January 14, 2008
Dear Fellow Member,
This letter was scheduled to go to you sometime during the 4th week of January, but events of the past few days have caused us to send it now. The purpose of this communication was to have been to announce that our club had reached an agreement with the PGA Tour to host the 2008 Barclays Classic, the first leg of the FedEx Cup playoff. Word of our discussions with the PGA Tour was leaked to Golf World and perhaps other media. A story appeared on the Golf World website last Friday and on the Golf Channel on Saturday. Neither we nor the Tour had a hand in the leak. We do not yet have a final Agreement. However, we expect that it will be finalized and signed in the near future. Following is some information regarding the event that I am confident you will find exciting.
Guess Whos Coming to Ridgewood was the headline on the MGA Magazine cover in 1990 when the Big 4 of golf were about to compete in the 1990 US Senior Open at RCC. Now again we can ask the same question. Except that this time it refers to the best professional golfers in the world, who will be coming to our Club to compete in the Barclays Classic which will be held from August 18th to the 24th.
As many of you know, over the years our Club has hosted a number of important golf tournaments, including the 1935 Ryder Cup matches, the 1974 US Amateur, the 1990 Senior US Open and the 2001 Senior PGA Championship. Late last summer, the PGA Tour asked the Board if it would consider hosting the 2008 Barclays Classic. After holding PGA tournament events at the Westchester Country Club for some 40 years, including the 2007 Barclays, the Tour wanted to make a change in the venue.
At first, we were skeptical. Would our great Tillinghast course stand up to the test? Could we pull it all together in less than a year? Could we handle the crowds if Woods and Michelson both played and were paired in the final group on a sunny Sunday afternoon? Would the disruption to our members enjoyment of their club be worth the money? However, when all the facts came together, it became readily apparent that given the nature of the event and the immediate and residual benefit that could accrue to our club, it was an offer that we should not refuse. And so, after several negotiating sessions with the TOUR and three special meetings of the Board, where the upside and downside considerations of hosting the event were debated, the Board voted overwhelmingly to accept the Tour proposal, subject to a formal Agreement. This is where we stand today. Once we do have an executed Agreement, the news will be posted on our website and well get the word out to you as quickly as we can.
Let me summarize what this event will mean to our Club and our members. First, the Barclays will be played over a special Championship course described on the attached. At par 71 and stretching 7,304 yards, the layout should provide a good and fair test for the golfers.
For a 30 day period preceding the event, play will be limited to members only and cart use will be restricted on the Championship course to rope designated paths. From the 16th to the 24th of August, the golf course will be closed to member play. The practice range will be closed from August 17th thru the 24th. Regular member play will resume on August 26th. Special member events over the Championship course are being planned and more information will be forthcoming.
The set-up of tents and sky-box pavilions will take about 6 weeks prior to the event but this construction will largely be limited to the perimeter of the five finishing holes and care will be taken to minimize the imposition on the play of members and guests. No construction will take place during special event days like the Club Championship, Clambake, etc.
For the tournament, our members will be able to purchase a special Ticket Package to watch play during the tournament week. Arrangements for ticket holders will be made to provide parking in a designated VIP area and access to the Champions Bar and Grille and Patio which will be designated for members only use.
And finally, the club will benefit financially. The package, although not overly generous, is acceptable. We have a minimum financial guarantee and a cap on our out-of pocket expenses that will ensure a reasonable profit. In addition, there is significant upside profit potential that is largely dependent on hospitality sales and attendance. One of the special things that the Tour does is to donate profits from their events to charity. Such is the case with the Barclays where an expected $850,000 will be donated, with a minimum of $350,000 of that total going to local charities to be selected jointly by RCC and the Tour.
The PGA Tour is not the same organization as the PGA of America that ran the 2001 PGA Senior Championship. The Tour runs a number of important PGA events and has a full-time staff of professionals dedicated for this purpose. Among this staff are the individuals who have conducted the past events at Westchester CC and they will be responsible for the bulk of the work related to putting on the Barclays. Therefore, we are confident that we will see an outstanding, well organized event that will showcase our great Ridgewood Country Club. Members who wish to volunteer their services during this event will be given a priority.
Our club will likely be in the national golf spotlight for a time after the Tour issues its press release and the news becomes more wide spread, and we should be prepared. I will be acting as the spokesman for our club for any information about our club or the clubs hosting this event. Inquiries by any media should be directed to me so that we can provide a concise and uniform response.
We will keep you posted on news and information and on the progress of the preparations for the event but I know that there will still be many questions. Please feel free to direct your questions to me or any member of our Board of Directors.