June 26, 2013
An interview with:
THE MODERATOR: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to Sebonack
Golf Club and the 2013 U.S. Open Women's Championship. I'm Joe Goode, Managing
Director of Communications for the United States Golf Association. Welcome. I'm
pleased to be joined by a number of senior leaders from the USGA. From your
right to left, USGA Vice President and Chairman of the Championship Committee,
Tom O'Toole; in the center, Jeff Hall, who is the Managing Director of USGA
Rules Competition and Amateur Status; and to my far left, Dot Paluck, who is
the chairman of the USGA Women's Committee. We're especially pleased to welcome
the global golf community to picturesque Long Island for what will be another
exciting U.S. Women's Open Championship.
The Women's Open celebrates the growing diversity of this
great game and showcases the beauty of Sebonack and identifies the world's best
in their pursuit of becoming America's champion.
It is now my pleasure to turn the program over to Dot
Paluck, Chairman of the USGA Women's Committee.
DOT PALUCK: Thank you, Joe. And good morning, everyone. On
behalf of the USGA's 700,000 members and staff, we are pleased to welcome you
to Sebonack Golf Club, and to present to you the 68th edition of the U.S.
Women's Open Championship.
The United States Golf Association has promoted women's golf
since 1895, when it hosted the first U.S. Women's Amateur Championship at the
Meadow Brook Club in Hempstead, New York one year after the USGA was founded. Today
that legacy of support remains strong, with the USGA conducting six National
Championships exclusively for women, including the U.S. Women's Open.
We all remember last year's championship when Na Yeon Choi
of Korea managed to adapt to the challenge of Blackwolf Run for a four stroke
victory over compatriot Amy Yang. It was an historic moment to see Na Yeon
hoist the same trophy on the same green as her role model, Se Ri Pak, did 14
years earlier, a win that caused a surge of inspiration in young women across
Korea to pursue a career in professional golf.
Indeed, the U.S. Women's Open is truly a global platform for
the game of golf. Today the Women's Open reflects a game increasing in
diversity with a field of players representing 22 countries, including a
talented roster from the United States. The field ranges in age from 14 year
old Nelly Korda, competing in her first Women's Open, to 53 year old Juli
Inkster, a five time USGA champion, who is competing in her record 34th Women's
Since its founding in 1946, there has been lots of history,
tremendous growth, and much change in the U.S. Women's Open, but the most
critical ingredients remain constant. The Women's Open continues to serve as
the premier venue for women's championships in the game, testing the finest
players in the world on the finest courses in America.
Thank you. Now it is my honor to introduce Tom O'Toole, USGA
Vice President and Chairman of the USGA's Championship Committee.
TOM O'TOOLE: Thank you, Dot. And thanks to you and all the
members of the USGA Women's Committee for all that you do to promote women's
golf and all your support of the USGA.
The U.S. Women's Open Championship continues an exciting
championship schedule, which over this championship season will see 13
individuals, two teams, amateurs and professionals, men and women, who will be
crowned champions. While all will be very deserving, none will be more visible
than the holder of the most significant title in women's professional golf, the
2013 United States Women's Open Champion at Sebonack.
Just last week, we added Justin Rose at the U.S. Open and
Laura Diaz Yi at the Women's Amateur Public Links Championship as illustrious
USGA champions. We look forward to adding to that impressive roster again a
Women's Open Champion here at Sebonack.
The Women's Open makes history here at Sebonack in a Long
Island debut, overlooking the great Peconic Bay and marking its first USGA
Championship here at the Sebonack Golf Club.
Only seven years old, Sebonack is a spectacular links style
course with a classic championship layout that blends into the Southampton
landscape, yet it will deliver a stern and rigorous test for the finest women's
golfers in the world.
A Nicolas and Doak collaboration, you're going to have to
ask Michael Pascucci how he pulled that off.
