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February 22, 2011

Greg Norman


THE MODERATOR: Greg Norman is here with us, the designer of the course. Greg, if you would like to make some opening remarks, I'll try my best to translate, and go slow with me. I'm slow normally and when I translate, I'm even slower.
GREG NORMAN: Hello. My good friend Lorena and my good friend Governor Felix. It's been an honor for me over the last five years -- actually six years, getting to the point where we are here today.
It takes a few members to get to where we are, and the gentleman sitting to my far left, Juan Miguel with OHL and his vision of what he wanted to do here at Mayakoba is the catalyst to where we are here today.
He gave us the opportunity as the golf course designer to create a masterpiece in a lot of ways and on such a diverse piece of property, from the mangroves to the semi-tropical to almost semi-arid desert -- not arid desert, but semi-arid areas for us to create the golf course here at Mayakoba was just a pleasure, to say the least.
And to hear the accolades from all the players coming out of the condition of the golf course, the playability of the golf course is a credit not only to my design team; it is a credit to the superintendent, his entire staff and the PGA TOUR as well.
Juan Miguel and OHL couldn't have created what they created here without the gentleman seated to my left, Governor Felix. His support and what he's done in the Quintana Roo area here, I've seen it. I've been involved year in, year out. I've seen the growth and the development of what's happened here in the player common area, and I credit him for his leadership in leading them through all the decisions that needed to be made to, like I say, it's a collaborative effort.
And to you, Governor Felix, I want to thank you for everything you've done, for the game of golf, for OHL, for myself, for the PGA TOUR, for the development of the game of golf in Mexico, to tourism in Mexico. You've really put this area on the map, and I congratulate you.
And as to my good friend seated to my right here, Lorena, what can you say about Lorena? What she's done for golf in Mexico could never be repeated by anybody else, not in the past and not in the future. She's been a great ambassador for the game of golf. She's represented her country as well as I've seen anybody represent their country no matter where they come from in the world. And for me to be associated with her, the partnership and some projects we're doing going forward with the potential -- hopefully with the potential opportunity of getting golf in the Olympics by building a golf course there.
It's been an honor to stand beside her, and I've admired her and respected her; and as we go forward in life, I'm probably going to learn a lot more about the great things that this lady has to offer.
And as we look to the future for golf in this area, especially Mayakoba Classic and the Quintana Roo area, we see nothing but blue skies and endless future for the game of golf here. The PGA TOUR recognizes that.
I compliment and congratulate the U.S. PGA TOUR for bringing the game of golf to this part of the world. It's a big step. It's the first golf tournament the U.S. PGA TOUR has played outside their homeland, and it tells you the direction that they have chosen to take, and that is Mexico, Central America, South America. So golf is at the threshold of really leaping forward in a big way in this part of the world, and there's a lot of people that need to be congratulated, and three of them are sitting here at the table.
Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Greg, thanks for your hospitality, especially when people approach you here locally, ask you for autographs and pictures. You're always very amiable and willing to do so. So thank you for that.

Q. We heard some comments out of Orlando regarding the growth of the game and China and how it's overcome. How do you see the growth of the game in this country maybe overcoming its populous image and growing at the grass-roots level?
GREG NORMAN: Well, I think you're already seeing it taking place in this country. Lorena is a testament to that, and that feeds all the way back down to the grass-roots level.
Golf has been a popular sport in Mexico for many, many years at resorts, destination resorts. And China is just learning that lesson now. China has got to learn very, very quickly that they do need to reach down to the grass-roots level. You do have to build golf courses to allow the general public, the people that are less fortunate to have the ability to get out there and play, whether it's through golf courses, whether it's through driving ranges or foundations or academies, give them the opportunities.
So the growth of this game here has just gotta continue to rise and permeate through the whole country, just not through destination resorts.
In our golf course design business, you're not just doing the Mayakoba, it's doing residential communities as well, gated communities. There's been a huge resurgence of that here in this country. So golf very much, outside of soccer, is probably one of the top three sports in this country. So it's got a tremendous growth total.

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