What they said: Jim Justice, Andy PazderJuly 04, 2012
PGA TOUR staff
MORE: The Greenbrier Classic transcripts archive
MODERATOR: We'll get started. My name is John Bush from the PGA Tour, and we'll go ahead and turn it over. We have the chairman and owner of the Greenbrier, Mr. Jim Justice, here with us today. Mr. Justice, make some comments for us please.
JIM JUSTICE: Okay. First of all, thanks for being here. It's probably even be maybe tough on some of you to even get here from either, who knows what, roads blocked or gasoline or whatever it may be. But the first thing I'd like to say is just this. You know, I surely know and I want your questions in regard to this, you know, I welcome them. But I surely know that there's a lot of people that are out there hurting and, you know, we've worked awfully hard ourselves here. In fact, I can celebrate this, but about two hours ago I actually got power at my house. And I now have water and I have power, so that's really good. So I've been right with you.
Now, the biggest thing is just this though. There's been a lot of emphasis and a lot of people that have put a real push to try to keep this thing together and be able to pull this thing off. To be perfectly honest, first and foremost, all of us, you know our prayers and our thoughts and everything, I mean, anybody that knows me, anybody that knows me, you know, knows that I care for the people way more than good sense. And I can tell you though, this tournament being here today has helped an awfully lot of people that are within striking distance of this tournament. Now, there's no point in dancing around the obvious and the truth because I won't ever tell you anything but that, but just think about it. If this tournament weren't here today there's people that are hurting so much all over the country in multiple states everywhere, surely would have been the number one push, the number one push of the politicians and the number one push of the power companies has been to take care of those in the most need. And without any question whatsoever, whether it be hospitals or nursing homes or those in the most need, that's number one. But I can tell you they have worked hard here as well because of the event and the fact that you can't just cancel the event and have the event in four or five days.
The other thing that's really helped us is the Greenbrier has always been well, it's been the home of the bunker. It has all kinds of emergency power backup, all kinds of generators, all kinds of everything. And so we've been able to, for the most part, keep yourselves up and going, and that was our doing. But I also want to let you know this. Let's say I were John Doe and I was ten miles away or even in the Beckley area or wherever. You have politicians that know that this event is important and they had to get Beckley up and going for the hotels and restaurants and everything. But when you get Beckley up and going, you get all the residents up and going. They have to try they've tried so hard to get the water plant up and going because it was we had to have water. Not us. We have all the water, the abundance of water we could possibly ever want in the spring, but they had to get the Rossford water system up. The reason they had to get it up was the hotels and the motels and all the people in the area that needed the water. So I can tell you this unequivocally. If you step back and you really are a thinker and you think about it, this tournament being here today, you know, if you happen to be a local, has had a profound positive impact on your life in being able to get the power and water back to you as quickly as is being able to be gotten back to you. The tournament, you know, has I mean again, and I don't belabor, but just be a thinker and Know that, you know, if you think there's been an emphasis put on trying to help get power to the tournament or get water to the tournament, there has been an emphasis because it's important. But in that emphasis, the fallout of that emphasis to all the local area, the hotels, the residents, and everything else is really significant.
The politicians, Senator Manchin and Governor Tomblin, have been wonderful, you know, and they've worked very diligently. But they've worked as I would want them to work. First and foremost they've worked for the most critical need, and then they have absolutely without question recognized this is important. I mean, it's important. It's very important for our state, so they've tried to help. If you just happen to be a resident of Lewisburg or Beckley or surrounding area, you are the beneficiary of the help. You know, this didn't take away from helping you. This has really helped you.
And so I can tell you that one other thing I'd like to report, and I don't know that you already have this, you may already have this, but again if you know me, if you know me, you know that my heart and my prayers are with all those that are hurting. You know, I didn't have water, didn't have power, but there's so many others that are hurting a lot, lot, lot worse than that. I wish like crazy I could have just said, well, let's just don't have the storm. But I surely don't have any power whatsoever to not have the storm. And so I reach out to all those, we want to help in every way we can. We've had a real concerted effort in addition to trying to get this place suitable and ready for the players and the guests and the tournament and everything, you know. I mean, just let me go back and say one other thing. I don't mean to ramble, but just think about it. In just a matter of a very few days after this storm hit, we could have potentially a third of the entire population of the state here. How are you going to handle that? I mean, how in the world are you going to handle that? You could have had an absolute disaster, you know, because you could have you talk about a disaster. You could have had an incredible disaster. If you had had 300,000 people here and they couldn't get gas and they couldn't move and everything, and 100 degrees outside, you would have had a super disaster. So in a lot of, lot of, lot of ways we have been very blessed.
