home jobs contact us
Our Clients:
Browse by Sport
Find us on ASAP sports on Facebook ASAP sports on Twitter
ASAP Sports RSS Subscribe to RSS
Click to go to
ASAP Sports e-Brochure View our


May 26, 2001

Sandy Jones

Ken Schofield


GORDON SIMPSON: Good afternoon, Ladies and gentlemen, this is becoming a regular occurrence, I think the second time we've been here this week. But I'm sure most of you have read today's media reports, and we have Ken Schofield, Executive Director of the European Tour and Sandy Jones on my far right, Chief Executive of the PGA and I think the two gentlemen will be willing to answer questions on anything you might wish to ask this afternoon. So, we'll just open it up to the floor straightaway.

Q. Would you like to deal first with headline that the Welsh will get the Ryder Cup?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I think that's quite straightforward. The Daily Mail have awarded the Ryder Cup to Wales two or three months after a number of journals suggested that Wales would have no real opportunity because the balance of voting and influence was very heavily Scottish. So, I guess it's one-all.

Q. What is the truth?


Q. Do we have a decision on where the match is being played?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Certainly not. I think that the piece in the Mail that relates to Wales is because Derek has asked a number of very salient questions of me following the meeting and the release from that meeting here on Thursday evening that relates not only to, if you like, financials, but relates to the politics of the future, particularly in regard to rotation. And quite clearly, rotation is something that is very clear and dear to the hearts of the Tour. It's probably, why we've been to Spain and it's probably why we are going to Ireland. A rotation around as many countries as would be possible against a backcloth that we only have the matches every fourth year in Europe. It's a big challenge. I think Derek has mailed his colours and the colours of the Mail to the mast. On that basis England have had several Ryder Cups; Scotland have had one, and Ireland's going to have one and Wales hasn't. That's how he sees it. Maybe that's how a number of other people will see it, and maybe when the vote comes in September, maybe that's how the Ryder Cup Committee will see it; maybe they won't.

Q. Do you think Scotland will be prepared to carry on with everything they are putting into it, having seen this and now thinking it's a matter of skulduggery afoot?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Skulduggery? In what manner would you think of skulduggery?

Q. Well, they obviously are not thinking it is a level playing field. I think the headlines are stronger in Scotland about the matches going to Wales. Now, how do they feel about that when they were told no decision would be made until the end of the year?

KEN SCHOFIELD: There will be no decision made until the end of the year. That's been reaffirmed this week. There will be no decision made prior to September. All venues will be visited in the respective terms. Nothing will change.

Q. So, we have to reassure the Scots on your position don't you?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I don't think anyone, whether it is the north-east of England or Scotland require anymore assurance on this, and I don't think any of us felt any need to reassure Wales when they were suggesting that the Ryder Cup Committee had a lot of Scot firepower in terms of the voters and to the respective chief executives.

Q. I've spoken to Keith Williams, this morning who says that he is surprised -- I think he said he is shocked and disappointed. So, I would assume the same would apply at the other venues?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, Keith Williams is a much a respected administrator at Loch Lomond, a much respected venues, as indeed are Gleneagles and others. But if that's how they see it, then it's their right to say so.

Q. The article in question gave the impression that you personally are in favour of the Ryder Cup going to Wales. Can you confirm or deny that?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I certainly will neither confirm it nor deny it, no. What I would say today is what I said to Derek; that it is becoming very, very clear to us that the maximum number of countries must have the opportunity to share in the Ryder Cup's success against a backcloth of the fact that there's only one home match every four years.

Q. When you decide in September, are you deciding a country or a specific venue?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I would have thought, you know, two of the bids, Wales and Scotland, essentially are national bids and the other is a regional bid. I would have thought that the first -- we'll get through the first hurdle first, which will be the country.

Q. Which is what you did with Spain?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, we certainly did that with Spain and we certainly did that with Ireland. We have not done it in recent years, because when we come in September, we will have played four straight Ryder Cup matches in England at The Belfry.

