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November 17, 2013
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for your attendance here with us this afternoon on the final day of our 2013 season.
This has been a season which has once again illustrated the true extent and the scope of The European Tour's global footprint.¬† From the outset in South Africa last December to here in Dubai 11 months later, we have visited 25 countries across all five continents of the world.¬† In total, 265 players representing 30 different nationalities have played in our tournaments this year.¬† With this being the 46th and final counting event on the 2013 Race to Dubai.
Joining me on stage this afternoon are two men I know you know well:¬† Chief Executive of The European Tour, George O'Grady, and Chief Operating Officer and Director of International Policy for the Tour, Keith Waters, both of whom will take questions from the floor during the course of the afternoon.
Before then, however, George has a number of areas to address.¬† The first one of these being a review of the 2013 season.¬† However, before we hear from our Chief Executive, let's remind ourselves of some of the many thrilling moments which have gone to make up the 2013 European Tour International Schedule.
Ladies and gentlemen, Chief Executive of The European Tour, Mr.George O'Grady.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Ladies and gents, welcome and thank you for your support for the whole year.¬† Those of you that follow the Tour throughout, and everybody here in Dubai, thank you for following us and following us on the dream of The Race to Dubai and on developments here at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
Perhaps I'd just initially welcome some gentlemen in the front row.¬† Yousuf Kazim, General Manager of the Jumeirah Golf Estates, since you've taken over at the beginning of the year, the progress here has been outstanding and we could not be happier with you.¬† Neal Graham, your general manager of club operations, you look after all our staff and it's a pleasure to be here.
DP World had the vision to be with this tournament since the beginning.¬† Eirik Hooper, please pass our thanks back to your chairman and everyone connected with the company.
And representatives in the room of the other companies who sponsor us:¬† Roger Duthie from Emirates, Jean‑noel Bioul from Rolex, our pals at BMW are all there and supporting us.
If you review a season, you don't need me to take you through all the highlights, because you write about the game; you probably know more about it than I do in a sense.¬† But you have to mention Justin Rose winning the United States Open; Henrik Stenson who is the Ironman on both sides of the Atlantic.
But other great things from the American influence playing here now, Peter Uihlein here; Brooks Koepka, as well coming through The Challenge Tour and through the season, and all the other great performances that we have across the stage.
I think our strategy for The European Tour around the world is to develop by partnerships.¬† The Sunshine Tour has become stronger; you'll see in the release package you have what we do with them, seven events on the Sunshine Tour plus the Volvo Champions event.¬† We have partnerships with governments, the tourist boards and sponsors that really understand our need to grow the game and develop all the values that golf stands for.
Earlier this week, we announced a ten‑year agreement with Rolex, which will give us the wherewithal to develop into countries the way we think golf should go, and our strategy aligns with theirs.¬† We couldn't be more delighted to have them on board and joining other big corporate sponsors across the world.
The Federations you see, across Europe have kept our Challenge Tour going, and they keep growing the game.¬† We keep coming back to the influence of the Olympic Games on golf, and the belief it gives to the amateur bodies to really develop youth programmes.
When we come on to look at all the different tournaments we have, we brought tournaments into two new countries this year in Turkey, an outstandingly successful event, and in Bulgaria with the Volvo World Match Play.
We have representatives here in the room joining us this week who have come from Denmark and from the Czech Republic.¬† When you talk to the Czech Republic promoters who are very skilled in what they are aiming for, it's not just the quality of the player who plays in their tournament.¬† Their aim is to develop a young Czech player who will play in the Olympic Games one day, and that's the way we have for giving goals for people to strive.
Our relationship with the bodies that run the major golf championships are really at an all‑time high with Augusta, the USGA and the U.S. Open, The PGA of America, our partner in The Ryder Cup, and of course the Royal and Ancient Golf Club, our relationships couldn't be better at the current time.
We see that in China with the CGA.¬† The HSBC Champions was our 42nd event in China in partnership with the Chinese Golf Association.¬† We held our first significant Challenge Tour event there this year, and we joined with them in announcing the Nanjing Training Academy, which is seeing so many great young Chinese players coming to the fore.
