JULIUS MASON: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, I'm the PGA of America's Julius Mason and as you get settled in, turn your attention to the television monitors, as we give you a nice little reminder of the history and tradition that is the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
JULIUS MASON: Nothing like 72 years of history in seven minutes. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Media Day at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores, as we count down to the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid.
We have several some very special guests in the audience that I would like to recognize, so bear with me, please.
First, from the Michigan PGA Section Vice President Gary Koenes. From the Golf Club at Harbor Shores, General Manager, Aaron Williams. PGA Director of Golf, Ross Smith. PGA Head Golf Professional, Ryan Straight. And the superintendent, no hissing and booing, Brad Fry.
Brad, tough out there today, tough.
Also join joining us from our Championship Office right here in Benton harbor, PGA of America's Championship Director, Hintz. And from the PGA of America Offices in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Chief Executive Officer and PGA Honorary Member,. Joe Steranka. And our Senior Director of Championships, David Charles.
It's now my pleasure to call upon Jeff Noel, the President of Harbor Shores Community Redevelopment and the General Vice Chairman of the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid. Jeff.
JEFF NOEL: Thank you, Julius. It's certainly a pleasure to be here and for all those who finished playing golf raise a hand. I just want to see all of you. Wasn't it a great round of golf? A great day?
And I want to thank all my partners from letting me ride their shoulders. It was certainly a great round of golf. And for those of you who play, think about this: From the black tees this is a 6861 yard golf course. But to make you feel a little bit better, Ross I think I'm right about this, we have been open a year and still the lowest score we have had has been recorded by one fellow by the name of Graeme McDowell, the 2010 U.S. Open champion.
So this is a challenging golf course. But also let me tell you, it is a golf course in which, regardless of your level of play, there's something for you out there. If you want to go for those big risk/rewards like I love to do, you may pay the price or you may get the low score.
But on the other side of the coin, if you want to play your game you can play within yourself and do very, very well because it is a unique golf course.
So those who played it, I'm going to go off my notes and ask you to be part of the spiritual thing we call golf. And if you will just kind of close your eyes for a second and take a journey with me. Holes 1 through 4, two foundries, a die cast operation, a bankrupt injection molding facility, and also, what's worse, a facility that just simply recycled car tires the old fashioned way, with sledge hammers.
Holes 4 and 5 are the slag pit from an old braking company.
Now hole 6, it's just there, but it will pick your pocket for all your pars and give you a bogey if you're not careful.
Going into holes 7 and 8 inside Jean Klock Park, what's the entrance inside of Jean Klock Park years ago? Almost a million square feet of an old braking company standing right in the front entrance, right in front and right alongside holes 8 and 9.
Journey with me over to holes 10, 11, and 12 and they become pristine areas that we had to acquire from landowners to add to the area that we would call the boundaries of the golf course.
And by the way, hole number 11, everybody thinks is really easy. I'm glad I got a chuckle because it is a great challenging hole.
Now we move on down, if you will, to holes 14 and 15. It is a Superfund site for many years stood there empty, the federal government expended well over 18 million dollars to clean it up and we acquired it to be a part of this development effort.
Moving around to holes 15 and 16, it's areas of an old dump site. By the way, there used to be all kinds of household refuse, junk, it was eight feet thick, and by the way, there was an area in which there was all these old household appliances,
Deb, dishwashers, washing machines, not a one of them made by Whirlpool, but all of our competitors were broke and inside that area and we hauled them off.
But if you come over to the finishing hole, holes 17 and 18. Hole 18 especially was an area in which it was owned by a road contractor -- visualize this, 80 feet tall, concrete and rebar from ages and ages of doing road work, dumped on that site that we inherited.
Now somebody asked me to talk about the vision of Harbor Shores and you can't do it unless you start with the vision of that journey I just gave you of what this site looked like going all the way into the mid 1990s.
Three million square feet of old condemned manufacturing space, areas of high levels of contamination. The area where we used to have going right around between holes 6 and 7, a 23 acre interchange to service all the manufacturing companies that were located here. And right adjacent to hole 3, a bridge to nowhere by -- and if you recall, it was built over the one mile manufacturing facility that existed there just recently in the 1990s.
So the vision was really quite simple. How do we take an area that was once the economic hub of this community and turn it into again something that can bring about jobs and opportunities, for a community in need.