Q. Another assertion, Ken, is that the PGA is to lose its joint agreement over the Ryder Cup.


Q. Another assertion in the article is that the PGA is to lose its joint agreement over the Ryder Cup. True or false?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I would not want to comment further on that. I mean, quite clearly, what I said here on Thursday evening is that we have a period of time which is targeted to be a maximum of two years in the Tour to address three of the -- the principal three commercial drivers of the Tour. Ryder Cup is at issue, is one of them. Tour courses and television arrangements are the others. And in general terms, we will address -- and we have a very good forum, I think now, nine years on from having our first formal agreement with the PGA and the joint venture to look at a way forward together. I don't think there's any great mystery or drama in that. We have discussed this with Sandy for a period of years.

Q. Sandy, can you see any point at which the PGA would happily forfeit its current 50 percent share of the Ryder Cup?

SANDY JONES: I think the PGA's position on this is a simple one, if I can just go back a stage. It's nearly ten years ago since I became chief executive, and I came into the office at a time when there had been some fairly very heavy debates between the Tour and my predecessors at the PGA.

KEN SCHOFIELD: Very heavy.

SANDY JONES: Very heavy debate. I wasn't part of the debate. We very quickly, Ken and I, agreed the Ryder Cup going forward should be a joint venture between the PGA. The Ryder Cup had been given to the PGA back in 1927 by Sam Ryder in a trust deed which said that we would ensure the matches continued, and we have done that over that period of time. However, we live in an ever-changing world. The development of the specialists tour and the subsequent development of the European Tour players division; and now the European Tour is a very strong venture now, a company which runs tournament golf in Europe. The Ryder Cup is for tournament players. There's no doubt about it. Sam Ryder didn't give it for the club professionals to play for all -- in his day, one was the same. PGA was aware of that and that is when we formed the joint venture. Both in recognition from the fact from the PGA side, Europe now played a big part in the matches. And obviously, Tour players play a major part in the matches. So, in recognition of that, the PGA said we should recognise both Europe and the players through the European Tour as the agency for that. If there's no -- in the future, and I'm sure since that, I'm sure we have the World Tour events which has changed the game again. If there's a need to reconsider the positioning of the Ryder Cup within the overall global game of golf and the association, which I represent would always be the forefront of that discussion, and we want to be forward. The British PGA has been the strong leader in forming of the PGA of Europe, for example, in the last decade and we have 28 member countries in that group now, each of them working in the grass roots of the game. So, I think as I say, as we go forward, we would be aware of an ever-changing world and want to be correctly in the right position in that world. I would suggest it's towards the front of it and not some minor body at the back of it. And, if that means still maintaining a high profile within the Ryder Cup or an influence in the management of the Ryder Cup, that would be it. But that is something which Ken and I have talked about in various ways we've traveled in the past number of years, and we will continue to do so, beyond this match. But, I felt yesterday in our Ryder Cup meeting, in actual fact, we all felt that it was all important that we focused on the matches to be played this September at The Belfry, which without success, might make the Ryder Cup not a commercial interest in the future. I think that was the agreement yesterday that everybody felt that for the next two or three months we should focus on that and recognising the Andersen Report the Tour discussed with the members, and obviously Ken reflected on with you the other day; recognising that within that, there were some recommendations. I think we should look at all of joint venture arrangements we have, and Ryder Cup being one of those. And following the match, we would sit down and look at that over the next two-year period. Where it would end after that, I don't know what the structure would be. But, I think it's fair to say that we are happy to have any discussions on the right way forward for golf in Europe, because if golf in Europe doesn't succeed, none of us do.

