Transcript from announcement of Quail Hollow as host of 2017 PGA Championship


Published: Tuesday, August 31, 2010 | 1:20 p.m.

JOHNNY HARRIS: Good morning. This is an exciting day for all of us here in North Carolina. I'm Johnny Harris and I would like to welcome everyone to Quail Hollow Club and thank you very much for taking the time out of your day.
Today is a significant occasion, not only for Quail Hollow, and Charlotte, but more importantly, for the State of North Carolina, and you are going to hear the reasons why in just a moment.
We are honored to have some very significant guests here with us, many of these people have come a long way to be here and have taken time out of their very busy schedules, as most of you know on short notice.
You now in addition to the people with me on the podium who you will hear from shortly, I would like to introduce and let you show your appreciation for if you will hold your applause until I get them all introduced I would appreciate it.
First of all, Walter Dalton and his wife, Lucille; President Pro Tem of the North Carolina Senate, Mark Basnight.
Senate Representative Joe Hackney, happy to have you here; Senate Majority Leader Martin Nesbitt, and Intergovernmental and External Affairs, Marion Sullivan.
We have some other people here from county commission and city council and the legislature, and I would just like to ask all of you to stand with those people that I have just recognized. Would you please stand? (Applause).
Before I turn it over to Julius Mason of The PGA of America, I would like to say a special thanks to the people who give their time and efforts to the people of North Carolina to help make this state and our cities great.
Sometimes we forget to say thank you to them, and I want you to know that this event would not be taking place if it was not for their cooperation and support of making this possible for the people of North Carolina, and I want to a say special thanks to all of you present.
Now I want to turn it over to Julius Mason of the PGA of America.
JULIUS MASON: Johnny Harris, ladies and gentlemen. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you very much for joining us today for a very, very special announcement.
There are some other people in the audience that I would like to recognize at this time. If you will all please welcome from the Carolinas PGA Section, president Karl Kimball; vice president Mike Casto; secretary Billy Anderson; and Executive Director, Ron Schmid; and immediately from your backyard, from Quail Hollow Club, how about general manager Tom Delozier. PGA professional and PGA of America member, Scott Davenport, and superintendent, Jeff Kent. We are also joined by Jeff Connell, the president of the Carolina Golf Course Superintendents Association.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, all the way from Palm Beach Gardens Florida, it is my pleasure to introduce the CEO and honorary PGA of America member, Joe Steranka.
JOE STERANKA: Thank you, Julius, and governor, John I. Let me just say, welcome on behalf of The PGA of America to perhaps the most eagerly anticipated announcement in our nearly 100 year history. So it means a lot to The PGA of America to have so many busy people take time out of their days for this sports announcement.
But as I share with you some of the information about the impact that the game of golf has and the industry of golf has, I think you'll see it's for good reason that so many busy people are here.
The PGA of America was founded in 1916 by the predecessors of Karl and his fellow officers at the Carolinas PGA, and today, we have 28,000 men and women that go to work every day to make people happy, when they give some of their time and money to play golf.
Here in the State of North Carolina, that happens some 13 million times a year. But what also happens, and it's why golf is such a part of the fabric of the state's community and commerce, is that adds up to economic impact and job creation that putts golf at the 2.6 billion dollar a year industry here in the State of North Carolina on par with agriculture, on part with scientific research and development, on par with semiconductor and other components; that's your high tech industry. Golf is big business.
But today, we are here to celebrate a great sport. Not only are we pleased to have leaders from the state with us, but certainly the City of Charlotte. And when you look at the importance of golf in the state, with some 69,000 jobs, one in every 65 jobs here in the state is somehow connected to the golf industry; but in Charlotte, as well, it's an important part of not only allowing folks to work in the golf industry and put food on the table for their families, but raising money for charity. And what you see already with the Wachovia and now the Wells Fargo championship, golf is a great template for giving back to communities, and you're going to see that first and foremost when we come here in well I'm getting ahead of myself.
