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August 1, 2010

Jim Justice


JIM JUSTICE: Okay, guys. Fire away.

Q. (Off microphone.) That can be good and that can be bad.

Q. I wonder what you think this terms of the golf course. Do you think there may be alterations that might give it a better strength against the field?
JIM JUSTICE: You know, first of all, in my world, the fans love to see birdies. I mean, they love to see birdies. It adds a lot of excitement to it.
You know, we added a couple hundred yards of length this year. There's probably a real good chance that we'll add another two, three hundred yards to the length. We may pinch the fairways in just a little bit.
Really and truly, for the first crack out of the box, I think the players have been really pleased with the condition of the course and the architecture and all that. And I love to seat birdies. I mean, really and truly, I don't want to see the players chipping it back into the fairways out of the rough US Open style and the green's hard as a brick bat. You know, I love to see what's going on.
But we will probably tweak the course just a little bit and everything. You know, I honestly don't see how in the world anything could have gone much better. The crowds are off the chart; the players are loving the course; everybody is loving the resort.
And the people, the 2,200 plus volunteers and everybody that's all working with the people, they're just so warm and friendly. You know, it's just what I hoped it would be.

Q. I was gonna ask a related question like that. Much has gone right and not much has gone wrong. Just assess not just the course, but the tournament as well, has it gone as smoothy as you hoped it would?
JIM JUSTICE: You know, I sure don't want to sound egotistical or braggadocios, because that's not me. I'm the guy that's calm as an old shoe. But the whole thing has gone as well or better than I ever could have dreamt it would have gone. It has been just -- I mean, it's just good. I mean, that's just all there is to it.
And I give so many people so much credit. You know, the people are all enthusiastic and happy, and are real live appreciative of the Tour and everybody being here. That's what it's about. I mean, for crying out loud. West Virginians care and West Virginia love and West Virginians are appreciative when somebody reaches out a hand and does something for 'em.
This is a special event for West Virginia.

Q. Of course there's been talk going around you wanted to lure a major here. I'm sure right now obviously it's just speculative, but what are your thoughts about that? Would you liked to that?
JIM JUSTICE: Absolutely I would. I told Commissioner Finchem I told and Rick George, I won't stop -- if God gives me breath, I'm not gonna stop till I -- not till I you guys come to me -- but till they come to me and tell me this is the best event that they have on the PGA TOUR?
Now, I'm telling you, there's a lot stuff right now that they're already saying is the best that they have. But, you know, to have a major here, you know, we probably need to add a little more length, and there's ways to do that out there; maybe pinch the fairways in and toughen it up just a little bit.
But really and truly, I mean, look at the support. We had 41,000 people here yesterday. And we had back-to-back concerts with 50,000 plus. The first night we had, I think, 32,000. I mean, you know, look at the first day when we came out on a Monday Pro-Am and all the pros were coming in saying, What's going on here? We've never seen this many people out at a Monday Pro-Am.
I played with Daly on Wednesday, Jiminy Christmas, I bet we had 9,000 or 10,000 people walking around with us. My two playing partners, John Klemish and Jeff Kmiec were real nervous, but I was there.
You know, Presidents Cup, a major, we're way down the road. We want to walk before we run and all that bit. Let's step away from this and try to clean up our mistakes. But, you know, there's got to be things that are wrong that we want to make better and everything.
But we batted a pretty good batting average here.

Q. (Question regarding life lessons for Mr. Justice's basketball players.)
JIM JUSTICE: Well, you know, I don't know that it's a life lesson, but I would say we shook up the world. I mean, you know, really and truly. Nobody -- well, not nobody -- but there were a lot people that would have been skeptical of an event like this in West Virginia and pulling it off. But we did it.
Life lesson-wise, I told my players -- you know, I hit the ceremonial first ball. I tell 'em all the time, I tell my daughter and my family's here with me, Kathy and Jay and Jill. Jill was a basketball player; my son was a baseball player and all that kind of stuff.
But I tell 'em all the time, I tell my basketball team this. I said, In think world, I don't care if you're in business on whatever you're in, if you could just envision you're one run ahead, bases loaded, count's 3-2, you're standing in the field. You know for sure the ball is gonna be hit.
Are you standing there saying, Oh, please God let 'em hit it to somebody else because I don't want to mess it up? Or are you standing there pounding your glove saying, Hit the ball to me? Well, I'm a guy that would be saying, Hit the ball to me.
And when I stood up on that first tee, I was telling my basketball team exactly that. They were there, and I said Count's 3-2. They'll hear me yell that out on the floor all the time, Count's 3-2. You got to want the ball and everything.
I stood up there, and the good Lord let me just strike it right down the middle of the fairway. I said, See, I told you that and everything. We do talk every day, and I hope that I'm able to give them a whole a lot more than just how to dribble the ball or whatever.