Q. So, if I understand you correctly, though, Sandy, you are saying that your 50 percent as it stands of the Ryder Cup at the moment is not -- it's open to negotiation or debate?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Maybe I could come in here, because I think the Tour very strongly actually supports what Sandy has just said. I think it may be reflected in part, maybe less bold in Derek's piece today, but certainly what I majored on with him and would major on with you today, is that nine years on from those very difficult prior years between the Tour and the PGA as the Tour was finding its feet, we have a joint venture that is prospering and I think one of the main challenges that we have, is to embrace for people. Sandy mentions the PGA of Europe. Now, clearly, that is a very, very new body that is seeking to teach the game of golf throughout all of the Continent, and clearly is something that I'm sure will be brought forward by the PGA as a body that should share; indeed, may already be sharing in some fruits of the Ryder Cup. So, I think what we've got to do -- the challenge is to grow the Ryder Cup so that more parties can participate in it. Particularly, continental Europe, who now have had 20 years -- this will be the 22nd year of them having a number of players. By this August, we will know just how many. But from the two that played the first two, Antonio Garrido and Severiano, who played at the Greenbrier 22 years ago, we have arrived at times when the team could be anything from 7/5, 8/4 or 9/3 that could reflect the continental European players that made up the original Ryder Cup from Great Britain and Ireland. I think we have started to address that and we want to use the period after this match to address how we then embrace the rest of Europe, who like the north-east of England, like Scotland and like Wales all want to have a Ryder Cup. And if 5.25 million Scots have just got rid of one of the two Scots at this table this morning, I can assure all of them, whether it is Keith Williams, a very nice Englishman making his livelihood at Loch Lomond, one of our great venues; that every one of us would want to see Loch Lomond have a Ryder Cup or Gleneagles or Turnberry as, indeed, the north-east of England, Wales, France, Germany, all of the countries who have seen the success of the Ryder Cup; at a place down on the southern tip of our continent. And we are very fortunate this morning to have the President of Valderrama right here with us. We had a wonderful Ryder Cup match in Spain and I'm sure we'll have a wonderful Ryder Cup match when we go to Dublin. And I think that is our challenge. And it is to in that process, whether Scotland got upset overnight because they are believing what the Daily Mail is suggesting, really is not the picture here. We need not only to hope that the Scots will keep a flame going for the Ryder Cup for 2009 or 2013 or 2017 or whenever it comes back to Europe. But about 20 other countries can actually have that dream and have a shot at seeing the dream realised. I think that's what we are about.

Q. Sandy, were you able to tell these Scottish venue that this was going to happen before 2009 and, therefore, the whole situation might change?

SANDY JONES: No. We met with the Scottish -- not the Scottish venues but the group representing the Scottish Ryder Cup yesterday. Richard Hills was party to that meeting, only probably four o'clock yesterday afternoon. Neil left here to catch a flight back to Edinburgh on the basis that they had met with all of the venues on the day before and are going back to brief their venues on what exactly they have to do in terms of putting a bid forward when the Ryder Cup committee or representatives of the Ryder Cup committee visit the venues as they will do in a few short weeks when the tournaments are staged at Loch Lomond and Gleneagles and obviously will visit Turnberry and Carnoustie, without them having tournaments; they don't have one this year, but will visit them and allow the opportunity to put the bid forward. As we will also do at Slaley Hall and also Celtic Manor. So Ryder Cup committee will be visiting all those venues.

Q. The message is clear in the article that either the PGA comes on site or the venue will be frozen out all together; that means backing down from its right to choose the venue. Why do you think he came to that conclusion?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, I think that's Derek's view, and I think just as everyone else has the right to view, he's expressed it. He's come to that view. Time will out in September.

Q. But must have been something said in the conversation that made him come to this conclusion?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, indeed I think where Derek has chosen Wales ahead of the north-east of England and Scotland is because I have chosen on behalf of the Tour to state that the rotation of future Ryder Cup venues we see as being paramount, and Derek said, "Well, does that or could that include 2009?" To which I've said yes.

