Transcript of PGA news conference on 2019 PGA Championship and 2014 Ryder Cup at Bethpage Black

By
The PGA of America

Series: PGA

Published: Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 11:26 a.m.

GOVERNOR ANDREW CUOMO
SENATOR DEAN SKELOS
PETE BEVACQUA, CEO of The PGA of America
TED BISHOP, President of The PGA of America

ROSE HARVEY:  I want to welcome everyone here on behalf of New York State Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation and the State of New York, and welcome to Bethpage State Park, home of the Green, the Blue, the Yellow, the Red, the famous Black Course, recently listed as one of the Top 10 public courses in the world, and in the Top 50 of all courses in the world. 

And you're going to soon hear from Ted Bishop, president of The PGA of America; you're going to hear from Peter Bevacqua, the CEO of The PGA of America; you're going to hear from Senate Majority Coalition Leader Dean Skelos; and you're going to hear from our great governor, Andrew Cuomo who has been a tireless promoter of these parks to provide substantial capital dollars to rebuild and revitalize to invest in parks such as this one. 

I'd like to also acknowledge today we have county executive Ed Mangano.  We have Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone; we have Dr. Hubert Keen, President of SUNY Farmingdale; we have Moke McGowan, President of the Long Island Convention and Visitors Bureau and Sports Convention; we have Assemblyman Charles Lavine; and we have Senator Chuck Fuschillo, so welcome to everybody here. 

So, it's thank you for coming, rather than keep you in suspense, I'm going to turn it right over to Ted Bishop, president of The PGA of America. 

TED BISHOP:  Thank you, Rose.  I can't tell you how great it is to be here today and for me personally, this is really a culmination of a three and a half year effort, and certainly, outstanding to be at Bethpage State Park, one of the most renowned of the 179 total State Parks in New York.

Before I get started, there's a few people that I need to recognize.  First of all, PGA district director, Leo De Gisi; PGA Met Section President, Brad Worthington and Executive Director Charlie Robson.  Bethpage State Park PGA head professional, Joe Rehor.  And Rees Jones, the golf course designer who came in here in the late 1990s and did fabulous job and set the stage for Bethpage Black being able to host championship events.  Rees, thanks for being here. 

New York and The PGA of America have been intertwined since our founding in 1916.  We recently this summer, as all of you know, had a great PGA Championship at the Oak Hill Country Club in Rochester, and as we gathered today at Bethpage Park, the Black Course, we see some other great historical ties between The PGA of America and what happens here today and the history of this tremendous place. 

The great architect, A.W. Tillinghast was a consultant to The PGA of America, and he left his imprint certainly on this wonderful golf course in a timeless fashion.  Tillinghast was at the founding meeting of our association, and he later served as a representative to The PGA of America.  He traveled nationally to help apply his skills to improving golf venues and course conditions for players of all abilities all over the United States. 

And since its debut in 1936, Bethpage Black and the other great courses on this property have been appropriately called the 'People's Country Club.'  Its popularity with the golfing public has been overwhelming due to its conditioning, its history and certainly its national beauty.

The PGA of America has another tie in with Bethpage Black, as many of the state's premiere club professionals have contested for titles here for many, many years. 

As most of you have guessed by now, certainly not a secret, The PGA of America is here today to make a very special announcement, and we are able to be here today, really, because of an unprecedented partnership between The PGA of America and New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo. 

So along with Governor Cuomo it's my pleasure to let you know that the 101st PGA Championship will be played here at the Bethpage Black Course in 2019. 

And you can see, ladies and gentlemen, on my left, down here at the end of the table, that is the prize that the world's greatest golfers will compete for in 2019.  It's the largest major championship trophy in all of golf.  It's the Wanamaker Trophy. 

For nearly a century, the PGA Championship has had a storied history of champions, all who have won on prestigious venues; the names go on and on, from Hagen to Sarazen to Hogan to Snead, and certainly from Woods to our latest champion at Oak Hill, Jason Dufner.  It's the season's final major and it's the only professional, all professional field in all of golf.  But more important than that, it's the toughest field among the four Majors and we take great pride in that.  It has produced many dramatic finishes as you have seen in major championship golf over the past few years.

And I've got some more good news to share with you.  And again, thanks to the support of Governor Cuomo, I'm happy to let you know that golf's greatest team event, the Super Bowl of golf, the 45th Ryder Cup will also be conducted here at Bethpage Black in 2024. 

You know, fans and players worldwide have embraced The Ryder Cup for its competitive spirit and its exciting format, and it's certainly become, not just as I said, the Super Bowl of golf, but I think it's one of the most exciting sporting events in all of sports. 

