September 11, 2003
CHRISTER ORNING: Good morning. My name is Christer Orning of the Swedish Golf Federation. I'm going to make a short speech in Swedish, and you may have some questions. You can do it in English or in Swedish.
(Speech given in Swedish.)
Q. Would you mind giving us an English interpretation?
CHRISTER ORNING: I will. Yes. This press conference we would like for the Swedish Golf Federation to mark that we are going to change a little bit in the opening ceremony. The players on both teams are going to choose some sort of a black mark as a memory for this day. We also are going to have one minute of silence. We are also going to have one minute of silence during the opening ceremony and the Minister of Sport in Sweden, naturally she will not be here. So we're going to change that a little bit.
Q. Are black arm bands or whatever going to be worn throughout the match?
IAN RANDELL: On behalf of the Ladies European Tour and hopefully both teams, obviously we'd like to extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of Minister Anna Lindh and to all of the Swedish people on this sad occasion. As a mark of respect, both teams will be wearing a black ribbon is the likely situation on their hats. We have also lowered all the flags on-site to half mast. At the opening ceremony this afternoon, we will be having a one minute silence in respect. The flags will be raised, but following the national anthems they will be lowered again to half mast.
Q. For today or the whole three days?
TY VOTAW: All three days.
Q. The security, how tight is the security here with precautions above a normal week on the European tour have been taken?
MARK CASEY: Thank you. We've worked very closely obviously since happenings a couple of years ago on the whole security event. We've worked very closely with Securitas and the police force. So we've been putting a lot of plans in place well before what happened yesterday. Those plans are still in place. We're reviewing them after what happened, but we're very confident that what we've got is adequate and will work very well at the event. We've been working with Olf from both the local and national police force for many months. It's something that we've looked into what could happen, and now our contingency plans will obviously be put in place. The details of those we obviously can't share at this time.
Q. It is heightened because awareness goes up a little bit more?
MARK CASEY: Yes, it does, yes.
Q. Have you ever considered cancelling the match?
MARK CASEY: Literally the news came to us this morning when we were in a meeting. It was the decision of the tours and perhaps, Ian, I'll pass it across to you.
IAN RANDELL: Our immediate thought is that this should not add any increased security risk to the matches. And as far as we've planned, we will go ahead as planned with the matches with the appropriate marks of respect.
Q. I'd like to hear what Ty has got to say about the state of affairs.
TY VOTAW: Well, I spoke to Captain Sheehan just before we came in here. On behalf of her and her team, we express our condolences and sympathies to the family and friends of the Foreign Minister and feel that it's a tragic set of events. And we felt that the best way to honor her memory would be to, with the appropriate marks of respect, conduct the matches and make sure that the event is conducted in the same set of values that it always has been, that of honor and integrity and sportsmanship. And what better way to honor the memory of the Foreign Minister than to do that. And we acknowledge the security -- the players are recognizing the heightened security and feel that going on with the matches is the appropriate thing to do.
Q. Being September 11th today, did you any plans to do anything with the American team to attribute to the tragedy two years ago anyway?
TY VOTAW: Not in a public way. Certainly September 11 is always going to be an anniversary that will be marked by individual thought, individual reflection. We felt the best way to move on from that would also be to handle that in an individual way rather than any kind of public way.
Q. Throughout the match, Ty, have any of the players expressed any concern to you, the American players, and would they come directly to you if they were concerned about it? Or would they go to --
TY VOTAW: As far as what, security?
TY VOTAW: Well, they would certainly come to us and the staff of the LPGA who are assisting them this week and express whatever concerns. But no, they haven't expressed any as of yet.
Q. I presume they would be already in place, but what searches are there of spectators as they enter the premises.
TY VOTAW: That's a question for Mark.
MARK CASEY: We have such as taking place as people come in, but that's part of our contingency to step up. It's something we've got a number of levels we can move to and something that we're working at the moment to review. But it's certainly part of the contingency that we've put together and we'll be looking to.
Q. What are the latest indication of crowd figures?
TY VOTAW: Yes. We announced on Monday that we were sold out on match days. So Friday, Saturday, Sunday we've hit our capacity of 25,000 for Friday and Saturday. 30,000 for Sunday. So it is ticket only. And all of our information and detail across to spectators and certainly Sweden has been advised through the Internet as well, which works very well here. If we are stepping up those levels, we'll make announcements and make sure through the media that people are advised whether to travel a little bit earlier or anything like that.
Q. What are people not allowed to bring?
MARK CASEY: Our guidelines at the moment are sort of standard. Golf tournament of cameras and anything along those lines. We haven't gone to the levels of the Ryder Cup and the sort of bags and certain sizes. It's something we will be reviewing over the next few hours and is part of our plans to announce.
Q. To the best of anybody's knowledge, did the Foreign Minister ever have any links with golf or perhaps did she ever come together with Annika Sorenstam for public acknowledgment, anything along those lines?
