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March 2, 1999

Tom Burke

John Cook

Steve Evans

Tim Finchem


BOB COMBS: Good morning. Welcome ladies and gentlemen from the media. We really appreciate you taking your time to be here with us. And also welcome to a number of our friends here from IBM today for this important announcement. I am Bob Combs of the PGA TOUR. Before we describe the announce that we are here today to discuss in detail, let me introduce our participants. To my immediate left is Tim Finchem, Commissioner of the PGA TOUR. To Tim's left is Tom Burke, Senior Manager of Sports Marketing for the IBM company. And to the left of Tom is John Cook, 10-time winner on the PGA TOUR and a member of the PGA TOUR Policy Board, Player Director on our board. As you know our players are independent businessmen, and their life on the road for 25 to 30 weeks a year is a challenge. One of our organizational missions is to provide them with tools to make their work lives as athletes and as businessmen more productive and easier. And what we are here to talk about today is a breakthrough application of IBM technology to the challenge that our athletes face week-in and week-out in their professional lives. It is exciting. It is unique. It is first in sports. And we are thrilled that you took the time to come here with us today to learn more about it. So to introduce the highlights of the program, I'd like to ask our Commissioner, Tim Finchem to come forward, please.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Thanks, Bob. (APPLAUSE). Who is that? (laughter) About three years ago we started to focus on the question of how we might use new technologies to impact not just the business lives of our players, but also the ability to communicate effectively with our membership and our players. Two years ago or almost two years ago I guess it was, Tom, when we expanded our relationship with IBM, we began a research and development project to determine how such a program could come together. Last year, having to find the outline of a program, we developed a core group of 20 players who worked with a team of our staff and IBM personnel that formed working group, combination of PGA TOUR, PGA TOUR players and IBM to create what is now known as PGA TOUR Links. What you are going to see today is some of the applications of PGA TOUR Links; how PGA TOUR Links can be used to impact the day-to-day life of a player, the interaction of a player with a tournament, the interaction of the player with our tournament organization. I think right now about 30 percent or more of our commitment are coming electronically for example. We have over 180 players, maybe close to 200 players who have received a computer and have been educated on the basics of TOUR Links. Next year we will have -- this year we had the same core group working on the SENIOR TOUR and we will roll out the same program to the SENIOR TOUR next year. The other dimension from the standpoint, other than the players own business and their ability to access their own statistical performance, their own financial performance in our player retirement plan, numerous and sundry information about our tournaments, the ability to pull up and check information about changes in the golf courses, et cetera, is our ability to communicate with the players electronically. This will provide us, as we become on stream by the end of the year, the ability to pole the players on their attitudes regarding any number of issues and make that information available to our Player Advisory Counsel and our board. The ability to take votes of the players -- like right now we have an election pending for new player director on the PGA TOUR board; the ability to take votes on things like Player-of-the-Year, we don't have to have an extended period of time between when we want to do the Awards Presentation and the end of the season. So it opens up a whole range of new communication benefits between the TOUR as an organization, the players, and we are delighted that John Cook is joining us today to help us demonstrate it to you. First I'd like to introduce Tom Burke. Tom Burke is the Managing Director of Sports Marketing for IBM. He has been involved with the Tour for extended period of time, a good number of years, but he has had the vision with us to see how the IBM relationship could grow with the PGA TOUR and how to use the IBM focus on networking to impact in a truly unique way, the communication between the players and the TOUR. One of the things we are proudest of is we are the first major sport that has been able to internet-connect to all of our players. I'd like to introduce Tom Burke.

TOM BURKE: A couple of us were talking last night about how the IBM/PGA TOUR relationship got started. It was actually back in late 1991, and it was based on the needs of the TOUR at the time to communicate better in terms of scoring information for you folks, the press, and for the broadcasters. So back in 1992 we developed what was called then a state of the art scoring system. From there we worked with the Tour in terms of their communications internally in their headquarters. And then late 1997, we worked with building a more robust web site, PGA TOUR.com to expand the TOUR's brand and information to all the golf enthusiasts around the world. But I would tell you, this was our biggest challenge in terms of helping the TOUR communicate with their players. We didn't have anything on the shelf, and so the way we had to approach it is we will put our folks in a room with your folks, but we are coming with a blank piece of paper and you have to tell us really the life of a Tour player. And John Cook has to tell us what we can really do to help him manage his life better. So it was a great learning experience for us. I will tell you what it isn't. It isn't a program to give people Think Pads. We don't have any need to find more people who want a Think Pad. What it was was an opportunity for us to develop a solution for kind of a unique group of athletes. And what makes them unique to us, is the fact that they make their own decisions, and they run their own lives on the road versus a team player. So we are very excited with the end result. I think the only surprise to us is how quickly this program has been rolled out. I would tell you that I forecast for this year about 50 players using this system. I was way off, so, but we are very excited about it. We think the TOUR has given us a great opportunity to develop for IBM something that we can advertise and promote, with highly visible athletes who are very well thought of. So, we are very excited about it. Now, I will let Bob come back and talk to you.