This little trophy down here, the gold one, is one that players have been competing for since 1927 and has brought the best and the worst out in players under certain circumstances on the golf course, and, you know, The Ryder Cup continues to evolve as the most unique and captivating event in all of golf.

I wanted to share a story with you today that I thought was really interesting.  I remember being on the 18th hole at Celtic Manor in Wales during a Thursday morning practice round at the 2010 Ryder Cup.  Totally unsolicited, Phil Mickelson looks at me and he says, "Why has the PGA never played a Ryder Cup in New York City?" 

And his playing partner that day was Rickie Fowler and Rickie chimed in and he said, "Can you imagine what a great home field advantage and how intimidating a Bethpage Black' Ryder Cup would be."   

This venue, this course, this city, is going to take The Ryder Cup to a place that it has never been before, and it's so important that Governor Cuomo could be here with us today.  We scheduled this announcement around his availability. 

This is a huge week in golf.  On Thursday, the 40th edition of the PGA Cup Matches, which is the Ryder Cup for club professionals, starts at Slaley Hall in England.  Pete Bevacqua and I delayed our trip to England by three days to be here today.  It's also the week of THE TOUR Championship, and it's a big one for the PGA TOUR, and I spoke with Commissioner Finchem two weeks ago and ironically, he grew up playing at Bethpage, and I know he looks forward to sharing his excitement and support of this announcement tomorrow when he conducts his press conference at THE TOUR Championship in Atlanta. 

So finally, again, I want to say thanks to Governor Cuomo and the Bethpage State Park for your support, and now I would like to turn it over to our Chief Executive Officer, Pete Bevacqua. 

PETE BEVACQUA:  Thank you, Ted.  For me as a native New Yorker, someone who drew up in Westchester County and who has played all of these courses, but particularly the Black Course, well over a hundred times, this is a special day for me and really a dream come true. 

As Ted mentioned, New York does hold a special place in the heart of The PGA of America.  We were founded in New York City in 1916.  We had the first PGA Championship in Westchester County in Siwanoy, and in many ways, bringing the PGA Championship back here in 2019 and The Ryder Cup in 2024 will be coming back to home, so it makes it equally exciting.

As Ted mentioned we are coming off what really was a phenomenal PGA Championship at Oak Hill.  It was the 12th time New York State has hosted a PGA Championship, and really, thinking back and looking at Oak Hill, the support we received from Governor Cuomo and his office in particular, Larry Schwartz, that did not go unnoticed at The PGA of America.  It was really rolling out the red carpet and an understanding of what goes into hosting a major championship. 

It was an amazing experience, and it was really the first time we adopted a 'Taste of New York' tent on site at Oak Hill, which turned out to be one of the most popular sites during the PGA Championship where New York State featured all of the great home grown products that they have from around the state. 

And the Governor and his team and his office, they understand the power of golf in the State of New York.  It's roughly a $2 billion economic impact to the State of New York.  Roughly $1.6 billion of wages.  It employs over 56,000 people.  That it truly, truly meaningful. 

And when you think about us and Oak Hill a few months ago for the PGA Championship; we'll be back in 2016 across the bridge within major metropolitan New York at Baltusrol; we are opening a PGA of America office in New York and sharing space with Charlie Robson and the met section; and if you look forward to being back here in 2019 for the PGA Championship, and then of course 2024 for The Ryder Cup, you can start to envision this decade long presence of major championship golf in the State of New York, a true PGA of America presence in the State of New York, and we are tremendously excited about that.  And to be able to bring two of the most popular events in golf, two of the most exciting events in sports, the PGA Championship and The Ryder Cup to Bethpage State Park, it's amazing to think about that. 

And Ted had mentioned it, but coming off a great PGA Championship where Jason Dufner won, we had 99 of the Top 100 players in the world in the PGA Championship as this year's final major, and then of course The Ryder Cup which in many ways transcends the game of golf.  There's a nationalism, there's a patriotism, there's an excitement that's really only felt in a handful of sporting events.  To merry; to combine the energy of that with the energy of the the Ryder Cup and the energy of Bethpage State Park and New York and the New York sports fans is really exciting to think about.

I also wanted to acknowledge two people that worked for New York State, Chris Pushkarsh, who has been unbelievably helpful in us bringing this together so quickly.   And then a person that has really just done more for the State of New York in terms of golf and Bethpage State Park than anybody I can think of, Dave Catalano, who really is in my opinion a legend for New York State golf, and maybe more importantly a true friend of mine and of The PGA of America, and it's just going to be great to experience these two wonderful events with Dave Catalano at our side. 

With that, of course, I wanted to thank the Governor again.  We could never appropriately thank Governor Cuomo and Senator Skelos. 

SENATOR SKELOS:  Thank you, it was great seeing you at Oak Hill.  We saw what a wonderful job the PGA does and we saw some great golf. 