This year we received 1042 entries, beating last year's
record of entries into the Women's Open Championship, and marking the tenth
consecutive year the number of entries has exceeded 1,000. I have a hunch that
Sebonack with its beauty and its bite had something to do with that outcome.
This week, we welcome 156 worthy competitors, and as Dot
said, from 22 countries, ten past Women's Open champions, 42 first time
participants, and 18 amateurs. We're excited about our entire field here, some
well-known, and others who persevered through the hard road of local and
sectional qualifying in the pursuit of excellence and a place in this historic
Like Annie Park, the 18 year old from Long Island, a prodigy
who earned her place in this championship by playing flawlessly through 36
grinding holes at sectional qualifying, and she never made a bogey, and will
now play among the best female golfers in the world with the opportunity to
hoist that trophy on Sunday afternoon in front of a hometown crowd.
Where do you get potential story and dream come true endings
like that? Only at the Women's Open. The conduct of the Women's Open here at
Sebonack is a start of a wonderful five year, historic lineup for this
In 2014, Pinehurst will have the honor of hosting both the
2014 U.S. Open and the 2014 U.S. Women's Open championships back to back. For
the first time in USGA history, both events will be played on the same year on
the same course. What a wonderful celebration of women's golf. Only one
legendary place could host two majors, again, back to back in a single year,
Pinehurst No. 2.
In 2015, the U.S. Women's Open will be played at Lancaster
Country Club in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Lancaster, a hidden gem and treasured
layout designed in 1920 by the famed William Flynn, architect. An interesting
historical note of this club involves the 1948 Pennsylvania Amateur, where
Lancaster member Billy Haverstick defeated a 19 year old Arnold Palmer 3 2 on
route to winning the title at his home club.
In 2017, the U.S. Women's Open returns to the state of New
Jersey for the first time in three decades to the Trump National Golf Club at
Bedminster. The old course at Trump National is a wonderful Tom Fazio layout,
and it was the home of the USGA Boys and Girls Juniors Amateur Championships
held in 2009 simultaneously. The 2017 Women's Open will be the first
professional National Championship held on a Trump owned and developed golf
You may note that there was no inclusion for the year 2016. In
that regard and in completing this historic lineup, we are pleased to announce
here this morning, that CordeValle in San Martin, California will host the 2016
U.S. Women's Open Championship. CordeValle will mark the first time since 1982
that the Women's Open has been conducted in California, and the first time ever
in the picturesque northern California area.
Having opened in 1999, CordeValle has quickly earned its
reputation for hosting championship golf. For the past three years, most of you
know it has staged the PGA TOUR's Frys.Com Open, which CordeValle will again do
this October. In September, CordeValle will host the USGA Senior Women's
Amateur, and last year, CordeValle opened its doors to the USA China Youth Golf
Match, a competition conducted by the USA and China Golf Association to promote
and foster cultural friendship through the game of golf.
We're also honored to announce that former United States
Secretary of State, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, a member of the USGA's Nominating
Committee and a Professor at Stanford University will serve as honorary chair
of the 2016 Women's Open. Dr. Rice has proven to be an unfailing advocate for the
game, making it accessible to both women and children. We thank her very much
for her support of the United States Golf Association and its championships.
From 2014 to 2017, wow, that is an exciting lineup for
I would like to take this time to thank and recognize
members of the CordeValle leadership team who have joined us here this morning
for this historic announcement. The President, Alan Campey. Alan, please stand
and recognize yourself. Tom Gray, the golf course superintendent, Michael
Marion, the Director of Golf Operations, Jeff Holland, the Director of Sales
and Marketing, and their Director of Business Development, Rich Taylor.
To all of you, we say thank you, and that, yes, we accept
your invitation to host the 2016 Women's Open Championship, and we look forward
to another exciting championship in the northern California area.
