DELL TECHNOLOGIES CHAMPIONSHIP MEDIA DAY
July 31, 2017
RICH BRADY: This will be the 15th consecutive year that the PGA TOUR's best will compete over Labor Day Weekend at TPC Boston and the 11th consecutive year of our standing as the second event of the FedExCup. As a playoff event, we'll once again welcome the top 100 players in the FedExCup standings to the course, including our past champions, Rickie Fowler, Adam Scott, Phil Mickelson, and our defending champion for the second time, Rory McIlroy. Rory will be joining us over the phone here shortly to talk about his win last year and how it ultimately propelled him to win the FedExCup in Atlanta two weeks later.
For any questions to Rory, please text the number on the screen to Mike Baliker, PGA TOUR communications. We prefer that questions are related to last year's tournament and this year's upcoming Playoffs. Rory will address any questions about the caddie on Wednesday at his press conference at Bridgestone.
We'll also welcome Dell Technologies as the new title partner of the championship. Dell EMC is a long standing history of a supporting partner of this event, starting as a charter member of our Founders Club in 2003, elevating their designation to local cooperating partner in 2011, and when the opportunity presented itself, becoming our title partner last fall.
While we're still going to deliver the fundamentals of this tournament that our fans are accustomed to over the years, including the course that we play at, the players in our field, our standing as a playoff event, and our date on the calendar, this change in title has allowed for us to look at the championship with a fresh perspective.
With Dell's involvement, we've been able to increase our local charitable impact, enhance the overall fan experience, and move around some of our upgraded ticket venues to new locations that will provide better views of the competition. We'll also be able to showcase the products of Dell Technologies, most notably through a virtual reality golf experience that all fans will be able to enjoy when they take a break from the action.
To talk more about why Dell partners with the PGA TOUR, how this event impacts their business and their standing as a strong partner of this community, please welcome to the podium, Bill Scannell, president of global enterprise sales and customer operations for Dell EMC.
BILL SCANNELL: Thanks, Rich, and for you and your team, you do a great job running this event. We really appreciate it. It's a lot of hard work. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for coming today. As Rich just mentioned, this is the 15th year now of this tournament being here in Boston, and I've got to tell you every Labor Day I look forward to the next year's event.
But as I was thinking over the last 15 years, I thought about the transformation that this tournament has gone through, all the changes that this tournament has gone through, so initially it was just another stop along the PGA TOUR, and then it became part of the FedEx series in 2007 so we attract the best players in the world. It used to be run by the Tiger Woods Foundation, and now it's run by the TOUR itself.
EMC started off, as Rich said, as a local -- one of the founding sponsors but then became the local supporting sponsor, and now of course taking over as the title sponsor.
I think of the transformation the course has gone through, and those playing today, if you haven't seen No. 12 you're in for a big surprise. That hole came out absolutely beautiful. And I think of our first tournament director and how he's transformed himself; Jay Monahan went from running this tournament to now running the PGA TOUR as the commissioner, so there's been a lot of changes with this tournament. It's been a lot of fun to be part of it.
At the same time, Dell and EMC haven't been sitting still. We've gone through a lot of changes ourselves, so last September we completed the biggest merger in the history of IT, a $67 billion merger, bringing two great companies together, creating Dell Technologies. And what the company is focused on is really four major transformations, four business transformations that have taken place in the world. The first is helping our customers be ready for the digital future. The second one is focused on IT transformation and helping them transform and get into a Cloud environment. We're also focused on workforce productivity, helping make our customers' employees much more productive through the use of technology, and then lastly, helping them secure one of their most critical assets, and that's the information, so through our security suite of offerings, helping to protect them from some of the cyber security threats that are taking place in the world.
It's early days. Again, the company officially came together in September. Our go-to-market really came together in February of this year, and we're off to a great start, so the first quarter was an absolute success. Customers love what we're doing together. They love the messaging, they love the portfolio, and they're voting with their wallets, and we're anticipating another very strong quarter this quarter, so if that's an indication of the future, this company, Dell Technologies, will absolutely be one of the greatest technology companies ever created.
Hey, look, this tournament does a lot for the local communities, and we're thrilled with that. We bring millions and millions of dollars to the local community and to the local businesses, but one of the things we're most proud of is the work we do with local charities. Dell has a program called Legacy of Good. It's all-around helping focus on our employees, the environment, and society in general and helping with human progress through technology. This year we're thrilled to have three terrific charities that we're going to be supporting. The first is the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, which I'm sure everyone is familiar with.