Now, let me take a step back. Folks, our area, just like a lot of other communities that have manufacturing jobs we have experienced economic challenges. And we have an area in which, yes, we have a city on one side of the river that is primarily white and prosperous; and we have a city on the other side of the river that is primarily African American and impoverished.
But instead of hiding behind those facts I think we as a community realized that it is important to work together to bring those communities together as one to create opportunities for all.
Now I think that what's really fascinating is that journey I just put you through actually transcends through three local units of government boundaries that we had to work with to bring together to say we must and we do wish to share in a common vision about bringing about jobs and opportunities for this community.
But I think what's most important to understand is the Harbor Shores project is the catalyst, yes, it's the high profile initiative, but it is not the most important undertaking that is being given into this community today by what I would call the Champions For Change of this area.
The very same people who are involved in the Harbor Shores development who have that vision of bringing about change are the very same people that are raising seven million dollars to build a new Boys & Girls Club and First Tee facility.
These very same people are the ones that are actively involved in making sure that we build over 104 Habitat homes in last than 10 years right here in the City of Benton Harbor.
These very same people worked together with Bob Judd, the Mayor of Benton Harbor, to resubmit an application for 305 affordable public housing homes in the City of Benton Harbor to get the largest per capita funded Hope VI development in the country to make sure that there was good housing for all residents in this area.
And those very same people work together with Whirlpool to bring jobs here. When we acquired Maytag, instead of getting incentives for the business, the company said, let's use those incentives to get a commitment to rebuild Main Street in Benton Harbor and to rebuild the Arts District.
Because those very same people who are behind Harbor Shores raised the money to give three buildings to artists to get the Arts District started.
Those very same people serve on the two boards that collectively make up the Harbor Shores development Cornerstone Alliance and the Consortium for Community Development.
Collectively, they have approximately 45 board members that represent government not for profits and businesses, particularly one in this community. They are the impetus behind Harbor Shores, are the impetus behind all the change in this community, they are the Champions For Change.
And what's really interesting is that Harbor Shores is structured as a not for profit development. And what that means, primarily thanks to contributions from the foundation and including and especially Whirlpool Corporation, Whirlpool Foundation, the Harbor Shores development is structured in a way that any and all profits from the golf course and of the development go right back into the community and not to any private developers hands.
Even more importantly, you can never recapture any of the costs that were incurred to build this golf course through the charges that we incur for the rounds to play this golf course because all of the proceeds from the rounds of golf must go back into the community and partnership with the City of Benton Harbor.
So if you will bear me with me just again a moment, Shores is a great project, but it really is the symbol of all that is really great happening in this great community.
These very same Champions for Change bought that 23 interchange, if you will, gave it to the City of Benton Harbor for a dollar and we turned around and we bought it back from the development of Harbor Shores development for the, at the appraised value.
These very same Champions For Change leveled those three million square feet and in many cases incurred the costs for cleaning it up and gave it to the City of Benton Harbor for a dollar and then Harbor Shores bought the land back at appraised values to incorporate into the Harbor Shores development.
That's the vision of everyone working together to bring about change and opportunities, not for a few, but for all. In fact, if you are a developer or builder in the Harbor Shores development, you must commit to hiring residents from the local area, hiring those or working with small and minority businesses; just like the golf club here, what Ross and Aaron and others have done with our 90 employees, we have used training programs and community service providers to find really wonderful people to be a part of this development. And in fact some people who needed another chance.
So if I get a little emotional, I apologize, because the Harbor Shores development is more than just a wonderful golf project, it is really, if you will, what golf is all about in terms of the people agreeing that through the game of golf you can bring about positive change in this area.
I would like to give you a little quote, because I think this signifies what is Harbor Shores and it also signifies the game of golf. "The pat on the back, the arm around the shoulder, praise for what was done right, and the sympathetic nod for what wasn't are as much a part of golf as it is life itself."
Now that was a quote from President Gerald R. Ford from here in Michigan and to me that quote signifies the wonderful people behind the development we call Harbor Shores. And I think it signifies the really great golfers like Tom Watson, who happens to be even better a person, committed to what we're trying to do here to bring about change in this area.
And so again the Harbor Shores development is all about building a brand new park system, expanding the park to 12 walking miles, covering the cost to maintain Jean Klock Park as part of our golf operations.
