PGA of America 2013 media roundtable transcript

PGA of America Ted Bishop discussed topics ranigng from the Ryder Cup to the proposed rule to ban the anchoring of putting strokes.

PGA of America 2013 media roundtable transcript

Here is the transcript of the PGA Media Roundtable discussion, held Jan. 24, 2013, at the PGA Merchandise Show.

PETE BEVACQUA (PGA of America CEO):  I'm obviously thrilled to be here today.  I know many of you around the table and I know Ted is going to give some opening remarks.

At kind of the day 70 mark, I think my biggest accomplishment so far is certainly the leadership team on the staff level that we have assembled starting with Darrell Crall who is our COO.

Darrell has unbelievable experience at the Executive Director level with our sections and obviously being really win of the authors of Golf 2.0.  So to welcome here to the leadership team has been terrific for me on a personal and professional level.

And then certainly Kerry Haigh, who all of you know from his decades long experience in golf and certainly with The PGA of America, one of the quick decisions we made at a staff level was recognizing that there's no more valuable person to The PGA of America than Kerry Haigh everything and that he's done for our championships, and particularly the PGA Championship and The Ryder Cup.  So elevating him to be a part of our leadership team and changing his title to Chief Championships Officer; as I said to Ted and to Derek and to Paul and to Darrell, with Kerry in the room, every decision we make will be a better, smarter decision, so we are proud to have Kerry in this new role, as well.

TED BISHOP (PGA of America President):  Thanks, Pete.  It's hard to believe that it's been really less than three months since I became the 38th president of The PGA of America on November 10.

And the events and some of the interesting going ons in the industry today have made these last few weeks just seem like a whirlwind to be honest with you.  There's been days I've felt like I've been president of The PGA of America for years, not just a matter of a few months.

I think for me, everything kind of got kicked off on the right note when I had the opportunity as the president to introduce Pete Bevacqua as our new Chief Executive Officer in Baltimore on November 10.  It clearly was the beginning of an exciting new day for The PGA of America.  And that's in no way, shape or form disrespect to what had taken place in the past, but it was just great to kind of turn the page on a new era in our association.

I've thought many times that I really happened to be the right guy in the right place to be a part of that and to be able to work with two fellow officers that kind of have the same philosophy that I do in terms of looking at things from a long range standpoint rather than just having this be a continual two year incremental leadership term that the president of The PGA of America has which sometimes can put strain and stress on our staff at Palm Beach Gardens; but to employ some continuity in the thought process of how we do things going forward.  There's not two better guys that I can work with than Derek and Paul.  And we don't agree on everything.  We have some pretty spirited discussions at times, no question about that.

But it is a new The PGA of America.  It's a new The PGA of America and it's a fun The PGA of America.  To be able to go to our headquarters a couple of days after the Annual Meeting and to be able to introduce our new leadership team to our staff in that building and to see the excitement that they welcomed Pete and Darrell and eventually Kerry with, has been outstanding.

That work environment needs to be a place that when people roll out of bed every morning that work there, they are excited and can't wait to get to work at headquarters.  When that work environment becomes like that, those people are productive and the 27,000 men and women of The PGA of America are the biggest benefactors of that type of working environment, and that's probably the best thing that we can do for our members.  I think we did that.

Shortly that after that, I was obviously involved in helping name Tom Watson was The Ryder Cup captain, and I want to talk a little bit about that process today.  It's been kind of an interesting week for me to sit back and watch out the Europeans pick their captain and to see the various responses and input from the media on having a large committee that should be involved in doing this.

All of you know the historical background with me and Tom Watson and the Jim Huber book and how the idea came to fruition and the documentation.  Derek was in the room that first day that I presented that 85 page document to my other officers, and really, from the time I got that thing finished until I made that presentation to the officers, there was no doubt in my mind over a year ago that Tom Watson, given the circumstances of playing that Ryder Cup in Scotland, was the perfect choice.  It was a perfect storm and the stars lined up for Tom.

That being said, it was going to be an out of the box idea.  It was going to change the way that we had named Ryder Cup captains.  And trust me, even internally, it wasn't exactly a lay down.  I had to really convince some people that this was the right thing to do, but it was a unanimous decision that Paul and Derek and I made, and it went with a lot of thought.

