Chubb Classic presented by SERVPRO

Sunday, February 18, 2024

Naples, Florida, USA

Tiburón Golf Club

Stephen Ames

Pam Humphrey

John Sooker

Press Conference

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Good morning, everybody. Welcome to the 2024 Chubb Classic trophy presentation and check presentation and press conference.

Left to right we have John Sooker, president and chief operating officer of ServPro, 2024 champion, Stephen Ames, and closest to me, Pam Humphrey.

Thank you for joining us. John and Pam, thank you on behalf of all of us. Thank you for this tournament. Thank you for hosting and sponsoring this tournament. We can't do this without you, so thank you.

There is also a variety of folks in this room. Our tournament staff, led by Sandy Diamond, our rockstar executive director.

Couple quick things before we go into Q and A. Tiburon Golf Course, they do an amazing job with this course and tournament every year. It's a busy time for them because this is the tournament No. 3 in three months.

STEPHEN AMES: That's right.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: As you guys and we saw out there the first couple days, the fans out here are second to none. They are so passionate not only on golf, but as you saw, they just love just watching what you guys do.

A lot of them that are here, they have watched you guys through the ranks of the PGA TOUR, so they feel like they're on this journey with you guys. The fans are super awesome out here.

The volunteers, we have a couple volunteers here. On behalf of all of us, thank you for everything that you do. We had over 600 volunteers this week working this tournament. As Steve and the guys and Pam know, we can't do this tournament, any tournament, without you.

Thank you on behalf of all of us for what you do.

Also, and John will touch on this in a couple minutes, we had one of the kind of cooler initiatives that we do here is with John and ServPro is paying homage in celebrating the military and frontline healthcare workers and service personnel. They all received complementary admission this week. That's a big initiative for us in the tournament, and the Hero Outpost was absolutely packed the first couple days, so that was awesome.

One more before we get into the Q and A. Earlier in the week we had a cool event. It's called the First Tee Champions Challenge. So we had five First Tee kids or five First Tee chapters here playing a three-day tournament. Did community service and got to really experience what Naples and southwest Florida is all about.

The First Tee of Metropolitan New York won the event. Sandy was a former chief development officer for First Tee of Metro New York, so he was smirking a little bit.

Also, they were able to participate in a clinic earlier this week, so really cool initiative for them.

That was a great kickoff for the week, and now we're here to wrap up the week. What we will do now is turn it over to John for a couple of words on behalf of ServPro, and then we'll do the presentation of the check.

JOHN SOOKER: This is our fourth year as the presenting sponsor of the Chubb Classic. This tournament gets better and better every year. I really have to recognize the Tiburon Golf Club. Great golf course. Beautiful shape, terrific set up, so congratulations on that. Thank you very much.

Also like to recognize Outlyr, Sandy back there, him and his team, Ryan, Nicole. We have of course Sam and Katie, the whole group. We can't do what we do without those folks, and I want to say thank you very much for everything that you do.

Certainly our partnership with Chubb, right? It's a great partnership, both in this environment here and out in business. Terrific, terrific company. We really, Pam, thank you very much for everything that you do.

Also want to mention that Hero's Outpost. That's important. We do that in every tournament that we sponsor. We believe it's really important to recognize those first responders and military. If you think about southwest Florida a couple years ago with Hurricane Ian, right, these are the first people to run in and help those people that their lives have been turned upside down.

We really appreciate everything they do, and it goes to the resiliency of this community after Ian. It's wonderful to see how the community has bounced back.

So with that being said, Stephen, congratulations. What a great tournament. Fun to watch you play out there. Striking the ball very well. On behalf the ServPro, our franchises, 2200 locations, we want to present you with this check.


STEPHEN AMES: Thanks. Thank you very much. (Applause.) Here you go, Kelly. (Laughter.)

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Now let's introduce Pam Humphrey. Pam, the floor is yours.

PAM HUMPHREY: I just wanted to say the Chubb Classic is an excellent event. It is one of the significant events for Chubb. We are welcomed with open arms and have been for 26 years in the southwest Florida area. It's impactful to the community.

Chubb is a very philanthropic company, and the charity impact that we have in this community we think is just wonderful. It fits with our culture.

I would also like to say this event has grown over the years. Now Chubb has, you know, visitors, colleagues, business associates, clients, distribution partners, from all over the globe.

We have this time people from Europe, Latin America, Mexico, and of course North America, including Canada and Bermuda. It's well attended and one of the favorite events of our clients, business associates, and colleagues.

We also have expanded it over the years so that more of our colleagues and associates can take part in this wonderful event.

Again, we also want to take the Tiburon staff, volunteers, and the Outlyr organization for all the hard work they've done to make in a successes as it has been over the 26 years. (Applause.)

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Without further ado, I think it's time to present a little bit of hardware to our 2024 champion.

PAM HUMPHREY: Yes. And I would like to congratulate you on some great play, some exciting shots over this week.