This will be the third time that the PGA Championship has been played in the State of North Carolina. Back in 36, Denny Shute, won the first of consecutive PGAs over at Pinehurst, and Lee Trevino won at Tanglewood a few years back.
Charlotte deserves this, Quail Hollow deserves it and it's my pleasure to formally announce that the 99th PGA Championship will be played at Quail Hollow in August of 2017.
It takes a great golf course and Tom Fazio has worked with the members here at Quail Hollow to produce one of the great tests of golf. It is consistently ranked high in terms of its challenge to the world's best players, and set up for a major championship, which a major championship in August will be different than a regular TOUR event in May. So it will have some changes that you will hear about as we get closer to the event.
It will provide a great canvas for the best players in the world to perform their variety of art. And you saw one of the game's international stars come here this year, and my guess is, when Rory McIlroy comes back here for the 2017 PGA Championship, he will have one, if not more, major championships already, and I know will have a special place in his heart.
Rory is not alone. Each and every year, the PGA Championship has more of the Top 100 players than any event in all of golf. We had 975 percent of the Top 100 a few weeks back at Whistling Straits. We also have players, 73 of those players are from 22 international territories, and it's part of the reason that the PGA Championship when it's played here in your state, governor, it's going to be broadcast to over 200 countries around the world with a household reach of some 430 million today, and who knows what that will be in 2017.
We are finding that major sports events, Gerry Witterson and I were talking about that before, those are appointments that people have. They stop what they are doing. Live sports is still something that captivates fans from around the world, and this state has a great sports tradition, and that will happen, again, for the PGA.
We are the only all professional major and part of the heritage of the PGA Championship is that we have 20 club professionals who they work every day to serve the nation's 27 million golfers, but they compete for a National Championship of their own and they will be part of the field here at Quail Hollow here, as well.
We are blessed to have long term partnerships. Our relationship with CBS and Turner goes back to 1991. We do things for the long run, and I think what we'll be getting here today with Quail Hollow is going to be another part of that tradition of doing things for the long run.
As dramatic as the PGA Championship, we talk about it being, but I think the video shows it better than I can describe it. So we'll go to the video.
(Video played.)
So once again on behalf of those 28,000 men and women of the PGA that really work every day to make golf a better game, we are pleased to add Quail Hollow to the lineup of courses that have a special moment in the part of golf history in that video seven years from now. Thank you, and I'll turn it back to Julius.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you very much, Joe.
Let's hear again, ladies and gentlemen, one more time from the president of the board of governors of Quail Hollow Club, Mr. Johnny Harris.
JOHNNY HARRIS: Thank you. As I said earlier, these are very exciting times for all of us at Quail Hollow and in Charlotte and in the State of North Carolina.
Before I go any further, I must admit I looked out into the audience, and it's not often you get a chance to have two governors in the same room, so I would like to ask former Governor Jim Martin if he would please stand. And then I overlooked, and I certainly didn't mean to, because he's been an integral part of putting this whole thing together from the state level, and that's Commerce Secretary Keith Crisco. And Keith, thank you so much for being in this sector, we appreciate it.
I just want to take a quick moment and say a special thanks to the membership of this club. It's a club that was founded a little over 50 years ago by 21 men who really developed this place and made it work, because they cared about the game. And there's something ironic about a major championship coming to this place that they loved, and it was so much a part of their life, that is nothing but a representative of the people that make the game possible for all of us.
And when you think about the relationship between a place that was founded because of the love of the game and an organization of some 28,000 people who do what they do, because they love the game; it's a special combination.
And then when you take that, and you think about a golf course that we had for the first 35 years and it was a golf course that was nice to play and fun to play, but it didn't make the statement and it didn't demand the best players in the world the way it does today.
I don't want to miss an opportunity to personally thank Tom Fazio for taking what was a really good golf course and turning it into one of the special places in the world to compete in the game of golf today. Tom, thank you very much.