The second is not as well known. It's the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester, and it's a charity that I've been particularly involved with for 25, 30 years, and they just do a terrific job of keeping children safe, giving them a place to hang out and to get away from the streets of Dorchester.
And then the third charity, which is part of -- and rich will talk more about this, is part of Arnie's March, is the Mass General Hospital For Children. So three great programs, three great charities, and we're thrilled to be helping out with those.
So look, you didn't come here to listen to me. I think you want to hear from our next speaker. I just want to say thank you. Thank you for your support of this event. Hopefully everyone is going to be out there on Labor Day Weekend with us enjoying the tournament, and those playing today, have a great day. Thanks very much.
RICH BRADY: Thanks, Bill. We appreciate your leadership and taking the charge from Dell's side on this event. To talk more about this year's championship, what fans can expect when they come out on-site, there's three areas for us to focus on, our local charitable impact, our enhancements to the fan experience, and an overview of all ticket options, both in new locations and in proven ones.
Dell EMC has deep roots as a local company with over 9,000 employees in Massachusetts. Ensuring that this tournament aligns with charities that share our goals was one of the first discussions that we had last fall. Supporting the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, the Boys and Girls Club of Dorchester and Mass General Hospital have been great fits.
As Bill mentioned, we'll be kicking off tournament week with Arnie's March Boston. It's a three-mile fundraising walk on the front nine of TPC Boston on Saturday, August the 26th. This walk accomplishes two goals for us: One, it's our way of honoring and celebrating Arnold Palmer, the original designer of this golf course, and whose name is on the boulevard that we all drove up today. Coupling this property with Arnold Palmer's design firm back in 1998 ensured that the PGA TOUR would return to the Boston area, meaning that all of us in some way are here because of Arnold's work.
Honoring Arnold's legacy at every tournament is a goal of the PGA TOUR this year, and this is our way to do so. Second, we're going to support the Mass General Hospital For Children Cancer Center. Arnie's March first started at Mr. Palmer's tournament in Orlando as a way to raise awareness for children's cancer. It's been proven to be successful over the years making a difference. So we encourage all fans and friends to come out to TPC Boston to participate in the walk, to support a great cause, and to honor a legend of the game, who also happened to design this course. We'll provide lunch afterwards, courtesy of our friends at Ruth's Chris steakhouse. Registration is now open on our general website.
Once the gates open to the public on Wednesday, not only will fans be able to see the PGA TOUR's best compete but also be able to experience new activities and offerings that have never before been available. We have completely redesigned what we did with the 17th fairway, moving from an upgraded ticket option to the fairway fan zone, an area with several attractions that are open to all fans.
The center piece of this fan zone is the Dell Technologies fan experience, an exhibit that allows for spectators to virtually immerse themselves in the tournament through technology. For example, fans will have the opportunity to play a mixed reality golf experience, where they'll be able to tee off via virtual reality headsets while an audience that includes their friends see how they're doing on a 12-foot 3D screen that's adjacent to these hitting bays. Other features of this event will include a robotic arm that will custom paint golf balls for fans to take home as souvenirs. A photo booth allows for fans to take pictures that they can post to their social media accounts. Touch-screen televisions, telling the story of our charity partners and their mission. And for the gamers, Dell Alien Ware will be able to try out. Alien Ware is a high-performance PC gaming system, offers the best in market in gaming and virtual reality experiences. A very cool product.
Outside of the technology tent and still located within the confines of the fan zone will be four food trucks representing regional cuisine. These include the Cod Squad, Sweet Tomato Pies, the Roving Lunch Box, and then one truck that's dedicated solely to dessert. Finally, rounding out this area will be outdoor lawn games, the Michelob Ultra beer garden, tables, chairs, a build-your-own-burger concession stand, and a 15-foot television that's showing the telecast. Again, all of these are available to all fans.
So above and beyond a grounds ticket, there are plenty of options for fans to come out and watch the tournament. 16 is a signature hole of the event. It's a par-3 over water that's always a factor in determining the champion. Two years back, a new set of tees was built that lengthened the hole and allowed for us to build the signature club directly behind the tee box. Now in its third year, this is the premium option for the individual ticket buyer, allows for front row viewing of the tee shot, and it's limited in its capacity.
