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November 16, 2011
LAURA HILL: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for joining us for this late press conference, some exciting news in relation to The Presidents Cup. We have PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem as well as three players from the international Presidents Cup team, Y.E. Yang, K.J. Choi and Kyung-tae Kim and Ryan park is here on my right to help with some translations.
So, Tim, we'll turn it over to you.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thank you, and good afternoon everyone. Thanks for joining us. I know that you may not know exactly what we are going to announce, some of you may. But you can see from the players up here, you have a pretty good idea of what we are going to talk about. (Laughter).
First let me just say that we are delighted to be here in Melbourne again and we are just coming off the Opening Ceremony, we are thrilled with how things look here at Royal Melbourne. The players are extremely pleased with the golf course and I've said in my remarks last night and today, we are absolutely delighted with the partnership that we have been extended from the public sector here in Melbourne, Victoria and Australia, and the membership and management here at Royal Melbourne Golf Club, based on what happened in 1998, we are looking forward to tremendous matches this week.
Two years from now, the next chapter of the Presidents Cup will make history with the event, as you know, being held in the United States at Muirfield Village golf club in Dublin, Ohio. The home of the Memorial and we are excited about that. We do have a number of representatives with us this week from Muirfield, and they have joined us for this announcement, and we appreciate their being here and we ask them to enjoy the week and sort of look around and help them help us get prepared for 2015.
The reason, though, that we are engaged at this moment is to talk about the 2015 Presidents Cup, and I'm pleased to announce that in 2015, The Presidents Cup will be staged in South Korea.
This is an exciting announcement. It comes with the recognition of the development of elite players in Korea and in Asia generally, three of whom are up here with me.
It also comes after an extensive period of time of the PGA TOUR being very active in Korea in business, particularly in our partnership with SBS, where our tournaments have been widely viewed in Korea on SBS for over 20 years.
I think when we look at the Asia Pacific region generally, it is almost entirely an area where the game of golf is growing, the game of golf is robust, and the game of golf is enjoying the emergence of new, young players.
As I make this announcement, let me point out several things about it. First, we have not selected a golf course where we will play in 2015. We have a number of options. And we decided because we were prepared to do so, to move ahead with this announcement, which lays the groundwork for us to consider over the next weeks and months, a variety of opportunities, and we will be announcing a decision sometime hopefully in the first half of 2012, which will give us a significant amount of time to lead up to and prepare for the conduct of The Presidents Cup in the fall of 2015.
In addition, to the current global partners, Citi and Rolex, we will be adding a third global partner, and we will be working on that opportunity over the next few months, as well.
I would like to recognize three individuals who are already very involved in The Presidents Cup, one of whom who is not here, who be joining us, however, tomorrow, for the weekend is Chairman Sam-Koo Park of Asiana Airlines. I would like to thank Chairman Park for his support and share with you that Asiana Airlines will be the Official Airline of The Presidents Cup in 2015. Chairman Park has been very involved in golf in Korea and he comes to us as an individual who has been involved in the development of elite players.
Secondly, I would like to thank Chairman Se-Young Yoon of SBS who is with us today. Chairman Yoon has been our partner in Korea for over two decades, and as most of you are aware, he has been our partner now in Hawai'i for the last couple of years with the continuation of the Hyundai Tournament of Champions at Kapalua.
He is a good friend of the PGA TOUR's, and he also is an individual who has been extensively involved in golf and the development of golf for years and years, and is an individual who takes some of the responsibility for the creation of elite players, both men and women, that are coming out of Korea in increasing numbers.
Third, I would like to recognize our good friend, Chairman Ryu of Poongsang. Chairman Ryu is a good friend of the Tour's who is based in both Seoul and Los Angeles. He is a member of the First Tee Trustees in the United States and very involved in our Northern Trust Open in Los Angeles. Chairman Ryu has been working with us very closely to develop our relationships in Korea and to put together the basic structure of how we will proceed to stage The Presidents Cup at a world-class level in Korea in 2015, and I want to thank him for his assistance and his partnership.
But nothing speaks more about where global golf is and where The Presidents Cup is than the presence of these three players with us today. I think when we look at where we would stage The Presidents Cup going forward, there are a number of factors, and I'll just mention a couple.
Certainly, the players on the International Team, in coming together and being able to compete against the United States Team, want the Cup to be staged at a place where it could be considered a home court game, if you will. Now, with three of the members of the International Team coming from Korea, certainly Korea qualifies in that regard.