In a business sense, we referred, also, on Wednesday to the announcement of our new ten‑year agreement with the Golf Channel and NBC in the United States.¬† That may not get full traction back in Europe, but to all our partners and government partners, our sponsorship partners, to have that big visibility in the States is very important. We are going to run more tournaments on NBC television; we were delighted with the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open this year which was showcased on NBC in America for the first time with tremendous viewing ratings.¬† I do admit, we were helped by Phil Mickelson winning the tournament in his own particular style.
I think we might just take a break there, Scott, and move on before I come to the Final Series and The Race to Dubai.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Absolutely.¬† As our Chief Executive just touched, one of the innovations to be unveiled in 2013 has been The Final Series, a group of four season‑ending tournaments spanning China, Turkey and here in Dubai, which together have offered a combined total of $30million in prize money for the players.
As we stand here, we have completed 15 of the 16 rounds which go to make up The Final Series.¬† Before George talks about the overall concept, let's remind ourselves of the excitement that the Final Series has given us so far.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† I'd like to emphasise one point at the beginning of this review in The Final Series.¬† We introduced these regulations with the full consultation of firstly, our tournament committee; secondly, all of the promoters of the eventsand finally player managers and individual promoters who work on the ground.
The European Tour, and I, personally, share the disappointment that three leading players are not here in Dubai because they didn't fulfill some of those regulations that were introduced.¬† Personally, any event not to have Ernie Els, Sergio Garcia and Charl Schwartzel playing is missing something.¬† These three players really want to play here in Dubai.¬† Every other tournament in the world spends their time trying to persuade them to play in their event and we have a rule that stopped them playing here.
So I say to our partners here in Dubai, we are going to try and make sure that doesn't happen again.¬† They really want to play the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, and that's I think a measure of the standing of this championship what we have achieved; that we have them really wanting to join us on this week.
I think it's fair to say, we underestimated the amount of golf our leading members have played after the FedExCup, which has so much at stake, and after The Presidents Cup for our international players.¬† We also underestimated how much they play on the OneAsia Tour, The Asia Tour, Japan and the PGA TOUR before they came to our Final Series. The Final Series brought really good promoters and really good sponsors to the table, and we will refine the details surrounding it to help its development.
I can't at this moment tell you how we are going to refine them because we are going to have a discussion with our Tournament Committee.¬† We have been talking to a lot of our players this week.¬† But talking during the heat of competition is not always the best time.¬† So calmly, we will reflect, and as and when we are ready, announce what these regulations will be.
While I would tell you that all the promoters leading up to this events, we are delighted here, I¬íd like to thank Jumeirah Golf Estates for what they have given so far to this event.¬† And not just the gentlemen in the front row, but if you mind if I single out Mark Tupling and his staff on the golf course.¬† This, in the players' view, the golf course is in been the best condition it's ever been in, and we are quite simply, and our Members, are delighted.¬†
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† As you'll see, so far, our Chief Executive has reviewed the 2013 season, and also given an insight into the thinking behind the ongoing development that is The Final Series.¬† But today is much more than that.¬† Today is about looking towards the future.¬† The core element of that is The Race to Dubai itself.
Before we hear from George on that particular subject, let's remind ourselves of the excitement that many of the world's golfing greats have brought to The Race to Dubai since its inception four years ago.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† The good news of the announcement, we are announcing today the extension of our The Race to Dubai agreement for four more years until 2017 (applause).
We are also increasing the bonus pool for next year to $5million.¬† We will play the Fire Course, which I think many people in the Rolex Media Day played on Wednesday, at least once in those four years, when we are ready and when Jumeirah Golf Estates feel it's the right time.
There's a lot of progress going to be taking place on the new clubhouse here thanks to Yousuf.¬† We will hopefully establish in that time the International Officer of The European Tour at Jumeirah Estates and in Dubai.¬† We are looking at acquiring a property here to be part of it and make a really big footprint in the stand here in Dubai.
And I would single out one person on top of all our partners here.¬† Our Championship Director, Nick Tarratt, has been at the helm here, and he's kept relationships with all the different bodies in Dubai, and now increasingly with the government itself, right strong.¬† Nick, thank you very much.¬† (Applause).
We saw earlier in the week, when we opened our European Tour Performance Institute, the quality of the finish and quality of the professionalism of how it is done, and that is everything we aim for on The European Tour.¬† We have the right partners in Dubai to really take this forward.
I'm going to mention their names just once more, because certainly without them we could not deliver this vision; and the vision is a combined vision, not just of ours but of theirs, led by DP World and Emirates here in Dubai; Rolex, BMW and Jumeirah Golf Estates.¬† This vision here is a huge project you've had, we've come through some very difficult times but I think we are now on the right track and I salute you for that.
