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February 21, 2012

Greg Norman

Andy Pazder

Juan Miguel Villar Mir


JUAN MIGUEL VILLA MIR:  (Opening statement given in Spanish.)
NELSON SILVERIO:  Greg, you're competing in your second tournament here at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.  Why don't you take us through thoughts about doing that and just some thoughts on the golf course.  I know we've rearranged some of the order of it and how we're competing this year.
GREG NORMAN:  Well, first of all, I'm finally starting to feel healthy again.  I had surgery on my left shoulder a year ago today basically, and now after a year I've got my strength back, and I feel like I can go out there and play again.  And obviously coming down here is one of my favorite golf courses that we have built, there's no question about it.  It's a pleasure visually to go out there and play the game.  It's a pleasure just to walk around the golf course because it's visually beautiful, and it's obviously a fantastic resort.
I love coming here, being here, even away from playing golf, just to visit here, because it's just a place you can come and not put a key in the ignition of a car and have a good time.
Outside of that, I played nine holes today, and the golf course looks like it's in excellent golf condition.  A lot more grass in the fairways this year than we had last year when I walked around here.  The ball is not releasing as much, so the golf course is playing a little bit longer.
But that having been said, I know Juan Miguel probably thanked everybody.  He probably never thanked himself, and we would like on my behalf and PGA TOUR's behalf and Greg Norman Productions' behalf to thank OHL and Juan Miguel for supporting this tournament the way they have done for the last six years.  It's been absolutely fantastic.
We've actually extended the relationship, which is very exciting, because I know this event is near and dear to a lot of players in their hearts, and I think in the future it's extremely secure, so everybody here in this area of M√©xico, south of Canc√ļn, Riviera Maya, I think they should be looking forward to the years to come because of OHL.¬† Your commitment to the game of golf is second to none, and we really, really truly appreciate it.
This golf course gets the exposure on a global basis, and it was your vision and your wisdom many, many years ago to come in here and do what you did.  Your dreams have become a reality, and there's no question about it; Mayakoba Classic will stand the test of time for years and years to come.
Obviously you can't have a great golf tournament without a great partnership with the PGA TOUR.  They've been phenomenal guys to stand beside.  They look after their players in a tremendous way, they look after the game of golf in a tremendous way, so to you, Andy, and the commissioner and everybody at the PGA TOUR, thank you for your support and commitment to this event.
I'm looking forward to playing, there's no question about it.  I don't know how well I'll play, but I'm actually looking forward to getting out there and playing.  With that, thank you very much.
NELSON SILVERIO:¬† We'd like to introduce Andy Pazder, COO of the PGA TOUR.¬† If you'd just like to give us some thoughts of being here at Riviera Maya and your thoughts on the week and the relationship that we announced, the six‑year extension with Mayakoba.
ANDY PAZDER:  Thank you, Nelson.  Let me first begin by saying it's my pleasure to be sitting at this table in between two iconic figures in their respective areas:  Mr.VillaMir, legendary international businessman, and a Hall of Fame golfer in Greg Norman.  It's my pleasure to be at this table, so thank you.
The PGA TOUR six years ago started a partnership with OHL.  We weren't certain where it was going to head.  We were confident it was going to be a very successful relationship.  I'm happy to sit here today and say it has exceeded our wildest dreams, and we are extremely excited about the announcement a few months ago of extending that partnership six more years, through 2018.  We are very proud of our partnership with Mr.VillaMir and OHL, tremendous partners.
We are also very pleased to have Greg Norman Production Company as the tournament operator.¬† They run a first‑class golf tournament in every respect; from the moment you land at the airport to the moment you leave, you are treated in a first‑class manner.¬† That's a credit to Greg and his team, Mr.VillaMir, for your vision and your direction.¬† It is a very, very wonderful event.¬† Our players look forward to playing here each and every year.
Walking around today, speaking to dozens and dozens of those players, they echo the same thing.¬† They can't wait to come back each year, and it's a number of things:¬† One, a world‑class golf course.¬† Greg, you did a phenomenal job with the design.¬† Kurt vonHofen, the superintendent and his team, have the course in magnificent condition.¬† I can't remember a golf course that's in as good a condition as this one.¬† We have world‑class resort properties here.¬† The players are very comfortable when they come here.¬† They bring their families.¬† They come back after the tournament and bring their families.¬† They do truly love coming here.
The PGA TOUR also appreciates what this tournament means to the local communities.¬† In its five years, the tournament has donated over a million dollars to well‑deserving charities in the local community, and one of the things that the PGA TOUR prides itself upon is leaving something in the communities where we play, and to see the impact that this tournament has on those in need and other worthy charities means an awful lot to us, as I know it does to OHL.
We have a terrific field assembled this week.  As Juan Miguel mentioned earlier, three Hall of Famers, including the one to my right, 11 major championship winners in the field, four former world No.1 players.  Defending champion Johnson Wagner has gotten off to a terrific start this year.  He's No.2 on our FedEx points list, was just awarded the Avis Player of the Month for January.  I know he's confident that he might make it two wins in a row at the Mayakoba Golf Classic.
On behalf of the PGA TOUR, thank you, Mr.VillaMir.  Greg, good luck to you as you tee it up.  I know that's a rare occasion for you.  We're excited to have you, and best of luck.  Thank you on behalf of the PGA TOUR for being with us this week.

Q.  Has the PGA TOUR considered having another tournament in México?
ANDY PAZDER:  We have a Nationwide Tour event in México.  We have recently announced a new tour, the PGA TOUR Latino America, which will contest four tournaments in the country later this year.
As far as a PGA TOUR event, we have not spoken specifically about another tournament in the country.

Q.  Andy, if we could get some reaction from the PGA TOUR's new extension with OHL for six years at Mayakoba Golf Classic.
ANDY PAZDER:¬† On the PGA TOUR we have 45 tournaments.¬† There are, after this six‑year extension, which takes this event through 2018, there are only two other tournaments where we have a partnership of this length.¬† So we are very proud, as I said earlier, very proud of our relationship with OHL, with the resort, the golf course, and Greg's production company.¬† It's exciting news for us.
We feel that the tournament has grown each and every year.  We are actively seeking ways to give this tournament its own week on our schedule so that they're not sharing the spotlight with another tournament.  We've had some preliminary discussions.  We're hopeful that we'll be able to find a solution.  The tournament, as I said, is as good as any on the PGA TOUR, and we feel they deserve to have their own week.
GREG NORMAN:¬† I think the other thing that has got to be mentioned, too, is what OHL has done is brought in other sponsors, as well, because their commitment to this tournament has actually raised the bar for our sponsors to come in.¬† Their commitment gives this tournament a lot more exposure and therefore we can go to a lot more sponsors to open it up, and that's the beauty about having a long‑term commitment from a company like OHL in one location.¬† PGA TOUR is the benefactor of it, OHL is a benefactor of it, and all these other sponsors support that and endorse the popularity of this event.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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