The other thing of note is that this is not the first time Korea has been represented on The Presidents Cup, but it's the first time that more than one player on The Presidents Cup International Team has been from Korea, and it is three players, and all three are elite, capable players in their own right.
I think when you look at K.J. Choi, Y.E. Yang and Kyung-tae Kim, this is the future. This is the future of golf in Korea, certainly on the men's side, and it represents to a great degree what The Presidents Cup is all about: Allowing players who come from places outside the United States and Europe to showcase their skills in this unique team environment.
So all of that adds up to very strong, compelling reasons to go to Korea, to take advantage of taking what The Presidents Cup is all about and sharing it with the Pacific region and particularly Korea and Asia.
With that, I would like each of the players to say a few words, but I'll start with K.J., to start it off, K.J. who is our reigning PLAYERS Championship Champion, has been a player who has distinguished himself on the PGA TOUR and is a great favorite of our fans in the United States.
K.J., I'll ask you to say a few words.
K.J. CHOI: First of all, I want to thank Commissioner Tim Finchem, as well as Chairman Park who is not here as well as Chairman Yoon and Chairman Ryu for bringing this great opportunity to Korea. I think it will not only be a helpful boost for golf in Korea but also our overall national brand image.
To be one of the players involved in such a prestigious event and hopefully in the prestigious event coming up in Korea in 2015, I'm very honored and very delighted. It's an honor, still, just to have three players from the same country play at such an event, and it's a much bigger honor to have the event held in my home country.
It's a good step and positive step in heading to globalization for golf in Korea, and I think everyone in here, including K.T., myself and Y.E., we will try and do our best to keep our a-level games up until 2015.
I know that a lot of my compatriots back home are going to target their goals towards the 2015 Presidents Cup, so I'm very delighted and thank you very much.
Y.E. YANG: This is my second Presidents Cup. The first time I came to The Presidents Cup in San Francisco I was a bit awestruck. Now I can actually absorb a little of what this is and what the meaning of The Presidents Cup is, and apart from it being competitive and a competition for two continents, it's also a golf festival for not just the host country but also for everyone involved, and all of the countries involved.
So to have that kind of huge golf festival coming to Korea is a great honor, and it just adds to the delight that I chose right in my line of work. I'm very glad; it's one of the occasions where I feel proud that I picked up golf as a living. I want to thank those who contributed and worked immensely in bringing this to fruition. Chairman Park of Asiana, Chairman Yoon of SBS and Chairman Ryu from Poongsang, and all of the other people, all of the staff and everybody around who have put and dedicated their work into bringing this huge festival into Korea, I want to thank them all.
I don't doubt a little bit at all that this is going to improve the golf market and the golf culture in Korea. So this is great.
K.T. KIM: No, I actually haven't played my first Presidents Cup yet, so I don't know really how this whole thing goes.
But I have participated in all of the numerous functions that are leading up to this great event, and I can say that I'm very proud to be a part of it. It's nothing that I've experienced before. So I just want to thank everybody who has been involved in this. It's a great opportunity for a player like me to compete with the best players in the world, and I undoubtedly think that a lot of players in Korea will be eyeing 2015 now and to be in this position.
It's a great honor, not just on a national level, but as a Korean to host a prestigious event like this in our country. I undoubtedly think that a lot of my peers, a lot of younger generation Korean golfers, are also eyeing to increase their World Rankings, get better and hopefully have a few more Koreans on the International Team by 2015.
I also hope that we can all build a strong team, and not just this year but also in 2015 so that we can bring the Cup back to the international side, as well.
Q. Can we assume you'll be the captain?
K.J. CHOI: No, I'm just going to try and condition myself until 2015. I learned a lot from playing with the Aussie players this week, how they take pride in playing in their home country. I would like to feel that, and feel that kind of feel back home, not as a captain but as a player.
And it's a great stepping stone for a lot of Asian players, and it's a good target for a lot of Asian players to aim for participation in The Presidents Cup.
So throughout the years, it was my role and I guess Y.E.'s role to sort of open up the windows for Asian players in Europe and in the U.S. it was quite predominately U.S. and European players in South African and Australian players, and I believe that we sort of trailblazed that Asian players can compete at that level as well.