I first came here 25 years ago when the Emirates Course was just being built and now there are more and more young people playing the game here in Dubai.¬† The UAE Golf Federation are developing programmes which we are going to help; the Performance Institute will help in that way.¬† The MENA Golf Tour gives an opportunity for young Emiratis and UAE Nationals to play the game and pit themselves against different professionals.
I think the word that will give all of us here as the ideal area to finish a demanding season is confidence; confidence in the end of our season project, confidence whether it's The Final Series or the rest of the Tour, and with all our different partners and with all our agreements now, we face the future with amazing confidence.
If I can take one second just to thank‑‑ something I don't normally do, thank all of the staff from The European Tour.¬† It's a very demanding year; a demanding year for the media who travel to so many different locations; demanding for our players who have had a really tough last few weeks.¬† But our staff has, as well.¬† One of our physiotherapists, his family come from the Philippines; he's lost relations this week and he's gone back to look after them.¬† The Tour is looking at donations to the Philippines Red Cross to assist with the rehabilitation effort.
And we also wish well to another colleague Andy McFee, who managed to slip off the 18th green in Turkey and not have just a broken leg, but a very complicated triple fracture at the bottom of his leg, and he's now recuperating in bed for at least two months, probably more, where he can read those books and watch those DVDs that if you work in this business, you never have time for.
Thank you for your support and enjoy what is going to be a great afternoon.¬† Thank you.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† As I said earlier, the floor is now open for questions to either George or Keith.
Q.¬† In relation to the criticism of The Final Series, on the one hand, you had people like Ernie making his point of view and on the other, you had Colin Montgomerie urging you to stand firm, I think was how he put it.¬† Can you just identify why you seem to have agreed with Ernie that there does need to be a slight tweak to the format?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† I think I made the earlier statement that we underestimated the amount of play that all of these players are playing outside not just the PGA TOUR and ourselves.¬† We have to be aware of that.
Ernie specifically has been a tremendous supporter of The European Tour; I think he's played 15 or 16 tournaments already this year.¬† Keith will give you the dates but the Malaysia PGA TOUR event came in on the week before the HSBC that was against our BMW.¬† So he did actually play two events, just one of them wasn't ours.
Colin Montgomerie is a great supporter of the Tour, as you know.¬† That's why I use the phrase, we will look at these rules and decide calmly at the end of the season in a way that most businesses run.
KEITH WATERS:¬† Just to add, we have been in discussions with the PGA TOUR regarding the scheduling of the CIMB Classic and the BMW Masters.
It's one of the reasons why we won't be jumping to any decisions or conclusions in the next week.¬† We need to play that through the PGA TOUR, and I think we are confident that there will be a change to the schedule in 2015.¬† Whether we can effect that in 2014 is debatable.
We also are in discussions with HSBC over the eligibility of the World Golf Championship.¬† As you know, that is a World Golf Championships in the middle of The Final Series.¬† There is some inconsistency with our focus on The Race to Dubai getting players to play here, but HSBC are very open to a change of the eligibility to exempt more Race to Dubai‑ranked players and probably slightly less winners.
So those two factors, plus the negotiations with the promoters, particularly in China for the BMW Masters and Turkey, will take a bit of time, and there may be some changes, but the one thing we are certainly looking to do is improve The Final Series and obviously the season‑ending event here.¬† So we will take our time and ensure that's the case.
Q.¬† Great news on The Race to Dubai extension, but can I ask you to just sum up the details, if you can:¬† DP World remains the sponsors, the prize money and things like that and about the season‑ending championship as well?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Well, I think you can assume by thanking the sponsors so publically twice in my opening speech, I think they are carrying on.
We are not in a position to announce the prize fund for the tournament.¬† It will be a minimum of $8million as this year, and we will certainly, as of today's date, will be $5million on the bonus pool, and other decisions will be announced as we take them.¬† But right now that's a pretty good, solid policy today.
Q.¬† Can you tell us a little bit about the decision to include Fire at some point between now and 2017 and whether or not you think it's a mature enough course to be potentially used next year or further down the line?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† I'm not specifically in the position on which year it's going to be.¬† We are very, very impressed by the golf course.¬† It's different in character with different grasses and the rough and all that sort of stuff.¬† It will look different.¬† I think it showcases the whole Jumeirah Golf Estates.
