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July 10, 2009

Clair Peterson


CLAIR PETERSON: Well, I know that Arvin Ginn was just interviewed on The Golf Channel, and he's really the one making the decisions on the contest and what's going to happen here from here on.
The plan -- you can see the blue sky out there they've been watching all day, and as soon as this system passed, it's totally clear behind it, so even through the weekend no one expects another interruption, which is good.
The plan is to start play at 4:00. The range is already open. They'll play as much golf as they can today, see where they are, make a decision on Saturday on what they want to do then, and finish at 5:00 o'clock on Sunday. A lot of different scenarios to get there. It's really not my decision at this point; it's the PGA tournament director Arvin Ginn's decision.
We have made some decisions ourselves as far as patrons and trying to be fair to everyone who came out today, which I was really amazed as I drove around and saw how many fans are out here. It was pretty heroic, I thought.
Anyone that has a ticket that's been torn off, if it's an any day ticket, will be able to come back Saturday or Sunday. There's no way for us to know if they were torn off today or torn off yesterday, but we just feel like we want to be fair to everyone that was out here today, and if someone that was here yesterday wants to come out for an extra day, we'd love to have them back.
We have hospitality clients that had little or no activity today. We do have some spaces that weren't sold on Saturday and Sunday in the double decker skyboxes and in the 15th hole chalet that we're offering to them. We're going to pay for the food and just make sure that they can keep their customers happy.
The great thing is that really it sets up to be just like yesterday was. I mean, Wednesday was about as depressing as today has been. But Thursday was beautiful. The golf course was full of people, and that's what we would expect Saturday and Sunday. It's going to be a really exciting finish, and we expect a lot of people out here.

Q. Are you taking some financial hits? How bad is this going to hurt you?
CLAIR PETERSON: We had a really good day yesterday. With our financials we're right at the same place we were last year after Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, even this year having almost nothing going on Wednesday from a revenue standpoint.
Like I say, I think it sets up for a big weekend. We fully expect to have a lot of people out here, and you're going to have all 156 players here for a while, too. They're not necessarily some of them leaving after today because not everyone can complete play until Saturday. I can't predict what's going to happen by the time the tournament week is over, but we feel like we're in a good place financially to still do fine.

Q. What does it cost for you to supply the food for the skyboxes?
CLAIR PETERSON: Yeah, it's a bit of our -- our total food cost for all the Wednesday pro-am players as an example is somewhere around $10,000. So that's probably 400 people. We may be in the same ballpark for the hospitality guests for Saturday and Sunday. But if we have to spend $10,000, $15,000, $20,000, it's still worth it. These are customers, clients that have been here for many years in some cases, some of them are new customers. And when it comes time to ask if they want to renew next year, hopefully it makes some difference and they know that we're trying to do the best we can in a situation where there's no guarantees ever on the weather.

Q. Have you and Arvin talked about the rules, whether they'll be playing lift, clean and place, and can the golf course sustain any more water?
CLAIR PETERSON: The good news is there isn't supposed to be any more water. The golf course drains really well. They've done a lot of work on it in the last few years, most importantly to the bunkers. An episode like this a couple years ago would have closed the course today for sure and put them in a tougher spot.
But it does -- I mean, we had Paul Grogan in every one of the meetings that Arvin was talking about all the scenarios, and Paul assured them they're going to spend two hours out there between now and the start of the 4:00 tee times, and in every meeting he said, "We can do it."
It probably will be lift, clean and place, though. That has been brought up. I can't say that for sure because it's Arvin's call, but it was discussed, I know that.

Q. As you mentioned the Sunday finish, how does that factor in -- are you talking about a 54-hole tournament to make sure it's done on Sunday, and how does that affect travel plans to the British?
CLAIR PETERSON: Yeah, 54-hole has never been brought up I don't think. I think the PGA TOUR is pretty consistent and pretty much on record as saying they do everything they can to get a 72-hole event in. The jet has never been brought up as a criteria at all. They're just trying to get the event finished.
Again, with a summer event, it's light until 8:30, 8:45, a lot of hours to play golf, and really with the weather forecast the way it looks at a golf course that should be playable by this afternoon, there are no real concerns about getting done by 5:00 o'clock on Sunday. It will be a different scenario than if you were to play under normal conditions and have 156 players on Thursday, Friday, then cut it down and No. 1 tee times from there on.
But they're going to get done -- since you brought up the plane, that's the beauty of having a charter. There is no flight to miss. We last year had planned to leave at 8:00 and we left at 9:00 because we had a one-hour playoff. We have contingencies quite honestly to go at any time, even if -- and we don't expect this, but even if it were to go into Monday. But nobody expects that to happen. But we've thought about that as a possibility. Sometimes you do have a Monday finish, and the plane is ready to arrive Saturday and be ready to go whenever the tournament is over.

Q. If it weren't able to get done by 5:00 o'clock on Sunday would the plans for the plane change?
CLAIR PETERSON: The plane has never come up in any discussions by the PGA TOUR. They don't really consider that when they're making all these decisions. But I'll say it again; it's another way that it helps us. If we do finish two hours later on Sunday than we would have otherwise and we didn't have the plane, there's chances for players to miss their connections, miss their flights and really be in a tougher position trying to get over to the British than the way we're suggesting.
Like I say, we were delayed an hour last year. No worries. We just took off at 9:00 instead of 8:00.

Q. If you go two hours over what are the chances of getting cut off by TV?
CLAIR PETERSON: Usually, and this is the case last year, they stick with you for an hour after, then they go into pretty major programming. 60 Minutes I think starts then. I can't speak for what CBS would do or not do, but they stuck with us for I think 55 minutes last year after the 5:00 o'clock scheduled finish.

Q. I'm guessing the VIP parking is closed. Are there parking or shuttling issues?
CLAIR PETERSON: VIP is not closed, VIP preferred across the street. We've worked really hard for five years to get all our parking lots to hard surface, and that's the only lot that isn't hard surface, and it obviously is closed. We have been sending people since Wednesday just down to the Rock Island County Fairgrounds, and we have the capacity there to handle both the VIP and the VIP preferred. We're in good shape. Every time someone asks us, why don't you open up the parking lots down in the bottom of the property, this is the scenario why we don't open them. Hard surface is better.

Q. (Inaudible.)
CLAIR PETERSON: I think Saturday and Sunday are going to be off the charts. I can't sit here and be depressed. It's an uncontrollable part of putting on an event that lasts a week outdoors in the summer, and I think the TOUR has done a tremendous job making all the right decisions. They made all the right decisions on Wednesday.
I've been in pretty much every one of their meetings today, and they've made all the right decisions today. Their weather people are absolutely right on and predicted that by 2:00 things were going to clear.
We're going to have -- people kind of forget by the time Sunday rolls around and the place is full, and it's a close finish, that we had any hiccups early in the week.
Today is not the end of the contest at all, and I think it's going to be tremendous by the time the weekend is over. It may set us up for bigger crowds, more excitement and even more fun over the weekend.

Q. Any idea how many people you saw out there on the golf course today?
CLAIR PETERSON: No, it was just all anecdotal, my driving around with my eyes squinting in a golf cart. But there were a lot of people. More than 100.

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