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Wednesday, June 11, 2008USGA Press Conference

CHRIS WIGHTMAN: Well, good morning ladies and gentlemen. And welcome to Torrey Pines and our annual USGA Media Conference. My name is Chris Wightman, I'm the Managing Director of Communications and I welcome everybody here.

On the dais today we have the President of the USGA, Mr. Jim Vernon, and to his right the Vice‑President of the USGA, Mr. Jim Hyler. With that said, Mr. Vernon would like to start with some words.

MR. VERNON: I'd like to welcome everybody as we get set to kickoff our 108th United States Open here at Torrey Pines. Before I make a few other comments I would just like to mention that 10 or 11 days ago the golf world lost one of its truly great volunteers, Bill Battle, a former President of the United States Golf Association, who embodied everything good about service and volunteerism, not just to the game of golf but to his country, as well, a true patriot and a man who gave his life for service.

I mention it because David Fay, who would ordinarily be up here with us and I discussed Bill's passing, and the memorial services for Bill are today back in Virginia. David and I agreed that it was important that we send someone to those services. So David left yesterday on a flight. He is at the services right now, I think as we convene here, and will be back tomorrow morning. For those of you who are interested in talking to David and have questions for him, he will be back here tomorrow.

These are pretty exciting times for the United States Golf Association. It was only last week that we gathered in Far Hills to dedicate our newly renovated USGA Museum and our new Arnold Palmer Center For Golf History. We had over a thousand people there. Arnold Palmer was there, of course. It was a great time. The new museum is truly something special. We have spent a lot of time and Rand Jerris, who is here, made it as a labor of love. But the new museum and the Arnold Palmer Center are truly state‑of‑the‑art facilities. They offer so much and give us a new way of exhibiting our artifacts, and truly telling the story of golf in the United States, not just with implements, balls and clubs, but centered around our champions and our championships.

The technology incorporated in the museum is fabulous. I would encourage all of you who are here if you are in the area to stop by, it's truly worth a visit, but I would also encourage you to let your readers, viewers, listeners, on‑line users know about the museum, it is really something special.

And we are also using the Internet or our new media capabilities to take the museum outside Far Hills, that is to make it available to anyone who has a computer and Internet access. We are creating a virtual museum on‑line. We have been digitizing documents at the rate of I think 25,000 pages a year. We will up that, but it will be a great on‑line experience, as well.

It is very special for me to be here at Torrey Pines and to have the United States Open here in Southern California. Last time it was here was in 1948, the year before I was born, and it is great to have it back in Southern California. It is also great to have it here in San Diego for the very first time.

I've been involved in golfing administration now for going on 20 years. I started with the Southern California Golf Association, spent a lot of times serving the game and running championships here in Southern California. This is obviously the championship of all, and I am so proud to have it here in Southern California and so happy that I just happened to be President when it came back.

It is also important that we are here at a municipal facility. I think we all know how important municipal facilities and public facilities are to the game of golf. They provide access to the vast majority of the golfers in the United States. Municipal facilities on which I learned the game when I started to play, and I think it's no secret that municipal facilities around the country are suffering in many cases due in part to the economy and changing life‑styles.

It is important to the USGA that we are here at a truly open public facility. We'll be at another one next year. We also announced that in 2015 we'll be at Chambers Bay up in the Tacoma area, all truly public facilities. It's important.

It's also interesting to note that we'll be out here on the West Coast this year, 2010 at Pebble Beach, 2012 at Olympic Club, and as I just mentioned back at Chambers Bay in 2015.

Something else that's a little different this year, and some of you I think have noted it, is that our broadcasts this weekend will be in prime time. We will be finishing in a way that I think provides the greatest access to golfers everywhere.

A, it's at the logical time here on the west coast, but it also now provides an opportunity for golf fans and viewers back on the east coast to sit down and watch the conclusion of our 108th U.S. Open Championship in prime time.

