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Q&A: An interview with a BUSY MAN

March 10, 2006|By James Lee

With eight years under his belt as the tournament director of the Toshiba Classic, Jeff Purser has seen the tournament grow into one of the more popular stops on the PGA Champions Tour.

What he hasn't seen much of is the tournament itself.

The Ohio native will be out and about throughout the week, but his focus is on making sure every experience is a positive one for the spectator. With an estimated 80,000 people set to attend, that doesn't leave much time to take in the sights.

With preparations in full swing, Purser took a moment to talk with the Daily Pilot about the tournament.

Obviously, every year, you try to do some things different. What kinds of things have you added for this year?

A lot of it has to do with sponsor programs. You always try to improve on the sponsor services. Another thing is making sure we have the best field of competitors. We had an OK field last year, and the biggest thing in the success of the tournament is, do you have the best guys? So this year, we have guys here who haven't been here in a couple of years, we have some new guys. The fans, they want to see Peter Jacobsen, who's here for the first time. They want to see [Craig] Stadler and [Tom] Kite, who weren't here last year. They want to see Fuzzy [Zoeller] and [Hale] Irwin. They're all here. We have a great field that I think everyone will be excited to see.

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We brought back the Q&A, which I think everyone likes to see. We're having Peter Jacobsen participate and it'll be on the patio next to the clubhouse and we'll have microphones and speakers. It's a good time.

We'll do gallery in the fairway again, so people can follow the play at 16 and 18. You obviously can't do that at 17 because you'd be walking in the water.

Those kinds of things make it fun for the fans when they're out here.

We have the Wells Fargo Jr. Clinic again at the driving range after the second round and it's always great. Fuzzy and Andy Bean, Tom Purtzer and Dave Stockton are participating in that. It's a great opportunity to bring the game to the kids.

There's a couple of other things. We have a 60-foot rolling grill from Johnsonville that's going to be grilling sausages between 10 and 18. I've seen it and it's huge. It's almost like an 18-wheeler with a huge grill on it.

We're also doing a thing this year where it's make a pledge for each birdie made at the tournament. You make a pledge for each birdie made over the course of the tournament, and you'll get a commemorative ticket display and lanyard. On the Friday, if you make a pledge of $20, which is the minimum pledge, you have your choice of a St. Patrick's Day Toshiba Classic hat or a lanyard. People like those kind of programs.

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