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DEUTSCHE BANK CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
July 30, 2007
STEVE BRENER: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to get the ball rolling here to the hardest working man on this tournament, he never sleeps, and he certainly never sleeps now since he just had the birth of a little baby girl, and we want to congratulate him. Let's welcome Eric Baldwin.
ERIC BALDWIN: Thank you, Steve. It has been a whirlwind two weeks for me as far as my baby girl, so I am extremely pleased to be here. Good morning, thank you all for coming, and welcome to the fifth annual Deutsche Bank Championship media day.
This year marks a very special time for golf and the championship, as we enter into a new era and play host to the second of four Playoff events on the PGA TOUR for the FedExCup. This new season format has brought together a lot of excitement for the game and there's a lot of top players in the world here.
We have a great day planned for you today, and we have a lot to share. I'd like to introduce our head table.
To my right, Seth Waugh, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas. Seth and his team put endless time and effort into making this championship what it is today, and without his help and his approach to this, it wouldn't make this event as great as it is today, and it exemplifies Deutsche Bank's commitment to this championship.
Ric Clarson from the PGA TOUR is the senior vice president of brand marketing. He has worked with our staff throughout the last several months as we prepare for the first ever PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup, so thank you for his time today.
Gil Hanse, course architect. Gil is an amazing architect. He and his team have worked diligently in the off-season to really enhance this golf course. His work speaks for itself. He currently has two courses on the top 100 Modern Golf Digest list, including Boston Golf Club right here in Hingham, Massachusetts. He used stack sodded and chunk bunkers, chocolate drop mounds and fescue grasses to really enhance this golf course esthetically, as well as putting a little strategic and challenging element to the game.
Brad Faxon is also here with us today. What can I say? He's one of the best people in the business. He's a great player, he's a great person. We're thrilled to have him. Brad joined us for our first ever press conference for the Deutsche Bank Championship, and we're glad to have him back today for our first press conference as a Playoff event. Thanks so much for joining us.
Lastly I'd like to recognize Brad Williams. He is the new general manager and director of golf here at the TPC Boston. Brad has come from TPC Michigan. He's new to this role but has a wealth of experience. He and his team have put together endless time and effort into making this championship great for all of us, so thank you very much to your team for your help.
You will hear from each of these individuals later on today, but first we are so excited to be at the forefront of the action as the PGA TOUR enters into the new era of golf with an exciting season long points competition called the FedExCup. As the second event in the Playoffs, the championship will host an incredible field of the top 120 golfers in the world vying for our first place prize of $1.26 million, and with our new purse of $7 million. And with the only official Monday finish on the PGA TOUR, we are confident this year's championship will be the most exciting event to date.
We've always been fortunate to have great players like Tiger Woods, Vijay Singh and Adam Scott, but by virtue of our playoff position, this year we're going to have the likes of Phil Mickelson, Sergio Garcia, Retief Goosen, Ernie Els and many others that will make this so special.
I think the championship has a lot of great attributes, but we take pride in three, and it's our partners, it's our charitable impact, and it's our fan friendly atmosphere.
Our partners, in addition to Deutsche Bank, we have an excellent stable of partners, and without these partners we wouldn't be able to do what we do, deliver an overall experience and deliver millions of dollars for charity. They represent some of the largest and most recognizable names in business today, and the list includes Boston Globe, Dunkin Donuts, EMC2, Golf Digest, Gulf Oil, Polaroid, State Street, Stop & Shop and the Wall Street Journal.
In addition to our founding club partners we also have two new network partners this year that are going to broadcast the event with the Golf Channel and NBC Sports. We are proud to have all these individuals and companies behind us, and it's their participation that make this championship so successful.
Charity, we are proud to announce that over the past four years the championship has raised over $7 million for the Tiger Woods Learning Center and numerous local charities, and in 2006 with the support of the Stop & Shop Family Foundation we set a championship record generating $2.6 million for charity.
We also are for the second year in a row proud to continue our program of Birdies for Charity. Birdies for Charity is an initiative that allows nonprofits to leverage the championship for fundraising. It is through this work that we are able to contribute in a meaningful way to this community, and this year we have 19 charities, including Young Entrepreneurs Alliance, Writers Express, City Kicks, Children's Chorus of Boston, just to name a few.
