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WGC CADILLAC CHAMPIONSHIP


March 5, 2014


Gil Hanse

David Pillsbury

Eric Trump

Donald Trump

Ivanka Trump

Donald Trump, Jr.


MIAMI, FLORIDA

CHRIS REIMER:¬† We'll get started.¬† Thanks, everyone for coming today.¬† I'm Chris Reimer, Director of Communications for the PGA TOUR.¬† Starting from right‑to‑left, we have David Pillsbury, Executive Vice President of the PGA TOUR, course architect Gil Hanse, Donald Trump, Chairman and President of the Trump Organization, also from the Trump Organization we have Ivanka Trump, Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions.¬† We have Eric Trump, who is Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions, as well and Donald Trump, Junior, Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions, also.
I'd like to start our press conference today with David Pillsbury, if you contend mind, make a few comments.
DAVID PILLSBURY:  Thanks, Chris, and I'd like to start by thanking Donald and the entire Trump team and Gil Hanse for producing such a magnificent product for us to showcase this week at the Cadillac World Golf Championships.
We are very excited about this week, a lot of terrific developments and you're seeing many of them in this magnificent facility that has been transformed remarkably over the past 12 months.  It's really stunning that the Trump Organization and Gil Hanse were able to accomplish everything they were able to accomplish.   I think our players are blown away.  The golf course is fabulous.
And a couple of footnotes for you before we continue the conversation:  The corporate community is voting, as well, in favor of this transformation and the elevation of this tournament.  Our corporate hospitality is up almost 50 percent over last year.  Ticket sales, as of today, are up almost 30percent over last year.  And we expect to see significant sales here over the next couple of days as we lead into the weekend, and that's for a lot of reasons.
Obviously what's happened at the facility is at the center of that, but also a number of things that have happened for the fan, not the least of which are the improvements that Donald and Gil made for the fans by building mounding up so fans can look down at the competition, as opposed to up at the competition, which made viewing here historically very challenging for fans.  It's a major improvement.  I think it makes it one of the best fan venues on the PGA TOUR, and that's a significant transformation for the fan.
Also we have introduced some new activities for our fans.  We have a fashion show which will feature Ivanka and Carolina Herrera on Friday night.  We have got a concert on Saturday night.  So after the last putt drops, the entertainment begins.
So this event has become very Miami.¬† We have got fantastic food offerings that are consistent with all of the well‑known food establishments in the Miami area.¬† So we are just delighted with how relevant this whole appropriate has become to the Miami community.¬† We think this is a must‑stop event for fans across the region, and we hope everyone comes out to enjoy a fantastic weekend and to come out and see the transformation of the Trump Doral Resort.
With that, Chris, I'll turn it back to you.
CHRIS REIMER:  Gil, would you give us a few opening comments, and we'll get to Mr.Trump.
GIL HANSE:  Thank you all for coming in morning.  Excited to be here, and a little bit nervous about how things are going to go with the players, but so far, the feedback has been terrific.
I think just from an opening comments standpoint, it's amazing to me; David mentioned the transformation, to think that less than a year ago we started on this golf course, and just the amount of work that took place‑‑ I can sit up here and take bows but there are hundreds of people involved.
So I just want to get a few thank‑yous out of the way because I think that's really important to recognize the tireless efforts that have gone into this.¬† We got lucky; we had a great summer last year to work with.¬† We didn't have a hurricane, which was a definite bonus.¬† But I think you look at the staff of the Trump Organization, not only everybody that is here, but Larry Glick, Rusty, all superstars, who should get hopefully a lot of the attention, Don Thornburgh, the golf course superintendent and the staff, fantastic.¬† They have just done a tremendous job.
And then I just saw him poke his head in the back of the room, my design partner, Jim Wagner, who through just his efforts of managing, running and efficiently making this project go forward.  If we had any hiccups, we'd be looking at less mature turf, less conditioning on the golf course.  His efforts really allowed me to come in and just focus solely on design and really did an amazing job of teeing everything up for us.  So without him, none of this happens.
And obviously without The Trump Organization, without the family, without Donald giving us the resources that we needed and allowing us to explore further and further how this property can become better and better, and I think what the players are seeing, what we hope what the media see and the public see is a transformation.  It started off as a restoration and became a renovation, and it's a brand new golf course and we are excited about the challenges out there for the players.  Nervous, but excited, to see how this week goes.
CHRIS REIMER:  Thank you, Gil.  Mr.Trump?
DONALD TRUMP:  Well, I want to thanks the players because they have been so nice.  Ernie Els called it a "masterpiece" yesterday.  Jim Furyk was so great, and just every one of them.
Gil and Jim, they have done an amazing job as architects.  They have really been amazing.  By the way, Jim is right over there.  Why don't you stand up for a second, Jim.
These two guys are terrific.¬† One of the things I say about the overall resort is the biggest surprise, is it isn't going to be how great the Blue Monster turned out.¬† One of the magazines in Europe just named it one of the Top‑10 courses in the world, which is such a great honor.¬† But it's going to be how great the Gold and the Red are going to be.¬† Jim and Gil were given that assignment; we're so happy with the job they did on the Blue Monster that we gave them the Gold and the Red.
You see the Red under construction now.  That is not a moving of a palm tree.  It's going to be a great course, and Gold is going to be a championship course.  Gold is going to be a very big, bold championship course.  We have tremendous land.  We have 800 acres to do things and we just felt we should use it.
So those two courses, likewise will be brand new and will be really magnificent.  I want to thank, also, the TOUR, because David and Ty, who is in the audience, I call him Mr.Olympics, right?  I call Ty "Mr.Olympics."  They have done a great job.
I think it's very important to have golf in the Olympics.  I hear all these different things; some like it, some don't.  I think it's a great thing to have golf in the Olympics, and Ty did a fantastic job with that.
David has been so amazing because he's just been incredible, whenever we had a very or a problem, we called David, and David, even in our meeting yesterday, asked him, what do you think the players are going to be scoring, I called David and he sort of‑‑ "we" set it up very fairly."
It is a very big course, very bold course and it's a new course, it's a different course, some of the routing, most of the routing, but it's a new course.  We want it to be bold, but we want it to be fair; and that was important from the standpoint of the TOUR and it was very important from the standpoint of Gil and Jim and all of us.
So it is big and it is bold and it is larger than it ever was before but the players are loving it because it's fair.  So that was an important word that we wanted to use.
And I want to thank Ivanka and done and Eric.  They spent so much time here.  In fact, I named the ballroom across the way for Ivanka, to which Eric said, "Well, what about me?"  (Laughter).
But Don and Ivanka and Eric have been amazing with all our developments, all over the world.  We start next month in Washington on Pennsylvania Avenue right between the Capitol and the White House, called the Old Post Office, the most highly sought after property in the GSA, government services, and we won it two years ago and we start construction in about a month and that's going to be exciting.
So we have exciting jobs.  But to me none of them are as exciting as Trump National Doral, and I think I'm so happy to hear about the ticket sales through the roof.
One of the things that Gil maybe didn't mention, we tried to calculate it last night, Jim Wagner and I; we did well over a million yards of earth and most of that earth is sand, which is awfully good.  So if it rains, you're going to be back out on the course in about five minutes.  A lot of that earth was in creating mounding for spectators, because Doral needs to be very, very flat.  And when Tiger and Phil and Ernie and all the guys are walking down the middle of the fairway and you have thousands of people, you couldn't see them.
Well, this year, you'll be able to see it.  It's a brand new, incredible course that you're going to be able to see the players, and that's exciting.  I also think what we've done in terms of the grandstands, because I know the luxury boxes sold out like immediately, and they are 50 or 60 percent more than last year.  We expanded the 18th hole, and now we have the 9th hole is going to being equally as exciting at 18.  You see 8 and you see the 10th tee shot, which is an amazing shot right over the middle of the lake, and it's a very tough shot actually.  It's a very exciting tee shot and a very exciting hole.
So we think we are going to have a tremendous long term and we think we are going to have a tremendous event.  I want to thank Gil and Jim, and I want to thank my children.  And I want to thank the PGA TOUR, they are really a spectacular group of people and they have really done a fantastic job and they have reigned me in totally, totally.  So thank you very much (laughter) (applause).