I did a little bit of research last week when I heard all these various opinions on how The PGA of America should pick Ryder Cup Captains.  Since 1987, there's been 13 Ryder Cups played, and nine of the 13 Ryder Cups have been decided by two points or less.  And seven of those 13 Ryder Cups have been decided by one point or less.

So I would make an argument, as you all know, being very involved in golf, that there could have been one or two swings in every single one of those Ryder Cups; certainly those nine Ryder Cups, that dictated the outcome of The Ryder Cup.

And I will 100% stand by every decision that previous PGA officers have made in terms of how we pick Ryder Cup Captains.  I would welcome any suggestions from anybody on a bad Ryder Cup Captain that the United States has had.  I want to give you a quick scenario that many of you don't realize.

I think a lot of the discussion certainly has been based on United States inability to win Ryder Cups, but I'll go back to The Ryder Cup that we played in Wales in 2010.  I happened to be with Jim Furyk/Rickie Fowler match which was played in session two in the alternate shot format.  As you remember, we were the defending champions coming into that Ryder Cup, so a 14 14 tie and we retain the Cup.

On the fourth hole, Furyk in the alternate shot format hooks the ball outside the ropes into the mud and the slop and Rickie takes the drop and hits the second shot, par 4, up on the front edge of the green.  Europeans hit their shot into the green and it would appear that the hole is going to be halved with pars.

Furyk and Fowler get about halfway to the green and they stop and confer with the rules officials, and it turns out that Rickie was carrying the ball in his pocket that he was teeing off with on the odd numbered holes and he had hit the second shot with the wrong ball.  As a result of that match played, it was loss of hole.

And if you fast forward:  Furyk and Fowler wind up winning the 18th hole, and they halved the match.  We get a half a point.  And had Fowler not taken a drop with the wrong ball, they would have won the match, 1 up, and we would have gotten an additional half point; and The Ryder Cup in Wales could have very conceivably have ended in a 14 14 tie; United States retains The Ryder Cup.

Fast forward to the 18th hole at Medinah, Tiger Woods standing on that tee with 1 up lead on Molinari with an opportunity to halve the 18th hole; and again, have The Ryder Cup wind up in a 14 14 tie, and the United States retains The Ryder Cup.

And the controversy would have been:  Should a team who has tied the Ryder Cup retain The Ryder Cup, since it's now happened over a four year period of time, and very conceivably the United States would have won the last three Ryder Cups.  And that's how close these matches have been.  I think the best, interesting statistical data that would back up what our picks have been.

I did have the opportunity to call Paul McGinley last Friday, and had a delightful conversation with him.  I called him on behalf of The PGA of America to congratulate him on being the European selection or The Ryder Cup captain, and I've got to share two stories with you that he told me that I thought were really cool stories.

He said:  "I will tell you that as a boy growing up in Northern Ireland, Tom Watson was my hero.  He was an icon.  When I was at college in San Diego," he said, "I remember going out to the TOUR event in San Diego and watching Tom Watson play practice rounds from afar."  So he said, "For me to have the opportunity to captain against Tom Watson is something that I relish," and he said, "it's really going to be the highlight of The Ryder Cup for me."

And he said, you know, I wish that    he said, "I congratulate you and The PGA of America on your choice of Tom as a captain, and I only wish that you could have seen all the headlines in the papers in our part of the world after that announcement was made," because he said, "it certainly impacted how we probably went through our process."  He said, "In the end it just means a lot for me to be the captain."

So I just thought that was a nice story to kind of put the Watson/McGinley relationship into perspective.  He went on to add one thing that was very important.   He said, "I guarantee you one thing:  This will be one of the classiest Ryder Cups from a sportsmanship standpoint that the event has seen because Tom and I are totally on the same page in terms of how to conduct that type of competition."  It was good.  It was all the things that are right for the game.

Really the next thing that I dealt with in my term as president, certainly was the anchoring debate that exists right now.  I'm very proud of the process that The PGA of America went through.  We had Mike Davis come in and do a formal presentation to our board of directors in Baltimore on November 8, and our board pretty much came to the conclusion that was very consistent with the statement that we eventually sent out prior to the USGA's announcement to them.

But the thing that I feel the best about in that whole process was that with the agreement of the senior staff and fellow officers we decided to poll our membership on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving about how they felt on this issue.  We ran that poll Wednesday through Sunday of Thanksgiving week.

