PGA of America and Donald Trump news conference transcript

The PGA of America and Donald Trump
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From left, Pete Bevacqua, CEO, The PGA of America; Donald Trump, Chairman, The Trump Organization; and Ted Bishop, President, The PGA of America.
The PGA of America

Series: PGA

Published: Thursday, May 01, 2014 | 2:02 p.m.

JULIUS MASON: Good morning, everyone. I'm The PGA of America's Julius Mason, and I would like to thank you very much today for joining us for what is going to prove to be a very, very special announcement.

Before we hear from our guests at the head table, there are a few people in the audience that I would like to recognize. The PGA of America is made up of 41 sections across the country and representing the metropolitan PGA section here today is president Heath Wassem and Executive Director, Charlie Robson.

Joining us from the New Jersey PGA Section is president, Andy Brock, and Executive Director Chris Bauer. And representing The PGA of America board of directors from Morristown, New Jersey is Dan Pasternak.

MORE COVERAGE: PGA of America, Trump announce major partnership

We would also like to thank our PGA of America media and broadcast partners who have long supported The PGA of America's major championships and our member professionals; thank you very much for being here today.

And finally, we would like to thank the entire Trump family who are also here in attendance.

And now, ladies and gentlemen, it's my pleasure to call upon the 38th president of The PGA of America, the general manager and director of golf at the Legends Golf Club in Franklin, Indiana, Mr. Ted Bishop.

TED BISHOP: Thank you, Julius, and it's certainly my pleasure to be here in the heart of Manhattan, and actually just about seven minutes from where The PGA of America was born nearly a century ago.

Since that time our association's mission has been to grow the game and certainly promote the interests of our members. And today, we are the largest sports organization in the world.

But we are here in New York because The PGA of America is excited to share two pieces of news concerning two of our major championships. The first piece of news involves the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. The 75th Senior PGA Championship will be played in less than three weeks at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor, Michigan.

Since its origin in 1937 at Augusta National Golf Club at the invitation of Bobby Jones, the Senior PGA Championship has been literally a parade of the game's legends and stars of the Champions Tour. After this year, the Senior PGA Championship heads to French Lick, Indiana in 2015, before it returns to Benton Harbor in 2016, and that takes us to 2017 and why we are here today.

Ladies and gentlemen, now joining us is the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy, awarded annually to the Senior PGA Champion, and today, I'm very pleased to announce that in 2017, the 78th Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid will be played at Trump National Golf Club, Washington, D.C.

Unbelievable as this sounds, it will actually be the first Senior PGA Championship to be conducted near our nation's capitol. This great venue was also the site of last year's Junior PGA Championship.

The second major announcement today concerns the PGA Championship, and in this August, Valhalla Golf club in Louisville will host the PGA Championship, which perennially features the strongest field and deepest international lineup of any major golf championship. It's the only all professional field, including 20 of the best PGA Club Professionals.

It's also the most innovative major where fans have a say in the course setup, and it continues to be praised as the game's best and the fairest setup in all of major championship golf. This year, the purse for the PGA Championship will be $10 million, which is the largest of any of the major championships.

Following Valhalla, the 2015 PGA Championship will head to Whistling Straits in Kohler, Wisconsin. In 2016, which is our Centennial year, the championship will be conducted at Baltusrol Golf Club in Springfield, New Jersey. In 2017 at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina, we'll play the PGA Championship. And then again in 2018, the 100th PGA Championship will be played in Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis.

And as you know from our announcement last fall here in New York, in 2019, the PGA Championship visit the Bethpage Black in forming daily New York.

Ladies and gentlemen, I present the Wanamaker Trophy, the prize to the winner of the PGA Championship. The Wanamaker Trophy is named after Rodman Wanamaker, a prominent businessman in this city for many years, whose store hosted a luncheon that was a catalyst for the founding of The PGA of America and the PGA Championship.

Today The PGA of America is absolutely thrilled to announce that in 2022, the 104th PGA Championship will be hosted at Trump National Golf Club, Bedminster. It will be the championship's fourth overall visit to the State of New Jersey.

And obviously Mr. Trump, we look forward to bringing both of these major championships to these exceptional golf properties where I'm sure we can anticipate many more historic moments.

JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Ted, and ladies and gentlemen.

All the way from Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, the CEO of the PGA of America, Mr. Pete Bevacqua.

PETE BEVACQUA: Thank you, Julius.

And as Ted said, this really is the birthplace of The PGA of America in New York City, and to be back here today to have these two really exciting announcements for the 2017 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid, and the 2022 PGA Championship at two wonderful Trump properties, is really just a great day for our organization.

And New York City in so many ways in this major metropolitan area, it is really is the intersection between the game of golf and the business of golf, and we are extremely proud to bring two of our premiere events back to the Washington area, which is obviously a major market and the 2022 PGA Championship back into this area.

I sit here today; it's been such a pleasure for me and for our organization to get to know Mr. Trump, certainly personally, but also professionally. And what he has done for the game of golf over the course of the last decade plus, when you look at the properties he has, certainly in this country and around the world, and the passion he has for the game, and how he's been a voice of progress for golf.

But is also someone who understands traditions of the game, the history of the game and who quite frankly can flat out play the game. It's just a perfect partnership between The PGA of America, Mr. Trump, his family and certainly the entire Trump organization. And we sit here today, certainly as an emphasis on the 2017 Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid and the 2022 PGA Championship at Trump Bedminster.

But we know this is just the start of what is going to be a great and enduring relationship between our organization and Mr. Trump. I think it's the start of great things to come. And it really is a special day for golf, it's a special day for two of our finest championships and it's a special day for The PGA of America.

So on behalf of The PGA of America, Mr. Trump, thank you.

DONALD TRUMP: Thank you.

JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Pete. Now, ladies and gentlemen, the chairman and president of the Trump Organization, Mr. Donald Trump.

DONALD TRUMP: Well, I really want to thank Ted and Pete. These are two special people. They love golf. Golf is very important to them. Charity is very important to them. They are truly great people, great men, and I just want to thank you both very much, and Pete, thank you very much.

We have two courses that are really spectacular courses. You're going to see that in Washington on the Potomac River. That's going to be the Senior PGA, that will be in 2017, and I really look forward to people seeing that great place and our great people that work there.

And then of course, many of you know the tremendous success we've had at Trump National Bedminster. It's a special place, it's a special location, and I have no doubt that it will be one of your great championships.

So it's an honor that we are working together and I hope to be working with you folks for many, many years. You do a fantastic job and thank you all very much for being here this morning. Thank you very much.

JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Mr. Trump. Ladies and gentlemen, we are happy to take some questions from you.

Q. Old or New Course?

DONALD TRUMP: Old. Tom Fazio is the architect.

Q. Was there discussion on which one that was going to be in? I know the Old is hosting the 2017 Women's Open.

DONALD TRUMP: The 2017 will be there on the Old, also. The Old was the one.

Q. How important was it for to you land a male major championship?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, very important, and especially with these two great men who I've known for quite some time, and I know the passion and the brainpower behind everything; that they selected us was really something very special.

Certainly when you have courses, when you have get acknowledged to have one of the majors, any one of the majors, but having the PGA is a very, very big deal. So it's very important to me. It's a great honor for me and it's a tremendous honor for both of those clubs.

Q. This has to be fantastic for you, because in one thing, you're going to have two Trump courses in the same year, the Senior PGA and the Women's Open. How is it feeling for you to have all this happening in such great order here?

DONALD TRUMP: Well, it feels really great. You know, most important thing is the quality of the courses. I think they are going to really help and be very positive for the events. Pete understands; Pete has actually known the Bedminster course for years, and he knows it very well. I know he was always a fan.

And when Ted was so brilliant to get Pete; I said, that's got to be one of the great deals of all time. In fact, Ted said it's one of the best deals he's ever made. I said, maybe we do have a chance, because I know Pete, knowing the course and knowing how great that course is, I felt maybe we would have a chance of getting the PGA, and we got the PGA. So I want to thank both Ted and Pete, thank you.

Q. Can you elaborate on what it took to ... on what goes into approval of a course for a PGA Championship? What was it about Bedminster that said, this is the course for you? And Donald, afterwards, Donald, can you elaborate on Turnberry?