I don't know if we are going to be next year, but I'd be surprised if we don't play in 2015.¬† The decision's not been taken; that simplifies that.
Q.¬† I think when you said you might review with HSBC a change in the qualification for the HSBC Champions, would that involve increasing the prize fund, and will you raise the prize fund in any tournament that will qualify a player for the HSBC Champions?¬† It was at 1.5 and up to 2 million?
KEITH WATERS:¬† I'm confused now, the prize fund‑‑
Q.¬† No, qualifying for it.
KEITH WATERS:¬† You mean the tournament's winners?
Q.¬† You said you might have fewer tournament winners at the event next year.
KEITH WATERS:¬† That is correct.
Q.¬† Will you achieve that by increasing?
KEITH WATERS:¬† The tournament winners are actually qualified by the strength of field, the World Rankings.¬† It's not to do the with prize money.¬† It's the 20 strongest events by event strength that qualify for the HSBC.
So that number of 20 tournaments will probably reduce and the number of exemptions directly from the current Race, which is relevant to what we are trying to achieve next November, will increase.
Q.¬† I think it was some 26 in the Top 60 in The Race to Dubai were not in the HSBC Champions this year; that would involve quite a change, wouldn't it?
KEITH WATERS: ¬†Well, there was 38 European Tour Members who qualified out of the field of 78 for HSBC.¬† So we had half of the field effectively.¬† That will probably not change, but as you know, there are a number of winners from other tours that are European Tour Members that qualify, and there are some Chinese players that qualify who are European Tour Members.
So it is a complicated eligibility and we are trying to improve that in terms of what we are trying to achieve with the qualifications with the race.
Q.¬† I was just wondering, what is the position with the Irish Open as it stand, please?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† To the best of my knowledge, it will definitely be in Ireland (laughter).¬† We had that conversation in our office last night.
Our intention is to play in the south at the moment next year.
Q.¬† In the far south?¬† (Laughter).
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† What used to be called Eire.
Q.¬† Can I ask, Dubai at the moment is going through a significant boom; is there any movement in reintroducing some other tournaments in the U.K. and Continental Europe?¬† What's the situation there?
KEITH WATERS:¬† Well, I think as George said, we just added two tournaments in Europe to next year's schedule and we are delighted that we are returning to Denmark and to the Czech Republic.¬† It is obviously a difficult balance in terms of the number of tournaments.¬† We want a strong tour, firstly, but we have always been prepared to travel.
Our policy has been to embrace different cultures and countries, and we would like, ideally, probably another tournament in the U.K. and we have been looking at that.¬† But it has to be a successful tournament.¬† We are not going to do a tournament for the sake of it.¬† So enhancing the schedule is the first priority.
Q.¬† Can I ask as an adjunct to that, is the question of prize money within the Tour, the be‑all and end‑all of everything?¬† If prize money is reduced, would the players still support the tournaments, or that an impossible question?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† I think we answer that in different ways.¬† The last few years you'll find there's been a huge concentration by The European Tour in improving how every tournament is staged.
We demand tournaments are staged in a five‑star manner.¬† The public who come in and pay their money to come in are really well treated.¬† I would like you to look at this tournament when in the early years it wasn't quite so easy to find your way as it is here today.¬† Just look at very good crowds all four days this year and the facilities in the Tented Village:¬† They get well treated, facilities around the course, scoreboards we have invested in quite heavily.¬† That's happening in every tournament we have.
In the United Kingdom, we have developed our network of golf properties and in other parts of the world.¬† We have certainly a very proud co‑owner of The London Club, and representatives of The London Club are here, the General Manager is here, and we are working together to develop a golf tournament there.¬† We have talked to many different sponsors.¬† It's the age old, chicken‑and‑egg, deliver the player, bring the sponsors.¬† Every top company wants to associate with the very best unique selling proposition they can have.
Right now, we are doing our level best to make sure Wales continues to run.¬† A lot of the articles I read in the papers is, why is there not an another event in England outside the BMW PGA Championship.¬† Well, the Wales Open is only just across the bridge from England.¬† So holding onto what you've got is quite a good proposition, as well.¬† They have moved to different dates, and that hotel is so successful; they are gaining more and more confidence.