This club has existed for 50 years and for 25 of those years, we have brought the best golfers in the world to play here in North Carolina. We really look forward as a club and we understand the trust that the PGA of America has extended to us, not only here at Quail, but in Charlotte and the state to host their 99th event.
It really is a special opportunity. When we talk about sporting events, and Gerry was mentioning earlier, you really plan your day and your week around watching something happen. And it starts out as a game, it becomes a sport, and then all of a sudden, it becomes a tremendous economic generator.
This will be a great place for the game. This will be a great place to watch sports and the heros made. And also, and more important in one respect is that it will be a tremendous economic generator for the State of North Carolina and the trust that our elected officials have put in this event by participating and supporting us, and we really very much appreciate that, thank you, gentlemen.
Lastly, I want to say thanks to all of you, and particularly to some of you in the media. If you want to know I didn't haven't returned your phone calls in the last week, it's because I didn't want to have to tell you something that I couldn't tell you, so I decided to avoid you.
But I want to thank you for your cooperation and understanding. This is exciting and it is going to be great to have the 2017 PGA Championship here at Quail Hollow.
JULIUS MASON: Now, ladies and gentlemen, please welcome North Carolina governor, Bev Purdue.
GOVERNOR PURDUE: Let me on behalf of nine and a half million people, and by 2017, we will be fast approaching 12 million people, say thank you, Joe, for your encouragement and thank you to the PGA for bringing this event to North Carolina.
You probably think I would talk today about golf and how much I love golf. The only thing I don't really agree with, as Vince said here this morning is when Joe said golf makes people happy. When I've played, it's made me very unhappy. (Laughter). But the bottom line is, it's the love of the game, the passion for the game.
I remember years ago when I sat here, it was this guy to my left, Johnny Harris, he said, "Bev, we are going to make us a prize. We are bringing in a great golf designer and we are going to change this course, and we are going to have us an international tournament here."
As I began to see what happened and what continues to happen at Quail Hollow, I knew that Johnny Harris had told me the truth.
So we are sports addicts in North Carolina, sports makes us grand, and I don't have one single economic development call with Secretary Crisco for doing the discussion of whether a company is going to come here or grow here. We don't talk about the things that are so much important to a decision, and those are the opportunities for recreation and for fun.
Professional sports is a key piece of economic decision making in the world now, not just in America or North Carolina, and we are mighty glad that the PGA is helping make our state stronger.
I want to recognize some folks who are here with me from North Carolina. You met the Speaker and you met the president of the Senate, Speaker Basnight. Other members from the General Assembly are in the audience, and for the information of you all who don't get this yet, it's very important, because there will very likely become a time when North Carolina wants to be a player in its investment because of the return on the investment for the people in the state.
You heard Mr. Steranka talk about that return. There are 70,000 jobs we already have more than $2.5 billion worth of revenue that golf makes possible for the people of this state. There are 560 courses across North Carolina; the fact that we have one of the strongest turf industries in the world here in North Carolina. Those things don't just happen. They happen because legislators stand up and make really hard decisions even in election cycles about things that might be controversial for perceived as poor.
So I want to thank Senator Graham and Senator Dannely, Senator Rucho is here, Senator Nesbitt is here, Kelly Alexander and Representative Rep Ruth Samuelson is here. If I forgot anybody or overlooked anybody, it's not because I don't love and respect you. And the Lieutenant Governor is back there, and it's his party every day.
This thing called economic development that we are so powerful at in North Carolina, even at a time when our economy continues to sputter along in this country and around the world. Our success and success after success has been made possible by the investment and the care and the tending that so many of you in this room today have made happen. This PGA announcement will not be happening today but for the legendary work that's gone on here for years and years in our past.
