September 16, 2003
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Welcome, everybody, this week to the inaugural 84 Lumbar Classic of Pennsylvania. We are delighted to be here. I think everybody remembers back to last year when we announced this competition and that we would be playing here at this course. I know the players are going to have a great week here, given the facilities that you have now all seen and the quality of the hotel and the operation and the staff here is impeccable. I just went around the golf course and it is in great condition. Pete Dye has been keeping me informed of all the work that's gone on in the last year. It really looks superb.
I'd like to thank in particular the company founder, Joe Hardy, not just for sponsoring this tournament but for making it happen, lending his daughter, Maggie, to the oversight position she has assumed. She's put a lot of energy and enthusiasm to what is going to be really a great start to the tournament.
It's unusual that we don't have more folks down here, first year of a tournament and a lot of effort has gone into that. On that point I'd also like to recognize tournament director Ed O'Neill (ph) and the work he has done in terms of putting this thing together, staging, the quality of the staging, the level of operation, the expertise that's been developed, the volunteers, just a super job.
I'd also like to commend Joe on the selection of Pittsburgh Medical Center as the charitable recipient, which is a nice extension of the PGA TOUR philosophy of giving back to the community that we play and helping charities in the area. We are delighted with this relationship. We are excited about our future partnership and beginning this week with 84 Lumber. I know it's going to be a great week. With that, let me ask Joe Hardy to say a few words.
JOE HARDY: As we keep saying we are deliriously happy. We continue to thank -- if you don't have volunteers, you do not have a tournament, absolutely. Again, I think we did a novel thing, we had the caddies come here about six or eight weeks ago; that was very successful. We'll continue to do that.
Again, I just have to thank, thank everybody for the cooperation. Everything was so smooth and I do want to mention to Eric again that he really was a worker, is a worker. And again I'm flattered that Tim took time off out of his schedule to come up on this inauguration. I really do thank Tim for coming up here and looking around and seeing what we are trying to do and it's very, very fulfilling that he takes that interest in this tournament we have today.
My words are thank you, everyone. We'll keep trying to get better and better and better. We have plans after the thing to immediately start a very, very lovely, lovely clubhouse that we think will get national attention. I know Maggie and myself and all of the families and the friends of 84 will be certainly involved and we are just thrilled that we have reached sort of a pinnacle.
Again I want to say thank you very much for paying attention and to show up here. Thank you very much.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We have another announcement, but before, I'd like to comment on the clubhouse. I've looked around the clubhouse. Maggie mentioned to me the clubhouse will be done next August 1. If you look at the rendering of the clubhouse and you consider it's going to be built between now and August 1, that's impressive. I know Joe -- I'm going to take the liberty of injecting myself into the county politics, but I know Joe is a candidate for County Commissioner. If he can build this clubhouse between now and August 1, if you're a voter and you want to get something done, here is your guy. That's pretty amazing.
We do have another significant announcement we would like to make, and I was hopeful that I would be assisting in this announcement with a special guest who is either delayed, but we know he's at least late. He informed me he would be a little late, but in the interest of time we'll move forward.
As you might know, one of the most valuable things we do for players out here, player service area is provide for them a place to maintain their physical fitness and what we call our traveling fitness facilities. We have two on the Champions Tour, two on the PGA TOUR, with the huge increase in the focus on physical fitness in the last five or ten years. These facilities are in great demand, they are heavily used, we have therapy, big operations going on as well, as well as physical fitness operations going on in these trailers. There have been a lost instances where these facilities -- inaudible -- from in terms of maintaining our field strength and primarily it's player service. In an age when golf has become a sport where physical fitness is paramount to be able to compete, they take on unique importance.
With that said I'm pleased to announce at the beginning of 2004, Physiotherapy Associates of Memphis, a division of Stryker Corporation, will become the sponsor of our fitness therapy program on both tours. This is a five-year commitment. It is a healthy, strong commitment and partnership. That will ensure our ability to provide facilities to our players on all tours over an extended period of time.