Lastly, the event is very special because of our fan-friendly atmosphere. The Deutsche Bank Championship prides itself on this, and we pride ourselves on a holiday experience. We are proud to continue our kids' programming with multiple kid zones throughout the golf course which are parent and child friendly viewing areas with front-row viewing of the action. We also have the kids' village that is designated for parents and kids to get away from the action. We have this area for video games, arts & crafts. We also have a nine-hole and a three-hole putt-putt, and it's this area that really enhances our spectators' experience.
We also have added some new fan enhancements this year. We have increased our bleachers at 18, we have increased bleacher seating at the 16th hole, which is now a new par 3, which is 40 yards shorter than it was before, as well as being able to watch that from all sides.
We've also opened up the spectator commons at 18 this year with a new 19th hole, general spectator concession tent to make it easy and accessible for people to get food and beverage throughout the course.
In conclusion, with all these aspects, I'm confident in saying this year's championship will prove to be the most exciting yet, but before we get to hear from the panel in front of me, I'd like to introduce a quick video that really showcases the championship and our position on the first-ever PGA TOUR Playoffs for the FedExCup.
RIC CLARSON: I wonder if the members of the Green Bay Packers when they won the very first Super Bowl in 1967, which wasn't even called the Super Bowl then, realized their place in history. The fact of the matter is they knew it was a big game and an important game, but they didn't realize that the way that New England's fans realized it when the Patriots won the Super Bowl. Thus we embark on a new era in golf called the FedExCup.
Adam Scott, the very first winner of the Deutsche Bank Championship, you never get a second chance to be first, and we're delighted on behalf of the PGA TOUR after 24 years to actually have a season now that is structured like other sports where our athletes have the chance to not only perform over a 33-week regular season but a four-week Playoffs.
Some of the greatest moments in sports come from Playoffs. Some of the greatest moments in golf have happened right here at the Deutsche Bank, and when you combine those two ingredients, we think we're in for a great new era in golf.
You can't have a new era in golf without great partnerships, so on behalf of the TOUR, our thanks to Seth Waugh and Deutsche Bank for your leadership, to IMG and the tournament staff here under Eric's leadership. What you guys are doing here is setting the curve for a lot of other tournaments, particularly your fan and family friendly environments. It's great to see you promote the entire PGA TOUR.
To the TPC Boston staff who does a tremendous job. We're thrilled with the golf course changes. We'll hear about that in a little bit. But I was really excited when I picked up the paper this morning and I read through the current standings, Tiger Woods is first, Vijay Singh second, Jim Furyk with his victory yesterday moved to third, Phil Mickelson fourth in the current FedExCup points standings. Pretty darned good leaderboard with three weeks to go in the regular season.
So we will be extremely interested to be back here for the Deutsche Bank Championship, second stop of the Playoffs, and we appreciate the support and the coverage that the media is providing not just for this event but for the PGA TOUR as a whole, and we hope the Playoffs provide you a format and a platform, as well, for increased coverage.
With that we'll see you back here in a few short weeks, and thanks again for your attendance today.
STEVE BRENER: It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce our next speaker. He has a love of life, a love of this tournament, love of Deutsche Bank, CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, Seth Waugh.
SETH WAUGH: Thank you very much. It's great to be here and to be home again, and I really do mean that in the sense that I was born here, which I make sure I say every time I ever show up in Boston to make sure I'm local rather than a New Yorker. But really to be home here.
One of the things I didn't think about when we did this five years ago was how many friends we'd pick up along the way. When we talk about partnership, we mean partnership, and we mean it with the great people at TPC, the great people with Eric and IMG, the friends that I've made, and a guy like Brad, who I really consider one of my closest friends now really as a result of this, and the people we picked up along the way with Neal and others, it's been really gratifying.
And I also include a lot of the folks in this room in this, and I really do mean that. The press has been a huge supporter of ours and really makes this work. Without you guys it doesn't work. A lot of the buzz we've created and some of the things we can control sort of outside the ropes, a little bit inside the ropes, but people react to that and you that have been to good to us and created a lot of buzz are sitting right here. I really can't thank you enough for it.