This is a big deal in North Carolina. We love our golf. We like our football. We like our basketball. But all of us have an opportunity in our communities to play golf. And so today is all about a big win for North Carolina. It's about being able to tell Keith Crisco the next company that comes to visit us and is choosing between us and another American state; let us tell you what's going to happen here in 2017: We are going to showcase the world. We are going to have 700 worldwide media outlets either right here in Charlotte or connected to us via satellite. We are going to have every day 430 million households by then it could very well be 700 million households, looking at our state and seeing our people and being convinced that this is a tremendous state to come and play in, because of all of our golf courses.
But more importantly than that, this is a state that would be very attractive and fun to work in because we are as high and high tech and competitive as any place in the world; and if you are looking for a vacation or a tournament, why wouldn't you consider the home of the 2017 PGA.
So today is a big day in the economic development history of North Carolina, and I congratulate all of these tremendously enthusiastic leaders who have helped make it happen.
JULIUS MASON: It's my pleasure to welcome the Mayor of Charlotte, Mr. Anthony Foxx.
MAYOR FOXX: On behalf of the City of Charlotte, I want to say a great thank you to Joe Steranka and the entire PGA of America organization for being here today at Quail Hollow Club and to make this exciting announcement about the 2017 PGA Championship. Now, Joe, I'm hoping that by 2017, I can break a hundred (laughter). I'm going to find one of those thousand PGA professionals and make sure that happens; I might need all thousand of them.
But I also want to thank the Governor. Governor Purdue recognizes, as she said, that this is a joint effort by our private sector and our folks here at the Quail Hollow Club, as well as with national, state, county and local city elected officials, and many of whom were kind enough to join us today.
Charlotte has a history with professional golf. If you go back, we have hosted the Kemper Open, the World Seniors Invitational, the USGA Girls Junior Championship, and just completed the eighth year of the newly renamed and very successful Wells Fargo Championships.
Today an announcement comes on the heels of a couple of other very successful events, including the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship and we recently crowned Rory McIlroy as the champion of the Quail Hollow Championship. We have had a long tradition with Quail Hollow in the city and the state.
As Governor Purdue mentioned, the 2017 PGA Championship is a tremendous opportunity to place Charlotte and North Carolina on an international stage, and we are very excited about that. The city and also fortunate to have great corporate leaders and people in the community who have worked on this for many, many years, and I don't think we should let this moment pass without giving Johnny Harris a great round of applause for the work he's done.
So I am excited about what's going to happen in this community in 2017 and beyond. We look forward to a bright future of continuing the Charlotte legacy and the North Carolina legacy of being a great home for international golf on an internationally competitive level. And again, I'm looking forward to seeing my game break a hundred. Thank you very much.
JULIUS MASON: Thank you, very much, Mayor. Ladies and gentlemen, before we go to Q&A, I'm feeling the need to let Johnny Harris know, he's getting a lot of love today, and I think we at The PGA of America are compelled to give something back. So, Johnny, don't stop us, but I was reading the paper this morning, and they were talking about the celebrities that are going to be participating on Dancing With the Stars; so over the next two years, we are going to be working hard to get you on that show, just because we love you, we want you to know that.
Ladies and gentlemen, the floor is yours.

Q. Could you just talk about the time line, how long this has been the process has been ongoing and maybe one or two key moments in the evolution to get here?
JOE STERANKA: I'm in my fifth year as Chief Executive and probably would say two years ago sat down with Johnny down in South Florida, and we had breakfast. We didn't talk about the PGA Championship. We really just were introduced by M.G. Orender, a past president of The PGA of America, who thought we had similar views on different topics and golf and business, and really enjoyed it.
One thing led to another, and there was a point, you know, early on, when The PGA of America looked at the future of golf here at Quail Hollow and the desire to do something more than just the PGA TOUR, and asked Johnny if he was interested in this that, and he said he was. The rest is history and that leads us to today.

