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April 23, 2010

John Paramor


STEVE TODD: If I could just introduce John Paramor, who is the Chief Referee and Tournament Director this week.
John, we have reduced to 54 holes, three rounds. If you could -- we obviously know all about the fog delays yesterday. If you would just take us through why the decision was made and how you arrived at that decision.
JOHN PARAMOR: Yes, certainly. As you probably understood, yesterday we had a rather long fog delay, or a series of them, which meant that we were approximately six hours and 40 minutes late. We had lost six hours and 40 minutes. At that stage, I was still confident that if we could get a certain amount of play done last night, we had a chance of finishing 72 holes on Sunday. That was kind of based on us getting play until about 7.15 and I wasn't sure what time we could play until, and as it turned out, it was about 6.40 to 6.45 last night that we had to stop. So suddenly I realised, well, that window has gone.
So I spoke with the promoters, I said, look, we have a problem here. It is unlikely that we can get 72 holes done by the time we want to finish on Sunday. So I gave them some options. And I said that really we are going to have to consider going to 54 holes.
And that is really how the decision came about.
STEVE TODD: Thank you, John, for explaining that.

Q. I think when you carry out these golf tournaments, inevitably there will be a lot of disruptions and so forth, and I think in the latter part of the tournament they usually make these type of decisions to reduce the tournaments, but I think today is being proceeded rather smoothly and the weather early on was great so I think it was a bit early onto make these decisions?
JOHN PARAMOR: That's a good point. Certainly it's always my intention to give as much notice as I possibly can to players so they can plan accordingly.
Sometimes by giving a player only one round notice that the tournament is curtailed or it's one round less is sometimes not enough. He may be playing cautiously, may be playing safe. This allows him to at least make his own mind up whether he wants to attack or play safe.
So giving advance notice I've always felt is quite important. I agree with you in terms of, yes, it was an early decision. It was kind of -- when we started, as I say, when we restarted yesterday afternoon, there was just a glimmer of hope we could get 72 holes in. But as I say that was based on the fact that we had to play after 7.00, and as soon as that happened, I thought, well, that's our window of opportunity gone.
So that was really -- it was -- I was trying to be very optimistic yesterday afternoon when we started, and I said, yeah, you know, we've got a good chance to get 72 holes done. In fact, we needed some things to go for us and that didn't happen. We did not have enough light yesterday evening. And that was really when I made up in my own mind that we were not going to get 72 holes by the end of Sunday.

Q. So basically your decision to reduce the game to 54 holes is you felt after finishing off the rounds from yesterday and continuing on with the third round, you felt that this was impossible for us to complete the 72 holes. And another question that I have is, according to the Ballantine's explanation, Ballantine's Championship is one of the major tournaments of The European Tour, and so I would like to know, were there any cases in Europe where you finished the first round and you decided to reduce the tournament to three rounds or do you usually just extend the tournament scheduled to play?
JOHN PARAMOR: It's a very good question, and it really depends as to whether it's practicable, that is the word that we use in our Member's Handbook. We will continue to a fifth day if it is practicable. In this case, we realized that it was not practicable. I think if situations had been different, certainly the sponsor has no wish to extend to Monday and felt that he did not want that to be a consideration at all.
Certainly to be quite honest, in this current situation that we have in terms of air flights and Europe, particularly, with the ash cloud, any player who misses his flight will probably face an additional week or two weeks before he can return to Europe. That was not all of the main reason but that certainly contributed to the fact that Monday was not considered as a run eye on day.

Q. Were there other tournaments where you made the decision on the morning of the second round to reduce to 54 holes, were there any examples of this?
JOHN PARAMOR: Very good question, I can't honestly remember if that has happened.
I can't honestly remember making that before. It may have happened, but I can't honestly remember.

Q. So the Ballantine's Championship is being co-organised by the Korean tour, the Asian Tour and The European Tour, and I would like to know if the decision to reduce to 54 holes was an agreed decision of the three parties.
JOHN PARAMOR: All three parties were consulted and after that, the pro mow tore and the sponsor, so it was kind of a process, and everybody was behind the final decision that we came to.
And in relation to the last question, I think we had once when we lost I think a day and a half to start off with and we knew that we were not going to complete and we were not going to go into Monday and I think we announced at that stage it was going to be a three-round tournament. There's only one I can vaguely but don't ask me which one it was because I really can't remember.

Q. So I'm sure that there are many reasons why you decided to reduce the tournament; was next week's Spain Open part of your considerations and one of the reasons why you decided to reduce?
JOHN PARAMOR: As I say it was a combination of many different things and that was one of them, yes, about getting players back home; that was a consideration. As I mentioned before, the fact that the sponsor also did not have a wish to go to Monday; the fact that we couldn't finish at a timely period on the Sunday by playing 72 holes, they all contributed to that particular decision.

Q. So usually when the tournament is reduced to 54 holes, the tournament prize money is also reduced, so I would like to ask if you are going to do that, and if so, who will make the decision? Will that decision be made on your part or will the sponsors make it?
JOHN PARAMOR: No, it is by negotiation between the Tour and the sponsor, and there will be no reduction in the prize fund.
Just finally, I'll also explain something else that you may be thinking about, and that is why have the morning starters from yesterday not been required to come here today. We do have some commitments that we have to make, some with television, and we have decided to hold those players who were due to be following on the morning starters from yesterday; we have decided to hold them until 9:30 tomorrow. That was probably the most contentious part of the decision, but we felt that it was an important one for the Ballantine's Championship, considering the disruption that we have had over these first couple of days.
So that is why they are not following on, and the unfortunate thing is, and the reason that I feel a little bit sad is the fact that today the wind has decided to blow fairly strongly, so it looks as if the players who have played today, the majority of their golf, will have been at a slight disadvantage to the players who -- well, we don't know what the weather is going to be like tomorrow but it's forecast to be slightly less wind. It looks as if they will have had a bit of an advantage.
That's the only bad thing about having to make these calls. Sometimes it seems to be very unfair for some players, but unfortunately, we don't have any control over Mother Nature, and you know, it's all I can do is feel sympathy for the guys who are playing out there today and hopefully tomorrow will be a very similar sort of condition for the players who are yet to finish their second round.
STEVE TODD: I think that pretty much cleared it all up. Thank you for joining us, John.

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