It's doing pretty well, too, by the way, Bob Judd, for years that park never got anyone to come visit and to date they've collected over $90,000 of people who want to pay to go in to use that public park facility because of the improvements of Harbor Shores.
So this is a tremendous project, but I think most importantly it's a tremendous example of how people come together to work together, especially diverse people of diverse backgrounds.
And so we are going to welcome the 73rd Senior PGA Championship and all those who will be part of it, thankfully presented by KitchenAid, to come to this community we Michigan's great southwest, to experience why it is through the game of golf we are making people's lives better.
And we have people who are working together from very diverse backgrounds to make sure that that occurs.
And so now it's important to talk about some of the specifics. This development, this effort, this undertaking for the Senior PGA Championship requires volunteers. Those same Champions For Change who are a part of the Harbor Shores development have raised their hands and said, we want to be part of this effort, we want to serve and do the things that make this community hospitable. Jeff Hintz, I think you got 1,700 volunteers in five week, is that a record or is that not a record?
JEFF HINTZ: That's a record.
JEFF NOEL: 1,700 Champions For Change making a difference in this community. I think that is absolutely fantastic.
Which is a good reason why you better get on the phone, on the web site and start getting your tickets, because tickets will officially go on sale November 11, 2011. November 11, 2011, gee, Deb, that's the celebration of Whirlpool having been in existence for a hundred years, which we think is a fitting day to put those tickets on sale.
And even more important, that's one of the reasons why we're very proud that the Senior PGA Championship's going to make sure that members of the military with their proper ID's admitted for that day free into the Senior PGA Championship, which I think is absolutely fantastic.
Now the tickets will be limited and the best way to get them is to go to www.SPGA2012.com or call 1-800-PGA-GOLF. That's 1-800-742-4653. Please write it down, please do use it, because tickets indeed will go fast.
2012 will mark the first time the most prestigious and historic championship in senior golf will be contested in the state of Michigan. But thanks to our good friends at KitchenAid, it won't be the last, they will be here again in 2014.
And also folks, juniors under the age of 17 along with an adult will be allowed to come in to the events free of charge as well.
And as I just mentioned, we invite all members of the military to be a part of this great event and to participate and to really enjoy this wonderful, wonderful sporting activity.
And last but not least, Brent and Jeff, you all have done a fantastic job. We're on record pace in terms of the sales of our hospitality suites, but we may have one or two more or we can always make room for you, so please give us a call, we'll make sure we take outstanding care of you.
Because here's the deal, and I would predict -- and I apologize if I'm being a bit too abashed in terms of my enthusiasm, when have we ever had a championship like this in a community in which it's not just about the game of golf and it's not just about winning, but it's about winning with integrity and it's about winning with your fellow neighbors in terms of making sure that everyone benefits along the way.
And go back to that little visualization I just gave you, about those three million square feet, think about those contaminated areas, and visualize today these beautifully restored wetlands, people paddling along the Paw Paw River they never once did before.
And now visualize Tom Watson coming and defending his championship. And realize that, through the great work of this organization, over half a billion households across this globe can hear the story that, yes, through the game of golf, lives are improved and also along the way, great champions are crowned.
Thank you all very much.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks, Jeff. Were you ever a football coach?
JEFF NOEL: I do what Deb tells me.
JULIUS MASON: Whew! Ladies and gentlemen, let's continue. In the land of long titles it's now my pleasure to call upon the Director of Global Corporate Reputation and Community Relations For Whirlpool Corporation, Deb O'Connor. Deb.
DEB O'CONNOR: Thanks Julius. Well, after hearing Jeff talk about the passion of the people for the Harbor Shores project and other community revitalization, you can see why KitchenAid is so excited to bring the championship right here to Harbor Shores.
You know, when we first announced that KitchenAid would be sponsoring the Senior PGA Championship, people asked, how does KitchenAid and golf even go together?
Well, we think that KitchenAid and the PGA of America are a great fit. Both organizations are about quality and excellence and both organizations really are about bringing people together for a good time.
So whether you're on the golf course having a great time with your buddies for the afternoon or you're inviting people in to your home to cook a meal together, it's really about creating cherished memories.
So we're looking forward to 2012 and we'll again support our sponsorship through various programs to reach customers, and cooking enthusiasts.