Q.  Mr.Trump, you have several golf courses in different locations around the world, which one has been the most challenging for to you work on, either from a legal, environmental or monetary I standpoint?
DONALD TRUMP:  Well, that's a great question and one of the things that I think has made this one very challenging and very exciting, and let me give you the excitement.
The excitement is we have a group of folks from Cadillac that are so incredible and they are so in tune to what we are doing.  You know, they understand quality and they understand luxury and I have seen their cars and I have about 60 of them in my different hotels all over the world.  And I will tell you that the people that run those hotels, they are absolutely, whether it's the Escalade or the Sedan, they absolutely love those cars.
Having Cadillac, and I think I can speak for David and the TOUR, but having Cadillac involved with us in this tournament has been just incredible.
I've had a lot of fun with the golf world.  It's not my primary business, but it's been amazing and we are on the cover of Golf World Magazine, and a man I have great respect for is Jaime Diaz, and he wrote a beautiful article, and one of the things he discusses in that article is location.
And I'm a big fan of location in golf courses, I have 15 no including Doral, 15 clubs, and they were all successful but they were all in perfect locations.  I just think location is very underrated.
I would say probably the toughest one was in Scotland because I used dunes that you were not allowed to even walk on.¬† And I went in and said we are going to build a major golf course right smack in the middle of the dunes and it turned out to be a tremendous success.¬† But it was certainly not an easy thing to get approved over in Europe.¬† But the result has been incredible, and it's been‑‑ some people are saying it's the greatest golf course of built.¬† So that was probably the hardest one.

