home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


August 4, 2009

Joe Barrow

Anthony Kim

Brooke Morgan


LAURA NEAL: Welcome, everyone. Thank you for joining us. In addition to our standard pre-tournament press conference today with Anthony Kim, we're pleased to make an exciting announcement involving Anthony and the First Tee. We're very happy to make that announcement here at the Bridgestone Invitational. This event has a strong connection to the First Tee as the Northern Ohio Golf Charities have long supported the First Tee of Akron, Cleveland and Canton.
I'd like to take a moment to acknowledge Paul Brady, President of the Executive Committee, Northern Ohio Golf Charities, as well as Jim Eckelberry, who is here with us today.
I'd like to thank Bridgestone for their support of the tournament, but also for funding the national school program for the First Tee here locally.
At this time it's my pleasure to introduce Mr. Joe Louis Barrow, who is the CEO of the First Tee.
JOE BARROW: Thank you, very much. I'm delighted to be here today and make this very special and exciting announcement for the First Tee. For many years, as you may know, we've had PGA and LPGA touring professionals involved with our chapters all across the country, some 207 chapters in 49 States in 700 locations where we offer our life skills experience. But we've always wanted to be able to involve young players who can really relate to the young people, engage the young people and share with them some of the stories that they've had as young players.
We've created something that we call the Young Ambassadors Council. We're excited to announce that, and I'm more excited to announce that Anthony Kim is going to co-chair the Young Ambassadors Council for the First Tee. We're pleased to have you in that capacity, Anthony, and I know that you are engaged with the First Tee participants in Dallas, and I know you'll share some of those stories with us.
The real key is, and what's so important about the First Tee and our success to date, is the way that we relate to our participants and mentor our participants. As we see more and more of our young people seeking to play high school golf and college golf, and I'm sure some of them aspire to play on the PGA and the LPGA Tour, it's a delight to be able to have an association with a player like Anthony who can relate to them, some of the challenges that they're going to face as they start that road and be able to share with them some of the challenges that he has faced and certainly overcome.
The Young Ambassadors Council will meet with our participants minimally four times a year, depending on our schedules. They will include clinics at some of our chapters, they will be linked with some of the PGA TOUR events, and we're just going to determine how best to engage them with our participants all across the country throughout the entire year, and we're excited about that.
The First Tee obviously is very pleased to be here at Bridgestone. In fact, it was in 2000 when I just joined the First Tee that I was in this room, and we announced that we had exceeded 100-some-odd facilities, which was our phase 1 objective, and I think we announced we had 138. So I'm delighted to be back in this room to announce that Anthony Kim is going to be very much associated with the First Tee.
As you think about us, think about us as a youth development program, we're reaching young people throughout this country, some 2.9 million young people through 2008 in some 700 locations, as I indicated, and 2,800 elementary schools are implementing the First Tee National School Program around the country, as well.
Anthony, welcome to the First Tee. We're excited, and perhaps you can say a few words.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I'm very excited to be associated with the First Tee, and I want to thank you for letting me be a part of it. Since I've been on TOUR I've been looking for a cause that actually is close to my heart, and I didn't know what it was. I have a love for animals, I have a love for kids, and I didn't know what charity I wanted to be a part of. If I could be of help in any of those places, I wanted to.
I feel very fortunate I have now been involved with the First Tee, and I'm going to have more opportunities to meet some of the kids and help some of the kids that need maybe a little bit of a push or some guidance, because I know when I was that age, I needed it, and I had some great people help me.
Unfortunately, the First Tee wasn't around when I was nine, ten years old, but I sure wish it was. I've been able to meet quite a few of the kids that are part of the program, and I'll tell you what, they're -- they talk to you like adults, they know exactly what they want, they're goal oriented, and I think that's what you need to be successful in life and on the PGA TOUR.
I'm very excited to be a part of it, and I'm looking forward to the future.
LAURA NEAL: One of those young adults actually is on stage with us today. We have a couple local First Tee participants in the audience, as well, but Ms. Brooke Morgan was nominated to make a couple comments. Brooke, if you'd want to share how the First Tee has impacted your life and how Anthony's connection is going to make this program more special.
BROOKE MORGAN: Well, First Tee helps a lot of my golf game. I'm trying my hardest to make it on the Firestone High School team, and it's given me a lot of tips so far. Just helping me with my game.
I know the coaches, they help me a lot. Coaches make it a lot easier. Mr. Alexander, Mr. Parker, they help a lot, and I know I would not be able to make the team or have any skill with my game if it wasn't for the First Tee.
LAURA NEAL: We'll open it up for some questions.