And 4,228 PGA members respond to that poll and 63 percent of them indicated that they were opposed to the ban on anchoring; and of course that dictated, really, what our statement and our position on anchoring was at that point in time.

And I'm not going to offer anything in the way of editorial comments on that.  I'm sure I'll get some questions in the question answer period as a follow up to the PGA's position, but I feel good about that.

I feel that our decision was very consistent with where we have been with Golf 2.0, player development, and really trying to achieve some things that will make the game more friendly, more welcoming and certainly more fun to the people that play at our golf courses day in and day out.

As many of you know, at the Annual Meeting, we officially named Dottie Pepper to the PGA board of directors as an independent director, and Dottie, what a great addition she was to our board.

I remember having a phone call conversation with her in July when I first presented this idea to her.  At that point in time she was somewhat in limbo as it relates to what her broadcasting career was going to be, and then we agreed she would wait a couple of months before she made the decision; and I emphasized to her that if she's going to do this, she needs to be all in.  It can't be any kind of a halfway commitment; you've got to be totally engaged into what we are doing.

And man, has she ever been.  And what a great perspective that she brings to our PGA board of directors as not only someone that's been a tremendously successful competitive player; she's been somebody that's obviously been a very respected and high profile media figure.  But she just gets what's going on out there in golf today, and Dottie will be a great addition to our board.

Just a couple of other comments that I would make before I turn it over to Pete.  Get Golf Ready is really my passion in terms of player development, and the thing that was so gratifying about Tom Watson and his understanding of what's going on out there in golf, too.  When we did our interview with Tom, our formal interview in November, he, unsolicited, brought up Get Golf Ready and he talked about the value he thought it brought for player development.  He was engaged in what the pricing was and who you the whole curriculum was to be delivered by the PGA professional; he had gone to the and was aware of the facilities in the Kansas City area that were doing Get Golf Ready.

We were pleased when he made the overture to do some PSAs that would promote Get Golf Ready for us.  I only bring it up because I think it's important for a group like this to understand; a lot of times when we have a Ryder Cup Captain, we might go to The Ryder Cup captain and say, would you consider doing something for us to promote one of our initiatives or programs.  And yet, in this case, we had a Ryder Cup Captain that came to us about one of our initiatives that said:  This is really valuable and worthwhile and I would like to be a part of helping you advance the cause.

Another thing that is going on here this week that is very near and dear to my heart is the relationship that we have established at The PGA of America with the PGA TOUR Wives Association.  They are here at the show this week.  They are kicking off, they are doing an advance release of the book that commemorates their 25th anniversary.

As all of you know, the PGA TOUR wives have done a lot of great philanthropic work over the years at many of the TOUR stops and we were pleased through the cooperation of Reed, actually secure booth space this week and we have them in a great position by the Forum stage with KitchenAid and they are going to do some cooking demonstration.  I saw Carl Pettersson down there a few minutes ago and he and his wife, Diana, are going to be involved  in one this morning; and Mark and Amy Wilson are going to be doing them as well as some of the other PGA TOUR Wives.

Thing that's cool about this book, there's a few recipes in the back of the book but don't get the impression it's a cookbook.  This is a book that highlights 130 PGA TOUR families and their lifestyle on the TOUR, and I honestly, I saw it last night for the first time, and I think it might be one of the most exciting books in all of golf.

As much as anything, it was I think a good first step for The PGA of America in enhancing and improving our relationship with the PGA TOUR.  Those of us that are married always know that when our wives are happy, we're happy, and I've kind of found that to be the case even with the PGA TOUR to a degree.  There have been a lot of good, positive comments, not just from Commissioner Finchem, but from PGA TOUR players, on what we have done for the PGA TOUR Wives here at The PGA of America.

I'm pleased to announce that we are going to do an initiative with the PGA TOUR wives and The PGA of America wives at our PGA Championship in Oak Hill this summer in Rochester, and it's going to be based around a Habitat for Humanities project.  We are going to build a house in Rochester throughout the summer of the championship and we are going to co op with the PGA TOUR Wives on that.  It's very exciting and really just leads me into my last    the last point, and that's been my relationship with Tim Finchem.

And you know, I would say that without question, in the last three months, in terms of the golf industry as a whole, nobody has reached out to me more; nobody has been maybe more insightful on a lot of things outside The PGA of America than Tim Finchem has.