I do believe that with The Presidents Cup coming into Korea and with a lot of Asian players growing up, it's going to be another endeavor for the younger generation to build upon what we opened up and maybe better it and try to compete at a high level in the bigger events.
Q. Does the TOUR have a racial vilification policy, and if you do, what is that policy?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Racial vilification? I'm not sure what that means.
Q. If somebody vilifies somebody on your tour racially, do you have a policy that covers that?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I don't think we have those words in our regulations, no.
Q. Where do you cover that, Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: It would come under the general heading of conduct unbecoming a professional and be dealt with that way.
Q. What are the penalties there, if you found somebody --
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Excuse me. This is a discussion about our decision to go to Korea, and I'd like to talk about that. If you would like to talk to me off-line after The Presidents Cup, I'd be happy to --
Q. No, a question about why you're going to South Korea, if you are going to South Korea, it is important to establish whether you have a racial vilification policy?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I think I've answered your question about that.
Q. You're evading it.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No. I said -- you asked me a question. I said it was handled under our conduct unbecoming. If you're not satisfied with the answer, I'm sorry, but that's about all I can do for you.
Q. I know there had been some talk about taking this Presidents Cup to South America as a tune-up for the Olympics, was any thought given to that, for the 2016 Olympics?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Yes, we went through an exhaustive process of looking at a number of places around the globe, including South America. We have more recently focused on the possibility of playing a full-field event or perhaps even a World Golf Championships in Rio prior to the Olympics. But no firm decision has been made on that, but that's been more of our focus.
And of course, in addition to that, I think you're aware of the recent announcements related to our increased involvement in South America generally and Nationwide Tour involvement, as well as PGA TOUR involvement. So we are comfortable with where we are in leading up to the Olympics.
Q. One of the real booms here in Australia last week, the Australian Open was having so many of the players coming down here ahead of time and playing; do you envision in 2015 potentially having either a TOUR-sanctioned Fall Series event or World Golf Championships that would be held leading up to the Korea Presidents Cup?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, maybe, but we are a ways away from 2015 yet in that regard.
Already there are a number of events here in the general region that attract our players for different sets of reasons, given the calendar and the nature of the event. How we organize the calendar for 2015 will be impacted by The Presidents Cup being in Korea; I will say that.
It would be speculation for me to suggest that any particular event might be added to the schedule because of that at this point.
Q. Can you talk about why you weren't able at this point to tell us the venue, what the issues are involved, because generally that usually comes with these announcements?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, the process to select a venue is on one track, and a process to make the general decision is generally on another track. Sometimes they merge nicely, because, candidly, there are a lot of good golf courses in Australia but far and away, our No. 1 choice was Royal Melbourne so it makes it kind of easy.
So the one track is generally completed. The other track is not, but we just thought it would be good to move ahead with the general announcement this week because of all of the attention on The Presidents Cup.
The other thing is by making the announcement, it really helps us communicate to the golf community in Korea that we are open to looking at a number of venues, and it will help our process accelerate.
We have already identified some venues that actually will work quite well but we want to make sure we are doing a complete and exhaustive study, because we have found from experience that some of the little details on venues have a big impact, whether it's galleries or movement of people and some of the logistics have a big impact on the quality of the presentation.
So we'll our time a little bit on that one. But we anticipate a fairly soon decision, I would say early in 2012.
Q. Along the same lines, are all existing venues or would you consider going to a golf course that is not built yet or under development, something along those lines?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: I think there are plenty of currently-built golf courses to select from. As I said we already know of several that would be fine. It may be a little risk even though it's four years off to think in terms -- but here again, we are in that same process for 2016 in Rio, and if you get into significant delays, we are on a track right now in Rio that is okay, but it needs to move on.
I would think we would move forward with an existing facility.
Q. I think it's a 14-hour time difference in South Korea; would you consider scheduling the matches, certainly on Thursday/Friday, so that it would begin somewhere around primetime in the U.S. and does being in that part of the world give you that opportunity?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Well, it's always something we'll look at. It's no different than the Olympic Games. We have been through this a number of times.
You know, matching up air times and tape delays versus how it works at the site vis-a-vis the galleries and the fans; it's always something we look at. It would be speculation to necessarily say we would do one thing or the other.
Certainly our television partners will have a voice in that; they will have an attitude and an input. Our tournament organizers in partnership with our friends in Korea will have something to say about that in terms of how it plays into the presentation on site. But we'll look at all of the options, sure.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports