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07/29/2013

Deutsche Bank Championship: 2013 Media Day

July 29, 2013: Norton, Mass.
Earl Woods Scholar Vladimir Cassues took part in Media Day. Tiger Woods Foundation Earl Woods Scholar Vladimir Cassues took part in Media Day.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: Welcome, everyone. My name's Greg McLaughlin. I'm the president of the Tiger Woods Foundation. We're running a couple minutes late because I guess there is a little traffic in Boston, which is kind of a news flash for the people that don't live here.

It's great for me to be back. I've been to all 11 of the Deutsche Bank Championships being president of the Foundation, and I think all of you guys are aware that the Foundation has been the charitable recipient since its inception in 2003. So it's always fun to come back to Boston. It's always fun to come back to the TPC Boston which has hosted this championship as well.

I wanted to begin really just by introducing Jacques Brand who is the CEO of Deutsche Bank North America and thank him for being with us today. Deutsche Bank has been the title sponsor of this event now since 2003, and it's pretty rare in sports and in golf when you get a commitment from a title sponsor and a corporation that's really had a great partnership with this event and has really helped grow it.

I know under Jacques' leadership he's certainly going to continue to grow the event like Seth Waugh and the company was very successful. We appreciate having you with us today, Jack. Thank you very much.

JACQUES BRAND: Thank you very much.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: We're looking forward to an exciting second leg of the FedExCup. We've got Tiger Woods returning to No. 1 player in the world, No. 1 in FedExCup. Phil Mickelson, No. 2, which is pretty exciting. It's back to the old days of 2003 2004 when Phil and Tiger were battling it out.

So we're thinking that this year's championship is going to be as exciting as last year when Rory beat Louis and beat Tiger kind of coming down the stretch. We're expecting all four major winners as well as a full field and complement of professionals.

We're going to have Webb Simpson, 2011 champion in a couple of minutes that's going to do a little Q&A with us, so we're happy to have him. Rory had a little conflict. He's flying from the U.K. to Akron, but he's going to join us on Wednesday.

I think most of you media members are aware that we're going to do a little call, and Rachel can give you some of those details awe get into it.

As I said, the Foundation's involvement began in 2003. This past year we assumed management and control really working with the existing staff here which is an exciting thing for us really to increase the presence and responsibility that we have in the tournament.

A couple of tournament highlights we wanted to share with you; I think everybody hopefully got the media kit, but there were a couple of key things that we wanted to just note. The executive women's day which will be on Tuesday, as well as the Covidien Wellness Walk, two event that's we're bringing back this year which were incredibly successful last year and fun for spectators as well as great partnerships that we have.

Then we have free to all spectators on Wednesday, kind of our community appreciation day, which is something that we've done, great turnout last year and something that we're happy to bring back also as well.

So with that, I'd like to ask Jacques, on behalf of Deutsche Bank to come up and make a few remarks.

JACQUES BRAND: By the way, does everybody realize I was sitting next to a young Dwyane Wade? Vladimir is here and you'll hear from him shortly.

Anyway, thanks, Greg, and good morning to all of you, welcome. I see a lot of folks dressed up in the right gear, anxious to get out on the golf course. I'm very excited to be here today and very proud to be hosting this tournament for the first year. I'm thrilled, like Greg, to have been part of this tournament for many years, and it also happens to be a tradition in my family.

My family has a lot of connections. I was talking with a couple of folks before we got started here, but Boston and the New England area has a very special place with my family. I had the privilege of actually going to school both in Boston and in Cambridge for six years, and every summer for the past 20 summers we've gone out to the Cape and occasionally for Thanksgiving and some other holidays. So lots of memorable events.

I have one of my three sons here. I'm a proud father of three boys, so I've got a built in foursome, and I'd love to play golf with my sons. They've had some very memorable events here or golf moments at the TPC.

In 2006 when Jacob was, I'm not sure how old you were, but he was very lucky enough to caddie as part of Vijay's foursome. I think you were under 5 feet tall and just about the height and width of Vijay's bag. I don't know if you want to stand up, Jacob. But he's now 6'4", seven years later, and together with the rest of his brothers and my wife, it's a tradition for all of them to come out here at the end of the summer in what is a Labor Day tradition.

As Greg mentioned now, in its 11th year, and watch all of the excitement that happens around the tournament. There are so many memorable events that the tournament has produced and is continuing to produce. It really begins with 100 of the greatest players in the world coming here in order to compete and be part of the FedEx playoffs. What's really exciting for Deutsche Bank is there is a lot of activity that happens off the course as well.

So we're really proud that we've been able to raise $24 million dollars for the Tiger Woods Foundation for the many local children's charities. Then the tournament also delivers an economic benefit of over $600 million dollars to the New England region.

So for Deutsche Bank, very important for us to be involved with a tournament that does such great things for so many special activities. I can't emphasize enough the commitment that Greg referred to a moment ago of continuing to deepen and broaden our relationship with the tournament both on and off course. We couldn't actually get as much as we get done without the many great partners that we have who help us with the tournament.

I see Eric Baldwin out there and for those of you who don't know Eric, I'd be surprised if they didn't, but Eric creates, you can stand up please, Eric. Eric is tournament director and has created a tremendous amount of magic around this tournament for many, many years.

Then our very good and close friends at EMC who are the local sponsor and have been with Deutsche Bank from the very beginning. Wanted to take a moment to thank them. Of course, the Tiger Woods Foundation and all of the great work that Greg does. Then both the founding partners and the many new sponsors that we have around the tournament which include BMW, State Street, Gulf Oil, the Wall Street Journal and CBS Radio.

So today is really a taste, a beginning of what you can expect to see over the next couple of weeks in a time honored tradition of the tournament, the last year's champion, Rory McIlroy is going to ring the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Monday, Aug. 26, which should be a lot of fun.

And I know all of you are avid sports fans, as am I. I was mentioning that I'm a great admirer of the Red Sox, and my favorite baseball park in the entire world is Fenway Park. So I will have a dream come true personally for me when I get to throw out the first pitch on the Friday night of the tournament at Fenway Park before a Red Sox game.

So for those of you who are playing the course, I just wanted to say enjoy yourselves. I'm very glad to be introduced to all of you. Look forward to spending some time later on today as well as over the next couple of weeks. With that, I'm going to turn it back over to Greg. Thank you.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: Thanks, Jacques. I'm not sure which has more pressure throwing out the first pitch or that first tee shot off of No. 1 in the Pro-Am? So good luck with both of those two.

JACQUES BRAND: Tremendous confidence.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: That would be a little scary out there with 45,000 people or so at Fenway to do that, so what a great experience.

As Jacques mentioned, the Tiger Woods Foundation has really begun the programs that we've done in 2003 and we're really proud of the work that we've done really through the partnership that we had here with Deutsche Bank, EMC, certainly IMG, when they began running it and the leadership that Eric has had along with his team and his staff.

As we process through this year of how we can make a larger impact in this community, we felt it was important as the Foundation grew its presence here to start to grow what we're doing. I mean, our Foundation is really all about providing college access for really for disadvantaged kids. It really is focused even more in this community around how to create educational opportunities through college for first generation students.

We're happy to announce that we've forged a partnership with the Boston Red Sox Foundation to grant five new scholarships. Earl Woods, Tiger Woods Foundation scholarships, which will kickoff beginning this fall. We're delighted really to have this partnership with the Red Sox Foundation and really grow on what they've done through their scholarship program.

I think the bios of the five individuals are in your packets, and they're really incredible young people that we know are going to go on and do great things in their lives.

We have alumni, an Earl Woods Scholar alumni, one of our 100 that are either matriculating or have graduated from our program that we started back in 2006, and we asked him, actually, to come and share his experiences.

But let me tell you a little bit about Vladimir Casseus. He's a first-generation college student also who began as an Earl Woods Scholar in 2008. He went to Holy Cross from the Boston area, graduated in psychology and has been working mentoring young people for the last year and helping them really throughout their experience.

I asked him a little bit earlier today, tell me, what exactly was City Year Boston, and he said, well, I was like a teacher in the classroom, providing resources and support for the teachers, which is great. So he's done this for a year and now he's going to Tufts, entering his graduate program which is going to begin right after Labor Day. So with that, I'd like to ask Vladimir Casseus to come up and say a few words.

VLADIMIR CASSEUS: Before I say anything, I would first like to thank everyone who played a part in making this amazing event possible. I would also like to thank the Tiger Woods Foundation for giving me this wonderful opportunity to talk to you all today. It's truly an honor to be here today.

Good morning, my name is Vladimir Casseus of Boston, and I'm a proud alumnus of the Earl Woods Golf Scholarship program.

I'm here to tell you about my journey and how much I've grown because of the positive influence the Tiger Woods Foundation has had on my life. In the fall of 2008 as an incoming freshman of the College of the Holy Cross I was extremely thrilled to begin my journey as a college student. Coming from an immigrant family and being the first to attend college, I was entering college with a boat load of emotions.

During my first semester at Holy Cross I found myself feeling as though I didn't really belong. I doubted my capabilities and knowledge as I was faced with different obstacles, such as adjusting to college level work and transitioning from a diverse environment to one that was much more homogenous.

Things at Holy Cross got even more difficult as my freshman year went on. I was a declared chemistry major, and constantly being bombarded with course work that I lost my passion for.

I was overwhelmed that as the course work became more and more vigorous, I became less and less devoted to the work and studies that were pressed my way. Luckily for me, the Tiger Woods Foundation gave me a wonderful mentor that I could turn to during this transition.

Jeffrey Pond was there to listen to what whatever I had to talk about, and give me advice on how to find my passion, and take advantage of the opportunities that I had in front of me. He helped me to realize that college is more than just a bunch of lectures and exams, but rather a transformative experience that would give me the tools to succeed, five, ten, and 15 years from now. I was blessed to have Jeff as a mentor. He truly cared about my success, and most importantly, he cared about me.

With Jeff's recommendation, I enrolled in an introduction to psychology class my sophomore year. This class opened my mind to a new and different way of thinking. I became fascinated by the way psychologists looked at the world. I started to understand how social, behavioral and cognitive components worked to influence the way we interact with one another.

After experiencing this class, I made the decision to change my major to psychology. Once I made that decision, there was no looking back. I finally found what I was passionate about, and I'm so grateful to Jeff for pushing me in that right direction.

After graduating from the College of the Holy Cross in May 2012 with a bachelor of arts degree in psychology, I realized that I had a desire to make an impact on Boston's educational system, and use the skills and knowledge that I had acquired as a psychology major in the field of education.

I began working for the non-profit organization called City Year Boston. As a City Year core member, I served students in underperforming elementary schools and I committed myself every day to helping them get back on track and get the education that they deserved.

I believe that the opportunity to receive a quality education should be a reality for every child, not only in Boston, but also around the world. Growing up and attending various Boston public schools, I had many wonderful opportunities and many wonderful experiences.

But most importantly, I want to make sure that I do my part to help every student I encounter reach their full potential and beyond. I believe that through the education of our youth, the true leaders of tomorrow can and will be built. I was fortunate enough to be a part of a program where this same ideal was not only being preached but was being practiced as well.

The Tiger Woods Foundation gave me the support I needed to successfully complete four years of undergraduate study and has given me the confidence I needed to reach my goals and future aspirations.

Through the summer and winter workshops I attended, I was able to learn about time management skills, prioritizing, study skills and even proper he etiquette. I've also been able to build long lasting friendships with my fellow scholars from California and DC.

But unlike other program that's may lose contact with you after college, the wonderful people at the Foundation have made sure that I stay on the path to success. They have become my second family.

This fall I'll be pursuing my Master's degree in school psychology at Tufts University, and I know my family at the Foundation will be with me every step of the way.

Thank you to the Deutsche Bank and EMC for supporting the Foundation's programs and for letting me share my story with you today. Thank you.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: Thanks, Vladimir. That was great. Vladimir mentioned Jeffrey Pond, who I'm sure most of you in the room wouldn't know except Jacques, he's a director at Deutsche Bank Asset Management and Private Wealth. But that just gives you an example of how we in the program try and integrate mentors with young people, especially first generation, and we provide resources through internships and then ultimately help them either pursue education and/or professional careers following.

So we're excited about that program. We're excited to partner with the Red Sox Foundation and continue to grow what we've done here in Boston.

So with that, I'd like to turn our attention back to golf. We talked a little bit earlier about the exciting field that we have this year, and this year's tournament which will kickoff at least the week kicks off for us on the 26th of August, running through Labor Day finish, which I think you're all familiar with.

We are proud to have on the phone our 2011 champion, Webb Simpson. Webb, for those of I think that are aware finished 13th in the FedExCup last year. He's currently 17th on the FedExCup standings for this year. So he's having another outstanding year, being only his sixth year on TOUR, which is really pretty remarkable in what he's been able to accomplish in a short period of time. Obviously, winning the U.S. Open, which you're all aware of, having a good year this year. Lost narrowly in a playoff to Graeme McDowell at Hilton Head which, again, is indicative of Webb's great play. So with that, I'd like to introduce Webb.

WEBB SIMPSON: Hey, guys. How you doing? Thanks for having me on.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: We thought you could open up with some remarks about your year, looking forward to the Deutsche Bank Championship, and then we could open it up to some questions. I've got a list of questions that have come from some media members unable to attend, and I'll throw it out to you all for maybe 15 minutes or so.

So with that, Webb, could you make some opening remarks, please?

WEBB SIMPSON: Absolutely. Well, it's been a good year overall. I've played solid. As the year is winding down, it's hard to believe the season will be over in a month and a half or so, or a couple months. Unfortunately, I think the only down side so far is I haven't won a golf tournament. I came close at Hilton Head and been in contention at a couple other tournaments. But my motto and you guys have heard me say it a million times, my only goal every year is to keep getting better.

I feel like I'm better right now than I've ever been, and that's what gives me peace at night knowing that I'm working hard and I'm getting better and improving. I'm really looking forward to the playoffs starting, and especially the Deutsche Bank Championship. Having won there a couple years ago.

It's hard not to think about that 18th hole in regulation in the playoffs and making those two putts. Having my wife and my boy there. We'll have another addition with us this year, Willow, which is why I couldn't join you guys for media day last year.

But it's the greatest point in our year right now, because we have a major left, a World Golf Championship left, and the most important part, the playoffs. So I'm excited and hopefully I'll play well in the next month and a half.

Q: You've got two in a row off and then the four, so six out of seven or eight weeks, depending on the schedule. How do you get ready for that and how grueling of a test really is that run for the next two months?

WEBB SIMPSON: It's tough. I mean, I'm playing the Wyndham Championship, so I've got seven out of eight if I make it all the way to Atlanta. So in terms of prep it's hard because the best thing for me, I believe, is rest and time away from the game. It's hard to do that when you're a perfectionist like I am. You want to prepare; you want to be ready. But I think through the experience of a few years in the playoffs and the end of the year stretch, as long as it is, I've learned that I've got to take time away.

That's what I've done this week. I've really tried to spend a lot of time at home, away from the heat and spend time with the family to get ready for these events. It's just a matter of pacing myself at these events.

It's easy to get excited and want to play practice rounds and have long range sessions. But I think that the best chance I'll have at doing well in the playoffs is to be rested.

Q: Last fall we talked personally at the grand slam, and you had mentioned winning a major was like finally being able to exhale in your career. There was a level where you wanted to be. We talked about how that would change things in the next year with your career with less of a sense of urgency to press and push. Can you talk about that?

WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, I mean, I think the biggest thing for me winning the U.S. Open, what I drew from it was the confidence that I was able to play well down the stretch. Beat the best players in the world. I think the biggest monkey on my back was not having a win before I won the championship in 2011, and two weeks later was able to win the Deutsche Bank. So that was nice to kind of get that out of the way.

In terms of winning the U.S. Open I wasn't thinking going into the week, hey, I need to win a major to prove myself. But I think because it happened, you know, I was able to kind of take a step back and it took a while for me to realize how big it was.

But I think winning in 2011 I got used to being in the spotlight a little bit and got used to the media requests, so that helped big time for when I won the U.S. Open.

Q: After winning it in 2011, what different is your mindset coming in and defending? I know you had a good finish top 20 in '12. But how is it different coming in knowing everybody's gunning for you, Webb?

WEBB SIMPSON: It's a little different. I mean it feels nice to be the guy that's being chased. I think 2011 we had such a great year because I was so consistent. But I got used to being in contention, being in the lead a few times, and that's the biggest thing in this game is experience. We've seen that with all the greats. They've put themselves there so many times and they're able to learn from mistakes, learn from when they do play well down the stretch. That's what I've been able to do the last couple of years.

The only down side to this year for me is is that I haven't won. But I've been in contention a few times where I'm able to draw from those experiences to help me in the future.

Q: I'm going to follow up on the initial question about the grueling schedule of the playoffs. When it was first put in place, a lot of the players were taking a week off. Is it possible to win the FedExCup now if you did take a week off instead of going with that seven-out-of-eight schedule? I think only one player took it off last year, Sergio.

WEBB SIMPSON: Yeah, we saw Jim Furyk got disqualified from Barclays and ended up winning the playoffs that year. So it's possible. I think what the TOUR needs to continue to consider is that part of the schedule. Because what we want, we want the best players. We want all 125 at Barclays. We want all 100 at Deutsche Bank and all 70 at BMW. We want these guys to play. So I think joint efforts of how can we make sure this happens should be everybody's concern.

These are the biggest purses, our biggest sponsors, we want to produce fields that show that and show that support. I hope guys don't take off any events this year, any FedExCup events, because they're missing out on big opportunities.

Q: Two years ago when you won here your wife and son got as much face time as you did, it seems. Are both of your children traveling with you now, and is it easy to get some rest with two little kids?

WEBB SIMPSON: Yes, they're traveling with me mostly every week. Yeah, I'm getting plenty of rest. The kids are sleeping well. It is harder when you have kids in terms of strength, but it keeps me busy. I'm in better shape than I was before which helps. Plenty of people say it puts golf in perspective, so I don't feel as much pressure as I used to.

Q: Sort of piggybacking on that a little bit, there was an interesting situation over the weekend up in Canada with Hunter withdrawing from the tournament to be with his wife for the birth of their child. You mentioned not being here last year. If I'm remembering right, I think you also skipped the British because of Dowd's pregnancy. Two questions, if you were in Hunter's shoes, would you have been able to make that decision, leading the tournament and choosing to leave? And secondly, do you think Dowd would have called you to say she was going into labor?

WEBB SIMPSON: Oh, man, it was a cool story to see. The guy's playing great golf, probably his best of the year, in the lead, and leaves the tournament. I mean, I think everyone understood and everyone applauded him. I thought it was a great thing he did. As good of a player as he is, he's going to have the lead many more times.

The question about Dowd, I definitely think she would have called, because she knows how mad I would have been if she didn't call me. But I know if it was a 54 hole lead, she would have tried to hold it off as long as possible (laughter).

Q: You won in '11 here, Webb, and I think you had a tied for 18th last year. The question is what does it take to win on this golf course? You saw Rory pretty much not overpower it last year, but certainly played really well. What does this golf course demand?

WEBB SIMPSON: Well, I think if you look at most all the winners, I would say 90% of them will hit it a long way. I think one of the short hitters was Olin Browne, but I think that's before they redid the course. I'm not sure about that.

But I'm not a long hitter. I was able to win in 2011 because I made tons of putts on the weekend, and that's really what you have to do on every golf course is you have to make a lot of putts.

But in terms of TPC Boston, three par 5s, 7 is reachable if it's downwind. But I think you've got to take advantage of 2. You've got to take advantage of 4, the reachable par 4, and you have to take advantage of 18, because the back nine, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14 are all very tough holes. I think the toughest on the golf course.

So I think the guy that plays the par 5 well, plays No. 4 well, and can also keep the ball on the par 3s because they're not easy.

But, again, a long hitter most of the time he hits it high up in the air with a lot of spin, and typically at TPC Boston, the greens get firm and fast on the weekend, and guys like Rory, he's able to control that spin. Tiger has played well there, Vijay are all the type of players to watch for in the tournament.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: With that, I'd like to thank Webb Simpson. Webb, we wish you good luck at Wyndham this week, and certainly the run through the FedExCup, and we'll see you in Boston in a few weeks. So thank you very much for being with us.

WEBB SIMPSON: OK, thanks a lot. I appreciate it.

GREG McLAUGHLIN: Also wanted to thank Jacques Brand, Vladimir for being here. Again, EMC's support as Jacques said, Bill Scannell not able to be with us today, but we appreciate the support that EMC has given us.

As I mentioned, our conference call with Rory on Wednesday, and Rachel can give you some of the details on that as well. Lunch is going to be served 12:15 at the cart staging area, and post round golf will be in here. With that, we'll look forward to seeing all of you in a few weeks at the tournament. Thank you all for being here.