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May 26, 2010
JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, everyone, I'm the PGA of America's July just Mason and I would like it that can those of you on-site at Colorado Golf Club and those of you watching live via web cast for joining us at you're our Senior PGA Championship news conference. We have some guests in the audience that I would like to introduce now if you don't mind first beginning with the president of the PGA of America, Mr. Jim Remy. The Vice President of the PGA of America, Mr. Allen Wronowski, Secretary of the PGA of America, Ted Bishop. PGA of America Honorary President, Brian Whitcomb.
And now ladies and gentlemen please welcome, from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the CEO and honorary member of the PGA of America, Mr. Joe Steranka.
JOE STERANKA: Thank you, Julius. Today marks a historic day in the history of the Senior PGA Championship and the PGA of America for that matter.
There aren't too many things in this nation of ours now that have 71 years of tradition and that's a big reason we're so proud of the Senior PGA Championship and its role in professional golf and the stature of well let's is start with the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy itself, which is one of the biggest trophies in all of professional sports, but an origin that goes back to Augusta National, that hosted the first two U.S. Senior Opens. And continues here at the Colorado Golf Club.
As Tom and I were talking about last night at dinner, the PGA of America has stepped out and chosen some new sites through the years. Valhalla Golf Club being one of those; Whistling Straits, where we'll have the PGA Championship this year. So while we are always going to have a mix of great traditional sites, we have an opportunity to identify a next generation of Major sites.
Part of identifying the next group of Major Championship sites is the reason that we're gathered here today. Starting in 2011 the Senior PGA Championship will be in name presented by KitchenAid, one of the premium brands in the Whirlpool organization and that is a multi-year agreement that begins in 2011.
This marks KitchenAid's -- and you'll hear from Deborah O'Connor in a moment -- first Major sponsorship in golf. Deborah and KitchenAid have been involved in some events, but this is a big step up and again, a great statement about the sport of golf, the industry of golf, and the opportunities to build brands and sell products.
2011 we're going to head to Valhalla Golf Club. As I mentioned that course earlier, a return for the Senior PGA Championship. And we'll be able to introduce the first year of the sponsorship of KitchenAid and Whirlpool.
And the second part of our news announcement today is to say that in 2012 and in 2014, we're going to contest the Senior PGA Championship at the The Golf Club at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor Michigan, just down the road from Whirlpool. And you'll hear more.
There was a recent article USA Today about The Golf Club at Harbor Shores. To many of you talking to the PGA recently about We Are Golf and going to Washington, D.C. and promoting the economic impact of job creation, the human impact of charity, and the environmental impact.
Those three messages about just how good our sport is are capsulized at the The Golf Club at Harbor Shores at Harbor Shores. It's going to be a great platform for a Major Championship, but also a great platform for our sport and our industry to share that message.
So with that, I'm going to turn it back to Julius and you're going to hear from a few other folks who are just as excited as the PGA of America is, but to Jeff, to Deborah, and to Tom very much appreciate you being here, welcome to the PGA family, to Whirlpool and KitchenAid.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Joe. And ladies and gentlemen let get right to it, please. We welcome Deborah O'Connor, the Senior Manager of Brand Experience for KitchenAid. Deborah.
DEBORAH O'CONNOR: Thank you, Julius. We are thrilled to be the sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship and be named the Official Home Appliance Brand of the PGA of America.
And you're probably saying, why KitchenAid? How do appliances and golf go together. Well, we see the partnership happening in many ways. Certainly having the tournament in our backyard for two of the four years is a huge boost to our community and in fact our entire corporation.
At KitchenAid we see this as two iconic American brands. So you have KitchenAid and the Senior PGA Championship. And KitchenAid has a loyal fan base among professionals and home cooks alike. That's why chefs choose KitchenAid for their kitchen more than any other brand. When it comes to golf and golfers, the Senior PGA Championship players hold that very same position, iconic, trusted and admired by pros and amateurs alike.
In addition, we know that golf creates a lot of relationships and friendships are formed. So we think that we can take that opportunity with our trade customers.
And then lastly, the demographics align. That's probably the most obvious one. And then also regarding the designation of Official Home Appliance Brand of the PGA of America, there's 26,000 members of the PGA of America, so that's a lot of opportunity for KitchenAid and especially when you add in friends and family and all their associates.
So we're real excited about this whole sponsorship. The PGA of America and legendary golfers competing in this championship set a very high bar in terms of performance, admiration, and respect. And we're proud to be in the same company and proud to up hold so many of the same values.
JULIUS MASON: Deborah, thank you very much. And let's go and meet right away Jeff Noel, Whirlpool Corporate Vice President of Communications and Public Relations. Jeff.
JEFF NOEL: Thanks, Julius. The Senior PGA Championship and Whirlpool Corporation and KitchenAid brand have a long history of doing thinks the right way and doing things for communities. And really I think this is a grand opportunity for us to showcase just how important it is that the game of golf, the leadership of golf, business, and communities to come together to bring about lasting structural change which really does change lives. And you're going to see that taking place in Benton Harbor, Michigan.
We have been very pleased to have the vision and leadership of Jack Nicklaus helping drive that change in our headquarter community of Benton Harbor, Michigan.
In fact, he's helped to take a 500 acre piece of ground that used to be a manufacturing facility and with it creating a vision of removing three million square feet of that manufacturing space and creating the Jack Nicklaus Signature Harbor Shores Golf Course. Which is absolutely fantastic.
So we know that by using that type of a golf course and really being a part of the community, we can bring about change. As an example, the employees in the golf course tend to be the Boys and Girls Club and First Tee members. Employment will be given to those in the community of need, because Benton Harbor definitely is a community in need. And most importantly this golf course, located on the shores of Lake Michigan, will direct all of the profits from its 800 unit development back into the community for arts, education, job training, and community transformation.
Most importantly, on August 10, Harbor Shores will hold its grand opening. And that's going to be an outstanding event because it's going to be a skins-type game. We're going to have a town hall meeting and going to have discussions in which why should sport be at the helm of giving back to communities. And as our local newspaper wrote when they heard about who was coming, they said and I quote, "The golf gods are coming to Benton Harbor Michigan."
And let me tell you, they are Jack Nicklaus, Tom Watson, Arnold Palmer, and Johnny Miller. And we're thrilled that in 2012 and 2014 the Senior PGA Championship will be played at The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, which is really, we think, an opportunity to bring light to all that is good about golf and all that is good about the people that play it and all that you can do to bring about lasting change in the community. And that is indeed the vision of the Harbor Shores development.
So on behalf of Whirlpool Corporation, I want to express my sincere thanks to first the PGA of America for allowing us to do this partnership, and we're going to have great time working together; but also Tom Watson, because you have a great vision for what golf should be all about; and to Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer, and Johnny Miller and basically for all the fans who love golf, for realizing that we do have a responsibility to do things the right way.
JULIUS MASON: Wonderful. Thank you very much, Jeff. And speaking of Jack Nicklaus, for a closer look at the The Golf Club at Harbor Shores, let's hear from Hall of Famer, 18 time Major champion, and the 1991 Senior PGA Champion, Jack Nicklaus on the monitor.
JULIUS MASON: Speaking of golfing gods, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the Hall of Famer, the 1993 Ryder Cup Captain, and 2001 PGA Champion, Mr. Tom Watson.
TOM WATSON: You used that very loosely. Very, very loosely.
Thank you, Julius. Thanks to Whirlpool and KitchenAid and the PGA of America for what they're doing here. I talked with Jack about this event on August 10th at Harbor Shores. Jack said it's something very special for the community. And we have talked to Jeff last night and Joe Steranka about where our game of golf is right now.
Our game of golf right now needs mentoring. We need to get people out on the golf course, whether they're young people or older people, doesn't matter, but we need golfers to take non-golfers, take them out on the golf course and get them started in the game.
And, oh, by the way, it also helps that if you have a young person or old person relationship, that maybe a little bit of that experience and wisdom will rub off on the young people. This is what is related to, as I related to Joe and Jeff last night, and Deborah, Tom Cousins did this very same thing to East Lake down in Atlanta. He took that golf course and he included the community in there and made the community a part of the whole facility.
And this is what Harbor Shores is going to be doing up in Benton Harbor and Saint Joseph Townships. And I'm looking very much to being up there in August playing the game with my buddy Jack, seeing how Arnold's going to play. Arnold was at the Masters dinner and I said, "Arnold, how are you playing?" And he said, "Oh, Tommy, I can't play worth a you know what anymore." And I said, "Yeah, but how much are you playing?" He said, "Oh I play a little bit." But anyway, and that and Johnny Miller -- and Johnny always has something to say, for sure.
But again, I'm very happy to be a part of that coming up this summer and looking forward to it in two years in 2012 and four years if I'm still alive and kicking and playing it again as somebody very long in the tooth at age 64. But again, thank you very much Whirlpool and we really appreciate your taking a chance on the PGA of America and the Champions Tour.
We have a lot to offer you. We have, we give a heck of a lot back to our sponsors and that's one of the things that I learned in the 10 years out here, that our sponsors get their bang for the buck out here. And they have a good time doing it and it's good for their customers, their potential customers, and of course they themselves. So thank you again.
JULIUS MASON: Captain, you're an amazing human being, thank you again for all you do for the game of golf. Ladies and gentlemen, we're going to open it up for questions. We'll go ahead and get you a microphone.
Q. Joe, this question is for you. This relationship kind of bucks conventional wisdom that we have been hearing here for the last couple of years that sports leagues in general were having a hard time finding or even keeping and maintaining relationships, much less going out and getting new ones. What was the challenge involved in that and again just kind of repeat how this plays into or why for our KitchenAid presenters, why the PGA and not any one number of other leagues, including golf, in directions you could have gone.
JOE STERANKA: I'll start and then ask Deborah to pick up on that, but the last two years, while they have been two of the most challenging years in American business saw the customer visits to golf that we measure by rounds played dropping just two percent over two years. And that golf course revenues just dropped six percent, in terms of how much people were spending when they would come out to the golf course.
It shows how special this game is. It's a fun game to play and maybe in even more challenging times you want to spend time with friends and family. And that's what our sport is built around. It's that stability and resilience as an industry that attracts corporate America. And in the last few years the PGA of America has seen American Express and Mercedes Benz USA and Royal Bank of Canada and now Whirlpool KitchenAid invest millions of dollars into golf.
The PGA TOUR and the LPGA TOUR similarly have signed a lot of new sponsors during that period.
So our sport is healthy. We're going to be challenged like every other retail business is these day, but we stack up very, very well and very competitively. But again, it's her money, so she should probably answer the second part of that.
DEBORAH O'CONNOR: Well I think that I can name quite a few of the different reasons why we do it, but I can certainly say that before we step into something this big we certainly look at all the options and all the opportunities.
Truly, the values of KitchenAid and the Whirlpool Corporation match just like perfectly with the Senior PGA Championship and the PGA of America. So it was a difficult decision, because it certainly is a lot of money, but it was an easy decision, seeing how much they give back to communities and that's what we're trying to do, communities where we have employees and consumers.
So that's, I don't know if, Jeff, if you want to add anything.
JEFF NOEL: I would say the first time we got together we didn't even talk about golf. We talked about the things both of our organizations believe in, we talked about the future of both of our industries, and we talked about what we need to do to make sure that it was a good vibrant thriving future for both of our industries.
And I guess I would like to comment and say that while business is difficult today, the one thing we do know is things will get better. And that's why this is a four-year relationship. We realize that the times are tough right now, but also we know they're going to get better. But we would like for when times get better and the economy improves that we also take a step back and enjoy the game of golf and also remind ourselves that both business and golf not only have a responsibility, but can give back to communities and see measurable difference as a result.