Pete and I flew down to Ponte Vedra on the Monday that we were actually in New York to do The Ryder Cup announcement, and we had just a tremendous three hour meeting with Tim and talked about a lot of things that pertain to both The PGA of America and the PGA TOUR.

There's going to be some exciting things that are going to happen.  The TOUR is going to run a bunch of Get Golf Ready PSA's for us during their TOUR events later this spring.  The Commissioner made the overture that he thought they would be more impactful if some of their players were involved in those PSA's and that was a great overture coming from the TOUR, that certainly will be the case.  And I think that there's just a lot of really good things going on right now between the PGA TOUR and The PGA of America.

I really can't think of a better ally for us to have in the industry than the TOUR, and I'm really pleased to see the way the Commissioner has reached out to both Pete and I, and he's listened to things that we felt like were important in our relationship.  It has not been just a one way conversation by any stretch of the imagination, and no better example of that than him flying back from San Diego, either early in the morning or yet late tonight, to be part of the panel discussion that we are going to have tomorrow.

So really I wanted to make sure that this group was aware of that.  And then the last thing that I would say before I turn it over to Pete is that The PGA of America is excited to announce that Lee Trevino will be our 2013 Distinguished Service Award winner, and that's going to be really fun to be able to recognize Lee with that award at Oak Hill this August.  It's kind of a unique year for Lee from the standpoint that he won three of his major championships at the venues that are being played at Merion, Muirfield and at Oak Hill.  That's pretty cool.

I guess this would just be kind of the way it's been going for me.  Things happen to me, that have happened since November 10, and it's like, are you kidding.  I called Lee Trevino, I guess it was Tuesday, I was there in San Diego for the players meeting.  Called him from Torrey Pines about Tuesday afternoon at 3 o'clock and told him he was going to be the DSA winner.  I was flying back from San Diego, connecting in Dallas, get on the plane, and who am I sitting next to, but Lee Trevino (laughs).  That's just kind of the way it's been.  It's been a good ride so far and hopefully it finishes itself out that way.

I'll turn it over to Pete.

PETE BEVACQUA:  Thanks, Ted.  And as I said a few moments ago, this is about the day 70 mark for me, and as some of you know in the room, I've certainly had a relationship with the game since I was ten years old as a caddie back in New York at Bedford Golf & Tennis and kind of worked my way up through the caddie ranks, and then after a brief stint at a law firm in the city, spent about 11 years at the USGA and then most recently at creative artists agency.

But when this opportunity became available to join The PGA of America at the staff level, it was obviously just for me the idea was just a dream come true.  And then when it became a reality, after talking and going through the whole process, a process that was led by Ted, and obviously Derek was so involved, as well as some former officers and past presidents; it really is a dream come true for someone who has devoted so much of their personal life and certainly their professional life to the game.

And starting in November, I came into this not pretending to have it all figured out.  I certainly don't.  And trying to learn as much as I can about the organization.

Having been in golf for so long, you certainly have a great idea of what The PGA of America does and having really learned the game at a club as caddie, caddie master and then eventually running the golf shot and then through the ice of a PGA head professional, Walt Ronan, got a good sense of what The PGA of America and PGA professionals meant to people.

But you don't really know in an organization until you are there in a day in and day out basis.  Meeting the staff and how dedicated the staff is and their love of the game and meeting so much with the officers and the board of directors; it's been a whirlwind.

Ted mentioned some of the high points, the whole process with Watson; the conversations we had with our members about the proposed ban on anchoring; and already, I can tell, there's so much that the organization can do.

I've been friends with Joe Steranka for well over a decade, and Joe did such great work in this role as CEO, and I just look forward to, as Ted said, picking up that torch and bringing a new day and some new priorities to the organization.  Not to get overly simplistic, but you can look at those priorities in pretty simple buckets.

First and foremost, and we say this at the staff level, is just always remembering who we are here to serve and who we represent and that's those 27,000 members.

So every decision we make, every concept we debate the merits of, it always has to come back to those members.  And it's an interesting group.  You can't think of, I think, a more eclectic group that makes up a profession.  You're an athlete; you're a teacher; you're many days a psychiatrist; you're a host; you're a businessman or a woman.  It's such an eclectic group and then those members are coming from all different angles, whether it's private clubs, public clubs, resorts, facilities.  It's a great advantage of The PGA of America when you look at it from the viewpoint of a staff person, is that our members are that tangible connection between the game and everybody that plays it.

