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January 16, 2013

Carson Daly


MARK STEVENS:  Like to welcome Carson Daly.
CARSON DALY:  Good afternoon, everybody.  My dad is here, a long time Coachella Valley resident.  Been coming here since the '50s.
MARK STEVENS:  Kind of start off making some comments about playing this week.
CARSON DALY:  I'm very excited to be back here in the Coachella Valley.  I've got a little history here, I went to the College of the Desert in 1992.  I'm from L.A., from Santa Monica, so I got some history here.  Had a beer pretty much in every bar in this place.
I've played in this tournament, this is my sixth year, I go back to the old Hope days.  Proudly won this event in 2004 with my friend Jeff Altman and our good friend Roger Clemmons, so we have some fond memories here.  I just am happy to be back playing in the event.
I understand all the challenges getting President Clinton's initiative involved here and Humana, I've seen a lot of the changes in the format which look promising from my days of six hour rounds and 13 people per group.
I'm a golf fanatic.  I don't get to play that much, but at one time I was a decent golfer looking to try and play on a mini‑tour maybe 10, 15 years ago and I went the entertainment way.  So it's fun to be back here to get in the ropes to have a lot of good friends on TOUR, to get in their backyard, and to be a part of the Humana Challenge, to be home, I'm in the desert, my folks live here, so I've got my family here.  So it's a special week for me, I'm especially privileged to be here.
MARK STEVENS:  Thank you.  Open it up for questions.

Q.  You've been gone for couple of years.  Out of the field.  Was it just the changes that have happened that have brought you back or is it your schedule that has brought you back?
CARSON DALY:  I think it's the success of The Voice on NBC.  I've never had more invites to golf tournaments all of a sudden.  To be truthful, I don't know.  I've been ‑‑ my career the last couple years really with The Voice I've been a little more in the public eye and been out there a little bit more.  I've had a chance to talk about golf in different publications and in speaking to Mr.Marra about this event this year and I think I might have called him.  I was just kind of had this, some time in my schedule, which I don't normally have, to carve out for the event.  Usually it's a scheduling thing.

Q.  That's NBC that that's on?
CARSON DALY:  Yeah, NBC.  Yeah.  Right.

Q.  Are these events like your Majors, your golf Majors here Pebble and that?
CARSON DALY:  For somebody like me who is a struggling a wanna be golfer, I watch on TV a lot, and I think of what could have been, had I stuck with it, the time I spent on the range here at the Stadium Course working out when I was 18 really with delusions of grandeur, but it all comes rushing back.  When you really love the game of golf ‑‑ and I don't get to play, but I will spend some time on the range and I really feel like I'm hitting it pretty good and I start to think, what if my life had gone a different path.  So it's special to be able to come out here.  I treat it‑‑ to get your tee prizes ‑‑ and I went through everything last night that the Humana Challenge gave us, that was exciting, just to go through everything.  You feel like a professional athlete, you're living vicariously through these guys.
So I don't come here to goof off and just for the hell of it.  I'm really excited to be here.  And I want to play well.

Q.  I'm a friend of your mom's and‑‑
CARSON DALY:  Who isn't?

Q.  Yes, I know.  And the reason that we are here, we're showing, we're interested in how the youth gets a better start when they're playing golf.  And there are two young people who are apprenticing in the media that are from the First Tee of Coachella Valley.  Raise your hand.  There they are.
CARSON DALY:  I know who you are, I can tell.