But we are looking at different parts of the country, we are looking at different other kind of formats of tournament, and it's currently still a work‑in‑progress.
Q.¬† But does the prize money have to be at the level it is to get players to play?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Well, it is a professional sport.¬† We have put a big investment into our Challenge Tour to bring on players.¬† You look around Europe, the growth platforms we have with the federations and the academies.¬† They are young; you look at the number of good Italian players and the Italian Federation is here in strength.¬† Their tournament was very good this year on an established golf course; you see the same in Spain; Portugal, more people playing than ever before and we have a range of prize funds.
But is reasonable to suggest that the top players will follow the prize money or their own commercial arrangements.¬†
Q.¬† What about Asia?¬† We get a feeling that The European Tour is slipping a bit over there; you've lost the Singapore Open and the PGA TOUR has established itself with a development tour in China; you've lost the tournament in India.¬† So can you just give me an idea as to what is happening with The European Tour and Asia?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† Well, you can keep harping on this word, lost.¬† Things change from time to time; they evolve.¬† Tournaments come and tournaments go, and companies have different reasons for sponsoring at different times and different partnerships.¬† Barclays was the sponsor of the Singapore Open, and for their own reasons, it wasn't a focus for them at that time to continue in Singapore, and the same with the Avantha Masters.
These things go in stages.¬† We have other events that have come in.¬† We are developing lots of different tournaments in China, and I think it just evolves.¬† It's no God‑given strategy to play in any given city at any given time.
We see Asia, with our partners in Asia, as very strong.¬† We have the EurAsia Cup coming this year, which supports the partnership we already have in Malaysia with the Prime Minister and the government there, and a very strong bank in Maybank.¬† They support the whole junior academy in Malaysia.¬† It's a terrifically strong deal. ¬†We don't think we have the right date of the EurAsia Cup right at the moment; it's a difficult date, but it will evolve, no doubt about it, so we will evolve with it.
Q.¬† Two related questions.¬† I'm wondering what your recollections of what this area looked like 25 years ago and how much it has changed, because I've seen the photos, it's pretty striking.¬† And B, what kind of detail with you give about the setting up of a headquarters here in this area and how many employees and the function of it.
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† When we announced The Race to Dubai, we intended to start straightaway with our headquarters here, and at that moment‑‑ we still have a headquarters.¬† It's not big and grand and lavish.¬† It has Mr. Tarratt¬† running it and pulling everybody together with his staff.
But my recollection of coming here, was that it was Your Highness Sheikh Mohammed who had the phenomenal vision to build the Emirates Golf Course in the desert.¬† It was a desert surrounded by sand all the way around, and one sort of road, almost a dirt road, one road and you walked across it, happily, to the Hard Rock Cafe, which became a listed building in Dubai.¬† And now you see the metropolis that has gone around the Emirates Golf Club.
You have to look at it and see the pictures of where you came from.¬† I heard a statistic a few years ago when we were working out the continuation plan before the first Dubai World Championship came on board, and there were more visitors in a month with virtually no crime than in California had in a year.
And when you take that in simply and you see what Dubai tries to do and where it is in the center in such a world, massive population with all different nationalities which makes it so vibrant to come to.¬† We have all our different cultures, people come from all the different countries following their players; that's what helps to make Dubai the perfect end to the European international season.
Q.¬† You said you underestimated the demands on the top players.¬† Is there an easing those demands without dropping the stipulation to play in two of those three events, and were you disappointed that there was so much public criticism, given that it had been agreed by everybody beforehand?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† The margin between advice and criticism is a very close one, isn't it.
I said very strongly that I think we are, and on behalf of our sponsors here, and I personally, am disappointed that these three players are not playing because of a rule when they wanted to play.
I've been in contact with all three players, as you'd imagine.¬† Charl Schwartzel was worn out and he just couldn't face getting on a plane again.¬† He loves Sheshan Golf Club in Shanghai; he came fourth last time he played there, so he wanted to play in it.¬† But he was pretty tired at The Presidents Cup.¬† He had to fulfill commitments in China and then somewhere else and then back to South Africa; even with the Emirates A380 Airbus, it's quite tiring flying across the world.¬† That's one small plug (laughter).