DONALD TRUMP: Yes.

PETE BEVACQUA: Well, I would tell you, certainly, the conversation starts and ends with the golf course. I mean, we have to take the PGA Championship, one of golf's majors, to really only the very best golf courses in this country.

So that's the first critical point: Is the golf course PGA Championship/major championship worthy, and I think that discussion as it relates to Trump Bedminster was an easy discussion. It's a phenomenal ... actually there's 36 great holes there, but as Mr. Trump said, obviously utilizing the Old Course, it's a phenomenal property, a championship calibre golf course and an unbelievable amount of room for the operational requirements of a major championship.

And then, quite frankly, the added bonus is it's in a major market. To be able to bring a major championship to the major metropolitan New York area, with the infrastructure, the hotels, obviously the excitement that generates in terms of spectators, and when you start to line up those pieces, it becomes an easy decision.

We ultimately make a recommendation to our board of directors and our officers, and when you walk them through the logic and the beauty of the golf course ... I'll defer to Ted, but I think it became a pretty quick decision.

TED BISHOP: Yeah, no, there's really nothing I can add to what Pete already said. It's a phenomenal site. It's got the room. And I think more than anything, it's going to be a great test of golf, and it is certainly going to carve out its own piece of history in the annals of the PGA Championship.

DONALD TRUMP: I will say that we have turned down numerous, as most of you know, numerous other tournaments with the hopes of getting the PGA at Bedminster. We have actually turned down numerous other opportunities in order to hopefully the PGA, because I'm not sure if the PGA would have been thrilled if we had somebody else there first.

People know that; a lot of the writers know that, but we have turned down ... we have David Schutzenhofer and Mickie are right in the audience, Mickie Gallagher, the head pro. Lots of others have been wanting to be there but we have turned them down in the hopes that someday this would happen.

And I would just like to introduce, by the way, this is Eric Trump, Ivanka Trump and Melania Trump, and they suffer with me during all of this process, okay. So I just want to thank them for being here, and Ron who has done just a great job and Rona, so many of our staff, and Larry, have done such a great job, and Amanda and David; so now I think I've covered everybody, okay, so I won't be in trouble.

As far as Turnberry, is concerned, I know the owners of Turnberry, they are friends of mine. Terrific people. I have been talking to them about it for years, and we just struck up a conversation and decided to do something. I do well with this business.

My clubs are very, very successful. We own 15, not including Doral; actually 16 not including Doral. The Blue Monster was just finished. It's booked to a point where you can't even get on it. It's been a tremendous success and critically, also, Gil Hanse has done a great job.

We do well with the business. I think the folks that have saw that ... and again, these are high quality people and we struck a deal, and I guess that closes in about 30 to 45 days.

Q. You still have your eye on a U.S. Open. I know there's been word that the USGA is pretty interested in the Ferry Point course.

DONALD TRUMP: They are interested in that. We'll see what happens. I mean, this is The PGA of America today ... you're the only one that can do that.

No, they are, Ferry Point is going to be amazing and it's a great thing for New York City and it's a great thing for golf. We'll see what happens, but a lot of people are loving Ferry Point, as you know. Thank you, Hank. Mr. Trump.

JULIUS MASON: Mr. Trump, I'm going to let you know that we are very grateful that we were able to identify some trophy stands for the trophy because of your hospitality. We might take these home with us, No. 1.

No. 2, I'm not quite sure we have ever seen anybody lift these two trophies at one time over their head, the Wanamaker being 27 pounds, and the Alfred S. Bourne Trophy being 36 pounds. I might have to ask family members to see if you're up to it later on for a really nice photo opportunity.

Q. I can't let you go in a press conference area without asking totally off point your interest in the Buffalo Bills. It's a golf press conference, but why not.

DONALD TRUMP: It is. And I have so many friends in Buffalo and a lot of people have asked me to look at it very strongly, and I am looking at it very strongly. And if I did it, would I keep it in Buffalo. I know the people of Buffalo very well. I'm very close to the people of Buffalo and it is in New York.

So if I did it, I would absolutely keep it in Buffalo. But you're right, it is off point.

JULIUS MASON: Seeing no other questions, ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today.

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