SANDY JONES: Perhaps I could add to that. I think this is the first time in all the Ryder Cups we've ever had that we have such a selection system, and in support of what Ken is saying here, the PGA gave every country the opportunity to put forward a bid for the Ryder Cup. That was at the front of it. That's why Sweden came forward initially to say they wish to stage a Ryder Cup, and that went through the very final hour when the bids were chosen. So the PGA totally supports -- there's a belief somewhere out there that when it's the PGA's turn, it will be a British venue, might be Scotland, England, Ireland, Wales and when it's the Tour's turn, it will be a continental Europe. That is not part of our thinking. We asked all countries across Europe to put their bids in. The point is we've now finished up with three British situations. The other point to make, and I think we need to be clear on this, is it's not the PGA people who make this decision. It's the Ryder Cup Committee who will make this decision. It is only the result of a divide in the Ryder Cup Committee where you would finish up with a tie that the PGA has the casting vote on this particular occasion. Now, just the same as in Valderrama and in Ireland, the same thing -- and in The Belfry for the match the coming year, the whole committee made a decision to do that. It wasn't the PGA said or the Tour said. The whole committee made that decision at the end of the day, and there has not been a vote for that venue situation, for The Belfry, for example. Obviously, the PGA expressed to the committee on that particular occasion that they would have a desire in our centurion year to play at what has become our headquarters over the last 25 years and everyone agreed with that. So, the casting vote situation had never been used, but that's what it is.

KEN SCHOFIELD: Under the present format. Part of the reason we've had, if you like, the casting vote and we alternate is because of the tie that we had for the 1993 venue, which I think many of you here would recall the difficulties at that time. I think Sandy is correct. I think there is a better scenario now, one would like to think on both sides; that a deadlock would not arise. It hasn't. It is the PGA's call for 2009, and that is the way it is today. Derek's article will not change that, and Thursday night's meeting will not change that. We have not sought to do that. What we have sought I think is to put cards on the table that we -- I would say on the Tour's side, I didn't have perhaps as much of a read on Thursday evening, when many of you were good enough to stay behind and we gave the overview from Andersen, including their official release that was agreed with Mitchell and his team. In mulling over, clearly, the three main areas, the Tour's three main commercial areas that I mentioned, the Ryder Cup, television and the TOUR courses, there is no question that the feedback to myself, from a number of players, and through all levels of the staff here this week following that meeting, the people that go on to the practice ranges and into the player lounge the Fredrik Lindgrens, the Mark McDiarmids, and other members of our senior team, it has become evident to them that a large part of the welling over the last October and November was much more, I think, the perhaps a frustration from the Continent vis-a-vis the Ryder Cup that so much has just changed since really since Kiawah Island when I think, Sandy, you come into the office very shortly thereafter. And if any of my piece this morning feels, any of you, perhaps as the Scottish contingent would question whether there would be would be anymore divides between Sandy and Ken that have more 20 years have stood no further than Ibrox and McDiarmid Park, I really don't think that is going to change that much. The reality is that so much has changed in terms of the Ryder Cup. So much has changed in terms of the continental input into the Tour in less than a decade, maybe, just maybe we have not quite realised that it was such a high percentage point that was causing the, if you like, the call for the inquiry and the report that we've just had. I think that's a large part of it.

Q. Just as an assurance to the people listening, you and Sandy could say that as we sit here on this day, no venue has been ruled in and no venue has been ruled out of the remaining candidate, no one venue has been ruled in or ruled out?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I think we can say that categorically. Sandy and I know that to be the case because we have agreed and we have agreed to a series of visits to the particular venues that have got tour tournaments coming up between June and August, and these we'll go ahead. Occasionally, venues do take a view, and we'd respect it -- I'm sure, so would Sandy, if, hmm, the signs are not looking as good now as they were one day ago or one year ago or a year ago. I think we've had a couple of venues in Scotland take that view, St. Andrews. But I would respect that. I would repeat that we want all of Europe to feel that they can participate in the Ryder Cup in some shape or form, and that includes a strong emphasis on the rotation of venues.