To me it's a pretty neat picture of thinking of a father sitting back on the east coast with his family around him with his kids, in prime time, watching the conclusion of our championship.

I'd now like to turn the mic over to Jim Hyler, our Vice‑President and Chairman of our Championship Committee. He probably has some things to say that you're much more interested in than the things I said.

JIM HYLER: Thank you, Jim, and good morning ladies and gentlemen.

Before I get into talking about Torrey Pines and course setup and things of that nature I want to make two announcements concerning future sites.

First of all we're very pleased to announce that in 2013 the Walker Cup will be played at National Golf Links of America in South Hampton School, New York. We're very excited to take this very special competition to such a historic venue as National Golf Links.

Secondly, we announced in February at our annual meeting, as Jim just alluded to, that the 2010 U.S. Amateur and 2015 U.S. Open would go to Chambers Bay. We did couch that announcement, subject to getting all the contracts signed. And we have just recently completed that effort. So we've gotten all the I's dotted and T's crossed for Chambers Bay for the '10 Amateur and the '15 Open. Again, another true public course and one that's a very exciting, new venue.

We are here at Torrey Pines for the 108th U.S. Open, as Jim mentioned this is a true blue municipal golf course. We're very excited to be here. This is a culmination of a very special dream on the part of a number of people in San Diego, it's a great partnership ‑‑ evidence of a great partnership between the business community and the City leadership to do the things necessary to bring this championship to Torrey Pines.

It's the first Open in Southern California since '48, 60 years ago. That one Hogan won at Riviera.

The course setup will be consistent, has been, and will be consistent with our U.S. Open Championship course setup philosophy. And that is a 14 point philosophy that is available to you in the media kit and also on our website, USGA.org.

This philosophy was developed in the fall of 2004 and guided our setup in 2005, 6 and 7 and we've had three very successful Opens using these points as the basis for our setup.

Simply put, our philosophy is that we want an Open to be the most rigorous examination of golfers at the highest level, but we also want the course to be fair. We want the Open to challenge and test all aspects of a player's game, including shot making, mental tenacity, and physical endurance. So we want this championship to be the most rigorous in golf.

Just three highlights from the 14 points. One is rough height, density and severity, stages of severity. Another one is hole locations. And a third one speaks to risk and reward options. You'll see evidence of those three tenets during the course of the next four days.

We'll also be carrying forward three concepts that were introduced in 2006 and follow two of the aforementioned points. These are the graduated rough, the use of different teeing grounds on a particular hole, and then a very subtle change that we introduced in 2006 and that is doing everything we can to present the players with the same golf course on Sunday afternoon that they experienced on Monday morning, the first day of practice, in other words not intentionally making the course harder throughout the week.

All of these changes have been well received by the players and we continue to use them in our setup.

There is no target for a winning score in the U.S. Open. We want the course to play hard, but fair, and then whatever the winning score turns out to be is what it turns out to be.

Some specific comments on Torrey Pines South, when you add up the distances of the 18 holes on the score card it comes out to be 7643 yards, it's the longest yardage for a U.S. Open in history. I might comment that at the Buick played in January the yardage for the Buick was 7569. So we're only about 74 yards longer than the Buick was played. In January this golf course is much different than it is today in terms of its playing conditions and playability.

Par will be 71. We will be playing 18 as a par‑5. We had a fair amount of discussion about 18, should we make it a long, very difficult par‑4 or play it as a par‑5. And at the end of the day we felt keeping it a par‑5 and introducing a risk/reward opportunity on possibly the 72nd hole of the Open was the right thing to do and thus we are playing it as a par‑5.

It's very unlikely that we will play the golf course at its maximum yardage on any day, because we will be using a mix of teeing grounds and we will not be playing it at its maximum yardage on any given day.

Torrey Pines plays the yardage. There are actually only two doglegs out there. It's a very straight forward course, there are no blind shots, and I think the players will be able to keep their balls on the fairways and greens.

