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August 25, 2011

Ray Conner

Gary Kaplan

Bill Keogh

Mike Stevens


MIKE STEVENS: Thanks, guys, for being here. This is certainly great for us to be here. As you know, the Champions Tour was in the northeast last week at the Constellation Energy Senior Players Championship at Westchester Country Club, and I think last Sunday was the first opportunity we got to not sweat for like three months because it's been so hot. But it was so nice getting off the airplane coming out here to Seattle.
This is a fantastic event. The Boeing Classic is truly one of our best, and it's a delight for me to be here to make a very special announcement.
I believe some of you might have figured it out, and we're probing a little bit the last couple days, but hopefully we were good enough to keep it a secret. But today I'm here to announce that we've been successful in extending our relationship with Boeing for the Boeing Classic for an additional two years to 2005.
So Ray, I thank you very much for your support of the Champions Tour and obviously the support of the community. Like I said, it's one of our best events, continues to just treat our players better than we probably deserve. We play a fantastic golf course, Bill Keogh, TPC at Snoqualmie Ridge. It's in absolutely fantastic shape, and I know the players are excited to start competition tomorrow.
But it's always great to have great partners in charity, and Dr. Kaplan from Virginia Mason, we appreciate all the support that you lend to this event that allows us to be as successful as we are.
With that, thank you, gentlemen, for all your support. The Champions Tour and all of our players appreciate it very much, and I believe with that I'll turn it over to Mr. Conner.
RAY CONNER: Well, on behalf of us, we're thrilled to be the title sponsor, and it's been a great year, and we've had a great relationship with not only the Champions Tour but with Virginia Mason Medical Center and with the community in general.
I think this tournament is just a real testament to not only all the people involved but the entire community and area, particularly this beautiful golf course that we have here. You know, I couldn't think of a better place to come. We're really pleased and honored actually. It'll be a great day, and if it's beautiful like it is today, it's going to be a great tournament.
GARY KAPLAN: Thank you. I'm really here representing the staff and the patients at Virginia Mason Medical Center and the Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason. We want to thank the Boeing Company and the Champions Tour and the TPC Snoqualmie Ridge for their support over so many years. This is our seventh year, and great things are happening because of this event.
We really have tremendous pride and gratitude, pride that as the host organization we've been able to help bring world-class golf to the Pacific Northwest, and gratitude for the support of everyone up here but also the greater community and our sponsor and everyone associated with the Boeing Classic for really making a difference.
The work at the Benaroya Research Institute, as beneficiary this year, it is part of the Virginia Mason Health System, is really groundbreaking, discoveries that are leading to cures for autoimmune disease. We know that autoimmune disease touches almost every family in the United States and in the world, so we're very grateful, and we always want to keep the reason we're involved front and center, and that's the patients in our community.
We all know that it takes a great golf facility, and a beautiful facility is a big attraction for the fans, the spectators and particularly the golfers, and it's my pleasure to introduce Bill Keogh.
BILL KEOGH: Well, it's a pleasure for us to be here and be associated with these great organizations, with Boeing and the Champions Tour. We're lucky to be involved, as well as all the volunteers, and we really appreciate the opportunity to showcase our golf course and our club to the 80,000 spectators that come and watch and participate in the Boeing Classic every year.
Our members really enjoy being able to get up close and personal with the great players on the Champions Tour and to see them compete in this great event on their golf course. So it's wonderful to see those friendships established and continued and be part of the greater cause at the same time.

Q. Why announce it now?
MIKE STEVENS: We tried to get as far ahead of the termination dates and renew it as soon as possible and have the opportunity to open up a dialogue with Boeing. We were able to seize the moment and take advantage of it and get the extension in a timely fashion.
I should point out in the room someone that deserves a lot of credit, Michelle Clancy, tournament director, chief runner, and they do just a marvelous job at this event. It's such a unique setting and offers just such a tremendous opportunity for exciting golf from the players' perspective but also from the spectators' perspective, and the tournament stuff has done a marvelous job of capturing those unique opportunities around the golf course that give the spectators a great vantage point of some exciting golf, particularly on 14. I always like to watch what happens there and who pulls the trigger and then who gets booed when they don't.

Q. Mike, what's the feedback you get from the players? You mentioned the lower temperatures perhaps, but do they like -- are they sometimes like average golfers and come out here for the views and things like that, or is that not part of it?
MIKE STEVENS: No, it is. Aesthetically it comes into play. But they love this golf course. Obviously Jack did a great job with the design, and you can tell they like it because of the caliber of field that you have here this week. The strength of field is right out there as one of the best this year. But it plays very well. It gives the player the opportunity to pretty much have to play every club in the bag, and they have to hit all the right shots, and it has the risk-reward opportunities that if you're a player that might be coming down the stretch in the hunt and you want to pull the trigger and take a few chances, you have that opportunity where you can make up some ground very quickly, or if you just want to kind of sit on the lead or maintain, you can play it a little bit more conservatively. I think that's what they like about it most.
When you look at the list of champions here, one year we had a seven-player shootout which was absolutely amazing, but it's not just a list of guys that can bomb the ball or whatever, it's guys that really can hit all the shots.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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