Q. With hindsight, would you rephrase any of the comments attributed to you in Derek's article?

KEN SCHOFIELD: No. The one thing I would want to do with Sandy here, and that's why I made reference to a 20-year relationship as reference for nearly 10, 11 years of that when Sandy was running the Scottish region at Glenberry for those years. Many of you will know that the Tour and the PGA did have difficult waters in getting to the joint venture that was completed, I guess, soon after the Kiawah Island match, and actually, and soon after Sandy came in. Glenberry's doors were always open to me in those days when I was driving north for Easter, Christmas or whatever for family reasons and we had a normal cup of tea. And maybe not everyone realised we were having those cups of tea. And that's the way it was then and that is the way it is today. The comment that I have made and that Derek has used vis-a-vis my being livid in December is, yeah, I made that comment to Derek and I certainly would not withdraw it. But the context of being livid would be in the context of being said in a way, and I think what we saw at that moment and what we see in the venture is that on the commercial sponsorship side, because of the demand of the Tour and the Tour players today, and the pace of the drive of prise money -- we are seeing it here this week and we are seeing it across all of our European Tour, the demands upon us and our staff to perform in the sponsorship arena is very, very intense. Our team did and had to work very hard and did produce those sponsors, which are on the table for our joint use and I think it is more, again, the simple difference the environment that we work in that perhaps our colleagues on the PGA would not quite understand how difficult some of those arrangements can be and the amount of effort that goes in. On that day -- on that day of the 8th of December, Sandy was actually not present; he was in Scotland, and for a good reason, for a sad reason. And it may have been different. But that would be the context of my feeling on that day. I saw the look on a number of my colleagues who had worked long, tried very, very hard, in a very difficult time within the Tour to produce -- I think we said on the day, around 10 million pounds for the venture. And it is in that Tour environment that that is coming and that's probably -- Sandy, I guess that's understandable, isn't it?

SANDY JONES: Yes. As you say, I wasn't present on the 8th of December. I have no idea who said what to who. I would be sorry if you were livid. I would be sorry if you were disappointed. I suppose that when we reflect in my disappointment this morning when I read the Daily Mail. As I said, I don't think you and I ever had any problem going forward. We're certainly not going to have a problem in the future from that point of view. The biggest decision yesterday the Ryder Cup Committee made was to set aside the debate on future strategy, future structure until after this match, because I think in fairness to Sam and the team, we must get a focus of the match and not a devise of debates prior to the match. But equally, as I say, it's been agreed strongly in principle, and as you say, I attended with three of your directors on Wednesday that discussion; that in principle, the Ryder Cup has got to support golf across the whole continent of Europe. It's not supporting it -- as it turns out that 50 percent of golf in Europe is still played in the U.K. as it turns out, but that's just -- which will change, I'm sure as the years go ahead. In fact, in yesterday's meeting, I think it was in my recommendation that the Ryder Cup this year should underwrite the grand finale event on the challenge Tour which is clearly struggling at this stage to find a sponsoring, having been in Cuba last year and having lost the Cuban sponsorship. And it is important to those aspiring players coming through to the main Tour that we have that opportunity of that final event. And the Ryder Cup should be able to utilise the excess profit from the Ryder Cup to support that event and support those initiatives, and I think that's just an indicator on the way forward. And the PGA totally support it. As I say, I myself brought it to the table. I attended a meeting on Tuesday. So there isn't an issue from the British PGA from that point of view, but I think the British PGA can still be an important and significant influence in the development of the game and the importance of the Ryder Cup.

Q. I take it it is you that is going to have to do something about the alarm bells that are now ringing in Scotland?

SANDY JONES: I'd imagine so. I imagine I'll make one or two phone calls. I have not switched my mobile on in the last hour or two, but I imagine there are some messages somewhere in there. And the message to those who have ask the question, has a decision been made: The one when I left yesterday, the venue should put a bid in. There has been no decision made. Ken has already stated that quite clearly this morning and the decision will be made later in the year and announced sometime round about September when the matches are at The Belfry. But there is no decision made on any venue. And I have said that since January when I was accused by the Welsh that I had made the decision the other way around and I had picked Gleneagles. Isn't ironic that I will probably be calling Gleneagles and Celtic Manor over the weekend. In the middle of all this, we shouldn't forget Slaley Hall in the north-east who are working as hard as they can to put their bid forward.