This kikuyu grass, which is the predominant grass in the fairway is a very sticky grass, and the course will actually play wider, the fairways will play wider perhaps than the actual yardage.

Some differences between the Buick, which is played in late January and our course setup. First of all, the greens will be significantly faster and firmer. We will have speeds of around 13 and a half on the greens. The greens will be considerably firmer than they are in January. The fairways will also be firmer, even though this kikuyu grass, they will still have more roll than is evident here in January from the Buick is played on an over seeded rye golf course.

In the rough there will be three different types of grasses that the players will encounter. They will encounter kikuyu, poa annua and rye. At the Buick it's principally ryegrass in the rough. And these three grasses really introduce a lot of inconsistency in the rough. And the players will be challenged quite a bit when they do hit it in the rough about how their ball will react when they try to play a shot out of it.

The kikuyu is I guess the native grass here and it's the prevalent grass, it's very prevalent around the golf course. It's a very tough grass. It's hard to get the club through it. It's been warmer than average here in April and May and as a result the kikuyu has really popped, and so if the players hit it in kikuyu it's going to be a real challenge for them.

We like the fact that these lies in the first fairway cut will be inconsistent. The last two years at Winged Foot and Oakmont, the first primary cut of the rough was too thick, the density was too thick, and it required the players to generally just chop out.

But here you'll see all kinds of lies in the rough, from chop outs to having absolute perfect lies. I think somebody mentioned in their remarks that Bubba Watson hit a driver, had a lie that was so perfect in the first primary cut on the 9th hole that he actually hit a driver out of there. You can see the inconsistencies that's going to occur in the rough.

In the graduated rough that we have here, the intermediate cut, six feet of intermediate cut will be an inch and a half. There's the first primary cut of 15 feet that will be two and a half inches. Second primary cut, which will run generally to the rope lines will be three and a half to four inches, and then beyond the rope lines will be higher than that.

Around the greens, the surrounds, the rough will be three and a half to four inches around the greens.

In terms of fairway widths we actually ‑‑ something unusual for a U.S. Open ‑‑ we actually widened four fairways from what the players see at the Buick. We did narrow two fairways, but as I said we actually widened four fairways. So essentially the players will be seeing the same fairway widths and contours that they saw at the Buick.

The bunkers will play softer here. We intentionally make the bunker sand intentionally softer. And that will be a difference from what the players see in January.

With regard to different teeing grounds, we will play two different tees on No. 3. No. 13 we'll actually use three teeing grounds. And on 16, to the left of the building, 193 yard teeing ground and to the right 225.

We really like the third hole, the little short tee, 142 yards down the hill. We'll play that into a left hole location, and think that will give the players a very interesting shot that will typically be into a prevailing wind.

On 13 we, of course, added two new teeing grounds back across the canyon that play about 613 and 599 I believe are the yardages. The normal back teeing ground to the right side of the canyon plays 539.

We like the two back tees, we think that presents an interesting challenge for the players to have to negotiate the canyon. On the left side the most aggressive line requires a carry of about 250, 255 to do it. On the right side a player can hit it 235 and easily clear the canyon. Keep in mind that will be downwind. The prevailing wind will actually be at the players back when they play 13.

On hole 14 we are thinking about using a 277 yard teeing ground. We haven't made the final decision there, but we are contemplating that.

On several other holes we will move tee markers up during the course of the play, depending on wind conditions and hole locations. But on any of the other holes we will not be changing angles, we'll just move the tee up and the players will see the same angles that they've had.

Just an overall comment on the golf course. It is absolutely right where we want it today. It is absolutely dialed in. The green speed, the firmness, the rough cut, the fairway conditions, it's absolutely where we want it.

Over the past two days the greens have firmed quite a bit. On Sunday evening was really the last time the greens had any appreciable amount of water. And then we experienced the marine layer on Monday and Tuesday and that really slowed the drying, but over the last two days we've sort of limited the water on the greens and we've gotten some sun and the greens have attained the speed and the firmness that we want and they are absolutely perfect and we will work very hard to keep them the same way the rest of the week.