You don't want that situation.¬† I'm particularly disappointed that Joost Luiten had that performance at the BMW hitting one shot.¬† That didn't sit happy with me.¬†
I want to bring common sense back into our rule if we can.¬† I'm trying to work with them, all the other top players who had worked this week; but really, everybody is too tense.¬† We'll have our own committee which will meet in Abu Dhabi.¬† There won't be any announcements after that, but in the early parts of the season we'll be in America and sit down quietly away from the stress on the Mondays and Tuesdays at some of the World Golf Championship weeks.
They know what we are getting at.¬† We brought BMW into Shanghai; together with Andrew Chandler, we had the Turkey Open in here, and we had to work on those rules.¬† If at the end of it, together with our promoters we think we don't need these rules then we¬íll look at that. If guys want to play here, we don't want to make rules that mean they can't.¬† It has built The Race, and this is so well positioned this afternoon, that all of the major guys are up there.
Q.¬† Just sort of following on from that, what's the thinking in terms of implementing the 20percent point bonus through The Final Series; that an area for review, as well?
KEITH WATERS:¬† I think it's best said we can review everything to do with The Final Series.¬† Whether we increase or move any regulation is completely up in the air at the moment.
As I say, there's a number of other factors that we have to consider first.¬† But be assured we try to make this better and indeed, if we make it better next year, we'll be trying to make it better the year after.¬† We are committed to this and we think it's the right thing to do and we think we are in the right place here in Dubai and we want to make a success of all of these tournaments.
Q.¬† And just to follow up in terms of‑‑ I assume that you've kind of talked through with the players the time frame in terms of announcing what The Final Series demands will be, bearing in mind that obviously they regard scheduling very much as an art form and they will want to know in good time how the end of the season will shape up and the demands.
KEITH WATERS:¬† We have announced the schedule today.¬† The players have seen the tournaments.¬† The ideal is players coming to us, and saying, yes, we will play in these events.¬† That's the ideal way forward.¬† And understanding individually their challenges with their schedules is probably the key to this.¬† The difficulty is that there's a lot of different individuals with their own ideas of what they want to achieve.
Q.¬† It's been a remarkable movement over the last 25 years since the first Dubai Desert Classic and every year it seems that Dubai and the region becomes even stronger for golf for The European Tour.¬† Particularly this year where you've got the grand final of The Challenge Tour taking place Al Badia a couple weeks ago, and the season‑ending DP World Tour Championship, Dubai and other events in Oman and the region.¬† Is this still an area of growth for The European Tour, and on another question, I haven't seen the schedule for next year but is Hong Kong on that schedule next year?
KEITH WATERS:¬† To your first point, yes, this is definitely an area of growth.¬† We have kind of identified that a number of years ago when we talked about establishing an office here.
Nick and his colleagues here have done a tremendous job in the last two or three years.¬† It's been a challenging economic period but we feel we've come through that.¬† We are probably going to develop the office even further with the help of Jumeirah Golf Estates over the next few years.
To your second question, the Hong Kong Open actually is already in the 2014 schedule because it's actually in a couple of weeks' time.¬† There is a debate as to whether it actually moves before the final events in the future and that is a work‑in‑progress.
Q.¬† A couple of years, the Spanish tournaments held a significant part of the schedule but I notice again there's no Spanish tournaments next year.¬† (NB ¬Ė The Open de Espana is on the schedule) Obviously they are going through tough times economically but is there a chance there could be a tournament in Spain in the near future?
GEORGE O'GRADY:¬† I think if you read about the economic situation in Spain and some of the programmes on CNN this week, you realise just how tough the environment is there.
If you look at what's happened in Portugal, where they have kept the tournament going very strongly at the end of the year, very successfully and their tourism is doing really well at Vilamoura and on the Algarve, they are very happy with that.¬† Retail sales are only just coming back but tourism has not slackened off at all.
With the sea change in Spain, golf is too good of a value for the tourist boards in Spain, and they know it.¬† The Spanish Open has kept going, and we thank the Spanish Golf Federation for everything they are doing to grow the game.¬† The Andaluc√≠an tourist board is hugely successful and supporting of golf.¬† We get requests now from local areas in Spain to get together with a tournament in a region.¬† Miguel Angel Jimenez has a tremendous ally, and he knows how tough it's been in the sea change.
They will come back, probably not in 2014.¬† We are too good a value for money for them not to come back.
SCOTT CROCKETT:¬† Thank you all for your attendance.¬† Gentlemen, thank you for your attendance and enjoy the last day of the season.
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