I think in Darrell and Kerry, I know would agree with me, that every decision that we make at the staff level, not only will it be vetted through the officers that represent those members, but as Ted said, a further and deeper and more consistent engagement with our members.

I think the proof of that came pretty quickly when we were debating what the The PGA of America's stance should be, if any, with the proposed ban on the anchoring.  It was a pretty quick decision that we ought to ask those 27,000 members.  Because again, they hear it; they know what's going on.  They breathe golf, live golf.  They are the heartbeat of the game and they are the ones that are hearing it from the private club player to the public club player to the beginner to the expert.  We are going to do more of that.

Whenever major decisions or major issues are out in the golf space, we are going to rely on the expertise of our members because there's no better network and no better group of people that are more informed about the various aspects of the game.  Again coming into this, certainly a priority is a re engagement and I think a more, as I said, consistent engagement with our members and making sure that their voice is heard and their concerns are certainly heard within the industry.

Then you go to probably the most visible thing we do, our championships.  And again, I think the proof is in the pudding that we said, okay, well, who is the staff person primarily responsible for those?  Well, that's Kerry Haigh.

Having lived the life of the USGA for 11 years, we were always keeping a close eye on what Kerry was doing with that PGA Championship and how it has continued to be elevated.  And I remember being as jealous as can be when the PGA was the first group that said, hey, we are going to let personal devices into our championships.  And that was a critical move.  And that's a move that tells me that it's an organization that's aware of trends and what needs to happen to grow the game and keep people involved in the game.

But what can we do to continue to elevate the PGA Championship, and what can we do to continue to elevate what I think is certainly, and I'm biased, but the most exciting event in golf, and maybe up there with any sport, The Ryder Cup.  I mean, what that represents in golf and what that has become is just amazing and when you look at what it can continue to be, that's something that excites us.

And then lastly, again, the third priority, if you had to just boil it down is everything we do to grow the game.  And for me, it was one of the aspects of this job and these sets of obligations that we have as staff members that certainly got my energy up.  How can we grow the game; golf is healthy, certainly.

We can talk about how rounds were up 6.8 percent, 30 million rounds over the previous year; how 48 states had additional revenue in terms of golf; National Golf Foundation.  We point to some great statistics about the 68 plus billion dollar impact golf has in the U.S. and how it's responsible for two million jobs.  All of these are wonderful things.

In golf, one of the great advantages and lessons we learned coming out of 2008 and 2009 when the perception of golf was a bit of a struggle was that golf did go on the offensive and start telling its story that it's more than about the four of us going out and playing golf on a Saturday or Sunday.  It's everything that's impacted; the waiters, waitresses, the staff at the clubs, tourism.  Golf has an unbelievable economic impact in this country.

So although golf is healthy.  It absolutely has a series of challenges, and one of our primary responsibilities is to not only think about those challenges but to try to grow the game and to try to bring more diversity into the game and more minority participation and in a moment I want to turn it over to Darrell, because again, much like The PGA of America said, hey, championships are so important to us, we have to make sure that the staff person who is in charge of those championships has a voice, a seat at the table when we make major decisions.

Again it was an easy decision with Darrell Crall.  Here is someone that we have to always be aware of our members and of our sections and Darrell comes from that.  His golf pedigree is up there with anybody having been a scholarship player at Duke; and then graduating into the Executive Director ranks at the section level; and then The PGA of America well before me obviously seeing such a talented person and bringing him in house to help author Golf 2.0.  And you'll see so much effort at so many levels from The PGA of America going into the future with growing the game and Golf 2.0, and Darrell wants to update you on that, and I'd like to turn it over to him for a few moments.

DARRELL CRALL (PGA of America COO):  Thought what I would do is briefly go through where we have been, where we are and where we are going and with Golf 2.0.

As many of you may be familiar, the primary objective is to grow the game.  It's very helpful to have the president, CEO, officers, tell the story as Ted and he both did, and it's nice to sit before you and talk about some good news.

Pete referenced the nice news in 2012 with rounds in revenue up over six percent, the largest increase since 2000.  So certainly a positive place to begin a conversation.  It's also important to note and give credit to Mother Nature.  Certainly weather gave a nice assists in terms of days being open, but it's also important to note that when it's nice when supply and demand are simpatico with the number of days open matching the increase in rounds and revenue.  So it's nice that demand was there for the new supply.