We really have been trying to act like a local, and you all and everybody sitting here has made us feel like we're local. That's made it not only a great and profitable in dollars and cents but profitable in terms of what we're trying to accomplish, but it's also made it a lot of fun. As Steve said, that's the important part of life and an important part of my life. One of my philosophies if you can kind of stay happy and be around happy people that happy things happen. We've been working to do that.
I think the other thing that Ric mentioned is the partnership that we've had with the TOUR which has been terrific. When we got into this, one of the things that I decided early on was we were going to take the risks and do these things and we needed to own it, and therefore our terrific staff and others are here, and this is the most important thing that we've had going on. Having that ownership is how we've created a buzz about it, but it's made it a special thing.
When we talked five years ago we said, we don't want to be another week on TOUR. We want to be a special week. And every year we sort of came into this situation and looked at what worked, what didn't work, how we raise the bar and try to do that every year and really optimize the experience for the players, the fans, the charities, our clients and everybody sort of around it.
And I think the culmination of that is now upon us. We're very excited to be part of the Playoff. We can pick it apart and decide what works best and what doesn't work and what does, and that's sort of human nature to pick things apart, but we know it's going to be better.
We know this event is going to be better. We're going to get 120 or 118 of the top 120. We're going to have an incredible field, and we are really excited about that. I know the TOUR is very open to think about it and to work with us. As you said, the Super Bowl wasn't the Super Bowl. I think everybody is trying to figure out what it means, you guys, the players, et cetera, et cetera, and there's a guy here who can explain it a lot better than I can. But it matters. Everybody wants to be the first guy to win the Cup. So we are very excited to be part of a mini-major, if you will, in terms of where it is.
We also love our slot. We love the fact that we're second, virtually a full-field event, something that we're really excited about. We think we've fallen at a really good time of the Playoffs in the sense that people may be a little bit tired after the run at Barclays, but reenergized for us, and we don't think -- we think we're going to be a pretty hard event to skip if you're trying to win the Cup. So we love that aspect of it.
So the last thing I just said is one of the things that we are all about is sort of doing what we say we're going to do, and when we sat up here five years ago, and when we said we're committed to Boston, we're committed to making this a special event, we're committed to raising the bar and taking this and making it a Labor Day event, which we feel like we have. The one question I hope I never hear again is when is your tournament this year, because the answer is always Labor Day, and that's a brand we've created around that day and that's something we're very committed to.
So I'll sit up here again and say we're committed to Boston, we're committed to Labor Day, we're committed to raising the bar and having a really special week, and to that end obviously we've signed another long-term contract to deliver upon that.
So thank you all. My partners thank you, and I include everybody in the room in that, and we couldn't be more excited.
STEVE BRENER: Thank you, Seth. Our next guest is no stranger to these parts, 22 years on the PGA TOUR and -- 24 years on the PGA TOUR, no stranger to these parts, Brad Faxon.
BRAD FAXON: I just want to say here, I've been part of the TPC since day one when we broke ground here. It's been six or seven years ago we broke ground. We always needed a facility like this, and I'm proud to say that the TPC of Boston is the best TPC in the country, especially now with what's been done, with everybody partnering now to make this tournament, the Deutsche Bank tournament, Seth, the TPC, the PGA TOUR, to go ahead and let us make changes to make this tournament-worthy golf course.
This wasn't built to be a tournament course when we first started. There was no FedExCup, there was no PGA tournament that was going to be held at the TPC here. And we've evolved into now a mini-major, one of the most important tournaments on the TOUR.
Like Seth said, everybody knows Deutsche Bank is on Labor Day. We're going to have an unbelievable field, and I'm pretty excited to see the reaction of all the players when they come here and see a course that was maybe liked but not super-well-liked, and hopefully the changes that you're going to get to see now, you're going to say, wow, this is different, this is a New England-style golf course, this looks old, it looks like it's been here. The bad lies and the bad shots that you get today are going to be Gil's fault (laughter).