In closing, none of this occurs without collaborative
effort. You've heard us many times speak about the necessity for committed and
dedicated partners. We'd like to thank the leadership and the members of the
Sebonack team that have made this possible, and they've given that commitment
and dedication to the success of this championship. In particular, and of
course at the helm, owner Michael Pascucci. Michael, thank you, and his sons
Ralph and Chris Pascucci; executive Director, Mark Hissey; general manager,
Troy Albert; director of golf, Jason McCarty; and of course, a special thank
you to the golf course superintendent, Garrett Bodington. As we've said at this
podium many times, the most important person in the USGA Championship is what
happens inside the ropes, and that's the golf course superintendent.
I know I echo Jeff Hall's comments and Mike Davis's. Garrett
has given his undying effort in this, and to that, we are, of course, very
grateful. We'd also like to extend our appreciation to the team of Bruno Events
led by Championship Director Laura Caleal, with her expertise in assisting
Sebonack in preparing for this unbelievably vast undertaking.
Equally important, we'd express our complete gratitude to
the over 3,000 volunteers that the Club has enlisted to assist us in the
conduct of the Championship. We are truly blessed to have these dedicated
volunteers, and as we've said many times, we just could not simply do it
Finally, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our team, and the
tireless effort of our USGA staff. They are the best in the business, and here
this week they simply lead what is the biggest production in women's
championship golf. To that end, I especially recognize, who is not with us
because of recent back surgery, our Director of the Women's Open Championship,
Ben Kimball, who did all the lead in, and inside the ropes preparation for the
Championship, and of course pass it over because he's convalescing from recent
back surgery to Jeff Hall who Joe introduced earlier. So a special thanks to
Jeff and Ben for all their hard work to prepare what's going to happen inside
the ropes this week.
Our interaction with the Club and the operations and what is
the production of the Women's Open, Tim Flaherty, the Director of the Women's
Open, and the Director of the Senior Open Championship who have led this charge
for many years in this regard. Tim is the best there is in this business, and
thank you, Tim, for your effort in what will produce a wonderful 68th playing
of the Women's Open Championship. Also thank Matt Sawicki, who is Tim's right
hand and also doubles with our rules and competition staff, and all the effort
that Tim has lent to Matt to assist him this week to produce this championship.
Finally, Carolyn Gulbin, a long time valued USGA employee
who leads entire administrative efforts at this championship, and has for many
years in association with Tim, we say thank you.
So all of you, as you look back at the 2013 version of the
U.S. Women's Open, you'll know each of you were an integral part of its
success. So I leave you with the thought that yes, starting tomorrow morning at
6:45, we'll begin the conduct of the most coveted and important championship in
women's professional golf. We look for an exciting championship, particularly
because we've had the opportunity to come to this very unique and unbelievably
agronomically well conditioned golf course, the Sebonack Golf Club. Again, to
Michael Pascucci, and all at Sebonack, thank you very much.
Now without any further adieu, I'll turn it over to the
gentleman who Joe has introduced and I've spent an inordinate amount of time
with the last couple of weeks because he has the same responsibility at the
U.S. Open, and that is Jeff Hall who will talk to you a little bit about the
golf course and how we contemplate to present it.
JEFF HALL: Thank you, Tom. Good morning, everyone. Certainly
from a competitive perspective, we're very excited to be here at Sebonack Golf
Club to host the 2013 Women's Open Championship. While a relatively new venue,
the architecture is quite unique. The collaboration that Tom mentioned between
Jack Nicolas and Tom Doak really have presented us with just a unique golf
course and we're very excited to have the opportunity to present it to the best
players in women's golf over the next four days.
I mentioned a unique design and certainly by USGA Open
standards, it's exceptionally unique. Fifty plus acres of fairway is not
something you typically see at a USGA Open Championship. But that said, hitting
the fairway here at Sebonack does not guarantee success. It's a very strategic
golf course. The proper placement on the fairways is going to be essential in
order to have the proper angle to attack various hole locations. So we think
the fairway statistic this week may be, perhaps, inflated. But where you are on
that fairway, is going to be very important.