I think it's also important to note that we have an unbelievably engaged industry that played a key role in this growth and frankly plays an even more important role in its sustainability.  The genesis of Golf 2.0 certainly rests here with The PGA of America but it's truly an industry embraced strategic plan and as many of you have seen, the fingerprints of the industry are in all of the initiatives.

The industry, along with our PGA members, our sections, our player development regional managers in the field, as well as staff have worked collaboratively to create awareness, training and certainly a call to action for player development at all levels; our pillar program as our president alluded to is certainly Get Golf Ready.

We have seen unbelievable growth in the year 2012 with over 60 percent more facilities offering Get Golf Ready.  We have entrusted 3,000 facilities this year and we have more than $52 million in economic impact by the roughly 76,000 people who are students in these classes, over $50 million from these students.

Over its four year history, Get Golf Ready from an economic impact has been over 200 million.  So we are thrilled with having an initiative that is sustainable and producing significant results.

A few more statistics that are exciting and noteworthy:  60 percent of Get Golf Ready participants are women, as compared to roughly 18 percent of the current golf population being women.  So we have found a program that certainly connects with her at a high level, and as Pete alluded to, as it relates to one of our objectives is certainly to be attractive to a more diverse group of citizens; and 20 percent of those participating in the Get Golf Ready classes are minorities.

We also have an unbelievable success story in retention.  83 percent of those who are students in Get Golf Ready, stick.  They continue to play and spend money as I alluded to earlier.  And we always talk about the importance of customer satisfaction.  Those who participated, referenced a 96% satisfaction rate with the program.  So we feel good as an industry and organization about the impact of Get Golf Ready.

We have also worked hard to develop an integrated consumer marketing strategy that combines not only the assets of The PGA of America with our partners, but also those over a broader industry; and as our president alluded to, what a great pleasure it is to have such valued partners like the PGA TOUR offer their broadcast assets this spring to promote Get Golf Ready with our two PSAs, one that is women centric, and the other that's focused along with couples, along with highlighting our Ryder Cup Captain and PGA TOUR players telling the story of the value of Get Golf Ready.

We are also excited from a training standpoint to take our professionals to another level with education.  We have produced playbooks in a variety of areas in player development that are not only tangible documents, but interactive communication and training tools for them and their staff.  So whatever level they are in their development and in their career, they have something very tangible to use to advance the cause of player development for their career and very importantly, for their owners.

We are excited about the first year of our partnership with the USGA and Boys & Girls Clubs of America.  What a tremendous opportunity as we introduce golf into 47 clubhouses, ironically, that's what the Boys & Girls Clubs call their facilities but in these clubhouses we talk golf, both in the spring and the fall, five programs, very substantive golf components that even includes field trips for the boys and girls to go to golf facilities to see that they are welcome that golf is a place in a facility that they can play, but even potentially look at employment opportunities as they grow older.

We are going to grow that relationship to 75 sites this year and we could not be more excited about the partnership with the USGA and the Boys & Girls Club.

Staying for just a moment in the youth space, as we opened up the show this morning with Davis Love III, we could not be more thrilled with our first year success of PGA Junior League Golf, golf's answer to youth sports from a team standpoint.  Most of us have either been on the sidelines of soccer fields or in the stands at baseball games watching our children, grandchildren or friends' children play sports in a team environment, it's an easy access point, it's not threatening, kids love the uniforms and the team component.  They can win and lose as a team, and it's not quite as scary as putting that scorecard in your pocket as our standing by yourself on the first tee.

PGA Junior League Golf has bridged the gap from introducing golf as we all have seen successfully occur to kids sticking and playing golf, hopefully long term.  While the kids love the jerseys, they love the enthusiasm, the excitement; maybe more importantly the parents can enjoy the family centric values and sensitivity to time compressed lives.

Practices are often on Wednesdays for an hour, games are on Saturday afternoons for an hour and a half, it's a tight schedule of five or six weeks in the summer and then they can move onto other activities.

So we are thrilled not only with the success of PGA Junior League Golf, but the positioning of PGA professionals as coaches and influencers as sources from all sorts of positive variables.

I would close with an answer to a question that a few of you have asked in recent weeks and months:  What's new in 2013?