But no, I think you're going to find some very magnificent changes. You saw some of the pictures today. I know you're going to go out there and play. I would love to hear your comments. The players, the PGA TOUR players, have not seen this course. Brett and Billy, neither one of them have been out here, and I'm pretty excited to see what everybody is going to say. We've showed pictures to the TOUR players, and everybody is going, wow, that's different. To be able to make these changes in six months with -- would you say a small budget or a big budget? Depends on where you come from.
But anyway, it's fantastic stuff. I know that Tiger made a comment, this is one of the greatest sports towns in the country. I'd be willing to say that it is the best sports town in the country, and we're going to have an unbelievable tournament, and I can't wait.
Just to let you know, I have to play pretty good in a couple weeks in one tournament to get here, and if I don't finish first or second I'll be walking around with Seth outside of the ropes. But I'll be doing my best to get in this field because this is my most important tournament probably all year long. I know it's going to be a great tournament. We're going to have an unbelievable field of guys here. We've always had a great field, and I think now it's going to be in our first year of FedExCup Playoffs, it's going to be even better. So thank you.
STEVE BRENER: Thank you, Brad. As Brad was pointing out earlier, to my left, this gentleman has done a remarkable job on the course, he's also done a remarkable job on the Boston Golf Club and many other courses. It gives me a great deal of pleasure to introduce Gil Hanse.
GIL HANSE: Thank you, Steve. Brad took my line. I was going to blame him for everything that goes on out there.
Thank you for coming out today. I hope you will enjoy what you see. It has been quite a process, and as Brad said, it seemed like a very long six months but it really was a very short six months. From the time the tournament left town last September, thankfully we did have a decent December to work in, and we were able to go ahead and work through December and really accomplish really everything we had hoped for out there.
We got to the point after daylight savings time where they brought in temporary lights so we could work until about 8:00 o'clock after it was dark, so the neighbors, people would see this glow coming from the golf course, and that was the continuation of work as we went forward.
As Brad mentioned, what we were really hopeful of doing was trying to create a golf course that looked and felt a little bit more like New England. So I think the touches that you'll see out there will really be reflective of we borrowed literally and liberally from the Country Club, places that are close to our hearts, great old New England golf courses, drop mounds, some blind shots, fescue edged bunkers, fescue out in the rough areas. So hopefully the golf course will feel and look a little bit more rustic and a little bit more like New England.
From a playability standpoint, these guys are so good that I'm skeptical that there's anything we can do from a physical standpoint to limit or restrict what they do. You can always make bunkers so deep, you can only grow rough so thick and tall and you can only have greens so fast.
But what we really tried to concentrate on is the place where I think is the most vulnerable is the mental aspect, trying to make them have to think significantly of different options and different ways to play golf holes, making them feel uncomfortable over shots because they can't quite see the bottom of the flagstick or they might have been in a bunker or on an island and they don't quite have a perfect lie. I think these are the things that architects are going to have to rely more and more on as we go forward with technology and as good athletes as these gentlemen are and the way they play the game.
So hopefully you'll find more strategy, more areas -- I think Pete Dye has a phrase, "Once you get these guys thinking, they're in trouble." I think that's what we're hoping for is we can make them think a little bit more as they go around the golf course and explore different options and opportunities.
I have to thank certainly Tom Brodeur, the golf course superintendent, and his staff. They've worked tirelessly to bring this golf course into the shape that it will be in in a month's time, and really the maturity it's showing as it goes through the process really is amazing. It's a testament to him and his crew because they're the ones who make us architects look good, and certainly Tom has done that here.
I think we'll have a question and answer in a little while, but hopefully that gives you a little insight about what we were trying to accomplish and hopefully the players will enjoy it. Thank you.
STEVE BRENER: We'll take some questions and answers right now as we get our final guest on the phone.
Q. Mostly for Brad, would the New Englandizing of this course have been possible or have been a tough sell without the leverage of the FedExCup, with the turnout of players, to change it as much as it has been?
BRAD FAXON: Well, I think having a FedExCup tournament here made it an easy decision for the TOUR to say, yes, we've got to go ahead and step it up, but I also think it was Seth's decision to try and improve this tournament in every way we can. I think the golf course needed to be improved.