The challenge that is delivered through the U.S. Women's
Open competition, it just doesn't happen. It's consistent with the philosophy
that we have used for years, firm and fast, fair test of golf that examines
players' shot making, their mental toughness, their emotions, and their
physical endurance. It's a stern test and a quality test. When somebody hoists
that trophy on Sunday night, they'll have certainly earned it.
The golf course will play to just over 6,800 yards, par of
72. A great variety and balance of holes is present here at Sebonack. It's very
apparent that great thought went into this design to accommodate for the
various types of weather that can occur here on the east end of Long Island. And
based on our forecast, we're very pleased with that flexibility. The forecast
is going to call for some heavy winds over the next four days, and Tom and I
have been out in the last few days studying further the available hole
locations as well as the available teeing grounds that we can use to ensure the
test that we present is consistent with the conditions we will encounter.
As I mentioned before, Sebonack is very demanding, a lot of
strategy and skill, and as typical with any U.S. Open, patience and discipline
to one's game plan will be important.
There was a slight rerouting from what the Club plays here
at Sebonack from a logistical and operational standpoint. What we will play as
the 9th hole for the championship is the Club's first hole. What we will play
as Holes 2 through 8 are the Club's 2nd through 9th holes. But really that will
have no impact in the challenge that's presented. Certainly the first hole on
Thursday is no less important than the final hole on Sunday afternoon. And
they've got to play all 72 to win the championship.
I mentioned the variety of holes that are available, holes
like the short par 4, 4th hole and 9th hole. The four par 5s, those are all
opportunities where the player could make up some strokes. A wayward shot
though on those holes and they could lose strokes just as easily.
Other holes like the par 4s, 2nd, 16th, 14th and 16th, are
holes where I'm quite confident the players will happily write 4 on their
scorecard and move to the next tee.
The greens are really unique, really challenging, movement
throughout the green complexes, most hole locations, proper positioning
relative to that hole location will be critical. Our target green speeds are
between 11 and a half and 12 on the stimpmeter, and we think that will be just
right to challenge the players and be mindful of the weather conditions we're
likely to encounter.
The three finishing holes here at Sebonack are destined to
be critical in determining this year's champion. The uphill 16th says 403 yards
on the scorecard, but its uphill nature, it plays a good 25 yards longer than
that. The wind swept 17th with the breeze coming from left to right and
slightly against will require a precision tee shot for excellence. And the 18th
hole with its expansive fairway bunkers, Peconic Bay to the left, I think it
will offer an exciting opportunity for a finish that could be very dramatic,
especially with the prevailing breeze at the players' back. You might see a tee
slide up there on Sunday, and perhaps 3 will be a number that the winner will
score on the final.
In closing, again, we're very excited to be here at
Sebonack. We think we've got a wonderful golf course to challenge the best
players in the world, and we're looking forward to a fantastic four days with
seeing some great golf that the players will play, and the fans here on Long
Island will certainly enjoy. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. O'Toole, you guys this year put the men's
Open at Merion, which is kind of inaccessible. This one has kind of limited
access. What is the philosophy behind showcasing hidden gems like this?
TOM O'TOOLE: As I think you know, in our championship
inquiry, we react to invitations that we receive from clubs. I think I was
asked the question on Sunday night at Merion: Are there clubs that just came
into the mix because of what happened there a couple of weeks ago? And I said,
well, maybe there is some club sitting somewhere contemplating that they'd
consider now issuing an invitation. But I think you know the primary importance
here and the Men's Open Championship and the Women's Open Championship is the
golf course first. That is paramount to everything. Can the golf course test
the greatest players in the world in that sector?
Then after that inquiry is made and resolved then we have
our operations people, in this case Tim, to look at can the production of the
Women's Open Championship or any of our Open Championships be presented in the
fashion that we'd like in light of the planned facility we're given. So those
are the two primary issues we look at.