Q.  Fashion and golf is genius and so what can we expect on Friday?
IVANKA TRUMP:  It's just going to be a great fusion of bringing together the elements of Miami, and that's one of the unique things about this tournament.  Nobody can replicate this location and being in the heart of this vibrant city.  So we really wanted to bring that to bear with great DJs, with great food and beverage, and of course with a little fashion.
So Carolina Herrera is going to be doing an amazing show.  We have Miss Universe coming out.  We have some of the best in class models.  So it will be a little fun for the women after the golf.

Q.  You mentioned Scotland and Aberdeen there, can.  I just ask you your current level of commitment to that course?  It's been reported in the last month that you had, quote, abandoned the project because of the wind farm issues; is that true?  And would you still, for example, hope to host a Ryder Cup there?
DONALD TRUMP:¬† Well I think the wind farms‑‑ look, I don't want to get into that whole world right now, it doesn't matter.¬† But we don't have any wind farms at Doral because the people at Doral are too smart to allow them.
But in Scotland, they want to build 15,000 wind Hale's around Scotland and destroy the country, and I'm very much opposed to it.¬† We have created a total masterpiece, as we have here, and I just don't want to see it¬† ‑‑ I just don't want to see it hurt.
I said until they give up that charade of these ugly turbines that kill all the birds and probably make people sick with the humming noise and just destroy the environment, until they give that up, I told them‑‑ we have our great course, you can't even get on it, it's so packed, it's phenomenal.¬† And I said I'm going to build a second course and other things, when they abandon that nonsense of the wind farms.
In the meantime, I bought Doonbeg, and I'm sure Scotland is not exactly thrilled about that; I can tell you for a fact they are not.  And I bought Doonbeg and I'm focusing our efforts on Doonbeg in terms of Europe.  Doonbeg is going to be amazing in Ireland.

Q.  On a 1 to 10 difficulty scale, where would you put it before and after?
GIL HANSE:¬† I think that it was probably about a 7 before and now I think we are 8 and a half to 9 difficulty‑wise.
It was one of the surprising things yesterday talking to some of the players and the caddies, they sort of think that the difficulty has been amped up a little bit more than we had thought.  But I think it will still be very playable.
Donald mentioned the word "fair."¬† I think golfers will be able to figure their way through the golf course.¬† It's interesting to see caddies walking around all last night.¬† Jim and I were out there until 6:30 there were caddies walking etc., etc., a few players gesticulating and pointing, and it was fun to seeing them all figure it all out‑‑ not sure if that was a good thing or not.
DONALD TRUMP:¬† I think it could be the most difficult course on TOUR if they wanted to set it up that way.¬† I think they want to set it up very fairly, and I think I agree with that.¬† But I think if they set it up, if they wanted to, this would be probably the hardest course on TOUR from what people are saying.¬† If they wanted to do that‑‑ I don't think‑‑ I don't think you want to do that do you, David?
DAVID PILLSBURY:  No.
GIL HANSE:¬† Donald is absolutely right.¬† With the greens being expanded, we have created hole locations where the pins could really be tough.¬† So I think the difficulties‑‑ as it always does at Doral, if the wind blows, then the scores will be higher, and how they have proposed to set up the golf course‑‑ if they bury some pins, it could be vet up very difficult.