We'll be watching the greens very closely today, with the wind and the sun. We fully anticipate that we will put water on the greens tonight and we'll be watching them as I say every day to make sure we do all we can to keep them right where they are.

Some comments about the pairings. That seems to have created some interest this year. As many of you know we have the traditional pairing at the U.S. Open of the U.S. Open champion, the British Open champion and the U.S. Amateur champion playing together. This year with Angel Cabrera and Padraig Harrington being outside the top 12 in the World Ranking, we thought it would be exciting for the players and the fans to pair together players 1, 2 and 3; 4, 5 and 6; 7, 8, 9; and 10, 11, and 12. Of course that pairs together Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson on the same pairing on Thursday and Friday.

In thinking about this we thought having Tiger and Phil in the same pairing would be something that would really be exciting for the fans and also for the players. And we've gotten very positive feedback from the players about these pairings. And in particular, given their Southern California ties and their successes here at Torrey Pines, we thought if we were ever going to do it this was the time to do it. So therefore we have them playing together Thursday and Friday.

We're excited about this. We know the players are, as well. We think the fans will really be excited over the next two days. But we also know that this pairing will create a lot of interest and a large gallery of both fans and also photographers will be following this group.

We have reviewed our transportation and security plans in great detail and we are putting in place some extra measures to make sure we take the added crowd pressures into account.

I would note that the four pairings, 1, 2, 3, through 10, 11, and 12 will be teeing off in different quadrants, different waves each day, so they're not all in the same wave on the two days.

A comment about our admissions policy for juniors, just to let you know about this. And this is something we've been doing for years, this is not a new policy for us. Children 12 and under will get in free if accompanied by a ticketed adult. And there are a limit of two per adult. And 13 to 17 get in at half price.

So we want to engage juniors more in golf and we think this admissions policy is something that hopefully will encourage more juniors to come and experience and be a part of this U.S. Open.

A comment about U.S.Open.com, our exciting website for this championship. And I really encourage you to experience this. We have made tremendous enhancements in U.S.Open.com from last year. And in particularly the course section. We have videos, we have fly overs for each hole and you can go there and find out a lot of information about Torrey Pines and the U.S. Open and I really encourage you to use this.

We've come here to Torrey Pines to a municipal golf course and we have a strong sense that we want to leave Torrey Pines better than we found it. That was our objective at Bethpage and we know that that will be the case here.

The greens are absolutely the best they've ever been. The fairways, the rough have the best grass coverage they've ever had. There have been other major improvements to the course, Rees Jones project to renovate this golf course and make tremendous improvements to it.

Torrey Pines also now has much better maintenance equipment. There's been a huge investment in this very important asset that will allow the staff here to maintain this course better than it's ever been maintained.

It's our hope that local golfers will enjoy their U.S. Open golf course for many, many years to come.

To wrap this up I want to pay special recognition to Mark Woodward and Jon Maddern. Mark is the Golf Operations Manager for the City of San Diego and Torrey Pines and several other courses come under his purview. Jon is the Assistant Golf Operations Manager, and Mark and Jon are sitting right over here. And kudos to them for the unbelievable, just literally unbelievable job that they've done to get this golf course into the condition that it is today. They have worked long and hard and their staff has just done a tremendous job, and really special thanks and recognition to Mark and Jon.

And also one other person who I don't believe is here is Pat Gross. He is a member of the USGA's Greens Section Staff. He's been a teammate of Mark and Jon's, and has been instrumental in helping them get the course where it is today.

We're excited to be here, we're looking forward to four great days of golf. And I hope you all get out there and enjoy it and we will now take any questions.

CHRIS WIGHTMAN: Thanks, Jim. We will take questions. Ladies and gentlemen, if you would, please stand and tell us your name and your media outlet, as we are transcribing today. So with that, your questions, please.