What is paramount to this is the golf course and always will
be. I think that is what the symbol and our USGA Championships stand for.
Q. Yesterday one of
the players, Cristie Kerr, raised the specter of another Shinnecock in terms of
the course getting out of control given the weather and all. Could you review
what the USGA does to monitor and make sure that you guys are ahead of things
rather than catching up in terms of course conditioning?
TOM O'TOOLE: Good question. In this championship presentation,
we're always looking at factors that could impact our championship
presentation. As Jeff mentioned earlier, one of those things that can really
impact it is weather, whether that's humidity or dew point or rain or heat or
drying effects. So our agronomy staff here led by David Oatis is checking
firmness of greens. Also the green speed and the firmness is inquired or
resolved as to whether or not the shots that we're asking these players to play
to these putting greens and ultimately to these hole locations, can they be
handled with their skill level? So the firmness is a very important factor in
determining whether or not a golf course from a speed and firmness could
ultimately get away from you.
But we've been monitoring this for the last week. Jake
Swick, our meteorologist expert from Thor Guard, is constantly giving updates
to Jeff Hall, myself, Garrett Bodington, the golf course superintendent, and to
Dave Oatis. So we can try to look at this big picture and somehow or another
figure out the equation of how all these things are going to impact and how
we'd present the golf course Thursday through Sunday.
So it's a work in progress that goes on over a period of
days. All hands got to be on deck, because if you take your eye off it for an
instant, you could get behind, and that is the situation we don't want to find
Q. The first question
is there is some forecast of rain. Is there any concern it might not be as firm
and fast as you want it? But a bigger question is how is the USGA kind of
changed its approach since '04 from the day when Mike Davis was on the 7th
green telling people that we have the syringe the green? How have things
changed since then?
JEFF HALL: I think one of the ways things have changed is
just our communication process with the host club through the superintendent. Tom
mentioned Dave Oatis from our staff, the green section staff, and we meet daily
to review all aspects of the golf course: mowing schedules, water management,
weather, preparedness for disasters, whatever they may be. It's just something
that we do. It's what we do every single day and have that open line of
communication to prepare.
So we've been having our 2:30 meetings since last week, and
we're all on the same page when we leave that meeting room with what we're
going to do to the golf course and how we're going to present the golf course.
So our alertness to situations we're out during the practice rounds and we
spend a lot of time watching golf, just to see how the golf ball does react on
the greens, the shots that are being played, where are they driving the ball? How
is the wind impacting each individual hole? And we factor all that in, have a
discussion, and we'll present a golf course tomorrow that is reflective of all
the information we've gathered.
Q. And about the
JEFF HALL: At the moment the last conversation I had with
Jake was that it looked like Thursday the rain event may well be while we're
sleeping. That would be welcomed. It still would be a rain event, but if it's
happening while we're sleeping, it will have less of an impact on our ability
to keep playing on Thursday.
But we play an outdoor game, and if we get some rain, we're
blessed that Sebonack is built on a sand base. The golf course drains very,
very well. That will work in our favor if we get some heavy rain. But we went
through it at Merion. I know our staff is ready if we need to go through that
fire drill again we'll be prepared to do so.
I think Michael Pascucci said in one of our 2:30 meetings,
we're in New England, let's not talk about the weather much more than two days
Q. Dot or maybe Tom,
considering golf's history on Long Island, what is the significance to you of
finally having an Open out here and why did it take so long to get out here?
DOT PALUCK: Well, a comment, as Tom said before, it's No. 1,
the invitations you get to hold whatever you are looking to hold. I think we're
very lucky in the entire Metropolitan area and especially out here on Long
Island to have some absolutely wonderful golf courses, and we've held a number
of championships, I think five, on Long Island, and now the Women's Open. So
I'm very proud of the history of the Long Island area and this venue.