We welcome you to Long Island.  I know that Pete is from Westchester but I asked him even before, have you ever visit Long Island and he said, "I think I'm going to go visit my mother in law." 

I said, "You'd better.  If you're here from Washington, you'd better go visit your mother in law."  (Laughter).

This is an exciting day for all of us that live in Long Island and in New York State.  We want to thank the Governor for making this day possible. 

I'm one of those guys that play golf, don't totally understand golf.  It gets into my head once in awhile    not that the Governor ever gets into my head once in awhile.  But it's a great, great sport. 

And what's important about Bethpage Black as has been mentioned, this truly is the people's course.  2002, I had the opportunity to marshal Tiger Woods and Sergio García on the last round, and when I was coming up the 18th, believe me, I said, thank God.   Now, Governor, in 2024, hopefully I'll be alive, but I don't know if I'll be able to marshal at that time. 

But it is something that's so exciting that the PGA has made this decision, and this would not have happened without the Governor's support.  I don't think the Governor really plays golf.  We are going to get him off his motorcycle one day, Larry, and we are going to get him out there on the golf course. 

But the Governor has been focused on New York State, the great place that it is.  Sometimes we get these knocks, but people don't understand the beautiful natural resources that we have throughout the state, especially our state facilities. 

This truly is the people's course, and the Governor, as he says, works for the people, and he's managed now with the support of Larry to bring the PGA here and The Ryder Cup, and for that, we say, thank you very much, Governor. 

GOVERNOR CUOMO:  Well, it doesn't get any more exciting than this.  Good news is, 2019 is the championship; I still have time to make it.  Start practicing right away.  (Laughter).  My short game, that's my problem.

First to Senator Skelos, who is my partner in state government, has done a fantastic job.  An effort like this really shows the difference that good government can make.  This doesn't just happen.  It happens because, as you heard from President Bishop, there's a partnership that works; it's the New York State government working with the PGA of America, to come up with a really exciting plan for The PGA of America for golf, but also for the State of New York. 

So to Senator Skelos, I want to thank him very much for his leadership and his participation to make today possible.  Commissioner Rose Harvey, who runs this park and all of the parks across the state and has been doing an excellent job, I want to thank her for making today possible.  To Mr. Bishop and Mr. Bevacqua from The PGA of America, they have managed the sport with professionalism and with integrity.  I think they have done an extraordinary job, and I can tell you from our dealings with them in the State of New York, they are a top flight organization and it's our pleasure to partner with them. 

I also want to thank the other elected officials who are here today:  From Albany, Assemblyman Charles Lavine and Senator Charles Fuschillo, who are both here, and our county executives.  This is going to be a Long Island regional event.  This has a major impact in the Counties of Nassau and Suffolk which comprise Long Island, so having County Executive Mangano and County Executive Bellone is very important as part of this partnership, and they are very committed to making sure these two events go off better than any two events have ever happened on Long Island, so I want to thank the county executives.

On my team, Larry Schwartz is the Secretary to the Governor, who is the top official on the state side on the executive side.  I've heard about the obsession of golf, but I saw it with the way Larry pursued making this happen.  So he really carried the golf ball for us on this one and I want to thank Larry Schwartz.

It's all been said, this is exciting.  New York State loves golf.  We have a great history when it comes to golf.  The PGA of America started here in New York, 1916.  Rodman Wanamaker called people together to discuss forming an organization to actually advance professional golfers; that became The PGA of America.  We had the first championship here in Bronxville. 

So we have a great history when it comes to golf.  1.5 million New Yorkers say they are regular golfers; 1,000 golf courses across the State of New York; 1,000 golf courses.  So for those obsessive golfers, we have plenty of golf courses for you to work your way across the entire state, and it's our pleasure to be part of this. 

It is also big business for the State of New York.  As you heard, we had the PGA Championship at Oak Hill, 200,000 visitors came to Rochester, the Rochester area, $75 million in economic impact.  So it is a significant boost to the entire region and we expect an even greater economic boost from the championship and The Ryder Cup here on Long Island with proximity to New York City, etc. 

So we are so excited about this.  And the cherry on the cake is that it's Bethpage, as you've heard; and that Bethpage is a public course, as they refer to it, as the 'People's Country Club.'  That this magnificent facility, one of the best courses in the country, is also a public course, speaks volumes and I applaud The PGA of America for making that point, the accessibility that this is a course that's open to the public and is going to be the home to the most outstanding events. 

It couldn't be a better day.  Again, I want to applaud all of those who worked very long and hard to make this happen, and it's my pleasure on behalf of the State of New York to welcome The PGA of America to New York, once again, and this time, in a more profound way than ever before.  Thank you. 

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