We'll continue to connect golf and culinary experiences in exciting and engaging ways. So first we will once again have our bring our golfers and cooks together in the KitchenAid Fairway Club. And that's our activation pavilion that will be right on the golf course.
So in this Fairway Club there will be a kitchen or kitchens that you can go and touch and feel the product, ask some questions about the product, and then there will be another section where you can actually go and cook on the product.
You will be able to handle some of our small appliances that will actually be prototypes, so the first time people will ever see it will be right there in the Fairway Club.
We'll have celebrity chef appearances every day and in general there will be both culinary and golf tips, all of that right there in the Fairway Club right on the course. So we're excited about that.
In 2011 we ran a sweepstakes and over 35,000 entries were received. And so in 2012 we're going to do that again and it will start in the early 2012 and we're going to give away, the grand price will be, guess what? A dream kitchen with KitchenAid products in it. So that will be fun too. So watch for that in early 2012.
We'll also participate in a full social media campaign posting photos and information from on to our Facebook page and then also tweet live from KitchenAid golf Twitter, our golf Twitter account.
We have had great success this year working together with the PGA of America on a social media campaign engaging fans and we're looking forward to doing that again in 2012.
We'll also take an opportunity to cultivate our customers by letting them participate, inviting them to participate in the Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid Pro-am. And then also inviting them into our KitchenAid Hospitality Pavilion.
So a lot going on for 2012, but, you know, I think that what I just want to end with is, is Michigan is a great state for golf and KitchenAid is pleased to bring championship level golf to southwest Michigan.
We're proud to be one of those Champions For Change that Jeff was talking about. Whirlpool Corporation and KitchenAid brand are thrilled to show the world that Benton Harbor and the entire great southwest Michigan area is a wonderful place to live, , and maybe have a little recreation, like this great game of golf. Thank you.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Deb. Deb, I had some members of the media that I was playing golf with today that asked if the presenting sponsor ever leaves the Senior PGA Championship, KitchenAid still provide gifts for Media Day? What's the answer?
DEB O'CONNOR: Um, no.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, it was really really close to a full Chamber of Commerce beautiful day today, it wasn't quite full because it didn't hit the 60s until like 9 a.m. and think the responsibility for that goes to Wendy Chesser, the president of the Cornerstone Alliance. Wendy.
WENDY CHESSER: Thank you, Julius, and thank you all for being here in what we call Michigan's great southwest. We're very, very pleased to be hosting this event next year and giving our community an opportunity to showcase all the wonderful things that it has to offer.
We have so many folks to thank for this. The two that you've heard from already Jeff and Deb from Whirlpool and KitchenAid and in addition to that we have 300 donor investors of Cornerstone Alliance, 700 hundred plus members of our Chamber of Commerce and many, many other folks, several of you are in the audience, who have participated in all that has taken to get this project to where it is.
We have billed this all along as a game changer. Harbor Shores gives us a new opportunity to do great things for our community. And we got a glimpse of it last year. August 10th 2010, we had four golfers, Nicklaus, Palmer, Watson, and Miller, out and do a grand opening for the golf course for us. We had about 5,000 participants and 300 volunteers in one day to watch four golfers. We had about 75 credentialed media participate in that day. And a total of over 831 million media impressions resulted from that event.
Now a lot of that had to do with that fantastic putt that Jack Nicklaus made on the 10th green, but it was a great event and it gave us an opportunity to get the name of Michigan's great southwest out into the public mind as a very wonderful place. And I think this is even going to be better.
We're expecting hundreds of golfers, about 15,000 people per day. 2 to 300 credentialed media, all telling the story of Michigan's great southwest.
It's estimated that there's an economic impact of this event at about 20 million dollars. And that's a lot of dollars for folks in our community to get excited about. And they are excited.
We have started a community showcase committee and that is a group that says, how do we make sure that we put our best foot forward next May? We have an opportunity to do that. We have got 52, 53 people, people call every day wanting to get involved to talk about how we can make Michigan's great southwest a better place, so that when folks come to visit they get the first class treatment, the first class experience, and they get to see and have an idea of all that Michigan's great southwest has to offer.
Businesses are involved. Local units of government, Judd's involved with that. We have got other nonprofits, but also the folks that just are those Champions For Change that want to make sure that when we have the national and the international spotlight upon us, that people walk away with great impressions of our community.
