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June 19, 2009

David Fay


DAVID FAY: Good afternoon.
As they say, upon further review, we continue to look at the situation involving Thursday ticket purchases, and how we are going to treat them.
Let's go to what we would like to ideally see here at Bethpage. We would like to ideally see the 72 holes completed on Sunday night. That's the idea. I think that's an agreement among all of us, so when you start with that thinking, that's the ideal, and we will consider -- we developed a plan as to what we are going to do for the Thursday purchase, we would say, if there's golf on Monday, you can come.
But ideally, we would hope that that would not happen, because we don't want to be here on Monday. So that brings you quickly to the question of, well, are we doing something that's fair to Thursday ticket purchasers, and we concluded that we had to introduce another element, and the element is this:
If golf is played on Monday, the Thursday ticket purchaser would be entitled to come on Monday.
If golf is played on Monday, Thursday ticket purchasers will be entitled to come on Monday.
If there's no golf on Monday, we will refund 50 percent of the ticket price to the Thursday purchaser. Now, this is not a let's-make-a-deal situation. If there's golf on Monday, there's only one option. The Thursday ticket purchaser can use that ticket to come here on Monday.
He doesn't have or she doesn't have the choice of saying, "I can't make it out here, I'm going to take the 50 percent." There's not an option.
Now, ideally we want to finish on Sunday night. But the forecast tomorrow again is unsettled. We don't know what the severity of the weather is. It sounds like we are going to get hit somewhat hard in the afternoon. We have a lot of golf still to play. We had no idea what the cut is going to be. It could be 16 ties, we could draw a break, there's a possibility it could finish on Sunday, or it could be like Oakland Hills in '96 and you could get over a hundred. Therefore, there's no chance of playing 36 holes on Sunday.
So we have further amended our policy and articulated it to include Saturday and Sunday. If there is less than -- if there is more than 90 minutes of golf, 90 minutes or more on Saturday, or Sunday, and golf is not finished, we have a delay somewhat similar to what we had yesterday, using Saturday as an example, the Saturday ticket holder would be entitled to come on Monday because then you know we are going to play golf on Monday, and same for Sunday, if we have 90 minutes or more of golf -- excuse me. I'm getting a little punchy.
90 minutes or more of golf played on Saturday and Sunday; 90 minutes or more -- we are going to use the U.S. Tennis figure -- you will have a full day of golf. We will not be honoring or giving Saturday or Sunday ticket holders rights to come on Monday.
Less than 90 minutes, the Saturday ticket holder would have the opportunity to come on Monday. Less than 90 minutes on Sunday, the ticket holder would have the opportunity to come on Monday. The Saturday ticket holder would not have the opportunity to come on Sunday because we are still in the situation where we have a sellout, and to add those ticket holders to the 42,500, plus all the others, which gets us up to 55,000, this place cannot accommodate that number.
So with the exception of that blip that I hope you give me a mulligan on it, I'll take any questions you may have.

Q. Can you talk about the decision and how you came to the decision to really offer the fans some kind of refund here?
DAVID FAY: Well, it was a series of discussions involving people within the USGA covering all of the elements of it; the operation. We cannot make a decision on what we are going to do without talking to those people who are interacting with the volunteers, the marshals, the scoring people, the transportation, the police, the firefighters. We certainly were having discussions with the State of New York. They are our partners in this. We had conversations with offices from the governor, attorney general, I'm sure there were others. I don't know the exact or how many there were.
When you make a decision like this, we are not alone. There are a lot of components that go into this and we had to get those buttoned down before we could get to the point of making this announcement.

Q. Not to bring in a total downer situation, but what applies to a Tuesday finish?
DAVID FAY: I'm sorry.

Q. What tickets might be good for beyond Monday?
DAVID FAY: Well, I'd like to believe that if we are playing golf on Tuesday, those holders of playoff tickets are the ones who are going to be using them.