Q. Question about the economic impact. I know Tim McNeely said you were gonna do an impact study after the tournament, but I didn't know it you had heard anything anecdotally as to the benefits for the resort of the surrounding area? Heard call volumes were up at the reservation desk.
JIM JUSTICE: I've heard like 92 gazillion. (Laughter.)
No, I can tell that you that -- you know, before the tournament got here, you know, our phone lines were melting down, because we have turned an incredible resort, an aircraft carrier, and we've turned it. Now, I don't even know if we have a telephone here.
When the economic impact of this whole thing comes out, it'll be incredible. That's all there is to. Maybe the biggest event that's ever happened to West Virginia. And that's why I say -- and I'm right there with everybody. I'm the guy that would be saying, Thank you. Thank you to all of you and thank you to everybody.
You can never know that now you're a part of the party. I mean, really and truly. There's so many people. I mean, this is all about, you know, bringing community back and helping people and really and truly kind of an old American story.
You know, when things were tough, what did we do before? I mean, we didn't -- let's say we had money, but before we didn't stand on the sidelines and wait for things to get better before we invested our money. We invested our money and we created jobs.
What did we do if we didn't have money? We didn't stand on the sidelines and just there with our hands out waiting for somebody to come and help us. We went to work.
That's what this is about. For crying out loud, the economy is tough. But look on the there and look what's happening to this resort. I mean, you're a part of the party now. For crying out loud, I mean, you're in the whole thing.
By you being here, we appreciate you, and I really mean that. I really mean that.

Q. Any idea as to what's next for the resort?
JIM JUSTICE: Well, I mean, you know, there are some things on the horizon we're sure thinking about. I mean, I'd like to take my breath just a little bit, I mean, you know.
But we're working at it and we are creating jobs and we're doing some things that sure make you feel good, that's for sure.

Q. How many people have you hired with the casino opening the resort over the tournament?
JIM JUSTICE: Well, if you go back to this, and not to take anything away from Marriott, they're a great company and everything else, but they told everybody here their employment was going to 700 to 900. We got 1,850 employed right now, and we've got 400 jobs posted right as we speak.
So, you know, you do the math. A lot of the families and everything else.

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM JUSTICE: We got 400 jobs posted right now. We're looking for people right now.

Q. Of course you gave an exemption to the amateur winner. Ended up being Jonathan Bartlett. What a wonderful story. I think a lot of the people were surprised that you didn't offer one to the West Virginia Open winner, and there were a couple other - to be quite frank, a couple other exemptions that people were scratching their heads about. Like Willis Ring was a perfect example. What thought process goes into choosing exemptions?
JIM JUSTICE: Willis, you know, he's a guy that was know was having a tough go of it; Eric Thompson was surely having a tough go of it.
I mean, my picks, you know, it's easy, because I would look for people that are maybe down on their luck a little bit and everything. We thought about the West Virginia Open and everything and we were going with that, and I thought, you know, really and truly, we need an amateur to play in the event.
So we went that way. Then when we went that way, we had two or three that were already pretty much committed to and locked in, and then all of a sudden they made the lineup like Rocco. We had offered Rocco one and everything, and then he made the top lineup or whatever the -- I don't know what it's called and everything -- and so he didn't need that.
So all of a sudden now you're scrambling at the last minute. But that's how it all came together.

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM JUSTICE: I think we'll do 'em both next year. I think we'll do 'em both. Yeah. You know, yeah, I think we'll do 'em both.