Q. Jeff Rude, Golf Week. Several medium hitters who won Major championships have annually skipped the Buick because of the length of the golf course. Jim Furyk, Mike Weir, Justin Leonard, David Toms. How much of a concern is it at 7600 and change, with sticky kikuyu fairways, is it that maybe the medium‑sized hitter might be running uphill and may not have a chance?

JIM HYLER: Well, as I commented we're not going to play it any day at 7643, it will play shorter every day, it will not be at its maximum length any day. Compared to the Buick the fairways are still firmer and there's still more release on the ball, even though they are sticky compared to Bermuda or bent fairways.

So we think driving accuracy will be important here. As I mentioned you get in that first primary cut of rough and you can get anything. So I think the medium hitters can certainly be in the game and driving accuracy will be important. The course will simply not play as long as it does for the Buick.

Q. It seems almost unprecedented for you guys to wait so long about a hole like the 14th where you've got 160, 180 yard difference for the players depending on the day. What is going into your decision about whether you are going to play 14 up? What are the factors that you think are most important in you guys doing that, probably on the weekend?

JIM HYLER: Well, Todd, each year we prepare a memorandum to give to the players that alerts them to any different teeing grounds. So in that players memo we talked about 3, 13, 16, and we also mentioned that we could play, possibly play 14 up at 277.

So the players are aware of it. We've seen a number of them practice from there. It will be a matter of looking at the wind conditions, thinking about our hole locations and making a decision in the next few days if we'll play it up there. But we have put them on notice that it is a possibility.

Q. I'm assuming you both saw the comments of Phil Mickelson made yesterday about No. 13. I wonder if you could respond to his assertion that it's a terrible tee box and ought to be blown up.

JIM HYLER: Well, we certainly have a lot of respect for Phil's comments. However, on this one I think we'll agree to disagree. As I said earlier, we like the tee back there. We think it adds certainly a significant amount of added length to that hole. We're not going to play it back there every day. We will play the 539 teeing ground possibly two days. So there will be risk/reward there from the 539 teeing ground.

But we like it back there. We think it adds some challenge to the hole. And frankly if you play it back there and it likely will be a three‑shotter, that third shot from the bottom of the hill, playing up to that green you can only see the top of the flag stick, it is a challenging shot. And so we like the hole where it is. With all due respect to Phil we will agree to disagree on this one.

Q. Just following up on that and another one. Maybe this is a question for Mark and Jon. With that back tee on 13 you're going to have a lot more second shots landing in the same pocket and more third shots coming from the same spot. Are you going to make sure you don't have a sea of divots. And I'll get to the other question in a second.

JIM HYLER: Well, we'll be filling divots every night. We're out there working to get the divots filled, smoothed over with sand. I want to emphasize again, we're not going to play it back there every day. I think there will be a lot of play from down there and that's part of the game. If your ball rolls in the divot, it's part of the game, you have to accept that.

But we're not going to be back there every day. When we're up on that 539, most of the players will be able to get it up around the green in two. I don't think it's going to be as big an issue if they were back there all four days.

Q. Follow‑up question, on some three of the last seven Opens, growth regulators and the ability to regain speed on the greens has been a bit of an issue, Southern Hills and Oakmont and Shinnecock. Any change in policy on growth regulators in an effort to slow down the greens if you need to break them a little bit?

JIM HYLER: Can we give Mark a mic?

MARK WOODWARD: We've been on a regular program of putting growth regulators on the greens for quite some time, and we've continued that all the way up until last week. So the program has not changed at all. We're still using the growth regulators up until recently. And we're doing everything we can to making that program ‑‑ it's been set up now for close to a year now.

Q. Can you relax the application to give the USGA the ability to control the speeds?

MARK WOODWARD: We've put Primo on the greens, Monday was the last application, and that will get us through the championship. We haven't done anything different from that standpoint. We've been putting it on for a regular basis for quite some time now.

JIM HYLER: There's been no change in our approach to that. We think using that allows us to have more consistent putting speeds.

