MORE INTERVIEWS: Frys.com Open transcripts archive
THE MODERATOR: We'll get started. My name is John Bush from PGA TOUR communications, and I would like to welcome Commissioner Finchem here to the Frys.com Open.
Commissioner, I'll turn it over to you for some opening comments on our season‑opening event on the PGA TOUR.
COMISSIONER FINCHEM: All right, let me just say we're delighted to be here today and to start the 2013/2014 season. I got to get used to saying it that way with two years in it.
We've had a good year this year, and a really compelling Presidents Cup last week to conclude the year. Now we're off and running with FedExCup competition as we look to the next 12 months.
The results of the restructure, of course starting with the new season right now, are yet to be determined. But we feel very positive about the opportunity to get players into FedExCup competition with full points in the fall for the first time and get to the holidays when we'll have an actual competitive list of players and how they're competing so we can talk a lot about that over the holidays, which is a good promotional time for us. So we like that.
Conclusion of last season led to the final events o the Web.com Tour tour. Fifty cards generated on regular season play on the Web.com Tour and the finals. We like the way that played out. Seemed to be a good combination. We'll probably find some things we want to tweak, but the players were into it, the fans were into it.
And I think one of the things we said all along is it would believe great to get a little higher profile to that drama that we've seen over the years at the qualifying school and get it into that final Web.com event. That's certainly what's happened. So we're pleased about that.
But now I just want to thank John Fry and his team at Frys for all the energy that had been put into the Frys.com over the last few years in getting to this point. We think this has been a wonderful place to play. We appreciate the opportunity to play here the last few years.
And then of course we're excited about going to Silverado next year where we have a lot of history. The PGA TOUR played there from '68 to '80; the Champions Tour played there from '89 to '02. Since then, what was already a good course has been redone. It's even better. I would like to thank the membership and staff here at CordeValle for being the host for the past four years as we think about moving over there next year.
I think it's great that the tournament this week is recognizing Peter Jacobsen as the honoree. Peter was recognized with his receipt of the Payne Stewart Award just a few weeks ago at East Lake. He's been an individual that's really worked hard to give back over the years. He represents everything about that award.
I think it's great that this week, the start of the season, the tournament will take some time to tell Peter Jacobsen's story. I'm sure he'll be telling some of his own stories, because that's Peter.
But lastly, I'll just say that Frys.com has distributed over $1 million, projected to distribute over a $1 million this year, which brings them to almost $5 million or just over $5 million in the short history of this tournament to charity. It's a nice extension of what charity on the PGA TOUR is all about.
I think I'll be around after we complete here. We have a special announcement to make. After we finish with that, I'll stand over here and you can come up and ask me any questions you have about anything. Be happy to try to answer them.
MODERATOR: Thank you, Commissioner. At this time we would like to ask Eric Compton to come join the Commissioner on the podium.
COMISSIONER FINCHEM: We're delighted really to announce that the PGA TOUR has awarded the inaugural PGA TOUR Courage Award to Eric Compton, who recently completed his second season here on TOUR. This award will be presented from time to time going forward to a player who through their courage and perseverance has overcome significant adversity, such as personal tragedy or debilitating injury or illness, and who has made a significant contribution in dealing with those kind of challenges to the game of golf.
Having had two heart transplants since the age of nine years old, most recent in '08, Eric's story is a remarkable one in the fact that he has overcome extraordinary odds to not only survive, but to thrive, particularly in sports.
In recent years, he has started a family with his wife Barbara and daughter Petra, and he's won a Web.com Tour event and played two years on the PGA TOUR, finishing inside the top 100 in the FedExCup just this past season.
With his perseverance and courage along with the charitable work he has done to encourage organ donation, he's a very fitting recipient of the inaugural PGA TOUR Courage Award.
The courage award includes a $25,000 charitable contribution to be distributed to a charity of the award recipient's choice. This year's contribution will be shared by the Cardiovascular Institute of Miami and the Arnold Palmer Medical Center Foundation in Florida, both at Eric's request.
Congratulations, Eric. Let me just say that in addition to the uniqueness of your history, that day in and day out you handle yourself the way we like to see PGA TOUR players do. You contribute a lot to the image of the PGA TOUR, which is our largest asset.
So we are available to answer questions, and so is Eric.
THE MODERATOR: Eric, can we just get some comments?
ERIC COMPTON: Yeah. He covered a lot. It's a very quiet room, but I would say it's a very special moment for me. When you guys did call and let me know that I was awarded the Courage Award, I actually walked around the block and had a moment to myself. I was very emotional about it, because I feel like this is what I worked basically my whole life to basically receive status back on the PGA TOUR, but to be acknowledged by the players and also by the board and to receive such a great award.
I know we talked earlier about the comeback award, and I feel like it's all combined into one. It's been a huge comeback for me, not only for me to be able to share the award with myself, but for those that were around me when I was in the hospital, my coaches, my family close friends, and even close friends on the PGA TOUR to be back here.
So that's why I felt it was necessary to donate to the Arnold Palmer Hospital who has been a great support of me early on in my career when I was in my early 20s to get some exemptions there. And not only that, but to visit the hospital and spend time with Arnold Palmer.
And also to give back to the hospital in Miami and some of doctors that were there that saved my life. So for all those that are at home that are aware of what I've gone through, it's sort of a courage award for the whole family in Miami.
So I really appreciate what you've done for the TOUR and giving us an opportunity to get here. As you talked earlier about the Web.com, I came up through there and was able to basically get to my mecca, my dream of playing on the PGA TOUR through that.
When you receive an award through the PGA TOUR ‑ I've received some other awards ‑ I feel like this is the best award I've ever received just because of the acknowledgment of ‑‑ I'm a Courage Award from another 156 players that could have been chose from, and not just other, I guess, recipients or transplant recipients.
So it's just a great feeling. It's actually motivated me to want to play even better this year and win out here. So that's the ultimate goal, to win out here. I really appreciate you guys giving me the motivation, because I'm glad that other people see the hard work I've been doing with the stuff of the golf course as well through Donate Life.
The PGA TOUR has given me such access and avenue to make a difference for other people that are off the golf course that have gone through my situation.
So I hope one day there is another Courage Award recipient of somebody who has had a transplant or something similar that I've had happen to me being out here on the PGA TOUR.