The other thing I want to report is this. The Greenbrier, you know, along with the players and the players' wives, will be announcing a relief effort immediately, effective immediately. We have water. If we just could get some way, through governmental agencies or cities or whatever like that, if they could send trucks to where water could be administered to those that still don't have water, we've got water. We have additional food that is coming from our Greenbrier Gardens that we'll be donating to everybody. We'll try to donate manpower and dollars and we'll try to help in every responsible way we possibly can. Beyond all that, there's not much else Jimmy can do. And I'm doing everything that I can do and I've given everything I've got to give. So I'm ready for your questions.
Q This is a little bit off subject, I guess, Jim, but it seems kind of weird that as soon as you requested volunteer help for the course you got undue criticism since the tournament came. Has that been tough to deal with, because I can say looking at it close up that the vast majority (inaudible)
JIM JUSTICE: Well, look, it's time to tell I guess the real truth. First of all, it does hurt. It cuts deep. Next of all, the reality is if you go back to what I said, what I said was we can use all the volunteers, we can use all the help that can come. However, if you have anything that you need to deal with yourself, you need to deal with that. And that's what I said, because your problems are bigger than anything else. You deal with that. Now, that's the first thing.
The second thing is this. If you count the volunteers, other than our people, there may have been 50. You know, there weren't a thousand. There may have been 50, exclusive of our people. And by our people I mean my ball team, employees, brothers and cousins, Sporting Club people, you know. All employees that I have in all kinds of different locations. They all came and they all came because they wanted to come, but, yeah, it's really, really been tough.
Q Manpower, dollars, can you be more specific about what is being donated, how it's going to be donated??
JIM JUSTICE: Well, I don't know that I can be more specific. All I can tell you is this. We're going to give it everything we've got, you know. I don't know, you know, I guess Jeff Kmiec and the organizers of what we're trying to put together, we don't have all the T's crossed and I's dotted, you know. There hasn't been a lot of sleep, and so we're all giving it everything we've got, that's for sure.
Q You mentioned the players and the players' wives. How did they get involved with this??
JIM JUSTICE: You know, Jim, all I know is they came to Jeff and they said to, Jeff, they said, how can we help? I mean, they know what's going on. You know, I mean, how can you really help? I mean, how you can help is reach out and touch one person and touch one hand and try to help them. And Lord knows we're trying. I hate to say trying because my dad would have said over and over, Don't confuse effort with accomplishment, son. But if we can't call this accomplishment, then there isn't anything left of me. I mean, the tournament's probably going to cost 10 million, Jimmy, and who knows how much more in the cleanup. And all I've ever wanted out of it is to try to help our state, try to help our people, and try to some way quit being 50th. And so I mean I didn't want I surely don't want anything out of this for me.
Q Is this, part of the impetus of your effort here, because this state has endured tragedy before, as you know, but you mentioned the kind of pick yourself up by the bootstraps mentality. Is that part of what you're talking about to keep the show going and show everybody what you're about??
JIM JUSTICE: Well, that's what I was talking about, Keith. You know, I mean, I was talking about this and I gave and this is just my personality, you know. When you came to me in the beginning I locked into the volunteers all the people that I am paying, you know, to be here and help. I did that because it's my way to pass credit on to others. I don't want anybody thinking that I mean, I'm embarrassed almost or I don't know what the word is. But it's important that all of us, when things get really tough, we don't drop our heads and we just say by dog, we're not going to let it beat us. We're just not going to let it beat us. And to be perfectly honest, if they had never turned on the power here and we'd have never had a drop of water, well, I'd have had all of us standing out there holding candles. And so, you know, I'd have tried every way I could.
