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WGC ACCENTURE MATCH PLAY CHAMPIONSHIP


February 21, 2012


Joe Barrow

Tim Finchem

Mike McCarley


MARANA, ARIZONA

LAURA HILL:  I'd like to reintroduce, back again, just a couple minutes later for another press conference, PGA Commissioner Tim Finchem for a special announcement.  Also Joe Barrow from The First Fee, chief executive of The First Tee, and Mike McCarley president of The Golf Channel.  Commissioner?
COMMISSIONER TIMOTHY W. FINCHEM:  Thank you.  Again, thank you for being here.  As all of you know The First Tee program got started in about 14 years ago, in 1997.  And it's had steady growth ever since, having touched, I guess, close to five million kids at the end of last year.
Earlier this year we announced a year long campaign to raise enough money so that we would have the resources to fund reaching ten million more kids over the next five, six years in the program, both in the schools program and in the dedicated facility program.
In order to do that and to be effective, and I would say that we are closing in on halfway to the goal of 100 million dollars in that effort, this effort will culminate at Pebble Beach in October in the form of an All Star Pro Am with the participants with the major donors in the form of trustees joining us at Pebble Beach.  But in order to reach our goal, a lot of work has been done to create an awareness of the impact of The First Tee on kids, and the relationship between being able to raise this money and being able to reach ten million kids.
To do that at an even greater level, we have a great announcement today from Mike McCarley.  We're very excited about this announcement.  And we think the elements of what Mike is going to talk about are going to give us additional momentum in the marketplace to accomplish our goals.  And so with that, I'll turn it over to Mike for the announcement.
MIKE MCCARLEY:  Thanks, Tim.  The First Tee's campaign for ten million young people is a worthy and remarkable goal that we are pleased to lend our support behind.  And in the last year, conversations with Tim and conversations with Joe, it came to pass that we could really contribute in a way to help them show the momentum that's behind this program and really help showcase and tell some of the great stories, not only with the kids who are involved with this program, but also with the mentors who are involved in this program and how more and more people in the game of golf who love the game of golf can give back to the game of golf through The First Tee.
And in that way, I think, our part is to help maintain the momentum that's already been created through this campaign.  So we're a growing company that helps connect the world to golf.  And it's my firm belief that we have a very real responsibility to give back to the game.
Mr. Palmer, in a conversation he and I had several weeks ago, as he was making his decision to make a significant contribution to The First Tee, told me that he feels that we all have a real responsibility to leave the game better than we found it.  And not only is he Arnold Palmer, so you obviously need to listen to everything he says if you're in my position.  Many of you probably don't know that he's the founder of The Golf Channel.  And he's been a very influential guiding force in the direction The Channel has taken over the last year, specifically, but over the 17 years of the history of the channel, as well.
He also told me that there's very few place he feels that kids can learn lessons that will take them through life better than a golf course.  So what better place to be and teach kids lessons than a golf course.
What do we bring to it?¬† I think Golf Channel can share the stories of both the kids and the mentors, and the best example that I can remember this past year when what we could do actually came together for me was at the Tour championship last year, Rich Lerner did a four‑part series on the revitalization of East Lake.¬† And on the final part of that series that aired Sunday on NBC just prior to the final round coming on, he talked about the impact that The First Tee had on some of the kids and some of the parents in that community.¬† And he introduced a very young, but very poised young man named Alvin Winston.¬† And in that piece he asked him, he said, I noticed you had a very firm handshake, and you looked me right in the eye when you met me.¬† And he said, well, I was taught that when you meet a man, you give him a firm handshake and you look him in the eye when you introduce yourself.
And it was in that moment that I really thought The First Tee has a lot to do with golf and it teaches lessons within golf, but it really teaches lessons about life.
So today we're proud to announce our partnership with The First Tee as a proud media partner to help tell more of these stories, to help this campaign for ten million young people maintain its momentum and try to get more and more kids and more and more mentors who are already in the game of golf more involved in The First Tee.
Thanks.  And Joe?
JOE BARROW:  Thank you very much.  We're delighted to have Golf Channel as our proud media channel.  The First Tee has made great strides over the past 14 years, but to be able to set an ambitious goal to reach ten million young people or the next ten years is an extraordinary and ambitious, if not aspirational effort.  The First Tee has to really scale up our efforts.  We're in some 750 program locations and we have to grow that to 1,200.  We have to increase the number of volunteers, increase the number of coaches, and increase the number of individuals who will invest in our chapters as they reach out to more young people throughout their communities.
We have to take our school program from the 4,700 schools we're in now to some 10,000 to 12,000 elementary schools over the next several years, where we'll reach several million young people there, as well.
In order to do that, be able to have The Golf Channel help tell the story of the outcomes of the impact we're having on the young people is an extraordinary opportunity for us.  To reach out to their audiences and share how the teachers are seeing the differences our national school program are making with the elementary school teachers, elementary school students throughout their school, to be able to share the stories of the young people being impacted by our chapters through the life skills and leadership programs is an extraordinary opportunity for us.
Literally one in four young people in this country don't finish high school.¬† And that's a sad, sad statistic.¬† In 2010, 1,100,000 young people did not finish high school.¬† That's one in every ten seconds.¬† Another statistic is one out of every three individuals, one‑third of the young people or obese or overweight.¬† We feel that The First Tee can partner with many organizations to address those issues.¬† We know the young people are more focused, more driven.¬† They not only have ambitions to finish high school, but they want to go on to college.
With the Nine Healthy Habits program which we developed with Annika and the Florida Hospital for Children, will help people not only share with them what to eat and how to exercise, but what emotional choices they need to make and social choices they need to make.
At the end of the day, Golf Channel is going to allow us to be very effective in sharing these stories over and over again with people who we hope will be involved with The First Tee.  And Mike, we're extremely proud to have you as our media partner.  Thank you so much.

Q.  Can I ask the goal to reach ten million children, how far along are you in that?
JOE BARROW:  Well, we set that goal last year, and our first increment was this last year, and we've reached 1.2 million young people last year toward that goal.  So in total, through the end of 2011, we've now moved the total number of young people influenced by our program to 2.6 million.  So we're making progress, but we have a long way to go.
MIKE MCCARLEY:  You've got a few of them this week acting as reporters that may be taking some of your jobs, soon.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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