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM JUSTICE: Well, I mean, first of all, I mean, you know, we were struggling a little bit. And of all places, you know, we go to Brier Patch, a little golf course that I own over in Beckley. And the guy that's taking care of the greens and taking care of stuff over there, does a magnificent job, Kelly Shumate. So I bring Kelly over here and I say, Kelly, we got to go now. Well everybody vapor locked.
Here's a guy -- between Kelly Shumate and Bob Cochran and Joey Cochran, you know, they're my right-hand guys. They have been with me a long time. I know what they're capable of doing, and they work. They work from daylight till dark.
So we all went out there and we just poured it on. I mean, you just go out and look at the flowers and everything that happened. I mean, everything. Kathy was kind enough kind enough to really help us with all the flowers and everything, but the condition of the course, I mean, they pulled it off, and they pulled it off magnificently.
Tim McNeely's done a magnificent job. Tim's worked hard all year in player recruitment and everything. I mean, other than the meltdown with the traffic last night, just look what everybody's done. I mean, you know, everything has just flowed back and forth and back and forth. The players, the volunteers, I mean, I can't say enough. Tim's right here, and Tim's done a fabulous job. He's done great. I mean, everybody's done great.
Jiminy, I mean, it's just that. You talk about everybody paddling the boat. Everybody's done wonderful. Like I said, except last night. And last night what happened last night was just this: Everybody was supposed to have a badge and a ticket to come to the concert.
Well, all of a sudden we've got 20,000 people that show up at the concert and are trying to buy tickets and get into the concert last night. Well, you know, we've got another 40,000 people that got badges and everything, and they're out in the world. All of a sudden...
Well, we didn't expect that, to tell you the truth. Nobody did. And when they called, you know, Jeff Kmiec, our general manager, said, We finally locked it down. Well, we did. We had everything locked up last night.

Q. I know the purpose of this event wasn't to bring more notoriety and attention to yourself, but with that being said, not many people get to play golf with John Daly on a Wednesday and then announce Brad Paisley to a huge crowd on a Saturday. Have you enjoyed this? What has your week been like?
JIM JUSTICE: Well, sure it's been enjoyable. I mean, that's for sure. And it's been as hectic as it can be.
Again, I don't say this egotistically at all, but I don't want any merit badges. I want to the people to have all the credit. I really do.
It was great. It was fabulously enjoyable to play with John Daly and to introduce Brad Paisley and to get to hug Carrie Underwood. It was all really good. It was great.
But it was -- but, you know, the good Lord has blessed me so many ways. So many ways. You know, those are great, but I've got all the blessings in the world.

Q. It's a spectacular looking trophy to your left. Can you just talk about it, how much it cost, what it's made of.
JIM JUSTICE: I'm not gonna be good at what it's made out of, but I know what it cost. It cost $220,000, so I know how much it cost. It's made out of really, really special stuff. We came up with the idea, you know, and the idea was really the Spring House. But as far as...
Lynn, help me. I don't know. I really don't know what it's made out of.

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM JUSTICE: Okay. So we're gonna end on that. Where I don't know anything. (Laughing.) That's a good one it end on.

Q. Would you talk about maybe next year's field and the fact that there is probably gonna be a lot word of mouth. Players are just raving about the place. Are you gonna expect more top 10, top 20 players here, or is it just something you leave up to them?
JIM JUSTICE: Sure. You know, in all honestly -- and I knew it was gonna happen. I knew it was gonna happen, and I'll promise you to the Lord above that there are players sitting all home saying, Why in the world did we not go to this event? I mean, you would have to. I mean, look at the people.
Not to take away from other events that are going on, but you've seen events where there's nine people walking around course. And these players love the fans and everything else, and they have to be talking and everything.
Next year I think it'll get better and better. I would say right off the getgo, it's better this way. It's better. If we had had Phil and Tiger and everybody in the world here right now, what could we look forward to? Let's walk before we run. That's what I want to do.

Q. Can you get the things done to the golf course that you want in the short period of time, let's say six months or something like that?
JIM JUSTICE: Jerry, now what kind of question are you asking me that for? Did you see how long it took to build that casino and did you see what has happened? I mean, I would be the guy -- my dad would have said, Son, if you can't get it done in 24 hours, you're gonna have to work nights.
I would be the guy that said, If it's really, really hard to do, it's gonna take a day. If it's impossible to do, it'll take you another day. Come on. We'll get it done.

Q. Got another three hours on this deal at 18. Sergio, I don't know if you saw his shot, it burned the edge.
JIM JUSTICE: I know. I want somebody to make a one so bad. I mean, Jiminy, I really do. I heard the crowd yelling and it died down. I thought, dag.
But, you know, I wish somebody would throw it in there. I really do.
Okay. Yes, sir?

Q. (No microphone.)
JIM JUSTICE: No. Really, I mean, I wore a pink shirt today. I don't really have anything else. You know, it's been a great. It's been a good week.
Again, I end with I thank all of you from the bottom of my heart. You're a really big part of it, and I really appreciate you. Thank you now.

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