Q.  You've had a chance to talk to some players.  What kind of reaction are you getting?
GIL HANSE:  Good gesticulating.  So far a lot of thumbs up.  Walked a few holes with Adam Scott last night, he was very complimentary of what he had seen.  Saw Ernie Els in the fairway and he was very excited particularly about the bunkering.  Heard lot of good comments about the bunkering, style, presentation, etc.
I think so far, so good.  Steve Stricker was really very complimentary.  The nice thing is we are hearing sort of across the range, not just the bombers love it.  Some of the shorter players feel like their course management is going to be an important part of what they do out there with the new fairway bunkering so that's a positive.  You don't want to hear only the bombers saying it's great and have the other players say there's something wrong with it.

Q.  Mr. Trump, obviously you've done a lot of projects, I don't think you've maybe had such a tight and inflexible deadline like this one.  How satisfying is it for you to have met this deadline with all you and Gil had to do?
DONALD TRUMP:  Well, really satisfying, because when we started to uncover the land, we found a treasure.  Actually Gil used the word, it was a treasure trove.  We have a tremendous piece of land, 800 acres but we have 250 acres on the Blue Monster and nobody has that.  That's a massive piece of land.
And we have no houses.¬† When you have houses, it's different.¬† You can never have‑‑ I watch the rating systems and I laugh sometimes.¬† I'll see courses that are rated highly and they have houses down all the fairways.¬† It's not the same thing.
So to be in the middle of Miami, right next to the airport and have 350 acres devoted to one course, not one house; you do gown the fairway and you don't see one house, nice houses ‑‑ like I own Jupiter; phenomonal, beautiful mansions, and Michael Jordan lives there and everybody is there and it's wonderful.¬† But it's not the same thing when you have houses down the fairways, regardless.
And so here we have 350 acres, no housing, and to me, it really was amazing because we took out like, for instance, there was a tremendous areas of dead forest.  Most of the trees were sort of dying, dead, but when we took them out it just opened up the vistas.
I remember when David first saw it, you couldn't believe it, and it opened up the vistas.  And Gil and Jim called me and they said, take a look at this, this is incredible, you have vistas into Miami, you have vistas right to the ocean where the wind pours in that you never really felt before.  We took down massive areas of very bad stuff and all of a sudden, we saw a different kind of piece of land.
And the other thing, I think it was the biggest surprise to Jim in particular was that it was all sand.¬† We didn't know we had sand.¬† We knew we had some but we didn't think we had the sand we did, so it's a sand‑based course and you'll see that when it rains.
People are going to go out there and they will be back out in five minutes, they will call them in for a couple of minutes, literally five minutes.
So when I said that we are going‑‑ we should‑‑ and when Gil and Jim really sort of recommended, it was like the three of us just said, maybe we ought to do this thing really right.
But the TOUR was very concerned because we had to build it from Monday morning the day after‑‑ if you remember, the bulldozers were lined up along the fairways and after Tiger took down the trophy, bulldozers started moving literally Sunday night on the course; and they were very worried we couldn't build it because it's brand new and totally complete and a very big dig, a very big project.¬† Some of the lakes are three times bigger than they were.
You look at 15 where we created a massive lake and they were worried we wouldn't be able to have it for the next year.  But we did finish it with plenty of time to spare.  We are very happy about that.
But I'm a plus ten at building.  I told one of the players, I told Ernie, you're a plus ten at playing and I'm a plus ten at building.  They were amazed we were able to build it so quickly.  I told Gil, if you need some help in Rio de Janeiro I could do it very easily.  (Laughter).
Okay, so we are very happy about it.  The TOUR was worried they would get here, and say, I'm sorry, we're not going to have a tournament.  I would say that David and Ty were not exactly thrilled with that prospect, so I couldn't let them down.  We are very happy with not only the way it came out, but the fact that we were able to complete it so quickly, thank you.

Q.  Mr.Trump and Gil, is there anything you want to do with this course you were not able to do?
GIL HANSE:  No.  I think everything we wanted to do, Donald gave us the resources to do it and it's even bigger and better than we originally anticipated.
Every time you host a tournament or golf course, there's going to be an evaluation period after the event and we'll just see how it plays and how it goes and we'll have time to take a look.  I'm sure the setup and rules guys will have some questions and improvements about things.  We'll have some internally and various areas we need to look at.  Afterwards we will all sit down and say, okay, how did it go, did it meet our expectations, did it play the way we thought, etc., etc.,  We'll look at the golf course again, but as far as to this point in time, no, there's nothing.