STEPHEN AMES: Thank you.

PAM HUMPHREY: It's been great. Congratulations, and well deserved. I would like to present you with the trophy.

STEPHEN AMES: Thank you. (Applause.) I'm just going to say a couple words. On behalf of myself and my wife, we want to say thank you very much to Chubb for being a wonderful sponsor on the tour. 26 years almost they've been here in South Florida supporting the Champions Tour, and ServPro for being the presenting sponsor, thank you very much.

And of course Tiburon and the staff. Unfortunate what's happened here today which is very uncharacteristic of Florida raining as much as it is this week. The golf course is in wonderful shape. We had a great time here this week. Very busy as we all know.

But to say thank you very much to everybody for being here and helping and all the wonderful volunteers out there helping and shuffling along people very much this week.

Again, thank you very much, and see you next year. (Applause.) Thank you.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Couple quick ones from me. You're starting off pretty well. T8 finish in Hualalai last week and winning here. Just talk about the first two events. What was your mindset going into the 2024 season and then the first two events and how have been so successful so far.

STEPHEN AMES: I think overall it was -- the mindset was pretty much the same as it was last year. 2022 was a very consistent, great year for me. I was knocking on the door multiple times but didn't have a win.

Last year, '23, I won four times, and I was like, wow, this is a little different for me. So I learned a lot from that, from being in that situation. The same situation arose here this week where everything -- it was funny, because we had almost a month and a half, two months after, and three weeks prior to coming here I didn't play much golf.

The mental part of it was the part that was very capable. Unusual, capable at the same time, for me to switch on and go. That's something that I took from '23 coming into this year.

I think at the end of the day, some people might say it's a lucky win because it was only two rounds, but at the same time, I think I was already in the mode where I think I would've won by five our six again. That's realistic of where I am with my game.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Following up on that, we talked about this yesterday a little bit because we knew what the weather was coming. Rocco had the early lead after Friday. What was the mindset going into yesterday? And then was it just full on, just full-court press charge because we didn't know if we were going to be able to play today or not?

STEPHEN AMES: It pretty much was. I wouldn't say I changed my game approach taking more chances or going at more flags or anything. I was still being my patient self, waiting for things to happen.

First couple holes I hit it close and didn't make any putts, and I knew there was an occasion where I had to be patient and wait for it to happen. It did. The end of the front nine I had four in a row and started going down the line.

Funny enough, I didn't see enough leaderboards out there so I was checking my phone to see what position I was in. I don't think it's against the rules. I was doing that just to see. I realized, oh, I'm actually leading, and that's where -- I saw that and I started saying, okay, maybe I should just push down on the pedal a little harder, which I did, and more birdies started falling, which is obviously fun.

You get to that stage you want to keep putting the pedal down and getting further and further away. Like you said, you didn't know what the situation was going to be for today, so if I ended up the day being a little bit more in front and we played I would have a bit of a cushion to start the day.

As we can see from looking outside, the weather is not conducive to playing golf unfortunately.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Yesterday the weather was beautiful. Stephen --

STEPHEN AMES: The whole week.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Yeah, Rocco and Ernie, Cejka, they were all playing lights out. Pam, you told me earlier you have been coming to this tournament over 15 years now.

As a fan, not a top sponsor, but as a fan, what's it like to watch the best players of the game do what they do and do it with a passion that they have?

PAM HUMPHREY: It's very exciting to watch and exciting to watch the fans. And I've just seen it's always been one where the crowd really enjoys the play and enjoys the players.

As you said, a lot of fans have been following the players over their whole careers, and this is a great time to see them and enjoy some great play of golf.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: John, similar type of question for you. As a fan, but also you spent a lot of time in the Hero's Outpost on Friday and Saturday; it was packed. Talk about from you as a fan watching this tournament, but being with the military and veterans and first responders and having them watch the great players of the game here this week.

JOHN SOOKER: Yeah, as a fan, couple really cool things. There is a lot of folks out there, a lot of turnout, and they're very knowledgeable. They know a lot about the sport, and that's fun to watch. This fan base really gets it.

There is nothing like enjoyment. Going to that Hero's Outpost and thanking them for their service, it's really you, thank you for everything that you do. They're so appreciative.

Again, we see it in all these different places when something bad happens, how they race into where the trouble is. For them to do that, just it's the least we can do for them.

It was packed in there, get so a chance to shake hands and hear stories, fire fighters, emergency medical people or military, it's all really, really cool. It gives you chills for all the great stuff they do on our behalf.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Stephen, last one from me. You guys are all headed to Morocco tonight. After this win, what does this do for your momentum and the motivation? How does this kind of level set or reset your mindset going into rest of the season so far?

STEPHEN AMES: My mindset hasn't really changed in that respect, but for next week, it actually has a little bit of motivation for me because I have I am defending champion going there.

I know for a fact there are not many golfers that love this golf course because it's extremely difficult. Tee-to-green it's probably one of the best golf courses we play all year. The green structures there are diabolical is probably a minor word to use. It's going to be a good mental test to be able to cope with it.