Q.  All right.  And how, what, where do you see golf helping young people have a better life, being honest, and all of the things that the First Tee teaches?
CARSON DALY:  Well that First Tee program's great.  They do a lot of great work.  Golf is one of ‑‑ the philosophies of golf are one of the great metaphors of life.  I lost my dad when I was young, my step dad brought me in Riviera Country Club in L.A. and taught me how to play the game of golf and it really has been at the epicenter of our relationship.
So a lot of the lessons that you learn in learning a little bit about the game of golf when you're a youth, the etiquette of the game ‑‑ I wasn't allowed on the golf course until I knew how to behave and hold my own and I think there's some great lessons.  The First Tee program does a good job of making sure that it's not just about the sport of golf, but some of those deeper values and core morals that you're getting from the game.
I like to think I'm a decent person because, really, a lot of the things that I learned from playing the game of golf.  So making those correlations between life and golf are very important to do when you're young.  You got to sit back and let somebody else go first sometimes.  There's some great lessons in there.

Q.  Can you talk more about how you came to the game and maybe the top three things that attracted you to the game and then are there other things now in your life that bring you back to the game that you enjoy?
CARSON DALY:  I got to say, my step dad here was such an inspiration to me, young, again lost my father, I got a new strong man in my life, who is an avid golfer, he works hard, loves the game of golf, pushed me into it a little bit, but not too much.  And then I got bit by the bug when I was about 12 or 13, played in high school.  And that playing with my dad and throughout the years and we, all the golf that we have gotten to do, his love of the Coachella Valley and playing golf down here.  And that's really number one for me is that family bond.
When I think of golf I think of my family.  It's a big part of our life thanks to Mr.Caruso.  And we have since had we, he took me up to Pebble Beach my first time on a big father/son road trip when my mom and my sister flew to New York to go to some Broadway bullshit.  And we took a drive from Santa Monica up to Pebble Beach and we did, we played Cyprus and we actually, it's like a 7 or 8 hour drive, but somehow my dad felt the need to stop and stay the night in Paso Robles or something.  We had a four dollar steak.  I remember everything about that trip.  And I always said I wanted to repay my dad for that trip, because he made me a photo book of it.  And I said one day I wanted to repay it and many years later I was able to take him to Augusta to play Augusta.
So, again, like all these memories of golf and everything really just, for me, go back to family.  And what brings me back is to be out here with my dad and I have a son, Jackson will be four in a couple months, so to have my family involved, it's special.  And the competitiveness.  I grew up playing with Tiger, Jason Gore, a lot of good golfers.  Played a lot of American Junior Golf Association events, So‑Cal Golf Association events, a lot of desert golf events.  So the competition, the camaraderie with the fellows is important to me.  I love‑‑ golf breeds a good guy, a good person, good people, LPGA too.
So it's fun to be out here and just hanging out with them.  They're good quality folks.

Q.  You mentioned delusions of grandeur.  How delusional were you and‑‑

Q.  And what stopped you from maybe following that road and maybe going the mini‑tour way as opposed to what you do now for a living?
CARSON DALY:  Probably B. B. O'Briens.  That's what ruined it for me.  Just being friend with B. B.  I know you, Larry, you know it.
Listen, there comes a point where you ‑‑ I played a lot of sports in high school.  My parents said, well, you're only going to be able to play golf or tennis when you're older, and I thought you guys were crazy.  But then you think your circle of friends in high school you're going to live with for the rest of your life.  So I came down here ‑‑ I probably would have had a better shot maybe in the golf business.  My dad owned a golf shop at Riviera for a long time.
So I tried to qualify for the U.S. Open at Ironwood when I was out here and I was playing well and I had a disastrous hole and it's kind of, I think, the turning point for me.  And it came at another point where I met Jimmy Kimmel who was working at KCMJ here in Palm Springs.  And we had, I interned for him.  And then I ended up getting into radio, just as the golf thing‑‑ I would have tried on the then Nike Tour, I would have probably given it a shot, tried to play a few events, see how it would have gone.  And if not, maybe given lessons and gone through the program to ‑‑ there's a difference between a golf professional and a professional golfer.  So I would have liked to have done something, but we'll never know.