In addition, Physiotherapy owns and operates nearly 400 physiotherapy facilities throughout the country. These facilities in addition will be available to our players, as well.
We want to thank the Stryker Corporation, in particular the Physiotherapy division and our guest, who I understand who is now arriving.
Just by way of background, I have just given an overview of the relationship that we are embarking upon, enthusiasm that we have and our players are going to have with this relationship and the fact that not only is this a five-year commitment, and our commitment to the players.
I would like Jason Blackwood, who is the CEO of Physiotherapy, and I'd be delighted if he could make comments about what the corporations are all about.
JASON BLACKWOOD: Thank you very much. It's a pleasure to be here to talk about one of my favorite topics. Stryker Corporation is probably the world's leading orthopedic device companies today. Known largely for manufacturing hips and knee replacements, as well as arthroscopy equipment and hospital beds and other medical device, Physiotherapy Associates is the other service in Stryker Corp. closely related in that we both serve orthopedic surgeons. Today we is see about 10,000 patients a day the majority of them are outpatients, people are trying to get back to what they love to do at work or at play. You see a lot of golf and I think an awful lot of what we learn in serving these elite athletes is going to translate well into other communities.
We have about 400 locations today in about 3300 employees. We are very proud of this relationship. We can think of no finer organization for the PGA TOUR, and by extension the charities the Tour serves as well as the athletes. It makes an awful lot of sense to have an orthopedic company support. We are going to give a lot and in return learn a great deal. I am very happy for the relationship and grateful for the opportunity and look forward to a good, long five-year run.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: As you know, we had more turnover in the last three years than any time, the most certainly since the last recession in 1990, but even more. The announcement in two weeks was virtually set, fully-sponsored for next year, but this was a major step in getting to this point. And now as we complete that process, it allows us to turn our attention to 2006 and start to work on that schedule. Having Joe's commitment was integral to that happening.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We are assuming at the October USGA meeting that they will approve moving from a COR measurement to a CT measurement, which is equivalent and that allows us to use a pendulum testing to measure clubs. It is our intention to employ the new machine that measures CT in January, at the latest. And we assume that first actually every player that measures drivers -- the manufacturers have been offered a free license and the technology to be able to have their own machines. You'll see some manufacturers testing their drivers before they give it to a player. A lot of players will ask manufacturers, "Do you have a process where you test it?" I honestly believe that within six weeks after employing the machine, it is going to be yesterday's news. I don't think it's going to be that big of an issue. That's where we are headed.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: It will be voluntary. And of course, as we go forward, this is one of those areas where we are not right now in a position to measure -- inaudible -- we can measure grooves. We can take a sampling of golf balls and we can measure the length of the driver. We can check a putter to see -- inaudible -- with the driving head, you have to tear it apart currently and so it's not suitable for us to measure. With the pendulum tester, it will allow us to measure on site. What that means if there was an issue, we have the ability to acquire a test, if for some reason or another they had reason to believe a driver was non-conforming. But for that very reason, I think as I said, every player will be testing it down the road and take the mystery out of the equation.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: There is or should be -- the way the rule is structured is it's tolerance level. If a manufacturer is required to construct a driver in such a way to make sure it does not exceed the tolerance level that would probably be -- so you don't build it to .083. You build it to achieve some room for tolerance. That's just the nature of everything. We anticipate manufacturers will do that. Based on all of the analytics that we have done, we have outside institutions, the USGA has had outside reviews of it. We think it is accurate, predictable.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: My understanding is it the weather is headed the other way so we are not worried, seriously.
Yes, we are in the path, current projected path in our Champions Tour in Raleigh, North Carolina and to some extent perhaps not as much, up here, for at least rainfall. We are watching, we are watching the storm. We are looking at all options. Our staffs will be collaborating during the day tomorrow just like we would in a normal week. This is just a storm that has a little bit more wind to it and possibly more rain. If we are on the west side of the storm, typically you don't get as much wind as the northeast quadrant of the storm. If it does follow its projected path, we think it's not unreasonable we could be back playing golf. If we lose playing golf on the weekend, we will plan accordingly.
End of FastScripts.