CHRISTER ORNING: No. No.
Q. No reason anyone should necessarily know this, but if you happen to do so, it will be helpful. What is being done throughout the rest of the country at similar events? And have you been given any guidance by the government? Or is this solely a Swedish Golf Federation and Solheim Cup decision that you've come to?
CHRISTER ORNING: We have been checking that. As you know they're playing a European championship in Boston this week. We haven't thought about anything that they are going to do. We haven't gotten any answer yet. We are doing it with the golf federation without having consulted anyone else.
Q. After what happened this morning, could you guaranty the players' safety so that there will be not be another Monica Seles incident?
MARK CASEY: It's a very difficult one. We're working with the police and we're very confident of our plans that we've put in place will work. We're very confident. We've looked at contingencies and elements like this that's happened, but it's difficult to rule everything out, but we're looking to step everything up to another level and make sure the players' safety is priority.
Q. Maybe one should point out that the Swedish government ministers don't have body guards. So I think maybe we're talking about risks because they don't normally have body guards. So I think securitywise it looks like if a minister of a foreign country would be stabbed, in Germany they would be surrounded by security. I think it's different in this country. We need to acknowledge that.
OLF SEMPERT: Regarding the security of the players and of the event, I can say that we have had very tight security engagements with the representatives of the tournament for many months and we have already talked about some of the problems that could take place at such a tournament such as the problem that happened with Monica Seles. That's a problem that we already have taken into consideration. The tragic happening that happened to Anna Lindh doesn't affect our plan of security measures in a very big way because we were already on our toes. We are confident that we can cope with this tournament without any big problems. Of course such a thing always makes the general level of security rising. But as I said we have already considered most of the problems that could occur.
Q. Are we right in thinking that there will be police walking with the matches?
OLF SEMPERT: Yes. We did that anyway.
Q. That would have happened anyway?
OLF SEMPERT: Yes.
Q. Is it to be the same number of police?
OLF SEMPERT: The same number. It was always planned. We don't have it another way. We have both uniformed and undercover police officers.
Q. With every match?
OLF SEMPERT: With every match, yes. With police officers following every ball.
Q. But the number of officers is not going to change?
OLF SEMPERT: No. We have already taken into consideration the things that could happen. The tragic thing in Stockholm doesn't affect our number of police officers.
Q. Uniformed officers in the crowd?
OLF SEMPERT: Yes. Uniformed officers all around the area and civilians, ununiformed police officers following the players.
Q. No plain clothes?
OLF SEMPERT: Yes.
MARK CASEY: Civilians inside the ropes, uniformed officers outside.
Q. Can you tell us about the cooperation you've had with the FBI? What's that been?
OLF SEMPERT: The cooperation is done by the security police in Sweden. I can't tell you anything about it. I'm not that much involved in it. So I can't tell you anything.
Q. But you know they've been here and there is a cooperation?
OLF SEMPERT: There's always a cooperation when these events happen with security forces all over Europe and of course in the United States.
Q. What about the hotel where they're staying?
MARK CASEY: The hotel has been secure since they arrived on, well, since Sunday night some of the players were in. We've had 24-hour security in there since they arrived. That was part of our planning. It was one of the great things about having them on-site. They were planning to leave Barseback just last night and that's it. The Americans will catch their flight on Monday morning. They will stay on-site at the hotel and conference center which is where they'll be based all the time.
Q. I know you had a security meeting last nice with the players. Was that after the stabbing in Stockholm?
MARK CASEY: No. The meeting yesterday was just a players rules meeting. And it was at that time we just introduced how the police officers with the games would be introduced. So that the players were comfortable. They were introduced to both captains. It was just -- we weren't aware of what happened by then.
Q. You didn't know about the stabbing?
MARK CASEY: Didn't know about the stabbings. They were just introduced. And it was just so that they don't get in line of sights or anything like that. That's something that we will always do when we have security on-site.
Q. Can you tell us how many police might be there?
OLF SEMPERT: No. But you're free to ask.
Q. It's presumably too late to introduce Ryder Cup style security, airport, x-ray machines.
MARK CASEY: For something like that to go to those extremes, it would be too late, but we have other levels that we can look at and whether it's more of a manual search and things like that. Those are things that we're going to sit down afterwards and just finalize and then let everybody know.
Q. You don't know yet whether it's a tentative search or actually banning certain items.
MARK CASEY: I think we had a pretty large list of items, so I don't think it will be banning any more items. It will be more just bag searches and things like that as people come in.
Q. You weren't bag searching before?
MARK CASEY: We had sort of more of a sporadic bag search as people came in. But we're certainly looking to step that up. Our plan was to try and make it as public friendly as possible. And obviously what's happened means that we have to step things up a little bit. It will inconvenience the public a little bit as well when they come in.
End of FastScripts.