So I thank all that have made it possible to get us to this point, we look forward to really rolling up our shirt sleeves and getting a lot done over the next six or seven months, and I am excited to be a part of it and I'm sure that on behalf of all the folks that have made this work, we're going to show the PGA that we can host you and that we can show your guests a very good experience. So thank you for your opportunities.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Wendy.And now, ladies and gentlemen, from Hill-n-Dale Country Club in Phoenix, Maryland, the 37th president of the PGA of America, Allen Wronowski.
ALLEN WRONOWSKI: Thanks, Julius, good afternoon,. It is my privilege to represent the 27,000 men and women professionals around the country, just like Ross and Gary who go to work every day to teach those that don't play the game now to get involved and what it can do for them; and those that do play to make that golf experience better.
And Ross, I think is going to try to give me a series of lessons as soon as we finish this today. I think I found some extra rebar that you didn't remove, by the way.
It's a treat and privilege to be here and Deb O'Connor and the whole team at Whirlpool Corporation and KitchenAid, it's been an outstanding partnership and you certainly have become an exciting new exciting chapter for the Senior PGA Championship and for championships altogether.
You can tell a lot about people, as it's been said, when you get to play golf with them. This is my second chance to play with Deb and she has a lot of enthusiasm, excitement, she's incredibly bright, and she really has embraced the game of golf.
And she has worked on her skills and she might be competing here in a championship before long. So it's been a lot of fun to be a part of.
We also know that the incredible sports fans of Michigan and the entire community of Benton Harbor will be very, very embrasive of this championship and the special offerings that KitchenAid will bring to families through this championship. And as Deb said, it is a great relationship with the PGA of America.
When you think about golf you think a lot about families, think about fun, you think about friends, and that's a lot of what their company's about. So we're very, very excited about not only this championship, but the partnership combined together.
It's a championship that routinely features the strongest field in senior golf. And this past year's championship was no exception. The premier field at Valhalla in May included Mark Calcavecchia, Fred Couples, Ben Crenshaw, Jay Haas, Hale Irwin, Kite, Bernhard Langer, Tom Lehman, Mark O'Meara, Corey Pavin, Price, Hal Sutton, and of course our champions, Tom Watson.
It also saw 120 U.S. players representing 33 states and 33 international players representing 15 countries. 21 players who have accounted for 38 Major Championships.
Additionally, 35 PGA club professionals earn a spot through the exemptions through our Senior PGA National Championship. And that will be hosted next month in Virginia.
Next May the world of golf will be focusing Benton Harbor and Michigan's great southwest. NBC sports and Golf Channel will provide 12 hours of life television coverage for the championship.
One of senior golf's few events with four total days of coverage.
Additionally, the championship will be telecast to a worldwide audience of 137 countries and a household reach of 450 million people.
Last May, as you recall, the championship was played at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, where a special chapter was written in senior golf.
The gentleman that I'm about to introduce to you was born in Kansas City, Missouri and calls Kansas his home. He graduated from Stanford University in 1971 and turned professional that year.
He has won 8 Major Championships and competed on four U.S. Ryder Cup teams, 1977, 1981, 1983, and 1989. We got to know him a little bit better as our Ryder Cup captain in 1993 when he guided the U.S. team to victory at the Belfry. He's won 44 events worldwide, prior to joining the Champions Tour, where he then won 14 more times, including the 2001 and this year's Senior PGA Championship.
But, just in case he is a little fuzzy about what happened this past May, and what transpired, maybe we could watch this video to help us remember.
Ladies and gentlemen, joining us at the end of this line from London, please welcome, Tom Watson.
TOM WATSON: Well thank you very, very much. I'm here in Surrey, I've had a long-standing commitment, I wish I could be with you all today, but I'm over here freezing my tail off, I don't know what the temperature is like over there, but apparently it's pretty nice there in southwest Michigan.
I've had the opportunity to obviously play Harbor Shores Golf Club and it's a really, it really is an interesting and fun golf course to play. It's difficult and with those winds coming off the like, if we get them, those northwest winds in May, it will be one heck of a test.
And oh, by the way, I was listening to the sound track to that thing, couldn't you come up with a little bit better song than Live and Let Die? You know, I'm 61 years old and you have those songs, we don't need to hear that at my age.