Well, I'm certainly excited to tell you that the answer is, a laser like focus on execution.  Consumer promotion of the game and local activation by our PGA members in the industry, we are going to continue to make our focus on Get Golf Ready, on the Boys & Girls Clubs, on PGA Junior League Golf and on a long standing partnership we have had with Tee It Forward and the USGA.

We are going to continue to grow the game responsibly and certainly look forward to your continued promotion and support.

PETE BEVACQUA:  Before we turn it back over to Julius it's a great week for us certainly and to see all of you here this week for the PGA Show, as we have discussed internally there are these few times of year where the golf community gets together and we have all been    I have been at the show, I think this is my 10th PGA Show.  It is great to see it back to where it was.  There will be over 40,000 people here these next few days and we have over a thousand exhibitors, and this is the biggest the show has been since 2008; and that's great, and that's a great signal for golf that golf is vibrant again.  You walk around that hall space and you see all the different people and all the different manufactures from all different areas.  It's very compelling.

We have also started to think, what can we do as an organization to increase the relevancy of the PGA Show.  And just a simple example of that is what is going to happen tomorrow with the State of the Game Forum that The PGA of America is hosting.  A simple light bulb went off in our head:  We have the leaders in the golf industry for a few days, let's make sure we collect them together every year and start to debate some of the most pressing topics of the game.  So this is not a one and done.  This is something we will continue to do each year, look to improvement it, tweak it and have different people on different topics every year.

And we have heard from the exhibitors and the people in attendance that maybe it makes more sense to have the show from Wednesday, Thursday and Friday; than Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because by Saturday, people start to head home.  So that's again a change that will be instituted as of next year, having the show start on Wednesday and end on Friday because we have just heard from overwhelming data that we have received that that makes more sense.  So again, an easy change.

Throw it back over to Julius and just wanted to thank everybody for coming here today.

JULIUS MASON:  Pete, thank you very much, Ted, Darrell.  We thought it was very important for you to hear from our leadership, it's as important to hear from you, ladies and gentlemen.

Q.  On January 24, 2013, what's the The PGA of America's position on anchoring and has it changed since the original statement awhile back?

TED BISHOP:  You're asking what our position is?

Q.  Yes, as of today.

TED BISHOP:  Yeah, I think our position has not changed since we notified the USGA on November 28 that we had serious concerns on how a ban on anchoring would affect people's enjoyment of the game, our ability to grow the game.

I'll share with you an interesting story that took place at my facility last week.  I was there pretty much all week.  I had one of my men's club members come out middle of the week and he said, hey can I have a few minutes with you.

And so we went back in my office, and this is a guy that anchors a long putter.  You know, he's in his mid 60s and he said, you know, what are we going to do here with the long putter.  How are you going to handle that in terms of our club events, because he said, you know, I almost quit the game five or six years ago, because I couldn't get it in the hole from two or three feet.  He said:  I've got to tell you, I have serious concerns about whether I can continue to play if you don't allow me to use an anchor, long putter at our club events.

I said, you know, it's a great question.  I think we are just going to have to see how this whole thing unfolds, but I'm sympathetic to what you're saying.  I think that's the pain point for The PGA of America members all over the country who run facilities.  Those amateurs are our lifeblood.  Those people are really the core of the game.

I've said from the very beginning from day one:  You've really got two sides to this argument.  You've got the side that you heard from the USGA on November 29 that really was applicable to competitive golf at the highest level, at the elite level.  But I think the other side of that and maybe a bigger picture is what goes on at all of our golf courses day in and day out in terms of trying to enhance the enjoyment that people have.

So I think that we all certainly read Commissioner Finchem's comments from his press conference yesterday and his statements regarding bifurcation and how the TOUR certainly needs to reserve the right to consider that.  I think those are pretty interesting and powerful words from somebody of his stature.  You've heard comments from people like Jerry Tarde and even David Fay, and I think that in a lot of ways, it signals what I view to be changing times.

It certainly demonstrates, in the case of Tim Finchem's comments this week, I think the growth of the PGA TOUR.  The PGA TOUR represents golf as we all know that's being played at the very highest level in the world and what they say and do is really critical to the game.