Q. Jim, just follow‑up on 14. Can you tell us about the discussions about 14, because this wasn't something that you guys were thinking about a year ago. And why do it? You have a risk/reward you believe on 18, so why create another risk/reward out of a hole that really wasn't designed to be a risk/reward?

JIM HYLER: Well, we sort of like the notion of a drivable par‑4. If you think back to Oakmont, really go back to Winged Foot in '06. At Oakmont we had several drivable par‑4s.

We would like to introduce that here. We think that adds an element of excitement for the players and the fans. And at the end of the day you add up the score and whoever has the lowest score is who wins. And whether we play that at 450 or 277 it's the person with the lowest score is who wins.

So again, we put the players on notice that we could play it up there and it will be a decision made in the next couple of days, looking at weather forecasts, thinking about our hole locations, and we'll make that decision.

Q. This is for Jim Vernon since he's a SoCal guy. There are going to be people all around the world watching this thing and they're going to hear the word "kikuyu", and they're not going to know what that is. Presumably at some point you missed a fairway. Can you explain what that stuff is and why it's so unique versus the Bermuda and rye that most people see around the entire rest of the country?

MR. VERNON: Steve, I'll do what I can. I think perhaps to put it in the shortest description, Pat Gross our agronomist has described kikuyu as Bermuda on steroids.

It sends out very aggressive runners. It's a fairly broad leaf and a very tough leaf. It is a very thick, wiry grass. So it is ‑‑ for those of us who play golf here in Southern California, we know all about it, and I certainly have a very good patch of it in my backyard, as a matter of fact. It is a very difficult grass. But I think it's just very heavy, thick, wiry grass that, to get your ‑‑ especially in a thick condition, to get your club through that grass takes a very aggressive swing. And there's a certain technique to it. It takes a certain amount of practice, especially around the greens, to have a better idea of how that ball might come out of the kikuyu?

Q. My question is about hole location, particularly whether you build up towards harder hole locations on Sunday or whether that's a myth?

JIM HYLER: Going back to our U.S. Open setup philosophy, we speak specifically to hole locations, that's one of the 14 points there. And we talk about balancing hole locations, fronts, backs, lefts, rights, difficult, more difficult.

But we ‑‑ there's no intentional effort made to make the hole locations harder on Sunday. We have a balance left, right, front, back, and we try to do that through the course of the championship. And they're part of the hole locations tomorrow and Friday and they will be on Sunday, as well.

Q. Can you be any more specific on the measures you're taking to deal with the expected huge crowds, particularly with that 1, 2, 3 group as we get going? And particularly off the second green, there, between the second green, the No. 3 tee and No. 6 tee, there's about an eight foot wide funnel, and I'm wondering how we're going to get people through there?

JIM HYLER: Very carefully. We've looked at the transportation plan. We've added more buses from ‑‑ coming from QUALCOMM earlier that morning. We made adjustments to do that. Probably the biggest adjustment we've made is to add more police officers to have them with the group ahead, several police officers with the featured group, and police officers with the group behind.

In terms of the photographers, Craig Smith and with some other folks, will be out helping herd the photographers in the right direction, and not let that be an interference with play.

So I think we've really tried to anticipate this ‑‑ I think the added police, roughly 8 or 10 extra police officers will be out with these groups and will be walking ahead to get folks moved away so the players can get through.

So I think we've anticipated pretty well. It obviously is going to be a lot of people out there watching them. But I think that's a positive. It adds excitement to it. At the end of the day we think it's very special.

Q. The decision to pair 1, 2, 3 and 4, 5, 6, et cetera, is this something as a matter of policy we can expect to see in future Opens or is it one‑off because of where Cabrera and Harrington were?

JIM HYLER: It's more a one‑off. Give the fact that Cabrera and Harrington are outside the top 12. Who knows next year who the U.S. Open champ and British Open champ will be. It's a unique opportunity this year to do that. And particularly with Tiger and Phil being 1 and 2, and their success here and their Southern California roots. It was a perfect opportunity for that very unique pairing?