But anyway, I'm hoping that the good weather that we'll have there, meaning that it's going to blow about 25 miles an hour, be about 55 degrees, which is Watson weather, that I'll be able to compete pretty successfully up there this next summer.
On behalf of all the pros that have played in this year's Senior PGA Championship, we certainly would like to thank not only the PGA of America for putting this oldest senior on for since 1937, but we also thank our new presenting sponsor, for all they're doing to really enhance the, enhance this tournament in the way that they have done.
They have put a tremendous amount of effort into this tournament this past year at Valhalla, but more importantly, what they have done at Harbor Shores in creating an environment that is going to help the community so much, with the help of the Boys and Girls Club and the First Tee there, I give my sincerest kudos to Whirlpool for making that type of commitment to the community.
Communities like Benton Harbor certainly in the rust belt, they certainly need this. And it's a great credit to Whirlpool to see the need for that and address it in the way that they're doing. Millions of dollars that they have already raised for the community there, the community centers there in Benton Harbor is just the beginning, and the game of golf has done this in so many different ways and Whirlpool is just one of thousands of companies and individuals who have given a lot back to the game, a tremendous amount back to the game through the game. And in the form of their help to people who can't help themselves.
And that's what Whirlpool has done for the community and I give it, again, I give it my sincere he's congratulations to what they're doing.
I'm open for questions if anybody has any questions about what my plans are for next summer. I plan to come up there and as I said, I hope that, I hope we have maybe some wind up there, I bet we will in late May, don't you think?
JULIUS MASON: Yes.
JULIUS MASON: Tom, it's Julius Mason from the PGA of America. Thank you very much for join you us from London and thank you very much for taking some phone calls from the media we have here today.
We're in a room, by the way, at the Golf Club at Harbor Shores and about 60 people are joining us right now. If you wouldn't mind raising your hand high we'll get a microphone to you.
Q. Couple quick questions, please, Tom. First of all, the green complexes here at Harbor Shores, are they typical do you think for a Nicklaus layout and how would you compare them to other championship layouts with the green complexes that we're talking about? Also, the second part of the questions, I know youspent a lot of your childhood growing up in northern Michigan and if you wouldn't remind reflecting on some of than golf in this state in general?
TOM WATSON: Sure. The greens make a golf course.
Obviously getting to the green is a problem, but, boy, the greens can make it interesting or kind of dull. I tell you one thing, Jack has not made them dull there. Especially that 10th green when Johnny Miller said, "Jack, what do I do here?" And Johnny putted it up there like 40 feet short and he said, "Jack", and Jack just went up there and of course it's well documented by, seen on ESPN a thousand times the putt that he made from down there up that huge contour. But no, he's made a very, very good golf course from my standpoint. Not just from the green standpoint, but from the tee to the green.
Being able to use some of the areas by the shore there, know, that's, that certainly has, adds a great flavor to the golf course, but my experience in northern Michigan, when I was growing up as kid I was fortunate enough to be able to go up there just about every summer with my mom and dad who loved going up there, up to the Long Lake area up near Petoskey. And we played, I basically cut my teeth in golf up there. I played courses such as Belvedere, which is the course that they played the Michigan Amateur for so many years and I think they just went back there, I want to say last year if I'm not mistaken. But it's a great old Donald Ross golf course up there.
There was a nine hole golf course that I played up there.
I have some wonderful memories playing against my father in the club championship there when I was a kid. I played him when I was 14 years old and I had him 2-down with three to go to win the club championship and he ended up beating me on the first, in the second extra hole.
And then the next year I got him. I got him as a 15 year old. And we did have some wonderful memories up there and I would love to go back again.
Q. I wanted to ask you just, you brought up age so I'm going to ask you an age question. How do you stay motivated to stay competitive?
TOM WATSON: Well, it's pretty simple, I still love to compete if I'm able to compete. And when you're under the gun and when have you a chance to win a golf tournament and you hit the shot that counts, now that's what still motivates me. If I get to the point where I can't get to that position, where I can make that shot, then I'll be riding horses or doing something else. I don't know what I'll be doing, but it wouldn't be fun anymore for me and I would probably hang it up.
Q. What about some of the challenges that the Champions Tour and the PGA TOUR are facing these days with the economy the way it is and so forth, please.