Q. Mayor Foxx, talk about the impact you think having the PGA Championship will have on Charlotte.
MAYOR FOXX: Well, you know, this is a much broader activity than just a golf tournament. You are talking about all of the professionals that Joe and Johnny just talked about are part of the PGA, so this event really starts a run up to 2017 that creates a great deal of excitement in our community. I was joking about my golf game, but I bet you there will be people out there who will get energized and invigorated to get out and start playing some more golf.
But more than that, the economic impact coupled with the visibility in our community continues to show that this community and the city and other folks that are outside of our city see the great opportunities that are here.
And this is just another example of the strength, not only of the city, but I do want to make it very clear that it's also a testament to the state and the great work that is being done at the state level.

Q. I had a question about sales, I know Kiawah is already up and running, and for Johnny, can you talk about how this will mesh with the regular PGA TOUR event.
JOE STERANKA: The first part of that is, we routinely begin corporate sales three years in advance, being able to show the corporate community what hospitality and entertainment product we are going to have so that it can be part of long range financial planning by those companies.
The beauty of Charlotte is that the Wells Fargo Championship is very well supported right now. So you're going to have Kym Hougham and Mac and the staff here that are very well connected in the community. Perhaps we don't need to start three years in advance; that might allow us to do something more close to the championship itself.
JOHNNY HARRIS: I think the interesting thing is with the Wells Fargo Championship, the commitment that they have is to 2014 and one of the reasons discussions took place between myself is that after 2014, we really didn't know whether we were going to have a PGA TOUR event; and, in fact, we went through a period, as we all know, where corporate sponsorship was not enthusiastic about even having their name on golf tournaments.
And that's only recently changed for us, and we are glad to have Wells Fargo back, because they never wavered. They were always supporters and helped us with the tournament, but they just did not choose to have their name on the event.
With that being said, we began to look at what we might do to continue to bring the best players in the world here, our mutual friend, M.G. Orender said: You ought to talk to Joe Steranka. I really think that you've got a situation where the golf course is so very well thought of, and you've done everything there, as you've redone your golf course, to be able to work with a major championship; you ought to see if there's any real interest there. And we really did have breakfast one morning and we never got around to talking about the event. We then got back together later and we started talking about, would it work and so forth and so on. Then there was a subsequent visit; Kerry Haigh came, and I think was very excited about what he saw.
I think in the end, we will continue to honor the people that have had hospitality situations here with our tournament, and going forward, they would clearly be the first on the list for us to call on after their national contacts, and we'll do that. I think it's a great opportunity for us to have the best players in the world continue to come to Quail Hollow, and to the State of North Carolina.

Q. Wondering if you would talk about the role the state and city and helping bring this tournament here, and also whether there's any incentives involved in landing this tournament?
GOVERNOR PURDUE: Well, the role of the State, and I know I would ask the Major to speak to the role of Charlotte. I know I got one of my first calls from the Mayor of Charlotte, who is a fabulous leader and a very aggressive leader for jobs and successes in this community; and met a group from Charlotte, took the time very quickly to come and visit the Secretary and I in Raleigh recently. We canceled a lot of meetings that day because we were told it was very time sensitive and very important to North Carolina.
We listened with great awe and great big dreams about what could happen for our state. We were told we were in the big hunt and then the finals, and then we said simply that I'm primed to say: What can I do to get them here. We made no promises financially or otherwise. There are no incentives involved. We have sold this community and this golf course hard. We have sold this state hard, and that's how we have won.
But I would be less than honest, and I'm always very direct; I will do whatever I can do as the governor up until then to make sure this is the most successful PGA Championship in The PGA's history. We want them back. We want other pro events to think this is the marquis state. We have all got skin in this game, and I am as proud of this as I am of anything I've done as governor.
MAYOR FOXX: I think the Governor said it very, very well; that we all want this to be the absolute best tournament the PGA has ever seen, and we will do what we have to do to do that.
But having said that, there have not been commitments made. We do have our city manager here today and police chief, Rodney Monroe, and our Charlotte Department of Transportation head, Danny Pleasant here, believing that there will probably at some point be a need to talk, particularly to those two departments, about how we stage such an event.