Q. Joe, over the years of the First Tee, is there an all-time success story that needs to be told?
JOE BARROW: Well, I think there are a lot of all-time success stories. One of the great things that I have is an e-mail address, and oftentimes I get parents e-mailing me stories of how their young person is doing something now because of the First Tee versus others.
We have a young man from Chicago named Adam Adams who was having a very tough time in the south side of Chicago and didn't know whether he would get out of high school, but right now he's a second-year student in the University of Illinois in mechanical engineering, and his goal is to, without question, change the functions of the internal combustion engine. He wants to be able to use less fuel, different fuel or no fuel at all. What a great tribute to the First Tee if a young man from the south side of Chicago who didn't have much of a future, went to college and changed the internal combustion engine and we are all driving in a much more efficient way. Of course, I get the $64,000 question all the time is when are we going to next have a participant on the PGA or the LPGA Tour, and my answer is one day we will. When you reach 2.9 million young people, you're really also focused on what those young people can do and how they can have an impact in our society, and that's what we're seeing over and over again.
We did a study and one study said 76 percent of the parents saw an increased level of confidence in their young people because of their involvement in the First Tee. 52 percent saw an increase in their grades because of their involvement with the First Tee. So there are lots of stories about the First Tee from city to city.
We're excited to be in Ohio because we have nine chapters in Ohio, and this is our largest state in the Midwest. But we have chapters all across the country having a meaningful impact and lasting impact on our young participants.

Q. Anthony, what kind of day do you think you'll -- have you thought about what kind day it will be like when you first do this as an ambassador, when go and set up a clinic? What will there be besides the clinic?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, before we both signed up to do this, because it wasn't just me that wanted to do it, I wanted to see what it was like when it was run every day, and so I went to the Dallas chapter and got to hang out with the kids for a little bit of time.
I saw that me being there and being able to say a couple words to -- and you can't talk to everybody, but I tried my best to talk to all of the little kids, just let them know that they have the same opportunity I did when I was younger. And they have the same goals. There's no reason not to be able to have a chance to reach any goal you have.
The great thing about the First Tee is it's not just about golf. It's not just about succeeding in golf, but learning life goals, learning how to work through problems and learning how to ask questions when you don't know the answer.
So once I got to spend time with the kids and saw the people that were associated with it, it was a lay-down for me. I wanted to be a part of it and feel very blessed to be able to do that.
JOE BARROW: I was just with one of the coaches, Chuck Walker, at the First Tee of Dallas last week, and he was still commenting on the impact that you had on the young people and how pleased they were to spend time with you and how you seemed to have a meaningful impact and really related to what they were saying and some of the challenges that they faced. It's already happening. We're pleased that you're going to be able to continue that throughout the year and for many years.
LAURA NEAL: Anthony is going to be on the first tee at about 3:45 with the First Tee participants today and he's going to do a Q & A and interact a little bit with the kids to get this kicked off.
You're welcome to ask questions about the Bridgestone Invitational or to Anthony directly and not just about this announcement, if you have questions for Anthony.

Q. Your game is rounding into shape, a lot of good finishes lately. Is that just a matter of being healthy and the thumb being okay and kind of everything kicking in?
ANTHONY KIM: I'm definitely starting to play a little bit better. I'm getting my confidence back. It's probably from hanging out at the First Tee. (Laughter).
You know, my swagger is back. I'm firing at a couple less pins, which is helping my score, firing away from the water, which is always good. I'm starting to find that rhythm again.
Now, this week -- I took some time off last week because I felt a little bit burned out, but I'm back. My coach is here, my trainer is here, my caddie is here, and we're working on the right things. It's a good start to hopefully a great finish here.

