Senior PGA Championship

Interview with Kerry Haigh

June 7, 2003

Note: The news conference was moderated by Julius Mason, Director of Public Relations and Media Relations for the PGA of America.

JULIUS MASON: Kerry Haigh, ladies and gentlemen; is the PGA of America's Senior Director of Tournaments. If you'd like to make an opening comment or if you just want to ask questions, shoot first, ladies and gentlemen.

KERRY HAIGH: No, other than I think the statement sort of explains everything. We have had I think 8/10ths of an inch of rain since it started raining this morning. Obviously the course is waterlogged at this point.

JULIUS MASON: Questions.

Q. Your intention tomorrow starting at 8 in the morning. What is your intention to play 18, to play as much as possible, to finish the tournament tomorrow?

KERRY HAIGH: Absolutely. The plan all being well, if the rain stops when it's scheduled to stop and we do not have too much more rain is for the water obviously to drain from the golf course so that it becomes playable once again. Resume play where the players left off at 8 o'clock and keep the same groupings and pairings into the fourth round, the times print there, approximately 11 to 12:50, first and 10 tee to finish around 5:15 or thereabouts.

Q. How good is this course from your knowledge of its ability to drain and that you will be comfortable with an 8 o'clock start tomorrow?

KERRY HAIGH: I think it's very realistic. It really depends how much rain we get between now and when it stops. The forecast is for it to stop this evening. Chance of there will be some lighter rain, but certainly this evening around about by midnight is what our weather team are telling us and with seven, eight hours of no rain, the water will percolate through just as when we had 2.8 inches of rain earlier in the week the next morning the course was fine and playable. But obviously the water level has risen since then with this amount of water on top of already of what we had earlier in the week.

Q. Would there be any exceptions to the rules of golf in regards to lift, clean and place?

KERRY HAIGH: No, the third round started under the rules of golf so we'll continue under the rules of golf. So, no, it won't change.

Q. What about the fourth round?

KERRY HAIGH: I would not -- if it's okay to play the third round, I would anticipate it's continuing to play. That's with playing area is still in excellent condition, once -- it's just the water is sitting on top of it and once it's drained away there's no reason that the actual playing surface itself will be as good as it is.

Q. (Craig) Stadler, of course, had the two-stroke penalty this morning for missing his tee time. Can you talk about -- he said he went on a web site last night, PGA of America web site at about 9 o'clock to get tee times and they hadn't been updated; then called the course to get it and got wrong information. But what is the standard procedure you guys have for a tournament as far as putting something up on web sites that type thing and the timeliness of it?

KERRY HAIGH: Our standard procedure is to give a phone number to all the players and caddies in the scoring trailer which we did yesterday through all four sessions of play. And those phones were manned during the hours that they say they will be manned. And anyone that calls are given their tee times, very comfortable of the times that were given from those phone numbers during those hours were 100 percent accurate. Obviously we then distribute the same pairings to the media, to yourselves, who publish and distribute those as you see fit. But the official number, the information that we give to the players, was given and is manned by people that give out the correct times. Obviously most people, a lot of players call once or twice and verify again in the morning which I think is fairly standard procedure for anyone.

Q. Did Craig call that number? Is he saying he got the wrong number from you people that he was supposed to call or did he call the clubhouse and get a wrong tee time?

KERRY HAIGH: I can't speak for what Craig did or didn't do. I know I have spoken to the people in our trailer and they did get a call asking for what Craig Stadler's tee time was and they gave the correct time because the lady who took the call actually remembers the call, there was noise in the background, that she could hear on the phone call. I am very comfortable that the information given to that person, but that may or may not have been Craig, from what I am hearing probably wasn't Craig. But obviously a lot of people, other people called the number asking for tee times.

Q. Do people other than the players, I mean, that's not a number the general public would have or anybody else? The people calling that number tend to be players or caddies?

KERRY HAIGH: Right. But if the caddie gives that number to somebody else or the player gives it to a family or friend member then we don't say, no, you are not a player, we won't tell you your time. It a service for everyone that calls that number.

Q. Obviously trying to get at whether incorrect information was given out or whether it was correct -- correct information was given out but misheard or misunderstood or what you have no way of knowing that?

KERRY HAIGH: No, I am very comfortable that the number that we gave the information that was given from the people that call that number at the hours that were asked were given correct information.

Q. Could you speak to the other aspect of that, which is I guess your web site, should it not be updated soon -- I think we were down with play, I don't remember what time we were done but should it not be updated with that information and do you guide the players towards that to determine if what their tee times are?