Moving down 16, we'll continue to offer stadium seats, which is a reserved box seat located within the first three rows of a public grandstand. What this means to the buyer is that they'll have a dedicated seat with row and number, they can come and go as much as they please and always have a seat reserved for them at 16. Next to this grandstand will be our shared all-inclusive corporate hospitality venue, the Wedgewood Club presented by Grey Goose. We've moved and improved this location, converting it to a two-story structure that reaches 50 feet in the air and is located directly behind the green. On the first floor, climate controlled interior with an outdoor porch that overlooks the green, allowing for fans to be able to see the players chip and putt. The second floor, covered tent, open air on the perimeter, which provides a fantastic vantage shot of the tee shot coming in from tee to green, and on the back side provides views of 17 fairway and the 17th tee.
The biggest move that we've made on-site is to our most popular ticket option: The Harbor One Champions Club. This club will be built on the left side of the 17th tee with a porch running parallel to the tee box, meaning that the players will be hitting from mere feet away. On the back side of the club will be tiered seating overlooking the 18th fairway and 18th green, meaning that fans will be able to see the players finish their rounds and the trophy ceremony on Monday. Inside this tent, upgraded food options, additional seating, televisions. We have more than doubled the amount of available seating in this space year over year, and we'll see about 1,500 people per day come through this venue.
So while these new enhancements will certainly generate the most interest, there are several tournament main stays that we'll continue to deliver to ensure that this event remains a Labor Day destination for families, the military community, and for our volunteers.
As is tradition, all children 15 and under receive complimentary grounds ticket and discounted admission to the harbor one champions club with a ticketed adult. While on-site to ensure that kids get up close to their favorite pros, we'll continue to offer kid zones, which are unobstructed viewing areas adjacent to our grandstands, notably on the 16th green and 18th green. We'll also continue to build our kids' village next to TPC Boston clubhouse. Nestled within the trees will be a platform that features numerous kids' activities, including a mini hole -- a 9-hole mini-putt golf course, a moon bounce, and on Saturday, we'll have three World Series trophies come out and mascots from the Bruins and Red Sox for fans to be able to take pictures with.
To honor our military community, we'll again provide complimentary admission to all active, retired, reserved military personnel and their families and discounted admission for veterans. While on-site, these folks will be invited to the Birdies for the Brave military patriot outpost which is presented by United Rentals on the 17th tee. In this venue will be discounted beverages, complimentary snacks, air-conditioning, and great views of 17.
Most importantly, the volunteer Blue Crew continues to be the heart and soul of this tournament, with 1,400 dedicated golf enthusiasts for the foundation of our operation. This year we recognize Todd Zimmerman from the premium access committee, and Rich Adams, our first hole captain, as ambassadors. Todd and Rich have been with us for quite some time. They're great leaders in their area and to the program as a whole. We thank you for all that you do to make this event successful.
There are still opportunities available to volunteer in some really neat committees like our transportation and our carts. For more information, please check out the website.
All that I've said is available on our website. We have some pocket schedules on the way out if you want to grab one, you certainly can reference that.
Switching gears now, we hope to have -- we have Rory McIlroy on the phone, our defending champion, two-time winner of this tournament, four-time major winner, and the reigning FedExCup champion. Mike Baliker from PGA TOUR communications, again, any questions, please text Mike. He'll be asking Rory.
Mike, all yours.
MIKE BALIKER: Just to kick it off, coming off a strong finish at the Open Championship, how do you feel your game is trending as we start to head toward the FedExCup Playoffs?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I definitely feel like my game has turned a corner going in the right direction. The T4 at the Open was definitely a step in the right direction. Yeah, I'm feeling good. Look, I'm entering a phase of the season which was very successful for me last year, going into a couple of events the next two weeks that I've had success at, and then, yeah, going into the FedExCup Playoffs, I had a great run at it last year, obviously starting with the win at Boston. I'm excited.
I feel like my game is in as good a shape as it has been all year. I saw some really good signs at the Open, and yeah, just excited to get on this round of golf coming up over the next few weeks.
MIKE BALIKER: Take us back to last year; coming from six shots behind to win, that's the largest come-from-behind victory in the history of the event. What are some memories about that week and that final round that stick out to you?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, there's a lot of memories, even starting on the -- again, from the Sunday, in the third round, I shot a really good score. I nearly made a double eagle at the last hole, finished off the round really well with an eagle. And then, yeah, I -- it's not as if I went into the final round thinking I had a real shot at winning the tournament. Paul Casey was playing really well. He had a few-shot lead. But the final day last year it was tough. It was blustery. It was breezy. You know, and it was hard to shoot a low score, and it was easy to shoot something 2- or 3-over, and that's what happened. I played one of the best rounds I played all year. I shot 65 on the final day in tough conditions, and when I had a chance to win, I kept my foot on the gas, and I really went for it. I hadn't had a win on the PGA TOUR all season up until that point, and yeah, once I felt like I had a chance, I sort of tried to reach out and grab it with both hands.