Q.¬† As a follow‑up, what is the greatest quality that each of your kids has in this new venture that you saw and said, you're coming along with me?
DONALD TRUMP:  That's a good question.  That's a different kind of a question.  It's a good magazine question.
I'm very proud of my children, and in a way I get more credit, and I have to tell you, we have to wait because I never like to speak too early so I knock‑on‑wood, but I give credit to my children.¬† They are very smart.¬† They went to great colleges and they did fantastically well while they were in college and they are very hard working.¬† They love what they are doing.¬† They are very passionate about whether it's Doral or Old Post Office or other buildings we are building all over the world, they are very passionate about it.
I think they are even more passionate about this job.¬† There's just something special about Doral.¬† It's like we built a driving range that was‑‑ you went from the worts the driving range on TOUR to probably the best driving range on TOUR.¬† And we put up nighttime‑‑ we put up lights, and not just regular, LED, the first one ever in the world, Musco Lighting, the company was fantastic, we should give them a shout‑out; they were unbelievable.
They put the lights up and they convinced me to do the led, never been done before, it's phenomenal.¬† You can see the ball much better at night than you do during the daytime.¬† The other night I was here‑‑ because we have it closed for the tournament, I was here, just a regular night and you could not get on to the driving range.¬† It was packed, hundreds of people stacked trying to get on to a nighttime driving range.
There's something about this property that's amazing.  It's just like for golf, it's the ultimate thing.  And the Pro Shop, as you have probably heard it is the No. 1 Pro Shop for sales in the United States, always has been, and for years.  And we doubled the sides size of it and made it beautiful.  It was falling aport and yet it was still the No. 1 Pro Shop in the United States.
There's a great passion; my children for some reason have a great passion for this property.  It's a very unusual thing, and like we have for everything we do, but this property is a very special property and place, and I'm very proud of my children.
But I think, really, look, you have to be born with intelligence, okay, if I had a child who was born not so smart, you know, that's not going to work out so well, okay.  But they are intelligent, which is definitely there based on college records, right.  They are smart but they have a great work ethic.  I think the work ethic only comes from the fact that they love to do what they do.

Q.  You didn't touch 18 though, having decided to change a lot of the holes on the course, what was the thought process behind leaving 18?
GIL HANSE:¬† Historically, it's one of, if not the most difficult finishing holes on TOUR.¬† From that standpoint we felt there was a lot of quality here, let's just leave it alone.¬† It's provided year‑in and year‑out a dramatic finish for the golf course so we really didn't think it needed any changing.
DONALD TRUMP:  We actually lifted the fairway about a foot and a half of sand, and we moved the green over just slightly.  But it's an identical green, moved over slightly, it's actually a little bit longer.  We moved it over slightly because we didn't like seeing cinderblock holding up the green.
So we moved the green over because now, if you notice, one of the things that a lot of the players are saying is that they have never seen grass that goes into the water so beautifully.  Well underneath you have shale, but they didn't have any shale there, or they knocked it out probably during construction many years ago.
So we have a green‑‑ we have a hole that's essentially the same hole but much higher quality in terms of grassing in terms of weather.¬† If it rains, you can see the same thing as I told you about before.¬† It's going to hold up beautifully.¬† But essentially it's the same hole but it's really beautified.

Q.  Would you be in favor of player appearance fees on the PGA TOUR, and if they were allowed, how much would it be worth to have a Tiger Woods are a Phil Mickelson play on your course?
DONALD TRUMP:  You know, I don't think, I think I should be answering that.  I think David should probably answer that question, I don't know.
All I know is I've given you guys a great course to have and you know, the players come, that's great, and if they don't come, that's up to them.  I know they make a hell of a lot of money if they come.
I still don't know the sentiments of Tiger, but out of the top 50 in the world, that makes us the No. 1 tournament in terms of players.
One thing I might add on 18:¬† It's been the No. 1 hardest hole on TOUR for many years.¬† And a friend of mine said, and that's with the Top‑70 players in the world.¬† I never thought of it that way.¬† So if you think of it, it's the No. 1 hardest hole and it's being played by the Top‑70 players; you don't have a full field.¬† I love the fact that it's the Top‑70 players.¬† I like it much better.¬† But to be the No. 1 hole in terms of difficulty, and you're playing with the Top‑70 players.
As far as fees, I have to leave that up to the TOUR because that's the kind of question that could get me into big trouble.
CHRIS REIMER:¬† Mr.Trump, Mr.Hanse, congratulations to you and the entire Trump organization and look forward to seeing players take on the newly‑transformed Blue Monster.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports




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