Q. Next month is Arnie's birthday, 80th birthday. Can you remember the first time you met him, what that meant to you, and what has he meant to the game?
ANTHONY KIM: Well, I can't tell you exactly what he's meant to the game. I know he was a great ambassador for the game. People wanted to watch him walk down the fairways, even though maybe he wasn't winning maybe as many tournaments as Jack, he brought the crowd into it. That's all I've heard. I haven't watched many videos and all that and don't know the history of golf that well, but I was lucky enough to meet him at actually it was his restaurant. I have a house in Palm Springs and was spending some time there, was eating dinner, and I figured why not, this is a great opportunity to meet a man who's done so many wonderful things for this game.
I didn't know what I was going to feel, but he made me feel special, and that's what I heard. When he talks to you, he makes you feel very special. I've actually spoken with him quite a few times after that, and he's such a wonderful man.

Q. Did you play today?
ANTHONY KIM: I played nine holes.

Q. Is the course soft out there, and if it remains soft, because we're supposed to get some overnight rains, what will that do to the golf course?
ANTHONY KIM: I have no idea. Last year I struggled out here, so I don't really -- I have a short memory when I play bad. So I don't really remember what the course played like last year or what I even shot.
I know that it's a long golf course, and if the wind blows, even though the greens are soft, they're rolling them to where you can hit putts off the green. I hit a chip shot that stopped on the top of hole No. 2 and started rolling back and went 30 yards off the green, so the ball probably rolled 50 yards. It doesn't matter how soft this course is. They can set some pins out here where it's almost impossible to get to. I'm going to have to play a little bit smarter than I'm used to doing.

Q. You're part of a group of several players 25 and under who are in the field. Just talk about what it's like coming here as a young player. I know you do it week in and week out, but maybe some of the younger guys don't, just coming to an event like this where you have 80 of the top players in the world and what it's like playing against them.
ANTHONY KIM: Well, when I first got on TOUR, my goal was to get in all the majors, and to me the World Golf Championships are majors because they do involve the top 50 players in the world.
Now, I never thought I'd say this, but at 24 I do feel a little bit older than a lot of the guys I'm playing with, and that's a real weird feeling because Danny is a good friend of mine, and he's 18 or 19 years old. Maybe he's 14, I don't know. (Laughter). But he's young.
Rory is 19 or 20. I've played in quite a few tournaments as a professional, so it doesn't feel any different than another event for me. I'm here to take care of business and try to learn a little something about myself along the way and build more and more confidence for the rest of the year in this final push.

Q. Danny was in here earlier talking about how all these people are giving him advice and he's having a hard time knowing who to listen to and who not and all that. He seemed a little bit overwhelmed with all the media and all the stuff he has to do. Are you trying to help or stay out of his way or what?
ANTHONY KIM: I'll tell you, it's hard when you're as good as he is and to be a more private person. Danny is an awesome, awesome kid, but he's more on the shier side. I came out here and wanted to talk to anybody. Even people that didn't want to talk to me, I talked to. Danny is just a little bit more shy, and I think he's just getting used to the limelight. Granted, he won the U.S. Amateur and won the Johnnie Walker. I don't think he was used to the scrutiny that he's getting over here.
For him, I don't think that he has to listen to as many people, and I've shared that with him. He tells me this person said this, this person said that. I said, "You're here for a reason. You're good enough. You've won tournaments because of what you do. You don't have to do anything different now that you're out here."
What I've learned is don't fire at as many pins. You're going to learn those as you go along. Just stick with your game, and he should be fine. Obviously he's starting to play a little bit better, which is very good to see.
LAURA NEAL: Thanks, all of you, for joining us.

End of FastScripts

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297