TPC Boston has been a great place for me in the past, a place I feel very comfortable at and the kind of golf course I've played well on, and to get that win last year was awesome. So great memories. I play the golf course very well. I'm excited to get there this year and see a couple of changes that they've made on 12 and 13. Yeah, just great memories from 2012 and obviously last year, and can't wait to get back.
Q. Talk about your start here last year, 3-over after the first four, and then similarly, your start at Royal Birkdale, 5-over after the first six. What does it take mentally and physically to adjust and to recover?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, you know, when I had that start at Birkdale last week, the first thing I thought of was the start that I had in Boston last year. Yeah, I was 3-over through four, 4-over through three. I was pretty much propping up the field at that point.
Yeah, I think the thing you have to realize is there's just so much more golf left to play. Golf is a 72-hole marathon. It's definitely not a sprint. There's plenty of time to make up those shots. I mean, you look over the course of 72 holes, sometimes guys can't be separated, they have to go into playoffs. Guys are separated by one shot, two shots. You know, it's so tight over the course of 72 holes, and there's so many ups and downs you go through during a tournament, and I think just having -- just realizing that, okay, I'm 4-over through four holes, there's 68 holes left in this golf tournament, and you start again. I was lucky enough last year that I showed some resilience and some character and grit, and I think I ended up shooting even par that first day, which wasn't terrible in the end, and then I was able to play three great rounds after that.
But yeah, golf is a funny game. I went into Boston last year 38th in the FedExCup, 36th or 38th, and that win and just that turnaround in fortunes, it gave me a chance to obviously do what I did at East Lake a few weeks later.
Q. When you've had success at a course, how does that affect your preparation mentally and physically for the next tournament when you return back to that same venue?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, if you look at -- if you look at golf historically and you look at some of the great players that have played this game, they've had success on golf courses that they feel comfortable. You look at someone like Tiger Woods who's won eight times at Bay Hill, eight times at Akron, eight times at Torrey Pines. So any time you go back to a golf course where you have had success and you have those great memories, you know, it's almost like you have an advantage over the field already.
I've been lucky enough to win at a couple of courses multiple times in my PGA TOUR career, and I think just mentally you're just a lot more comfortable. You've hit great shots on that golf course before, you've shot low scores, and you've seen birdies out there. I think that's the thing. I think once you know you can make birdies on a golf course, it makes it easier to do that again.
Yeah, I'm a big believer that it is a little bit horses for courses like you hear, and Boston is definitely a track that sets up well for me.
Q. Has getting married helped your game or altered your approach or process, if at all?
RORY McILROY: I don't know if it's changed anything a whole lot. You know, I maybe don't get as upset over a bogey or a bad swing as I used to. Obviously going back and knowing that you have someone in your life that is rock solid and is not going to go anywhere, I guess it makes it easier to go out there and then go over the struggles that you may have on the course. But I'm definitely -- I don't know if it's made me a better player. I'm definitely a better person because of it.
And yeah, you know, there's been a lot of change in my life this year, and obviously getting married is a huge change and a huge positive. We're just over the three-month mark, and we're still obviously in that newlywed phase, and we're trying to figure a few things out, but we're having a lot of fun, and it's awesome to have Erica on the road with me basically every week, and again, it makes it a lot easier when maybe you don't shoot a good score to be able to know you can come home to your wife and go out for dinner and completely forget about your day.
Yeah, she's awesome, and it's been a big year for us, but all positive.
Q. So you obviously just came back from Sergio's wedding. Just talk about that experience and what it was like to be there for one of your good friends.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, that was awesome. You know, we've gotten to know Sergio and Angela as a couple over the past sort of 18 months, and I'm lucky enough to call Sergio a very good friend. I was a part of the wedding. I was a groomsman, and we had a great time. I had never been to Austin in the summertime. It was pretty hot, and we were lucky that the ceremony only lasted about 15 minutes because I'm not sure how long we could have stayed out there in those black suits. But no, it was really cool. It's great to see Sergio so happy.
I've known Sergio for a long time, and I think we all know when Sergio is happy off the course that it makes everything better on the course, as well, as you've seen with the Masters victory this year, and Angela really has helped with that. She's a great girl. She's been a competitive athlete before, so she understands what he goes through from time to time, and it was great to meet some of her family last weekend, also.
She's a really, really solid human being, and I couldn't be happier for the both of them.