MODERATOR: At this time we'll invite Andy Pazder up to the stage, he's the executive vice president, chief of operations of PGA Tour.
JIM JUSTICE: Hi, Andy. Don't fall. Andy just almost fell. Yesterday I fell in the ditch out on No. 5. There was a fellow, Grover Barnes, his daughter played basketball for me, and Grover weighs 145 pounds soaking wet. And Grover was down in the ditch. He said, Just step down here and I'll hold you. I went to step down there and that's a dumb man right there, because I crushed him and we both went to the ground.
ANDY PAZDER: John, can I get a couple telephone books to sit on? I feel like an eight year old up here.
First of all, let me just take a second to echo a couple things that Jim just said. I'm a proud graduate of West Virginia University, I think many of the folks in this room may know that. And one thing that West Virginians have shown over time is that they pull together in times of need. And there's no better example than what we've witnessed over the last three days, three or four days.
To Jim and your team, Jeff Kmiec, Kelly Shumate, the golf course superintendent, Tim McNeely, the tournament director in the back, congratulations on getting through a really trying situation. We had a tough situation over in Washington D.C. at our tournament last week, and it put a lot of stress on people there and we know what everybody went through here. As Jim said, there were still a lot of people in the area that are hurting, and on behalf of the PGA tour I extend our thoughts and prayers and hope that they're able to come through as they always seem to do, which is one of the great qualities about the State of West Virginia.
So as far as the tournament goes, I was just looking around the room at some of the pictures on the wall and I remember, Jim, it was a little bit over three years ago, we first came up and shortly after you bought the Greenbrier and had a conversation about whether to bring in a PGA tour event made any sense. And in June of 2009, my first time here, I remember a meeting where we were putting the finishing touches on an arrangement. We had this concern about, Jim, are you going to be able to draw any folks to come watch this, watch our players? And he said, Don't you worry about that. I'll take care of that. And that was the first leap of faith that we took with Jim Justice. And that first tournament came in 2010, and we couldn't believe the number of people that came out. And then it was even a bigger tournament last year and we know it's going to be even bigger this year. And every step of the way Jim and his team have delivered and has turned this tournament into one that the PGA Tour is extremely proud of. You look at the field from top to bottom, it's gotten stronger and stronger next year. Next year will be even stronger than this year. I couldn't find a seat in the player dining area this morning because there were so many families in there. Jim set a goal for this to become a very family oriented tournament and he's succeeded in every possible way. It's just been a joy to be a part of. It's always fun to start a tournament from scratch, you know, watch it grow, and in this instance grow at an incredibly rapid pace.
We give out some year end awards to our tournaments and after just two years this tournament had earned the most coveted of those awards, which is the Best in Class. That's a testament to Jim and his vision and a great team that he has assembled. So obviously we're very excited to be back here at America's Resort, Fourth of July week. My only regret is I'm not going to be able to see who Jim has in store tomorrow night on the 4th. I imagine it will be pretty spectacular.
Q Getting to the effort, the help from the players and the wives, this kind of dovetails with your all's with the tour's charity mission, doesn't it.
ANDY PAZDER: It does. If you look back over time, tour players and their families have a track record of rising up in times of need. I'm thinking of Kevin Streelman and Dicky Pride hosted a charity tournament last year to raise money for those that were affected in Tuscaloosa after a tragic tornado. Zach Johnson contributed half a million dollars of his own money to flood relief in the Midwest. I remember Bubba Watson writing a personal check to the Tsunami Relief Fund after what Japan went through in March of 2011. So it's just a continuation of that. Our players are much more than just great golfers. They're caring individuals and they show that with their actions, not just with their words.
MODERATOR: With that, we turn it back over to Mr. Justice for a special announcement about the future of this tournament.
JIM JUSTICE: This is a little bittersweet, Andy. This should have been done when we were just jumping on the top of the table and everything. But, you know, Andy being a West Virginia graduate, he's a real West Virginian and he's we've worked hard together, two West Virginians working together, we've worked hard, you know. We started with this event being a six year event and we're very, very proud today to announce that we have extended the event through 2021. So, you know, it's taken some work. He's been a real champion and, you know, it's a good day. It's a really good day.
