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June 23, 2011

Mark Russell


DOUG MILNE: Like to welcome vice president of rules and competition for the TOUR, mark Russell. Mark, if you want to kind of comment on the decision this afternoon and what we're looking at going forward and we'll take some questions.
MARK RUSSELL: Well, you know, as you know, it rained all afternoon. We got a little break. Tom DeGrandi and his staff did a great job. They had squeegeed several fairways, had to do quite a bit of work to the golf course, and we were scheduled to go, and then we got another 25 minutes of rain, and it just the course was saturated. All the good work they'd done they lost. And we delayed again.
And then we went out there and looked at it, and you know, there were some areas where we just couldn't play golf, and we looked at is this going to be worth it for four holes to send these guys out here, and we decided that it was not, that we'd be better off if we started in the morning, have everybody in position at 7:00 and then the afternoon times we'll start at 7:15.
DOUG MILNE: Okay. Questions?

Q. Would you have been more inclined to call the whole thing off earlier in the day, had the forecast for Friday and Saturday not been as ominous?
MARK RUSSELL: Didn't even think about it. You know, we were just taking it hour by hour, trying to play all the golf we possibly could.
But you know, the golf course just got saturated, took a lot of rain, and like I say, the grounds crew, Tom DeGrandi and his staff were fantastic, and this place drains good. But we just got to a point where it just wasn't feasible to play golf. We just lost the golf course due to saturation.

Q. Can you tell what the plan is, then, going forward? You're hoping to get two rounds in tomorrow?
MARK RUSSELL: For the Hokies up here in Connecticut? Oh, okay. I understand. We're just going to try and play all the golf we can tomorrow. We've gone long days here, some of the longest days of the year. We're going to start at 7:00, in position at 7:00. That in itself is a huge feat to have all 18 holes ready to go at 7:00 in the morning.
You know, you can probably hit balls here at 5:30, daylight, so we're going to play golf hopefully all day tomorrow. I mean if the weather is nice, we'll play golf till 8:30. That would be huge.
But you know, we'll just have to wait and see. You're in this business. It's a game played outside from daylight till dark and a lot of times you deal with the elements. So right now we're just thinking let's come in in the morning and play some golf, and if we can, we'll make some decisions at that time. But we are tied in to playing 72 holes. We're going to play 72 holes of golf here.

Q. That last band, was that really the difference, that last band of rain?
MARK RUSSELL: Yeah. It was. We squeegeed a lot of fairways, worked on a lot of bunkers, got it ready to go, and then we didn't think that last rain was going to be quite as bad as it was, but it just continued to rain for 30 minutes, so reverted right back to where it was before we started.
And then we delayed a couple times and thought that we could get it ready to go, but you know, with the staff out there, we just decided, look, you know, we've lost the golf course and it's going to take probably an hour more of work to do, and the next thing you know it's going to be 7:30 and we can only play golf for 45 minutes or so. So you know, we just decided to pull the plug on it and hopefully let it drain tonight, hope we don't get any more rain and see if we can come back in the morning and hopefully play golf all day.

Q. Was there ever a discussion when we were getting pounded by rain in the middle of the afternoon to call it a day?
MARK RUSSELL: No. No. It's still -- it would be nice if we would be playing golf for another hour and a half out there right now. With these long days, you know, you can do a lot. And like I said, when it did stop raining, they got the golf course ready to go in an hour or so. It's just a shame that all the work they did was wasted when that rain came back in and the puddles came right back where they were before.
DOUG MILNE: Anything else? Okay. Thanks a lot, Mark.
MARK RUSSELL: Before we leave I'd just like to, once again, Tom DeGrandi, Noel, Ben, they did a fantastic job. I hated to work those guys as hard as we had to, but it's just shame that was all in vain. They did a great job. Thank you.

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