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February 16, 2010

Greg Norman

Juan-Miguel Villar


JUAN MIGUEL VILLAR MIR: The Mayakoba Golf Classic is very proud of being associated with the PGA TOUR for now its fourth year.
Our association with the TOUR not only calls international attention to this amazing tourist destination, but also to the surrounding areas of Cancun and the Riviera Maya.
This event is broadcast in more than 200 countries and 450 million homes.
We're working hard to be one the best events on the PGA TOUR and we feel we have the golf course, services to do so.
For OHL this event provides us with an opportunity to market and publicize Mayakoba but it also gives us an opportunity to entertain and host our clients.
We're committed to charity through the Mayakoba Golf Classic and helping to build a strong base in the community. We feel that the Mayakoba Golf Classic has been a great corporate citizen here in Quintana Roo, and we'd like to thank everyone from the PGA TOUR, the department of Tourism, the resorts, Greg Norman, and Jim McLean for their support in making this event possible.

Q. (Through translation.) Question for Mr. Norman: What are your thoughts on golf in Mexico in general? Professional golf in Mexico, where are you on it and why do you think there aren't more Mexican can players on the professional tours?
GREG NORMAN: First of all, I think golf in Mexico is extremely strong. Number one, you can look at Esteban Toledo, and you can look at Lorena Ochoa of late. She's really ignited golf here. We've seen it from a business perspective. You've seen it from not only the hard goods, golf clubs, soft goods, clothing being sold in Mexico right now.
There's been a tremendous boom. Look what the OHL is doing here at Mayakoba. Golf is an extremely important diversity for Mexico right now. It's gonna take a period of time just, because, I mean, just look what we're doing through this event with golf for everyone. Golf for everyone, like Jimmy was saying, brought about a thousand people to his academy. You're promoting the game of golf in this one facility and you have a thousand. Just think about all the other facilities that are in Mexico that are gonna grow to this level year after year after year.
So you'll see it a generation from now, through Jimmy's (indiscernible) through his academy to the young kids now who are probably five, six, seven, eight years old. Ten years from now or however generation from now, that's when you're gonna have the champions coming out of Mexico on a more regular basis.
So Lorena Ochoa was the catalyst. Behind her, there will be many, many other great players, both female and male players, both professional and amateur golfers as well.

Q. (Through translation.) He's more asking about, you know, sponsor exemption into the event. There are two Mexicans that qualified yesterday. Why do you feel more sponsor's exemptions aren't given to local players?
GREG NORMAN: I think the sponsor's exemptions are just up -- totally up to us tournament directors, OHL. We try to balance it across the board. Yes, we try and be as neutral as we possibly can and promote the game of golf the best we can within the country with the indigenous players, no question.
How many requests would we get, Taylor? 40 to 50 requests to get a sponsor's exemption. So we have to be very balanced in our approach to do this. Yes, people have to qualify. There's no question. You have to qualify. Some of best rewards a player can get is when he does qualify.
Chris Smith, you probably don't know his history. This is his first tournament back since a tragic family tragedy of a year ago.
So you really try and balance it out the best we can. It's no slight against the Mexicans or the United States or whoever requested it. People from Spain and Europe are requesting exemptions. It really is tough. We have to be balanced with that.
JUAN MIGUEL VILLAR MIR: I entirely agree with Mr. Greg Norman. I think that the important thing is to be qualified, is to qualify. And then once we have all Mexican golfers qualified, more Mexican players will be coming here.
We can do sometimes one exception, two exception to invite one person or two person without being qualified. But that's only the exception. The important thing is to be qualified. But that will come. I entirely agree.
As you were commenting, as Mr. Norman said, with this facility, with this climate of PGA, with important (indiscernible) number one in the world. I think all that will be pushing. And no doubt, myself as chairman of OHL, we wish and we decide more and more Mexican players here. It's logical.
But they have to be because they are qualified players, because they are good players. But we are in Mexico. We want more Mexican players. But it depends of the Mexican players, not of us.

Q. (Through translation.) Greg, just some general comments on Esteban Toledo's game. Have you played with him and experienced what he can bring to the game?
GREG NORMAN: I have played with him many years ago. I haven't played with him of late. I don't go out there and play a lot golf now. I just saw him 15, 30 minutes ago driving down the golf course.
He was the first guy to come up to me and say, What a great event. Thank for having me back. He is a consummate professional. He's really a driver -- I actually met a young Mexican player playing with him that he thinks is gonna be the next really good player out of Mexico.
So for Esteban to be promoting the game of golf the way he does within the other players is a credit to him and a credit to Mexico.

Q. (Through translation.) Jim, first of all, maybe your top three goals for the schools here? You have experience with schools around the world and around the country. What are you gonna apply from lessons you've learned at those schools here at Mayakoba?
JIM McCLEAN: The goals here, as Greg said, you have to start somewhere. This is the first school in Mexico, really in the country. So number one is hiring great or top professionals to instruct and know what they're doing. They're on the same page as all of our other schools.
We specialize really in teaching juniors and average golfers. We also teach -- you know, still work with top tour players, but mostly, we're trying to provide a service for the area, for the Cancun-Playa area.
We have also the support of OHL to do some things for the local junior children in the area. Hope that answers the question.

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