Q. Why doesn't it make more sense to have the bids put in, the inspections made and the decision announced in the years in between Ryder Cups rather than the same year? You say you want the focus on this?

SANDY JONES: Might well do in the future.

Q. You're saying you want to focus on this year's match. Why not have inspections bids, everything else, in the years in between Ryder Cups when there is not a Ryder Cup on, instead of which this one is actually focusing right in on the match? And much as you may wish it is not going to, it is going to?

SANDY JONES: Your point is very valid. As I tried to say earlier, the strategy we have in selection and evolving strategy as I say for many years and we need to tell everybody in this room, Ryder Cup you usually have to and beg to courses: "Will you let us play this match and we'll pay you a fee for the golf course," which seems incredible in today's environment but that's only 20 years ago. So, as Ken says, things have changed significantly now. It could well be that the Ryder Cup committee, as it will do after the match, it will review many things to make sure we did find some things correctly. Some things we could always do better, and it might well be the venue bid process; we will take that view as something for an off-year rather than an on-year. I think your point is well made. It is an evolving situation. I don't think anything is going to stand still in today's world. I think Ken and I are well aware of that. We will try and make sure that we do it and improve it in every way and every format.

KEN SCHOFIELD: I don't have a problem with either your suggestion or Sandy's comments. But that would be in some ways utopia, and we don't, unfortunately get that. The experiences that we had when we lost -- when the Tour in Spain lost the '93 matches, but then gained the '97 matches, we had a very long period of visiting various tournaments, regions, and we had a lot of suggestions from varying people, including the then captain-to-be that the venues would be either suitable or a must, and I can tell you that was not only a very long process, but it was a very painful and public one. We have had several people in this room including Jimmy (Patino), who can certainly attest to that, and certainly Sandy and I could. For Ireland, the Tour felt very strongly; that the next time it had a pick that Ireland we felt had been a great contributor to the Ryder Cup in terms of its players, almost from the inception of the matches and had lost out for whatever reason in previous campaigns. We, therefore, felt, and we had the PGA's support to plumb for Ireland as a nation and announced it at Valderrama because we were able to do it -- I think, the first time and I think Sandy would agree with this, an eight-year plan, an eight-year commercial plan with a nation that happened to be Ireland who had been tremendously supportive of the Tour, and, indeed, the Ryder Cup since the first of January 1998, when we were in the process of having the venue selection. I think this process has been a different one. It has been the first U.K., if you like, selection process, in general terms.

Q. Do you feel in the interest in the Ryder Cup which we know is growing now has moved onto an alarming plateau where it seeps into everything else to do with the European Tour, the PGA, the U.S. Tour; it's almost too big for its own boots?

KEN SCHOFIELD: No. I don't think like the word "alarm". I don't think that's the right word. I think the conduct of the matches, the way the players will play the matches and the way that those spectators who will attend the matches is crucial to the ongoing process. They have been competitive enough now for several years hopefully for that not to become an issue in the next decade. Who knows. But I think if there will be one thing, maybe one thing only that could or would cause alarm, it would be if the intensity or any of the type of scenes that we saw in the last group play to be revisited, I think that could dissuade players perhaps on both teams to take a view that golf is essentially an individual game and the majors would be their chief target. But I don't think we are anywhere near that. There is certainly no evidence of that in the Tour office. And I, therefore, think we can look forward to a period of the Ryder Cup burgeoning on this side of the Atlantic, where clearly we have not the resources -- I think we should both probably point this out that unfortunately we do not have the golf universe tees of America. I think Colin Montgomerie said at the Tour dinner: Golf sales in Florida equal or eclipse that of all of Europe. Certainly, if you look the universe of ABC, NBC and CBS individually and collectively, they dwarf anything that we can mount for anything, even for the Ryder Cup. We need to grow the brand and we need to grow the commercial interest in it very strongly.