TOM WATSON: Well, I think that golf is suffering from the standpoint that it's hard to play, it's expensive to play, and it takes too long to play. But in essence that's been the problem for golf all through its history. Right now I think the biggest problem is the amount of time people have in their lives to give to things such as golf.
Look at the social media that they have with Twittering and Facebook and things like that that the kids do, you know, do they have time to actually go out and play golf? I don't think they do.
And that's something that I don't know whether that's just a phase they're going through or it's going to continue to grow and create this lack of time that people have for the game.
Jack Nicklaus has addressed this at Muirfield, he's going to make, he's going design a 12 hole golf course there, basically it's already there, but it's a course for 12 holes with eight inch cups, to see how people enjoy the game playing it that way. They can get around in two hours, for instance, or two and a half hours rather than taking four and a half hours to play. To speed up the time or speed up the play. And Jack is pretty adamant that shortening the time spent on the golf course is better than no golf at all and that's one way that he is addressing it.
JULIUS MASON: We could have used eight inch cups today out here, Ross mental note. We have another question, please.
Q. I was at the Masters this year and Tuesday it was really cold and really windy and you were one of the only golfers that played that day. You played the back nine by yourself actually, I followed you the whole back nine. And those are the conditions that you love, but obviously Augusta is not normally like that, that's just golf in your element, isn't it?
TOM WATSON: Well, the way I look at it is if you play a golf course under tough conditions you can get a feel for it just in case that the conditions are going to be that way during the tournament. Yeah, I feel a lot of players won't play under the tough conditions, they will, they don't want to test their, maybe ruin your golf swing, well you're not going ruin your golf swing. If you play weeks in a row where you're playing in 20 or 35 mile an hour winds, well it's time for a break. But I kind of like that. I just don't kind of like it, I like playing in difficult conditions and it's always a challenge to play holes that once were easy but now have become a real extreme challenge when the wind's blowing in your face. And that, you practice in those conditions, then you're well prepared for it if they happen again during the regular tournament.
JULIUS MASON: Questions? And as we're getting the microphone around the room, Tom, could you tell us what the rest of your schedule looks like in 2011.
TOM WATSON: Yes, I'll be playing over in Korea next week and then I'll be playing at the AT&T championship down in San Antonio and finishing up at the Schwab Cup Championship in San Francisco. Then after that, a little time off and a little winterization and then starting the TOUR again next year.
JULIUS MASON: Question in the back, please.
Q. Just curious, how many times have you gotten out to Harbor Shores and how many times have you been able to play the course?
TOM WATSON: Well, I frankly I've only played it that one time with Arnie, Jack, and Johnny. I was up there just recently going up there and speaking to the doing a clinic for the kids at the First Tee in the and the Boys & Girls Club kids up there not too long ago in early August. But I didn't have a chance to play the golf course. But it sure looked like it was in wonderful condition at that time and just I really can't wait to come up there and play it.
I enjoyed it very much, especially playing with Jack and Arnie and Johnny, it was going down old memory lane playing with those guys and it was a real pleasure to be with them. But I certainly enjoyed the golf course. And believe me, that golf course is going to be difficult. If you give it a 15 or 20 mile an hour wind, the fellows aren't going to be shooting it up very much, we would be, we'll be lucky to shoot par or better.
Q. How do you explain a 51 year old Tom Watson winning the Senior PGA Championship and 61 year old Tom Watson winning the Senior PGA Championship? Is there a difference?
TOM WATSON: Well, first of all, I said this in tongue in cheek but really it's true is good genes. Mom and dad gave me good genes to be able to play golf without a lot of injury. So at our age you've got all kinds of -- on the Champions Tour you have all kinds of problems with people. Backs go, the elbows go, the shoulders go, hands go, the knees go. And we have hit millions of golf balls or a million golf balls at least and the body wears out.
And if you're lucky enough to not have any serious injury, you can still play. But we keep ourselves in pretty good shape. Golf itself gets you in good shape. If you walk five or six miles in a round of golf, that and swing your arms -- well, you guys swing your arms a lot more than we do, so you're getting a lot more exercise than we do -- but when you get, you get a good healthy exercise playing a round of golf. And it keeps you, it keeps you fit and a little extra effort on strengthening and flexibility, you can play golf later in your life.