I think that FedEx probably made it happen quicker than it might have, but also, I think it was something we needed to do anyway.
SETH WAUGH: I think that's exactly right. The TOUR has been a great partner. The first year we weren't successful, there was a reasonable reason to upgrade at that point or fix some of the things that needed to be fixed.
We also have to be cognizant of the membership here, as well. It's a Membership Club and we want to make sure that we're not remedying their course every year so they don't have a course ever except that's playable one week a year. Every time we've raised the bar, the TOUR was very responsible and always wanted to be reactive. But I did get a call from Tim last year once we shook hands on FedEx, and it all happened incredibly quickly. We really decided to do the golf course after -- I think it was after.
When you go out there and see the difference, the before and after, the amount of work we did under lights in New England, I mean, this isn't Hawaii and Florida. There was a few months out there we were banging in the dirt.
SPEAKER: After really October it was short of a miracle because the weather made it possible to still work into January last year. Hats off to Gil and his partner Jim Wagner to get this all done on the clock.
SETH WAUGH: But we did get a call last year from Tim that said let's go after it. We're going to be dramatic and give free rein, and I give a huge amount of credit to them for the leap of faith in letting these guys see their vision. It's really a nice thing out there.
Q. Gil, you talked about sewing seeds of doubt in the players' minds. Could you give us a couple of quick examples of where we'll see that on the golf course today?
GIL HANSE: I think one of the main areas will be the 15th hole. We've connected or brought a ridge across the fairway, and players who drive the ball down the left-hand side close to the fairway bunkers will get an unobstructed view of the green. If they bail out away from the fairway bunkers, they're playing basically -- they'll see the flagstick but they won't see the putting surface. So taking away their visibility is I think the strategy or part of the overall feel of that golf hole by putting a bunker in their way. Give them an open approach but let's not let them see anything between the green and where they're standing and just give a glimpse of the putting surface.
And then the 16th hole, the way it's angled, instead of -- Brad, you can answer, but players don't think about carries, they just know what the yardage is and they get over it. But when holes are twisted and turned on an angle and the water hazard is sort of running away from you and it's difficult to get the exact carry line, maybe it's 142, maybe it's 145, that sort of thing I think puts seeds of doubt in their mind because it's not quite an exact number.
BRAD FAXON: Hole No. 6, too, we've taken the championship tee and moved it to the left so now you're hitting through a little bit of a chute and we left that little branch in the way (laughter). When you hit at the 6th hole today, go take a look at the new tees to the left and look through that little chute and look at the little branch that's going to keep you awake at night. It's pretty impressive.
Q. With your involvement here in the tournament, how do you see this impacting everything that you've been trying to accomplish this year just to get here and be a player here?
BRAD FAXON: You know, this has always been -- this tournament, the Pleasant Valley tournament, the CVS tournament have always been -- everybody that lives in hotels at a PGA TOUR event, it's the most important, it's their favorite, it's the one they get geared for. Say, for example, the tournament in Milwaukee where we have seven or eight players that are from Milwaukee, it's the same week as the British Open, and guys like Jerry Kelly can't play it because they can't play it anymore.
This is a tournament that I started playing when I was 19 years old. I think the older I get, the relationship I've had with Seth, with Deutsche Bank, with the TPC here, with everybody, when I walk in here, this is my family. I can't change what's happened in the past this year. I would have liked to play better than I have. If I don't play well here, I'm going to be okay. But it's making me work harder.
I feel like -- if I can't play this year I'll play next year. It'll hurt not playing, but at the same time I know it's going to be great for the TOUR, it's going to be great for golf all the way around.
Thank you, everybody, and we'll see you in a few weeks.
STEVE BRENER: We'll move onto our defending champ. He currently leads the FedExCup point standings with 20,899 points in 11 events. He has three wins, two seconds, and he's amassed over $5 million. We'd like to welcome Tiger Woods who's joining us now. And he's a father. Congratulations, Tiger.
TIGER WOODS: Thank you very much.
STEVE BRENER: I'm sure you have fond memories of last September. Can you take us through what happened down the stretch last year and what you remember?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I got off to a pretty decent start on Monday, made a couple birdies here and there and an eagle and probably one of the best nine holes I've played in a long time. I was able to keep away from Vijay and roll on from there.