Q. Do you ever have a day when you don't have to think about the Ryder Cup?

KEN SCHOFIELD: That's a very good question.

SANDY JONES: I would just like to say in answer to your first question, as well this thing about is it growing too big and are we alarmed by that. I don't think we should be alarmed by that. I think we should welcome the significance the Ryder Cup has on golf, the business of the Tour, the business of the PGA, the development process to try and strengthening development programs. I think we should welcome that. Going back to a previous question, I think that's the challenge for the Tour and our sales and our Ryder Cup joint venture is to make sure that we are properly structured, properly resourced to forward and manage that event which has become large; there's no doubt about that. But will always be equal to it in terms of our management process. And that's a challenge for us going forward, and that's why -- where I say whatever the structure of the joint venture, whatever the strategy for this bustling of the profits of the joint venture is a challenge for us in the future and be able to manage that in a professional way that equals the side of the event. That's what we need to do. As far as the other question, if ever there's a day that goes by that I don't think about the Ryder Cup, I thought today was one I might have got past, but when I read the morning paper, I changed my mind immediately. I had the meeting yesterday; I thought maybe the next 24 hours. But, no, there's not many days, particularly in these months when you are no close to the match, there's not many days when there's not a moment -- when I -- I don't know, I'm sure Ken probably does feel the same. There's not many days that you don't think about it in some sort of form.

Q. Is there a danger of it overwhelming everything else, an event like this?

KEN SCHOFIELD: I don't think so. Really, this is a huge event and has been now for many, many years and hopefully is going to continue in that vain. I don't think there's any doubt about that. Next week is a huge event, as is the week after. My honest answer to Bill -- I actually thought I could think of a day, but I can't. I do look at the points qualifying table virtually every day in the year of qualifying. And I probably look at some other aspect of it, and as you say, in the year when there isn't one.

Q. An awful lot has gone right in the high standard of play, the players, you're going to get a good team together. Would you say looking at this, the bidding process has been rather messy? We've changed the goal post a couple of times in terms of when it was going to be announced and also what was required of the people doing the bidding. I mean, do you feel that the next time you have a bidding process that it will run rather more smoothly?

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, maybe in fairness to Sandy, maybe I could add to what I said to the two processes that we had. This, in fairness to, if you like, the PGA side of the Ryder Cup venture, has been their first efforts, if you like, other than coming forward for the centurion match at The Belfry for this process, because they have supported our two, if you like, lead years of '97 for Valderrama and 2005 for Ireland. Those differed enormously, just as this is differing enormously. But the underlying positive is that two nations, Wales and Scotland, have been in the ring because of a genuine wish to have the Ryder Cup matches and take part in associated programs in golf throughout the scope of golf, along with a very significant region of England. And they have been in there for several months, a long period of time, because of their interest in the game and in securing the Ryder Cup. That has to be very, very positive. I mean, we've got, in the end, in September, one of those three bids almost certain will be successful, and two will be disappointed. Now, that's the way it is. In terms of Ireland for 2005, we've seen that when the K Club became Club became the chosen venue the next clubs that were in line, Mount Juliet, for example is going to have next year's American Express, and those have now become world events themselves. It's not only the Ryder Cup we are talking here. We are talking a program of other major, major events obviously under the Ryder Cup in terms of focus, but events such as the American Express that perhaps as far as the eye can see will alternate between the United States and Europe. We'd actually like to think that a number of those -- either the unsuccessful bids would actually want to stay in the ring for that type of tournament, as Mount Juliet surely did and has been successful.

Q. Would Sandy answer that question as to whether he thinks it's been messy?

SANDY JONES: No, I don't think it has been messy. I think to describe it as messy is far to strong a phrase. When we set off, as Ken said there was no blueprint for us. Not like we were picking up something we had done in the past. He some of the decisions -- or when the goal posts seem to have moved or were erected by other people, not by the Ryder Cup bid process. The Ryder Cup bid process has been quite clear all along.