I always point to Sam Snead as -- of course he's an exceptional specimen of a golfer. Sam played great golf until his middle 70's. Sam really lost his distance between 75 and 76. But up until that time Sam could really really hit it. And, but Sam he kept himself in wonderful shape.
JULIUS MASON: Just to hitchhike a little bit off of what he just said, I'm just going to go back real quick to the Open Championship where you and Stewart Cink went into overtime. You didn't quite do it, but a lot of people were saying -
TOM WATSON: I scared him.(Laughter.)
JULIUS MASON: -- had you done it, Tom --
TOM WATSON: I scared those kids, didn't I?
JULIUS MASON: Yeah, you did. How big a story in sports would that have been, in your opinion.
TOM WATSON: Oh, I can't, I don't know. You know, it didn't happen, so you really can't project that out. And it doesn't really make any difference to project out there. It's just one of those things, you know, I don't look back on it, I don't fret over it. I had the luxury to have won the Open championship a number of times, but maybe if I hadn't won any Major Championships I would have fretted over it or always it, but I don't look at it that way.
It was an opportunity lost, that's for sure, and when Jack called me up that night I was really down in the dumps, he called me up about a half hour after I got to my room, and he talked me through it and made me laugh about it. And I'll always be grateful for Jack to do that.
But does it really hurt? It hurt, it hurt hard. But I have been there before, I've been like that before, it's not that I'll look at it like it's going to be my last chance to ever be there again, it probably will be, but I look to play in the Champions Tour and playing in the Open Championship the Masters for the next few years and seeing if I can still compete against the kids.
There's certain courses I can compete on against the kids, if I'm on my game, I can get there. If my putter was working a little bit better at certain times in my later part of the career, I would have been there. But that's the old golfers lament, it's my putter, damn it, my putter.
JULIUS MASON: Question over here, please.
Q. Speaking of the kids, what do you think is better for the TOUR, the Tiger Woods type situation where you've got a player and everybody shooting for him or the current situation where you've got a new young gun stepping up every week?
TOM WATSON: Well, I was asked that question today, I always think there should be a, it's good for the TOUR to have somebody to really shoot at. And that's not to say that Tiger's not going to be back into the mix and be the guy to shoot at. I guarantee you, when he plays again those players on the, I don't care how good they are, they're going to be looking at the scoreboard there and looking for one name and one name only. And it starts with a W and his first name starts with a T. And it's not Tom Watson.
JULIUS MASON: Questions? Questions twice? Tom, thank you very very much for joining us, we have got a little bit more business to take care of over here, but we hope you have a wonderful rest of the year and we look forward to seeing you nextyear up here, my friend.
TOM WATSON: Thank you, I'm looking forward to being up in Michigan one more time. I love that state. It's always been a great part of my life. And you all have a great time today and again I'm sorry I couldn't be there.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Tom.
And now ladies and gentlemen, back to Allen Wronowski who has a very special announcement to make regarding the Boys and Girls Club and First Tee of Benton Harbor.
ALLEN WRONOWSKI: Thanks again, Julius, I was, as part of the PGA of America's commitment and mission to grow the game of golf, I am pleased to announce that the PGA foundation has pledged a total of $300,000 to the Boys & Girls Club of Benton Harbor, and the First Tee of Benton Harbor over four years.
We believe that the 73rd Senior PGA Championship presented by KitchenAid next spring signals the beginning of a special relationship in which we can help enrich the lives of juniors through golf.
Today we are donating $75,000 which will help support construction for the new facilities for the Boys & Girls Club and First Tee.
Doug and Ebon, we can't tell you how happy we are to be part of your program and we look forward to working with you as we help grow down the road. So it's a great start.
JULIUS MASON: Thanks very much, Allen.
For those of you now who played golf this morning and are wondering if you won anything I think can you see Jeff Hintz and staff out at the tent, I think that there's lovely prizes to share, if you won something, I remember seeing one name just about on every sheet out there, I don't know if it was just because of our positioning on the golf course at all, but I guess the question that again our group had, can you win more than once?
Don't answer that question right now. Move on.
And now for the visual media, those people interested in that photo op opportunity out by the club that Allen was just talking about, we have golf carts lined up outside that will take us to the facility and I think we'll get everybody joining us out there right now. So thanks very much for join us today, ladies and gentlemen.