BOB COMBS: Thanks, Tom. IBM has been a tremendous partner in terms of dedicating resources to make this work. But within the TOUR, of course, we have a core group of Information Systems people that really are the link between us and our players and us and IBM. In heading up our core group is a gentleman I'd like to introduce now, and that is Steve Evans who is the TOUR Director of Information Systems, Steve.

STEVE EVANS: I thought what I'd talk to you about was -- take you back a year ago when we brought the team of IBM people into the TOUR and started educating them on the PGA TOUR Tournament lifestyles and PGA TOUR players. And as Tom mentioned, they really did come in with a blank piece of paper and asked a lot of questions. And I have to give them tremendous credit for doing a great job of listening. I think the product that you are going to see here this afternoon showed that they did a great job of listening and built a really good tool. Some of the challenges that we had to work through were players have -- they are in a mobile environment. They are moving from week-to-week. We needed to give them accurate and timely information so the computer made a lot of sense there. We needed ease of use and needed a program that we can handle training very quickly. We get about three hours to train each player, so we have a program that would be easily trained. The other part of it is as Tom alluded to was finding a way to hide the technology, make it easy. There is tremendous amounts of technology behind this product, but when the player uses it, he doesn't see the technology, he just gets a really easy-to-use machine. Key areas for players were the ability to do electronic registration; access to tournament information. In the past, tournament sponsors have been mailing packages to player players, and with a computer system, we can get that information updated and sent to players as things change and don't have to worry about sending paper packages out in the mail. We have incorporated newsletters, player handbooks and all sorts of other print-related material from the past. It is now available electronically. One interesting facet of this system that I have never really seen is this system is built to work in an off-line mode, so the player can have access to all this content and all this information without being connected to the phone line. What he does is he plugs the system in, replicates the information from the IBM servers, and then he can take the laptop with him on the plane and be completely up-to-date. What I'd like to do now is have John Cook come up. John was a big member of our core group of players, offered a lot of insight and helped the IBM team really learn what we needed in this program and I'd like John to share some of his comments with you.