But Kelly and I do enjoy going over to Morocco, one for the people and two the food is fantastic. Something when you're Caribbean born you love those curry spices and stuff, so I'm very much looking forward to having some nice home cooked meals next week.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Open up for questions.

Q. Have you ever been involved in a situation like this where you were leading and didn't get to play?

STEPHEN AMES: First. This is my first. It's kind of nice to wake and go, oh, congrats. It was a first for me.

Q. Had the rain gear on?

STEPHEN AMES: I had it all set out. Rain gear was packed up ready to go.

Q. Incredible run in the last 54 weeks or so now; five wins. What do you think the biggest reason for that is?

STEPHEN AMES: It's an accumulation of a lot of factors at this stage right now. One, Shauheen, I've been with my coach for five years. We made some wonderful progression changes in my golf swing where I feel a lot more comfortable over the ball, able to control it a lot better than I have in the past, even when I played the PGA TOUR.

And coming here, and then also the fact that I'm 60 in April and after injuring my shoulder in '20? '21? 2020, COVID years. Only played eight events that year and I came out and said, that's enough of that. Hired Shauheen who also works with couple of the Canadian boys. We started getting myself back into shape.

So now it's almost a regimen now where I'm four to five days a week in the gym. Doing that a lot, and I have also gone back to my old psychologist who I started on the PGA TOUR in 2004.

Q. Who that is?

STEPHEN AMES: Alan Fine. His company is Inside Out in Salt Lake City. Those accumulation things, and, of course, me marrying and finding this lovely lady, Kelly, we been together for six years, it's another big factor in my life, too.

So a lot of great positives there for me. I'm just playing mind free and enjoying golf.

Q. Had some strong years on the PGA TOUR and got in the top 20 in the world. Is this some of your best golf regardless where you're playing?

STEPHEN AMES: Yeah, I would probably say it is, yes, for sure, yeah.

Q. And as a young kid in Trinidad, what drew you to golf?

STEPHEN AMES: I guess just the nature of the sport being very individual, not having to rely on other people to play well. I can put 110% on a team and the guy next to me only putting in 10%. That is not really fair. The onus always ended up being on me, so something that any individual wants to achieve in life, we know we have to work hard at it. The more effort and work and the emphasis of working at it harder, you're going to achieve something out of it.

I've always been that kind of mindset throughout my whole career and life, so that's basically I start and picked it up. My dad played it. Played a couple rounds together. My grandmother played it as well. It's sort of a family thing, but not a big family thing.

Q. Two quick ones for you. First of all, this is your third top 10 finish out here. Just a few comments on the course. Obviously suits your game pretty well. Few comments about what you like about the course.

STEPHEN AMES: It's unique because of the way it was built. I know through what I remember reading when Greg was building the course, he had a lot of challenges with the environmental stuff. The unique thing about this golf course compared to other golf courses that we played in the past down here, as an example, Twin Eagle, there is a little bit more room for forgiveness off the tee. Here, you miss the fairway you've missed the fairway.

Funny enough actually is the nature of my game. Fairway, green, fairway, green. In the past, funny enough, I've never enjoyed playing here maybe because of the mindset coming into it. After what I learned last year and the year before that, I came here with a different mindset and made myself love the golf course and hit the ball extremely well.

For this time of year for me it's very unusual. At the same time, like I said, it was rough in the fairways. Greens were fantastic. Everything about the whole week itself was wonderful. Crowds were fantastic. Sponsors are great. They're here for us, which is lovely.

At the same time, we always have a good time going to Naples, too.

Q. Second question: Four wins last year. If I did my math right, you now have five in your last 24 starts on the PGA TOUR Champions: At the end of the season last season, you mentioned the sports psychologist. Are you the type that has to dial yourself down a little bit? Not implying there was any cockiness, but did you have to take a minute and think, all right, is the goal to better that in 2024, or how do you approach a new season when you've had such a good one?

STEPHEN AMES: I had that comment from a lot of people, one being my wife. Babe, you're supposed to be in your twilight years, not peaking. We're taking it in stride, let's put it that way, learning from this perspective where we are right now.

The cockiness part, no, been there, done that. Learned that from golf in the past. It can eat you and spit you our literally.

At this stage now we've come back down and it's a new year. We have set different goals. We're trying to gain those goals and see what happens, if we achieve those goals at the end of the year. We'll very set and go for '25. At the end of every year, all players do set a goal they think is attainable and go from there.

I've got some very big top ones for me to achieve. We'll see if I achieve them or not.

At the end of the day I'm not going to look back and say I didn't achieve them, beat myself up. I'm going to say I started the year off won here at Chubb. Great, I'm off and running, which is great.

JEREMY FRIEDMAN: Pam, John, Steve, thank you very much.

PAM HUMPHREY: Thank you.

JOHN SOOKER: Thank you.

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