I'm more than honored, golf changed my life, it changed my destiny, and I'm more than honored to do whatever I can for golf.
BRIAN WHITCOMB: Well said. Kelly.
KELLY ELBIN: Let's open it up for any questions out there, please. In the back.

Q. The game has changed so much since you --
CAROL MANN: And you too, you used to be with the USGA.

Q. A lot has changed. But the game has changed so much over the years you've been involved in it and I'm wondering if you could just reflect on what you think of how much has changed, whether they're all good, or whether the game is going in maybe a couple directions that were better in your day.
CAROL MANN: I'm going to start kind of at the top if you don't mind. And I think that more, we had more stewards now. There are more stewards of the game of golf now than ever before. Before I can tell you that there was maybe the USGA. I believe the PGA tried to be a steward, but I don't believe it was -- and it wasn't the collaboration of stewardship that there is now. And I believe that with the collaboration and the partnerships that have been established among all of the major agencies of golf in America, and beyond America, that the game is in the best possible hands. Because these stewards really care. And these stewards are active, take for example, National Golf Day. That never would have happened without the stewardship of today's partners. And especially your leadership, Joe, I know that was huge, okay.
So I'm very big on stewardship in the game. And if it doesn't happen at the highest organization level, then it's going to be too randomized, localized, and then we got a problem, I think.
I think that Katrina, like Joe wanted the biggest impetus was Katrina and the fact that Katrina got localized and golf took a way, a way down low and lost a lot of ground in that market. And I believe that they were absolutely right to try to take more stewardship and leadership on things that affect golf all around this country. And not just leave it to localization.
On the other hand, with all the initiatives that we have I would like to make sure that they do get localized, like women's golf initiatives and things like that. And I don't know how all that's going to happen, somebody else probably does.
Now the game of golf, as far as being played, I mean I don't want to be trite, but come on, I mean these are athletes today. We weren't even close to the athleticism of the players of my time. We might have dreamed about it, but we didn't activate it. Gary Player, maybe. He said he did. I'm not sure. He spent a lot of time in airplanes so he probably did a few pushups, you know. Just to stay alert I suppose and active, awake.
But I think also the equipment makes a big difference. The agronomy makes a huge difference. The lawn mower has come along way in all that time. Triplex mowers on the fairway, you know, and so on.
So I mean everything has changed. The equipment, the people, the spectators, the security, everything has changed. But I care most about stewardship.
KELLY ELBIN: Can you talk about that commitment going from your playing days to getting to a bigger role, what did drive you and why?
CAROL MANN: Well, I'll tell you, in '73 the LPGA Tour was a mess. I know we played here in Rochester and we played here, we played here for a long time, Rochester has really been important in the history and growth of the LPGA, especially 30 years ago Nancy Lopez won her fifth tournament here in 1978. And there was more media here than there were players. So that was huge.
The LPGA in 1973 was a mess. The group of players nominating committee came to me and said, would you run for president. And I said, I don't know. I'll have to think about it. Because I was so distraught over what was going on in the LPGA. And so I called up my teacher, Manuel de la Torre and I said to him, they want me to run for the LPGA, president of the LPGA. What do you think I should do? Just to get his opinion.
And he said, he said, you complain about it all the time, so you might as well. Okay. So because I did not think that the LPGA was what it could be, that's why I ran. And that's why I have taken leadership before and since then. Because I always thought that whatever it was that I had the good fortune or opportunity to do, I saw that it could be better. I don't know how I saw that, I don't know if it was just a pipe dream or if I was delusional, I don't know. All I know is that's what I saw. So that's what I acted on.

Q. Brian mentioned earlier that, the number he stated was six percent of women in this country currently play golf. In your opinion, how do we grow that number to 12, to 15, to 20 and is there a cap on that number in your mind? Is 100 a goal?
CAROL MANN: Well, 51 percent of the population is female. So I won't be satisfied until it's that. Okay. On the other hand, I think that golf needs to accept the fact that women are not always going to play golf for the same reasons that men do. I think there's more diversity in the reasons that women play golf. And I think that we need to accept, recognize, and respect and value all of those reasons. The diversity reasons that women play.
I do that at my club every year when I go to the annual meeting of the women's golf association, nine and 18 holers. I remind them to respect the reasons that they're all there. Respect the reasons.
Like not everybody, not every woman wants to compete. Not every woman wants to advance in the game. She just wants to play, you know. And so there's all this variety of reasons. And I just think we need to continue to respect them and nurture those reasons and value them. And also help them get a little better if they want to get better. Because I have women tell me they would play more if they played better. How we going to get them to play better?
Instruction, clinics, access, quality, quality instruction. That's the best I can tell you. And I think we need more women professionals to do some of that work too. Nothing against men professionals, it's just that I think a lot of women would like to learn, especially in the early stages, from a little more, a less challenged environment. I don't know if that answered your question.
KELLY ELBIN: Carol Mann, thank you. Congratulations. Brian, any closing thoughts?
BRIAN WHITCOMB: Just that we have got this wonderful celebration this evening and I hope that any of you that have this opportunity come down and not only through video, but through Carol's own words I think you'll get to know what drives somebody as inspirational and as motivated as Carol Mann. So I would invite you all, come on down there and we'll get a wonderful evening if you do.
KELLY ELBIN: For any media interested in attending the ceremony tonight, please touch base with Una Jones here in the media center.

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