JOHN COOK: As Steve said, I was a member of the core group and started a little bit later in the year than some of the other guys. But what the players really saw was, you know, the patience that the IBM people and the PGA TOUR Links staff, the patience that they had with the players and us trying to communicate our ideas and try to get it all working together. They basically took a totally computer-illiterate person and turned me into something that I can now turn it on and get through a couple of things. So that in itself shows the progress that we have made in this program. It is fun to be able to talk to my kids about other things now besides don't do that and don't do this, but you know, how do I get into this and come here look at this, and you know, I can e-mail them back and forth and it is really -- it is something new to us. I mean, my basic computer experience was in college with a bunch of stacks of cards and trying to get from one card to the next without blowing the computer up. They showed tremendous patience with us players, and I think it has opened up the line of communication a little freer, a little easier. So we are basically very thankful for this opportunity that IBM has given us and working together and, you know, rather than talk more about it, let me show you maybe my little daily routine on what I go through and, you know, I think that we are talking about the only problems that we can see is for guys that have that early morning tee time, you get on after dinner and by the time that you figure out, it's midnight or one o'clock, and you got to be up at 5 o'clock. That is about the only draw back we have. So let me run you through some of what I try to do: Bear with me on this. I am barely literate now: Up-to-date pictures as we can see. First off, you get to see my ugly face here, that is always a nice view in the morning when you are trying to replicate your stuff. But usually you go through a couple of things and you jump in there. As you can see, we have a whole scene of bulletin boards and that is just comments from players that they can put through. But they might want just little comments, little opinions of things. As you can see here, I have got my five-month schedule, tournaments that I have committed to. My commitment numbers, so that that is on file. Sometimes things used to get crossed and this happened to me a couple of times was I thought I had committed for a tournament and remember calling and doing all of that. I didn't write down my confirmation number, and I get to the tournament, try to check in, you are not in. Sorry. Where is your number? Oh, well, I lost that sheet of paper too. Well now we have got everything right here. So, you can commit all the way up through the end of the year. I try to commit a few months in advance, so I know exactly pretty much my schedule, where I am going to go. Basically what I would try to do is then I get into my e-mail and it comes up. It's got address books, so you have got everybody else's e-mail addresses. This is all some stuff that I have kept, things that I might have to e-mail back some people. I have got my room for The Masters. I kept that "As done in September", that is how far before we got to do it, so, I will go through that and try to get myself brought up-to-date on that. It is a nice way to communicate with people. I don't like talking on the phone much, so this is a perfect way for me to communicate to some people that you just don't have the time to sit down for a half an hour and try to catch up. So it is fun to do that. Our green sheet is what we use. We still do, but you can either pick it up in the locker room, you can get it in the mail, it has just got up-to-date little blurbs on things that are going on, schedule meetings, you can run through that. That is always kind of interesting to do. Then this will hook you right up to the internet. What they have you do early on is -- and I didn't know my personal internet listing, what that might be, and they explained to you what kind of web sites do you want to get into. Do you have something that you just want to be able to be able to go right into right away. So I will check some of that. These are my BMW, Van Halen, Jim Rome, everybody's favorite, get into Yahoo, which is a nice little search aid that you can punch in anything, Ohio State Football and 150 web sites will come up. So, that is kind of fun to get into. Try to goof around with that. There is ways in here that I have got my stocks down that I can check that, bring that up, you know, totally up-to-date, or up to the minute, or up to 15 minutes anyway. So you can check that and see how your stocks are performing. Something that I use quite a bit is the money list in the world rankings, that goes through all your stats, where you are on that stat list, used to come up and check in the media room and see what you were doing. And this really is a nice way to check all those, 1986, that is -- that is not a good start, but as you can -- you can check all -- all your stats from not only money, world money, your world ranking, that was -- that was coming into play for, I know, a lot of guys early part of this year to see where they need to get to for that 64. These are my individual stats, so, I see up-to-date -- up to the day, I think they bring everything up-to-date Sunday, they try to get it done Sunday so you can see it on Monday and they do a pretty good job. It is pretty quick there. So I will check that. You can always check your retirement, how your retirement stuff is doing. You can get right into pgatour.com which is a lot of fun. Live scoring, you all know about that. But it is kind of fun to check into when I am home and trying to find out what some of my buddies are doing, you just punch right into real scoring. It is absolutely up-to-date, right up to the hole that they are playing and where they are going. So that is pretty fun. We get into that and one thing that is very useful is the tournament info, and a lot of the tournaments have web sites. We will just go right here to the Doral and you can pretty much see what is on there. There is the accommodation information, transportation information. You can set up rides to and from the airport; whether you are going to get a car; something that doesn't affect me a whole lot anymore because my kids are all teenagers, but child care, you can register your kids into child care and get all the information and all that. Just a lot of useful stuff that us as players trying to coordinate our time a little bit better. This just kind of consolidates for us and makes things a little bit easier to track and to communicate. You can find out the weather patterns on what is going to be here in Miami, you know, next few days and you need to track that from how we are going to pack and if you are going to be going from Miami to who-knows-where, and how much stuff you are going to have to pack. You can kind of get into that. It is very useful. There is a couple of other interesting things, programs on there like a -- PointCast is a program that again you can follow weather, your stocks, it's got up-to-date sports information. You can see we got games on there, they have already downloaded some games that you can play, play on the plane. Basically get into all kinds of stuff. Here is a PointCast thing with kind of a rotating weather deal. You can personalize your channels. I can again check my stocks, doing all that. Red is not good by the way, that is not a good thing. (indicating the red portion of stock portfolio). So we need to turn that around. But you can get into sports which they have got columnist -- they have got all kinds of things that you -- it is very much up-to-date. Through this site here too you can get into golf on line. You can get all kinds of things, so, it is a good way to pack in a nice evening to get some things done, find out some information that is very useful and that is basically what I do maybe after dinner. I am pretty aware of my tee times, so I have a cut off time that I need to get this done by, but you can have a lot of fun with it and again, it has really opened up a line of communication between the players and the Tour and again, can't stress enough how patient both -- all sides were in creating this program and giving us this opportunity.

BOB COMBS: Thank you, John. I think you can see even at this earliest stage of this rollout, it is rich in its detail and it is only going to become more so. We will be happy to entertain any questions you might have.

Q. I think it is impressive. The program certainly is impressive, but the instruction that you have obviously given these players is very impressive. You just didn't give them the product and say: Good-bye and good luck, have fun with it. You made them feel comfortable with the ability to utilize it.