Oh, and I should mention, next year's Women's Amateur will
be at Nassau Country Club. So we're continuing forth in that direction.
Q. Jeff, I have two
questions. One, following up on something you said about you're anticipating
heavy winds. Because, obviously, that was a huge factor at Shinnecock in 2004,
how concerned are you about that? And I'd like you to respond directly to what
Cristie Kerr said yesterday about whether you agree or not, she said that she
saw a couple of patches that were starting to turn brown, and she had never
seen that on Tuesday. Do you agree or do you think that's a little excessive?
JEFF HALL: I think our water management program is spot on. We
met again last night as the sun was going down here at Sebonack to talk about
our water management program. Garrett Bodington, the superintendent here, knows
this golf course extremely well. Dave Oatis is our leader this week from the
green section staff. He's a professional. This is his environment, the
agronomics. We're on top of our water management. We certainly understand the
players are going to have comments about the golf course, and that's fine. We're
very pleased with where we are at this time. It's Wednesday, we're going to
start keeping score tomorrow. We're very pleased with where the golf course is
from that standpoint.
Q. And the wind?
JEFF HALL: I do remember Sunday in '04 was a very windy day.
We're anticipating anywhere from 10 to 20 with gusts of 25, which is the latest
forecast that I saw this morning. And that is impacting our decision making
with water management, and hole locations, tee locations, green speeds. The
whole sphere of what we have to do in presenting the golf course is going to be
impacted by that. We've already had some discussions. We'll continue to meet
and talk about just how we're going to set things up for Round 1 tomorrow.
Q. Jeff, it seems
like in my understanding there have been a couple of second alternates that got
into the tournament ahead of first alternates from other sites, which seems to
be confusing to some people. Could you explain the formula or process by which
you do that?
JEFF HALL: Sure, I'd be happy to. With our alternate
situation for our Open Championships, it's a little bit different than maybe
what we'd see at the TOUR level where there is kind of a straight list, and no
matter who withdraws they keep going down the list. We have to contemplate both
fully exempt players withdrawing as well as a qualifier withdrawing. Furthermore,
because a number of our exemption categories go right to the Sunday before we
start the Women's Open week, we hold spots in reserve should players earn full
exemptions, and that is another contemplation that we have to factor into the
I believe you're specifically referring to the fact that
both the first and second alternates got into the field here this week from
Baltimore and Atlanta. Both of those sites were heavily laden with LPGA TOUR
players and Symetra Tour players. So the quality of the fields of our two
qualifying sites this year was exceptional.
If we had 156 spots to give out on day one with no worries
about who was going to become exempt later in the week, we would have given
them more spots to play for if we could have. But we had to hold some back, and
we create what we call a reallocation list. Meaning, if an exempt player were
to withdraw, Cristie Kerr were to withdraw, and she withdrew, what site of the
20 would we have given one more place to play for? Well, because these fields
were so exceptional in their quality, we put them twice on reallocation,
because if we had more spots, we would have given them those spots.
The first and second alternate aspect of it is only relative
to the two players from that site. A first alternate from a site that is
further down the list isn't any better than the second alternate from a site
that is further up the list. The site owns that spot. If the first alternate
can't accept, we go to the second. In this case, we had made a conscious
decision to give each of these sites potentially two if we got that far on
This is nothing new. We do this at the United States Open;
we've done it. We do it at the United States Senior Open. It's not precedent
setting, it's something that we've done for many years.
The specifics, we had 78 players in Baltimore; 47 players
comprised of 40 LPGA Tour players, 7 Symetra players. And in Atlanta, we had 78
players where there were 25 LPGA Tour players and 15 Symetra players. So in
each case more than half the field was exceptionally talented relative to their
Q. The other question
is maybe for Tom, I'm not sure. But the USGA announced its slow play, pace of
play initiative during the U.S. Open. The tournament itself is a U.S. Open, it
was unusually tough rough and things like that. So it's not exactly an example
of pace of play type operational or good practices. I know it's gotten a little
criticism, the USGA has, since then. Could you just respond to that?