Q. Even on dates, initial announcements?

SANDY JONES: Yeah. Totally clear. The only thing it changed was in actual fact, we said in our original documentation that we had hoped to announce a nation at the end of January, around the start of this year. When the bid processes come through and the Scots had four potential venues, the Welsh only had one and the north-east only had one, to announce a nation or a territory at that time would have also meant selecting the actual venue. At that point in time, we had not heard the venue bids or support to the match; and therefore, that was impossible. Equally and interestingly, all the groups agreed to this, at the time of the end of January when we would have been forced to make that decision in the original concept was that none of them were satisfying the requirements that were written down in the document. And I personally visited, as you know, all groups within a period of three days; so to try and keep it as compact as we could, and we all accepted that. Everybody accepted that. So I would not say we changed the goal post. We had to change part of it, but there was no change in the goal post.

Q. Can you just clarify one thing? Is just the country chosen in September?

SANDY JONES: When we make the announcement it will be the whole package. That's why we are visiting all of the venues as we are.

KEN SCHOFIELD: To add to the principle that Sandy rightly stated, positive decision taken yesterday by the Ryder Cup committee, the full Ryder Cup committee, the support for this year's challenge Tour in principle, to give kind of a number to show how the Ryder Cup can and with immediate help going to help specifically the challenge Tour, which I think everyone realises is a proven ground for future Ryder Cup players is in the order of 250,000 to 280,000 pounds; so this is a significant sum of money. So one of the pluses that the Tour feels that have been embarked upon as an initiative by the Tours board and embraced by the Ryder Cup committee pre-Andersen, pre- the Andersen report was the nomination from the Tour side of three wise men who care about the Ryder Cup and care about the overall growth of the game. Ken Brown, who has played in Ryder Cup commission. Bjorn Nordberg who was the first captain of the Swedish men's national team and was elected a non-executive director of the Tour's board in November last, he is the chairman of the challenge Tour, he's from Sweden. And Michael Bonallack, who also joined the Tour's board at the end of last year. And under Neil Coles's authority, those three gentlemen have been nominated from the Tour's side to be the recommending group, together with whom Sandy will appoint, to look just at external funds where golf could and should benefit most with the Ryder Cup surpluses, that thankfully and hopefully are expanding and will continue to expand. And I think as Sandy said, I think that statement yesterday, that as a result of that first meeting, the season's challenge tour -- on that level, and that we don't have, if you like, to go back to Cuba; we can probably do it in southern Europe on the first weekend of November. I would suggest as one of the very, very best examples of how Ryder Cup funding can help grow the game.

Q. On Sandy's answer a moment ago that September would come the announcement of country and venue, I understand Ken to say to Jeff a while ago that September would be the country and not the venue.

KEN SCHOFIELD: Well, I apologise if I've given that impression. I would have thought in September we would come forward with the country and the venue. I think that's how we really see it.

SANDY JONES: Definitely.

KEN SCHOFIELD: I think the point is that the perception that it may have been made or a commitment was made -- this was mentioned to me in other colleagues in January in Australia that was going to be there for one, two -- some of the correspondents for three weeks and wondered if they would miss the nomination of the Ryder Cup country, if not venue -- and we discussed it, didn't we, Sandy -- that we had really not set January as a deadline. May be it had been perceived as such Sandy. It was the initial intention, but, A, the structure of the bids did not allow it, and B, the actual bidding groups themselves could not satisfy at that moment in time the requirements of the bid. So everybody needed a bit more time. I there was no debate on that.

GORDON SIMPSON: Ken, Sandy, thank you so much.

End of FastScripts....

About ASAP SportsFastScripts ArchiveRecent InterviewsCaptioningUpcoming EventsContact Us
FastScripts | Events Covered | Our Clients | Other Services | ASAP in the News | Site Map | Job Opportunities | Links
ASAP Sports, Inc. | T: 1.212 385 0297