Q.  Tell us some more examples of life lessons that you learned from, life lessons you learned from golf that you've applied to your life.  For example, when times get tough, what do you do to stay positive or when you're, you've got a putt, what do you do to stay in the moment?
CARSON DALY:  I think the main thing for me is that, being in the entertainment business, and as we see the 24 hour news cycle, as you all know there's such an immediacy to everything.  There's what I really think is a destructive appetite, this craving for information, that we all want to get if first.  We're all on our phones.
We have never been more connected as a society than we are now through social media.  You walk into a Starbucks now and everybody is probably talking to three different people IM'ing, chatting, yet know one is talking to each other.
I love golf for that reason.  It's a throw back to ‑‑ it takes four hours to play.  No one's in a rush.  I think those are important things.  I think you get good conversation on the golf course walking with somebody, getting to know somebody.  You're forced to slow down.  And these are the sorts of things I think that both for celebrity and everybody that are things that we need more of in culture.  The gentleman of it all.  "You're further away than I am, you go first."  That's nice.

Q.  How does playing with the pros in golf differ from interviewing them or being with them on TV like is there, do you have a competition, friendly competitions with people you've interviewed?
CARSON DALY:  It's so fun to do.  It's so cool.  Jason Gore is a good example.  He doesn't have his card now, but he's a pro golfer, he's a great golfer, has had a lot of success on a couple different tours.  And it's, and he's a buddy of mine.  So I know‑‑ he's been on my late night show, Last Call, so I've gotten a chance to interview him and kind of bust his chops and talk to him a little bit about his life and how he got to play.
But the truth is when I do play with him in an event like the Humana or AT&T, it's, I want to let these pros do their jobs.  I don't want to get too chummy.  It's easy to fall into that pattern.  Most celebrities think they're friends with everybody.  And that drives me crazy.
I'm not there to be a distraction to the pro.  I understand that this is how they earn their money and they're in their office and I want to be respectful of that.
So really the answer is kind of that balance of when to be friendly.  And you can be friendly on the range and be friendly on the tee, but really I try and make sure that I don't cross a line.  That's hard to do sometimes, but.

Q.  I was wondering, I came in late, is there anyone that you're looking forward to meeting that you maybe haven't met before here at this event?
CARSON DALY:  Nobody in particular.  All of them.  The real fun will be tomorrow morning when I go off at 10, 10:20, I'll get out here early, is just walking down the range and seeing all the pros and just saying hi to them and kind of just watching them swing.  That's, but, no there's nobody in particular that I'm going to go stalk.

Q.  We talk to pros in here all the time and a lot of them have been mini‑tour guys and Web.com Tour guys and they come out here and they win and they can't believe that they reached where they are.  Looking at your career trajectory from local intern in the radio station to The Voice, are you stunned by your success?
CARSON DALY:  Totally.  Totally.  There's different career paths for different people.  In my business most people really sort of seek a life of celebrity and they want to be rich and famous and they want to be well known and they move to California to do that.
And we have got every high school jock and beauty prom queen winner in L.A. trying to ‑‑ and I think we live in a time where now, unfortunately, with the Kardashians and a lot of these crappy reality shows you get a lot of younger people who have this idea that ‑‑ if you ask a young kid today what they want to be when they grow up they say something like Kim Kardashian or they say somebody's name rather than, I want to be a fireman or doctor, the occupation.
So I never set out to do this, to answer your question.  I have a passion for music and that got me through radio, and I love television and I and The Voice is really the culmination of my passion of live TV and music.
So producing a show like that that's been so hugely successful for a major network that's like winning the Masters for me.  The first season of The Voice that, after the first episode aired, people thought we were crazy, because Idol was so big and we don't need another one of these singing competition shows.  And the head of the network called me and he said, "Hold on to your hat, we're in for a big ride."  It was the biggest thing NBC had seen in 20 years.  It was just a instant bona fide hit.  And so, to me, that's like sinking a putt at 18 and Augusta or coming out her and winning.  I feel like I won the lottery.
MARK STEVENS:  Thanks for your time, Carson, have fun this week.
CARSON DALY:  Thank you so much.  Thank you for having me.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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