Q. Back to the TPC Boston subject, what's the biggest challenges that this course presents? Is there something specific that stands out to you?
RORY McILROY: I think TPC Boston is -- I think there's certain holes that you just have to almost take your medicine and know that par is a good score. You know, holes like the fifth hole, the sixth hole, the 11th hole on the back nine, obviously 12 and 13 were tough before, are going to play even tougher this year, and then -- but you have your chances, as well. I think it's one of these courses that you make your score and maybe like a -- you have the first hole -- the first and second are good chances. The fourth obviously, the par-4 that's drivable, the par-5, are obviously good chances, as well. You maybe have seven or eight holes that you would call birdie holes out there, and then the rest are really -- if you can make birdie on them, great, but you're really happy with making par. It's really just picking and choosing when you're aggressive and knowing, okay, this hole today is a birdie hole and I can be aggressive or there's holes out there where you just have to be satisfied with making par and moving on to the next.
Q. As the defending FedExCup champion, do you feel more of a -- there's probably more of a sense of urgency to get your game going in the right direction knowing that you have an opportunity to defend and be the first back-to-back FedExCup champ.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I mean, the year hasn't panned out the way I've wanted it to, so I find myself somewhere in the 50s in the FedExCup right now, but I know more than anyone that can change over the course of a few weeks, especially with how the Playoffs are and how much you can -- you vault up those standings with a good week. But there is a sense of urgency. Like there's two big weeks coming up here before the FedExCup Playoffs, and I want to play well, and I feel like I've started to turn a corner with how I played at the Open. Yeah, I mean, I feel like if I can go into the Playoffs in a better position than I was last year, I have a great chance to maybe repeat.
But yeah, there's definitely that sense of urgency. I actually didn't know that there's never been a repeat winner. I thought Tiger might have done it at one point, so to be the first one to do that would be pretty cool.
Q. Just your thoughts on the season structure in general and the potential of the season shifting with the FedExCup Playoffs and Labor Day Weekend, just curious about your thoughts there.
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'm a big supporter of it. I think if the powers that be can get together, and they're talking about moving the PGA Championship to May, moving THE PLAYERS back to March, yeah, maybe the FedExCup Playoffs end on Labor Day Weekend, make the schedule a little more condensed and the summer a little busier for us, but it means that the guys have a little bit of an off-season after that, I'm all for that. I don't mind being busy through the season at all. I don't mind playing a few weeks in a row. But I think there is a point in time where you need to just have a few weeks off and regroup and go again.
You know, I'd be all for the schedule changes, and hopefully they can figure it out and make a way for that to happen. But yeah, to be able to feel like you've finished your PGA TOUR season at the end of August or the start of September and know you have a couple of months off to regroup and maybe work on a few things or practice or just rest and then start again, I'm all for that.
Q. The last major of the year at Quail Hollow, a place you've had a lot of success in the past. Just your thoughts on going through a fifth major?
RORY McILROY: Yeah, I'm excited. I feel like I've been going for a fifth major for a long time, also. I think it's about time I stepped up and won one. But yeah, I'm excited to go back to Quail Hollow. Quail Hollow is one of those courses that, as I said, I've had a lot of success on in the past. I've played well there basically every time I've went. I've had a couple of wins in Charlotte and a few other top 10s. I've been beaten in a playoff once before, also. But it's going to be different. We played Quail Hollow in May before, it's going to be August. It's a different grass. Obviously they've redone a couple of the holes and the layout is a little bit different, but I'm excited to get back. Charlotte is a city that I love, and I'm excited to see how the new changes there play. But yeah, to turn up to major championships knowing that you have a chance to win and to -- a couple of Wanamaker trophies, it would be nice to make that a hat trick. So I'm excited for that.
I think this will be a big week for me in Akron just to get myself ready and prepared, and the last time I played at Akron I was able to win there, so a lot of good vibes coming up the next few weeks.
MIKE BALIKER: We appreciate you joining us and taking the time to reflect on last year, and looking forward to having you back up to Boston here in the next month.
RICH BRADY: Before we head out to lunch, a few last thank yous. One to Rory McIlroy for joining us today. To Mike Yunits, the town of Norton, for coming out today and all your support, Dan Waslewski, TPC Boston, for hosting everyone. The course is in fantastic shape today. Thanks to all the hard work of Tom Brodeur. To the PGA TOUR team who put this event together, working late to get everything up and running, thank you so much for that. And for all you guys for coming out today, have fun out there. We'll see you back after the round, and looking forward to a good tournament in a few short weeks.
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