JULIUS MASON: Deborah and Jeff you got to read between the lines. What he really wants to know is what the media gift is going to be next year.
Q. Looking forward, do you know of any of the pros who are gourmet chefs or who like to cook, and in knowing that, do you see any programs or in the spirit of Iron Chef or the Food Network programs, can you integrate some of the community members into opportunities to cook with the pros or go to cooking classes or something that affiliates with your golf tournaments in the future?
DEBORAH O'CONNOR: Interesting, right before we came in here we were talking about some of those opportunities. So we're definitely going to look at it and I can say I don't know a lot of golfers who are chefs, but I know some chefs who love golf. And they will be all over this.
So we're looking forward to some really fun opportunities that you wouldn't see at any other golf tournament because of this partnership.
JEFF NOEL: I might add that Harbor Shores you're going to find that we have a program where we reach out to the Benton Harbor community kids that are in need, and we have several of them that are enrolled in classes to become chefs and to really get a career in the culinary field.
So we have got great visions of some of these wonderful golfers standing over a KitchenAid grill with a great chef cooking it up together. So we think that it's a wonderful opportunity of getting all the right things done at the same time.
TOM WATSON: It's all in the wrist there.
JEFF NOEL: It's all in the wrist. We're going to have you right over that grill, I can tell you right now.
Q. The PGA is an established brand, when you looked into associating with them and knowing that your brand KitchenAid is established, was that something that you thought the two merged together that in the growing game of golf the global golf game, women being involved that they would take notice that, hey, KitchenAid's getting involved and we can definitely sell more product?
DEBORAH O'CONNOR: Yeah, well, we looked, at KitchenAid, if you look at all of the way the PGA does things, they're all of their community, all of their activity, they're an iconic brand, everybody knows them, looks to them.
Same thing with KitchenAid, as I mentioned earlier. So, yeah, definitely it's a great partnership. We're very similar for being two different things, but then also with KitchenAid it's a very convivial brand, people get together and they cook and they like to use their KitchenAid products, that kind of thing. And golf is a social sport.
And so I think it all fits together in a lot of ways. A lot of families will go see these, this tournament, and so it's just another way of looking at things. Taking your marketing and kind of opening it up and getting out of the box a little.
Q. Are we going to be able to see some maybe new products and prerelease and shown at a PGA event?
DEBORAH O'CONNOR: We will probably take that opportunity, if the timing is, if it works out that we would definitely put something there so you would be the first person to see this item, that kind of thing. Sure.
And then we're also talking about ways, as I mentioned earlier, some of the ways that we can take advantage of having that many people in one place and showing off our stuff or using some chefs and that. So we're looking forward to that piece of it.
Q. What I wanted to know is, is this the first time that a Senior Major has been sponsored in this way? Where we have, where there's going to be brand attached to it? Because this is it seems to me this is a fairly unprecedented arrangement and will the event look different or anything in the future? Is this kind of a new chapter in the PGA's approach?
JOE STERANKA: We have done it both ways. In 71 years Teacher's Scotch was a sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship, General Foods was the most recent title sponsor of the Senior PGA Championship, where we played for many years in Palm Beach Gardens.
We see the return of a presenting sponsor fitting our goal of doing exactly what was alluded to here, how do you make the Champions Tour and senior golf and golf in general more part of a lifestyle?
And, yeah, Jeff is right, when we began talking about the culture of our two organizations, they're both revolved, they both revolve around people and making people happy to be together. And we do it on the golf course and they do it around food. In a big way.
So, yes, it's not unprecedented, we have done it before, but I think where you see the cross marketing between Whirlpool as a corporation and KitchenAid as a brand and then the PGA of America and our national marketing of golf, that Tom talked about the importance of that, I think that will be unprecedented.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much.
End of FastScripts