TOM O'TOOLE: As you know, Glen Nager at a press conference
on Wednesday morning at the U.S. Open before our championship press conference
announced an addition to the pace of play initiative that he introduced in his
annual meeting speech in February in San Diego. That initiative for pace of
play globally or collectively is really focusing in on recreational golf. That's
where the health of the game is being challenged because of the time it takes
to play this game for enjoyment.
You understand as you come to the U.S. Open and Women's Open
with 156 players on Thursday and Friday with the golf course test that Jeff has
suggested to you that we will present, and, again, what is at stake or what is
hanging in the balance, those two pace of play initiatives cannot be
correlated. They're not even really comparable.
That said, it's really important if we're going to lead in
this initiative in the game, that we take a look at ourselves, and that means
we take a look at what we're doing in championships. Part of what Glen
announced at the U.S. Open, and the same safeguards and same inquiries were
made here, is how can we improve pace of play at our championships? So many of
those things Jeff made mention earlier
about the starting times. We're starting 15 minutes early or so the afternoon
wave doesn't run into the morning wave. That worked really well for us at
Merion. We're focusing in on bottlenecks on the golf course like par 3 holes,
3, 12, and 17, here at Sebonack. We've modified the definition of out of
position, so there is less latitude a group would have when they approach that
position by definition now. Realizing that the allotted time only really
applies to the first group or two. So be glad to go into some of the minutiae
of this offline. But suffice to say that we implemented many of these things at
Merion. We saw some of the best pace we've ever had on a Thursday and Friday at
the U.S. Open. So we saw some improvement.
But, again, let's look at these things separately. Our
overall initiative that Glen announced is one connecting to the game and its
recreational capability, but, again, we're trying to improve what goes on here,
because why? It impacts these players, again, playing for what is the most
coveted title in women's golf, and we think pace of play is important that we
pay attention to that here as well.
Q. Jeff, the reason
why I'm assuming you had all those stats about the qualifying sites is because
you received the same emails we all seem to be receiving about people
complaining about second alternates. My question is more about why is that
reallocation list not made public so there is complete transparency so everyone
knows where they fit into that whole realm of getting into a field?
JEFF HALL: We have not published that for any of our
championships primarily because our experience with folks out there is they
don't understand it and they make a mess of it even when they have that
information. They just misapply it. I've been dealing with alternates at the
U.S. Open for ten years, and The Senior Open for almost that long. They just
don't understand it unless you talk to people one on one. I've had many
conversations with folks in the media that were a little bit concerned about
it, but when we explained it, okay, I get it. I understand it.
But just my experience and our experience not my experience, but our experience is it's
just not easily understood by most, and it creates more problems with it being
out there. If anybody ever wanted to see it, come by the office, we'll be happy
to show it. But it creates confusion.
We have 20 sites on reallocation, and site number 19, the
qualifier withdraws from site 19. Well, the first alternate there has
exclusivity to that spot, even though they're 19th on reallocation. Somebody
thinks, well, I'm the next alternate in. That's not the case. Tell me who
withdraws before I can tell you who is the next alternate in. It just gets very
Q. I don't disagree
with it can be confusing, but I think that at least in this realm of Women's
Open and U.S. Open and Senior Open, these guys and women are pretty educated. I
think you should give them the opportunity to try to figure it out on their
own, at least.
TOM O'TOOLE: Let me say this, Alex, in no instance, and I
ran qualifiers for 25 years, in no instance when a player inquired did we play
hide and seek with this realignment schedule. But Jeff's right, we didn't throw
it out there because it is difficult to ascertain and grasp. But any time a
player asked, we'd gladly sit down with them and go through where their site
was on the re-allotment, and how that re allotment was figured based on the
number of players at that tight and the spots that were allocated.