Q. You've talked about the 2006 Open about tee grounds, alternate holes, things like this. In 2015 you're introducing a two green concept at Chambers Bay. Is that an idea that intrigues you?

JIM HYLER: Yes. It's a very unique design feature of I forget which hole it is, that has the ‑‑ a short green and a long green, hole 5. That's a very intriguing feature and one of the good things about what we're doing in Chambers Bay is we're playing the 2010 Amateur there, and that will give us a good chance to see how very elite players play the golf course, and will help us in our decisions about the setup for the 15 Open?

Q. What I wanted to ask you is based upon scores last year, how much not making it so difficult this year, this time around. Did you hear a lot of complaints about how difficult last year was, and in making your preparation for this year?

JIM HYLER: I think last year, almost to a player, the players said Oakmont was very hard, but it was fair. I think there were very few of the players who had anything else to say.

As I mentioned earlier, we felt, in looking back on it, that first cut of primary rough was too dense. It required too many of the players just chopping out. What we tried to do here is have our first primary cut of rough that is inconsistent, but it will allow players to play toward the green, generally speaking.

If they get in a patch of that thick kikuyu it may be a chop out. But probably the great majority of the time the players will be able to play toward the green.

They won't be able to control the ball obviously as well as from a lie in the fairway. But that's been the real takeaway from Winged Foot and Oakmont has been that first primary cut in trying to have it less penal and more inconsistent, so the players can show off their shot making ability. And we want to see that.

Q. Is there any thought about when you go into a tournament like this for the first time at a course, does Torrey Pines appear in your minds as a future Open course, as well, or is this the test run?

JIM HYLER: Well, our focus right now for the next four and a half days is completing the 108th U.S. Open Championship. That's what we're focused on. If the invitation comes from a return visit here we'll consider that in due course. Our focus right now is on this championship and giving the players a very hard but fair golf course.

Q. It's interesting that you have a variety of grasses in the rough. Most private clubs that's usually not the case. That speaks to this being more of a public golf course, doesn't it?

JIM HYLER: Well, it's a couple of things. One is, as I mentioned earlier, April and May was warmer than normal here and the kikuyu really jumped. So on more normal springtime temps here we wouldn't see the kikuyu quite as strong as it is.

We did over seed the golf course last fall with ryegrass wall to wall. And so the ryegrass is in there and some poa annua in there. It's a perfect storm, if you will, with that first primary cut with the kikuyu having grown more than normal with the ryegrass and with the poa mixed in.

Q. Just the fact that there's a variety.

JIM HYLER: But that adds a little bit to the spice of the whole thing, and given the inconsistent lies the players will experience.

Q. I just wonder, Jim Hyler, the course setup and the mysterious "we" we keep hearing about in making decisions, could you tell us who actually makes those decisions or how they are made. Are any people outside the USGA involved in these discussions and decisions and are there any women or is this a men's only decision making club?

JIM HYLER: Well, the Championship Committee of the USGA, the Executive Committee is responsible for our championships. Then the Executive Committee, of course, has overall responsibility.

So we talked to a lot of people, both inside the USGA, and outside the USGA, about certain aspects of the course setup. We got a lot of input from various people. At the end of the day Mike Davis, our Senior Director of Rules and Competitions, and myself as Chair of the Championship Committee, we sort of have the final say.

Obviously Jim Vernon, this year, has been in the loop, as the last two years Walter Driver was very much in the loop on course set up matters. We don't do it in a vacuum by any means, we get input from lots of people in making these decisions?

Q. Are we going to have these flyovers when the tournament starts?

REG JONES: That's actually a little bit north of here. They have detoured the traffic, a lot of the air traffic to the north, but based on capacity, we can expect to have occasional flyovers.

JIM HYLER: The glider port is closed, though.

CHRIS WIGHTMAN: Without any more questions, thank you Jim Vernon and Jim Hyler, and thank you for attending today.

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