Q What does that do for your goal to maybe get the Presidents Cup in 2017 or future U.S. Open, what does that mean??
JIM JUSTICE: Andy has guaranteed both. He's guaranteed 2017 the Presidents Cup and the U.S. Open will be right close behind that.
ANDY PAZDER: Thank God he didn't ask for the Masters. I would just say, if I may, this extension that Jim has just announced takes this tournament through 2021, which is significant for many reasons, one of which is now it puts this tournament farther into the future than any other sponsorship arrangement that the PGA Tour has, longer than our FedEx Cup, ties into our television agreements which run through 2021. So we owe a debt of gratitude to Jim. He's had just a tremendous vision for this event. As he said, it took us a little bit longer to get to this announcement than both of us had wanted, but it's a significant arrangement and we want to make sure we were going through it orderly and that we were happy on both sides.
I would correct one thing that Jim said. He said it's a good day for the Greenbrier Classic. It's actually a great day. It's a great day. It's a great day for the PGA tour. We couldn't be happier with our partnership with Jim. Our players, when they I think we issued the press release a few minutes ago. I'm sure when I go back downstairs through the locker room there will be a lot of high fives. They're very excited about this tournament and I know that the news will just be very, very well received.
Q Will the dates stay the same??
JIM JUSTICE: Jim has expressed a desire to play every year on the Fourth of July. Typically we don't release dates until the end of each year. We're going to do everything we possibly can though to keep it right where it is. Is there a better place to have a tournament during the July 4th week than America's Resort? I don't think so. That's our desire.
Q Given that the FedEx Cup even hasn't been extended out this far, what were the practical reasons, what made it appealing to you, is it a money thing, is it an attendance thing? Organizationally what brought you to sign on for that long?
ANDY PAZDER: It's not a money thing.
JIM JUSTICE: It's not my good looks.
ANDY PAZDER: It's certainly not mine either. It's knowing that we have a fantastic tournament, it's a world class event. You go ask 156 players what they think of this tournament, they're going to tell you the same thing. It's incredible. The resort is credible, the golf course is one of the best we play all year, and when Jim came to us and said, Would you be interested in talking about a long term extension, I mean, absolutely. We'd be foolish not to entertain that. And, you know, we started out with a shorter term discussion, extension discussion, and, you know, Jim doesn't do things in a small way as you all know. He likes to do things in a big way and we got comfortable with six years going through 2021 and it was not much inaudible on our side. I can tell you it was pretty straightforward.
Q Does this change what does this do about your thinking about the Presidents Cup and U.S. Open, something you've mentioned in the past??
JIM JUSTICE: Well, Andy and I have talked and he said he's given me his commitment or word that we'll surely be considered in '17. But they have the go through a big process and everything on that, and, you know, that's really where we are. You know, it I'm sure we'll be on the list. I hope we end up on the short list, but, you know, we'll have many more communique and if we're the winner, great. If not, we'll surely be terrifically supportive of whoever that may be and maybe they will get us on the next list.
Let me mention one other thing because, you know, again, I want to go back to the other thing just one second. And that is just this. From what I have control of, we're trying I'm trying with everything in me, and I'm trying to make this event great for our state. I meant what I said before. I'm so sick and tired of us being 50th in so many things and I'm trying for our state, I'm trying for our people. And you asked the question about, you know, does it hurt? Well, just imagine this. Yesterday was my daughter she's a doctor now, yesterday was her first day of residency at the hospital as a doctor. Good day. Big day. Very happy day. And she called yesterday evening or I called her and she got on and she was crying. And I said, Jill, what's wrong? Did things not go very good? And she said, Daddy, I know how much you care and I know how hard you're trying, and I can't stand all these people saying all these bad things about my dad. Well, that's tough. That's really tough. So her dad is really trying and I'll tell you this. That I know there's a lot of people hurting and we're going to try even more. We're going to try with our relief effort even more and I can tell you that this tournament being here is helping lots and lots and lots of people. So with that I'm done.