STEVE BRENER: With the FedExCup and the Playoffs coming up, what's your thoughts about the field that you're going to be facing here at the Deutsche Bank Championship?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it will be even deeper than it has been in the past. It's a fantastic forum for the event. It's an event with superb galleries. All the players that have played there have thoroughly enjoyed their experience in the event. I think by making it a playoff event, it's certainly going to add to that this year because there will be even more at stake.
STEVE BRENER: Tell us a little bit about the Tiger Woods Learning Center that benefits from this tournament. I understand that the numbers have grown to 8,000. You've touched more than 8,000 youth now, plus your new tournament in D.C. is also going to have a Learning Center. Tell us about the progress that you've made there.
TIGER WOODS: Well, the Learning Center, the first one out in Orange County has been phenomenal. It's exceeded our expectations. I didn't think that was possible, but we've done that. It's been a tremendous success. The community has thoroughly embraced it.
In D.C. right now we probably have five or six sites we're looking at right now to (inaudible) going that direction. Everything has been a tremendous success so far with the Foundation, the Learning Center. Deutsche Bank has been fantastic in helping us grow it over the years, as well, and we couldn't have done all that without the staff and Deutsche Bank's help over the years.
Q. Have you heard about the changes at the course and did you think this -- what did you think of the course before, and do you think it needed to be changed?
TIGER WOODS: I think I'll like the changes. From all I've seen, I think it's a positive thing, and I think they needed to do that for the event that we're going to be hosting. I think this being a Playoff event, I think the caliber of the golf course needed to be improved, and they've done it probably twofold. The players that will play this year have really said that they've tried to go out and tried to make the golf course for this event first class. I think every player will enjoy the experience.
Q. What in particular did you like about the course changes? And secondly, you mentioned earlier about expectations. As the tournament that your Foundation has been involved with, could you have expected five years ago that it would be a Playoff site and that type of thing?
TIGER WOODS: No. Well, first of all we didn't -- the whole FedExCup and the whole Playoff hadn't really come to fruition yet. So the answer to that would be no.
But for the past couple years certainly some changes have evolved, and here we are. To Deutsche Bank's credit, they've wanted to make the event even better than it has been, which is hard to believe. But each and every year they've tried to make that golf course better and better. I think their commitment to the event and the experience of all the players as well as the spectators has been top-notch.
Q. I think golf fans everywhere are quite familiar with the lessons that your dad instilled in terms of your profession. They may not be quite as familiar with the life lessons that he instilled in you. How do you apply that to your roles as a husband and a father?
TIGER WOODS: Well, that's going to evolve over time. She's very small; she was born early so she's just now getting up to where most kids are weight-wise when they're born. I think over time I'm sure that the lessons that my parents helped instill in me will be coming out. It's amazing now, I always thought my parents were crazy but, in the end, they are always right.
Q. Can you talk a little bit about what you think the FedExCup might mean to the TOUR, and also, are you planning on playing all four of the Playoffs?
TIGER WOODS: As far as any kind of FedExCup Playoffs, this is the time of year where traditionally the fans really haven't been as interested. As soon as the PGA (Championship) is over there's sort of, like, a lull coming off, and then football season is in swing, and also the baseball playoffs are in the fall coming up. So there's sort of a lack of interest in our season, post-PGA (Championship). I think that's what they're trying to do, is eliminate the lull and increase fan interest. I think we've taken a positive step in that direction.
As far as my intent, my intent is to play all the Playoffs.
Q. It's been a lot written and said about how your routine in the gym is working out for you. Can you give us an example for today's workout? Have you been in the gym this morning, hit balls? What do you do on a Monday typically?
TIGER WOODS: I haven't been to the gym yet, no. I'm actually going to do that soon. Traditionally I like to get up early and get my workout in (inaudible). I hit balls today, and later I'll go back to the range and hit more balls.
STEVE BRENER: All right, Tiger, thanks for your time. We look forward to seeing you at the end of August for the Deutsche Bank Championship, and good luck to you.
End of FastScripts