KERRY HAIGH: . I think the times that we ask -- told players to call us were between 8 and 9:30. Obviously we had a lot of calls as we always do. We also posted the pairings in the locker room as we do for those players who are still around on the range, which we don't advertise other avenues to get the information for the very reason that, you know, sometimes mistakes may happen.

Q. Hindsight is always 20/20, but did you give any thought to moving the tee times up today in anticipation of rain just to get as much golf in as you could?

KERRY HAIGH: Hindsight is 20/20. No, we were obviously two tees start any way. We could maybe have gained some more minutes but certainly we have had a good amount of golf has been played and certainly if we do get reasonable weather overnight we'll be able to finish tomorrow afternoon, 72-hole championship. So that has been our aim and I think being able to play today has certainly allowed us to get to this position. We're comfortable with that, but as soon as the course was unplayable, we obviously suspended play.

Q. Let's hope the forecast is right. In a worse case scenario, would you call the tournament after 54 holes? Would you play over into Monday? What would be the procedure?

KERRY HAIGH: We do have the opportunity to play into Monday if we need to. But our hope is certainly to finish and play 72 holes by tomorrow afternoon at 5:15.

Q. What determines unplayability, at what point -- what conditions determine that?

KERRY HAIGH: Basically, you know, we had squeegee operators on all 18 greens available. Rick, the superintendent, has a great crew, has done all week an incredible job, I'd like to commend him for all his efforts each morning and night. The minute we first got a call from a player that could not find an area or had to go a long way to find an area to drop the ball out of casual water, in other words, out -- when it became sort of unfair, at that point, we immediately suspended play, when the player's nearest point of relief was 40 yards away in the rough which it was on 9 fairway. Up until then players had to move the ball in and around the hole for putts and what have you and the distance they were moving was not substantial.

Q. Just so I have this right because a couple of us have mentioned it, there is not a PGA of America web site that players are directed towards to get tee times?

KERRY HAIGH: That's correct.

Q. Strictly a local question for people who may want to come tomorrow. Are tickets from today also good for tomorrow?

KERRY HAIGH: Yeah, I think there's a statement that has been written --

JULIUS MASON: It should be on the information board.

KERRY HAIGH: Basically Saturday tickets are good for Sunday, corporate hospitality ticket for Saturday are good for grounds access and Trophy Club access. They are not good to get back into the corporate hospitality area because there are different guests on Sunday coming in. But basically for grounds, Trophy Club, clubhouse tickets, Saturday tickets are good for Sunday.

Q. Follow-up, is it either you are going to complete 72 holes tomorrow or go into Monday, 54 holes is out of the question?

KERRY HAIGH: Can you repeat the question?

Q. It is either going to -- are you either going to complete it tomorrow or if you can't complete it the tournament tomorrow carry it over 'til Monday? There's no chance of -- will it be called after 54 holes?

KERRY HAIGH: Our aim is to play 72 holes and complete the championship with 72 holes, ideally, tomorrow by 5:15. If we need to go later than that, then we will do.

Q. There's no chance -- there's no chance that you are going to call it after 54 holes?

KERRY HAIGH: There's always that possibility. We -- it could rain for the next four, five days.

Q. The web site it's not an official PGA web site, what is the web site then?

KERRY HAIGH: I am not sure I need -- I am qualified to answer your question. What is the question?

Q. It's not an official -- it's not the PGA of America web site. Which web site is it that the players would ---

JULIUS MASON: The players aren't directed to any web site. Players were directed to make a phone call to the number that was passed out to them through the locker room.

Q. And the call is to whom?

KERRY HAIGH: The tournament office and rules office here on site.

Q. Do you know who the official was that assessed sad letter the penalty on?

KERRY HAIGH: Jim Deaton from Orlando, Florida on the PGA of America Rules Committee.

JULIUS MASON: All that information is out there also. I am hoping it was also passed around to you when you were at your seats.

Q. When we used to be in Florida every year and it would rain every year, you would stand up there and say we'll play 'til next Friday if we have to get 72 holes in. I am not hearing that right now. I mean I know you expect we're going to get 72 holes in tomorrow. But if you don't, with the understanding that there is qualifying for the Senior Open on Monday, around the area, I guess the question is, would you, if you could not get 72 holes in tomorrow - I know your intention is to - but if you could not, would you call it at 54 holes?

KERRY HAIGH: I think as I have said we look at all factors, the weather and what have you, and would play based on the forecast try and play a 72-hole championship.

Q. Is the senior qualifying on Monday part of those factors?

KERRY HAIGH: I am sure it will be one of many factors, yes.


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