TOM BURKE: I will tell you, we knew we had to give them instruction, but the other reason was self-serving, to be honest with you on IBM's part. We thought by setting up an educational program for four hours, it would force them to show their commitment that they wanted to do this before we gave them a pretty nice Think Pad. We were just blown away by the initial training sessions and the number of players and their wives who came to this session. We are probably months ahead of where we thought we would be and that just tells us that we hit the nail on the head in terms of the solution.

Q. Ratio is about three students to each instructor or something like that? I remember from --

STEVE EVANS: 3 to 1 ratio.

Q. What percentage of -- any guess what percentage of the players were like you, who really weren't up on computers before this started?

JOHN COOK: 99, probably. I know that there are some guys that actually did travel with one and knew a little bit about it. I would say in the 90% range, guys really didn't have a whole lot of an idea of -- you know, we have always talked -- my wife and I talked about it for years, oh, wouldn't it be real nice and be pretty easy if we got some laptop stuff. A few years ago, I actually was on board with Think Pad and with IBM and they had made up a little program for me and I didn't use it at that time. I just -- I didn't know much about it. We didn't have this whole opportunity of getting everybody together and really creating programs that would be useful and easy for someone like myself to do. So I think that now it is kind of a talk amongst players on, stuff that they are doing and I got into some place last night, you should do it and try it. They would say, John, you were in the core group, you know, how do you do this. It really becomes a nice topic of conversation.

Q. How would you know, if you had an important piece of information to get out, that they are actually getting it?

STEVE EVANS: We have an urgent update section so as soon as you log up, there is a pop-up screen that will come right up on the computer screen. We also have logs of who has used the computer and when so we can track that.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: You have to deal with the urgent message. You just can't --

STEVE EVANS: That is right, you have to acknowledge that you have received the urgent message before you do anything else.

Q. They have a password, it is proprietary to the PGA TOUR?

STEVE EVANS: That is right. It is a very secure system. There are Passwords. It is based on the internet and we use a firewall technology to basically keep everybody else out.

Q. Can the players e-mail each other too?

STEVE EVANS: Absolutely.

Q. Do they have to know the screen names to be able to e-mail each other, is there a buddy list?

JOHN COOK: There is a search that you can search for the names. I think that they also give you in your address book, it was already pretty much set up with the core group, we had everybody's e-mail address and you basically could, you know, e-mail somebody from that. But they did show us how to search for someone else's if it is on somewhere, it can be found, so, yeah, we can e-mail back and forth.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: They can also e-mail me directly which is one of the interesting things in this system. I am not sure I agree with that, but..... (laughter). We are getting good volume.

Q. Have you gotten a lot of e-mail already?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: A lot of them when they come on the system after their first session, they immediately say something to me, and then they get a little more aggressive later on. (laughter).

Q. How much does it help with keeping up with expenses and can you also book airfare and plane reservations?

JOHN COOK: I am sure there are ways to do that. Expense part, yeah, you can right up-to-the-day your daily expense reports and again there is a way to e-mail that back to your office or whoever does your books, you can do that right away and send that. So that is very much up-to-date. So we are still just trying to keep learning how to use that system. Airfares, I am sure there is a way to do that. I don't use that part because we have Erica out here, but there is ways, I am sure, to access that.

STEVE EVANS: We are working with Delta to enable that portion where the players will electronically be able to register with tickets and receive the pricing right on the computer system.

Q. Is this transferable to other businesses, the same programming?


TOM BURKE: Absolutely. I think that we look at it along the lines of the small business. These guys are independent contractors running their own business, so we are going to translate this to what we can do for small businesses or large businesses that have a very mobile work force or road warrior.

Q. Did I understand you to say this is the first sport with a program like this?

TOM BURKE: Absolutely. A lot revolves around the fact we have a number of sport sponsorships, but most of them are with leagues and teams which have a totally different set of needs and wants than a PGA TOUR player.

Q. What percentage of players are using it?

STEVE EVANS: Well, we have got 204 players through the bottom of the Q-School exempt list and we have rolled out 180 of them so far. We have gotten another 16 that have signed up and they are get their laptops in the next three weeks.

Q. Any ideas how many are active with it? All of them?

STEVE EVANS: I would say from the stats that I read a couple of weeks ago, we have got -- the majority of the players are using it and they are averaging about an hour a day. Is that about what you'd say, John?

JOHN COOK: About right, yeah. I think most everybody that has received it. I thought that I would get it and receive it and, you know, then it would just kind of go the way like a lot of other stuff I get and receive and that is basically not to spend too much time on it, but it really started to intrigue me and I think that is kind of the word through everybody else's, it is kind of fun to do. It is something that they want to learn more about and so the usage is up pretty high.