But we are ready, locked and loaded ready to help make this the best PGA Championship we have ever seen.

Q. What is the club doing to keep the normal, yearly PGA tournament at Quail Hollow?
JOHNNY HARRIS: We can't do very much about that, nor have we we never approached nor have we been approached by anyone about the TOUR being here after 2014. Have not had any discussions with anyone about the TOUR being here after 2014.
Clearly in 2016 and 2017, we will be getting ready for the PGA Championship, so I'm not sure those are two good years to talk about. But we only had what we had, which is one of the longest contracts on the PGA TOUR, and that is through 2014.

Q. Mr. Harris and Mr. Steranka, you mentioned this before, but how is hosting the PGA Championship going to be different than hosting the Wells Fargo Championship?
JOE STERANKA: Well, there is a group from Quail Hollow that came up to Whistling Straits this year, and you know, back when I began my career at the PGA, we might have had ten production trucks broadcasting about 15 hours of television coverage. There were 46 production units producing for CBS, for TNT, for PGA.COM; that was the first-ever 3D coverage of the PGA Championship.
Major international events are multi media extravagzanzas. That's probably the biggest difference. A domestic tour's event is huge in that market, and then based on the leader beard, it may become a big event, as your tournament was this year with Rory McIlroy winning. But a PGA Championship or any of golf's four majors begins as almost an Olympic type event.
And the nature of the PGA Championship and the U.S. Open is, they move we are both committed to promoting the game around the country, so we move our championships around. So it's not here every year.
And that means more international tourism, more international media coverage. There will be a limit to how many tickets we can sell, don't get me wrong; the crowds are going to be that much bigger than they have been already. But it is going to be a much more global event and bigger in scale, which is what we impress upon these elected officials.
We have to build a temporary city for 40,000 to 50,000 people for a week, and so it needs urban transportation. It needs security. It needs a restaurant business, ecology, a power plant. All of that is built on temporary ground. It is a huge economic endeavor that we didn't do alone.
So that's what's really attractive to The PGA of America is you have a community that gets it, and that's what we need. We need a great partner in producing the business side of these events.
JOHNNY HARRIS: From a practical standpoint, let me say, first of all, if the number is 45,000 or 50,000 people that come on Monday, at most TOUR events, they sort of come in on Wednesday for the Pro Am maybe, and then they are there Thursday through the weekend.
When they blow the whistle on the 2017 PGA Championship, the doors will open and 50,000 people will walk in. There will be no heads in the beds, as those of us who have had the misfortune of owning hotels always think about; but there will be more people staying in the hotels for the whole week. They won't be here for three or four days. They will be here for the whole week. Huge economic generator for our tourism industry, not only here but throughout the state. There will be people who come here and entertain their corporate clients, and at the same time, take the day and go for the day to Asheville to tour Biltmore Forest, to see the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. They will go to Pinehurst and play golf at what is one of the greatest golf courses in the world, Pinehurst No. 2. They will take the time to move around North and South Carolina and see the things I'm sure there will be trips on the side to Charleston, South Carolina.
And you say all of that, and the fact that everything scale wise is larger. It's just bigger. There's more space in the merchandise tent, by about fivefold. There's more space in the media facility, although we were pretty close this last year with Tiger coming here the first time back. And you clearly have the production space that you need, and we are fortunate to have approximately 250 acres here at Quail Hollow where we can work with those challenges.
And the last thing that will be interesting is, as Kym Hougham and Mac and his team go forward with the last four years of the tournament here, or the next four years, however you want to I didn't mean to say it that way, whatever, the four years that are remaining on the contract, we won't do anything that isn't in anticipation of making the experience of the 2017 PGA Championship better for the patrons.
JULIUS MASON: Ladies and gentlemen, the Governor and the Mayor have a 12 o'clock golf lessen they have to run to now.
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you very much for joining us today.

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