Q. I guess first question is, why the 90-minute rule, and if it's because of the USTA and what they use, is this something you have not thought about in the past? And second, is this one of the issues where you would not normally have sold individual tickets, this would not have been a problem in the past?
DAVID FAY: Well, you could make that case. Although, for us, when we sell a season ticket package, it's not a package; it's the ticket. You as the purchaser can buy and give them to your friends. It's not a case of taking that one package and doing a transfer.
Oh, by the way, there is something else which I think does distinguish golf from perhaps other athletic events. You go to some Major League Baseball perhaps, you leave the stadium, you may not be able to come back in. I know that's the case in some college arenas for basketball. That's not the case here, because we have to allow people to leave and come back, because quite often, we are not suspending for an unplayable golf course; we are suspending for a dangerous situation where we wanted people to leave and if play is resumed we would want them to come back.
The number, 90 minutes, we could have picked a different number. One of the lessons that we learned and that we had a clearly-stated policy but the reality is that in order to make a policy that makes sense and that people can understand, you need to have a number, whether it be 90 minutes or 120 minutes, there needs to be a number, because it's not like a baseball game where, you know, after four-and-a-half innings, it's a game.
We have to come up with a definition of what constitutes a complete day, a full day, and that number I would say, no matter what we come up with, I would suspect there would probably be people who would argue with it.

Q. You started to answer this question this morning and you said you did not know the exact number; do you know now how many daily tickets you sold for Thursday?
DAVID FAY: I'm glad you asked that question. Surprising; 13,000 for Thursday, and I don't know Sunday. 11,000 for Saturday. That's rounding, rounding.

Q. I guess then what exposure do you have totally for the Thursday tickets?
DAVID FAY: Well, let's do the numbers. If you're talking about 50 percent, it would be about $2 million.

Q. That's not the 13, or is that all of them?
DAVID FAY: We are not making a distinction. That's all of them.

Q. You said you had talks with the Governor's office and the Attorney General's office.
DAVID FAY: Not personally.

Q. The USGA did?
DAVID FAY: The USGA has been in touch, yes.

Q. Were they pressuring you to make some refunds to these fans?
DAVID FAY: I would say that they were -- I can understand that, if I were a representative of the State of New York and this is my piece of property. They would be concerned that we have thought this thing through and we are acting in the best interests of the fans.
But I would say this at the end: This decision was wholly made by the United States Golf Association.

Q. Do you have a process in how that is going to occur, if it does occur?
DAVID FAY: I'm sorry?

Q. Do you have a process on how this will occur if it does occur?
DAVID FAY: The process in terms of the physical tickets.

Q. Do you have to accept them? Do you have an idea how it's going to work?
DAVID FAY: For the refund? Well, I would acknowledge that now I'm wandering into an area that I don't have the exact answer so it's always dangerous to speculate. I know that in earlier conversations with -- we were talking about, one, having the actual ticket come back. We have a record, I think. I don't think there were many cash transactions, but I don't know.
We will be receptive to approved ticket purchasers.

Q. So if you say that 2010 there is likely to be some printed material on these tickets that go forward with that 90 minute policy --
DAVID FAY: A number. A number, yeah.

Q. If Saturday goes bad and you get less than the 90 minutes, are those people entitled to a refund, or it's just they come Monday?
DAVID FAY: They would come Monday, because there will be golf on Monday then.
The refund kicks in when -- for the Thursday purchasers if there's no golf on Monday, because if there were no golf on Monday, there's nothing. There's no option for that. But it's not an either/or. They cannot decide, the day purchasers cannot say, you know, I can't make it out to Bethpage Black on Monday, I'll go for the 50; it doesn't work that way.

Q. I'm a little confused on the $2 million figure. If you have $100 tickets, is that what they are?
DAVID FAY: Well, there are $100 grounds tickets, and then you have this premium ticket for the Trophy Club, that's 150. I'm quite certain if you start doing the math in the absolute, the number, 42,500, that would come out to about two million.
Thank you.

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