Q. Commissioner, how did you determine who gets them, let's say at end of this year if they don't qualify for lack of a better word, do they have to turn them in at the end of the year?

TOM BURKE: I think if a fellow doesn't qualify he has got enough hardship in his life than giving me a back a Think Pad. We have the same situation with NBA coaches where we provide a lot of technology to NBA coaches and the life expectancy there isn't that long, so I think what the deal will be is we will just look at it individually and I think what we -- that person will probably not have the full access to or maybe not even need the access to the PGA TOUR link, Player Links itself.

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: We have -- obviously all the exempt players are covered. We have some non-exempt players who play a fair amount, who would like to be part of the program and we are trying to work on that and do that over the next couple of years. But our next priority is the exempt players on the SENIOR TOUR and we will have the same issue over there. So eventually we will expand the network. We want to include any player who has regular access, out here is our main interest.

Q. You haven't gone to the SENIOR TOUR yet?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Next year. We roll out next year on the SENIOR TOUR.

Q. Do you anticipate maybe resistance because of the older age of those players maybe not wanting to join the computer world?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: No, actually, to be honest, I think the interest there will be as high or greater and the reason is that players on the SENIOR TOUR, they have a little more time. They have less family constraints and they are very involved in their business activity and this is a real -- some of them are already actively using some form of computer support on a regular basis. So I mean, I think the enthusiasm on the SENIOR TOUR is very high. They are all asking when we are going to get it over there. Some of them have sort of said: Hey, I am still exempt on the regular Tour - you know who I am talking about - there is a number of guys and I should get a computer now. So we had to deal with that issue. So, no, I don't think that is going to be a problem. I think we are going to see a lot of usage over there too.

Q. Is it the same core group that did this that is helping the seniors or is it a core group of seniors?

COMMISSIONER FINCHEM: Core group of seniors.

Q. How much is a laptop worth, around four grand?

TOM BURKE: We saw an ad in the paper that you can buy these one this morning for, I think it was 3,999. I am not sure it's got all the bells and whistles.

Q. Who is the computer expert on the TOUR? Who is the real whiz, anybody?

JOHN COOK: I would say no. I guess Justin has had his for a while. There is couple of guys that were in the core group that knew a lot more than some of the other guys, so it was kind of fun listening to them and they just had a lot more experience on it. I think David Edwards was.

STEVE EVANS: Frank Nobilo.

JOHN COOK: Was Scott McCarron, he had some experience on it. So there were some guys that had more experience than other guys. Basically I had zero, nothing. Nothing. I didn't know how to do anything.

STEVE EVANS: That was part of our goal too was to find players in the core group that had different levels of experience so we could deal with coming up with training programs for each of the different skills sets.

Q. John, have you found yourself in the room instant messaging another player who might be in the same hotel room, talking back and forth by computer instead of by telephone?

JOHN COOK: Not yet, but there has been times where yeah, you'd want to do that. Like I can't believe what you did out there. (Laughter) Haven't received any fines on this yet, so I am just waiting for that. (laughter). Make sure the officials don't get their hands on any, because that could be trouble.

Q. How much will it help you as a player director to have a handle on particular issues before the board, such and such percentage of players think this way, another percentage that way, do you think it is going to help you make better decisions overall?

JOHN COOK: I think so. That is one of my, you know, why I was interested in being on the board was to help the whole core of the group of players and listen to what they had to say and I have a specific time that, you know, I would like to talk to players about what is on their mind. There is definitely some times that I don't want to talk about what is going on. I think that -- and I think that this is a way for them to communicate with me with the other members of the board, so you can get back to your room and if you didn't get a chance to talk, sit down, and talk to somebody, they can message you or e-mail you and that way you are up-to-date with what everybody does. I think it is a great tool for the direction that I want -- or the participation that I want to be on the board. I think it is going to help quite a bit. Like I said, I don't want to be out playing, trying to win a golf tournament and talking about issues. I am trying to tell guys that, you know, I'd love to talk to you at the right point and time and let me know anybody's ideas on anything. So hopefully -- they have my e-mail address and they can write to me right away.

BOB COMBS: I really appreciate all of your interest in our program and what our folks had to say. We especially appreciate the time John Cook has given us because he is in the tournament and Tom Burke for the announcement. You might find it interesting, on this side of the room there are a number of demo units that you might want to take a look at; get a hands-on feeling for the technology involved. So please help yourself to that. And thanks again for taking the time to be with us today, we really appreciate it.

End of FastScripts....

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