In many ways, I think that all that the PGA TOUR has accomplished has really signified a power shift in the game today.  When the USGA first wrote and interpreted the rules of the game in 1894, the TOUR did not even exist.  And now in many ways what the TOUR does and what its players do has an unbelievably powerful impact on all of us.  I think that we really need to be aware of that.

So you know, I think that maybe we are at a point where we need to consider what impact bifurcation would have and if that's an answer or a potential answer to this situation, so that we can avoid some sticky issues like we are currently involved in with banning a long putter and anchoring or even some of the issues that possibly come up in the future.

It's a healthy discussion and our whole focus is to try to grow the game; we want more people in the game and to enjoy the game, and you know, in an ideal world the game would be played under one set of rules.

But you know, I know one thing for sure:  We have got 27,000 PGA members an apprentices out there that are fighting a battle every day at all their facilities to try to grow the game.  And quite candidly we are at a point in the game where we can't afford to lose one player, one round of golf at our facilities, and anything that happens from a legislation standpoint to do that in our opinion is not good for the game.

Q.  You mentioned the 27,000 members and growing the game and so forth.  Wondering if you could maybe share, and maybe you touched on a little bit what their major concerns are when you talk to them about their jobs and what they are doing and securing their jobs and growing opportunities in the professional ranks.

TED BISHOP:  Well, you know, I think that's a great question.

One of the things that we have really tried to do with a program like Get Golf Ready is to make our members understand that they need to do a better job of tracking the residual revenues that are driven to their facilities based on their instructional efforts; to be able to at some point in time at the end of the year go to their employer and say, you know what, I had so many people that I instructed in golf this year    whether it was in Get Golf Ready or other programs at their facilities; and through software systems at their clubs or courses be able to quantifiably document to their employer how many dollars and revenues that they generated to their facilities.

In the golf business today, it's a revenue driven problem that we face.  Most of us as operators, we have cut our budgets and we have done things from an operational standpoint in terms of expenses about as much as we could possibly do.  We are just really looking at ways that we can increase revenues at our facilities.

I think one of my primary goals as president of The PGA of America is really emphasize to our members how important it is for them to be able to track and accumulate that information; and to be able to go into their employer at the end of the season and say, this is what my effort has produced.  If that happens, that should enhance their job security and hopefully give them the opportunity to increase their compensation package.

Very interesting statistic, to me one that a lot of people don't know:  The average salary for a head golf professional in the United States today is $62,500.  That's not a lot of money in the scheme of things.  So a lot of our members are looking for a whole bunch of different ways that they can enhance their situations.

Q.  Going back, you just made a comment about Finchem and his meeting with Mike Davis and you referenced the fact that he did open the door to the PGA TOUR creating its old rules and that could lead to bifurcation.  Does The PGA of America think bifurcation is a good idea and have you discussed that with your membership?

TED BISHOP:  That is a great question and the officers and our executive leadership team with The PGA of America had a meeting on Monday and we are going to release a survey on Friday afternoon after we have the panel discussion tomorrow to our membership, similar to what we did on anchoring and we'll find out at that point in time how our members feel.

Q.  You addressed this before about the European Ryder Cup Captain selection process, and one of the things that came up, I think Jason Dufner was one of the Americans who spoke out about this, about having more player input into the process.  Would that be something you would consider in a future captain?

TED BISHOP:  That's a good question, Rex, and I can only speak from my particular case with this last Ryder Cup selection.  You know, I did solicit player input; having been at the 2010 Ryder Cup in Wales and starting as a PGA officer to develop a fairly comfortable relationship with certain players and certainly Ryder Cup Team members.

I did talk to players.  There were a handful of players that kind of knew where I was going with this thing over the past year and I really appreciate the confidence that they showed and the conversations that I had with them, and trust me, I got a lot of feedback and a lot of phone calls from former Ryder Cup Captains after Medinah with their opinions on where we should go with The Ryder Cup captain selection process.

So obviously nobody contacted Jason Dufner for his opinion on the Tom Watson decision, but I think that is something that we do do and we have done in the past.

We have probably not talked a lot about our process in the past, and that's one of the things that I think has been good about the Watson process and all of the discussion that took place the week before and the week after.  I think maybe as we go forward, people will better understand our process.  I think we do more of that communication than we are given credit for.

JULIUS MASON:  Questions?  Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very, very much for joining us today.  We look forward to seeing you over the next couple of days and the rest of 2013.  Thanks very much.