News 12 at six o'clock, April 10, 2008
Augusta, GA---Augusta is rolling out the red carpet in hopes of bringing in new businesses and new jobs. That includes a well known automotive company and baseball's Iron Man.
40 different businesses were treated to a day out at Augusta National. One by one they streamed down the red carpet after a police escort fit for visiting royalty.
"Oh, without a doubt, yes, VIP treatment from start to finish," said Philip. He is a businessman from Northern, Ireland. He is also just one of several taken aback by the course.
"I've just walked onto the course...the first time. It's spectacular," said Philip.
"It's sorta awe inspiring. I've never been here before. The red carpet tour is fantastic," said Mike Chambrello who is Chief Operating Officer of Scientific Games.
Of course the tour is not all fun and games. Those who really know how to play the field say this tour is a home run for the local economy.
"If I got this pitch...I'd be here in a heart beat," said Cal Ripken. He weighed in on what he calls a winning game plan. "Taking in the wonderful event and kinda seeing all the people around...who wouldn't want to do this?"
Top executives from Toyota are among the exclusive bunch touring the state of Georgia. Multiple stops are planned in Augusta.
"We need to find a way to get jobs and to boost our economy, and this is one quick way to do it," said Senator Ed Tarver.
"It's a smart play. I don't know what their success ratio is," said Ripken.
It is not too shabby. Past companies on the tour like T Mobile, and the latest, Teleperformance, recently announced as many as 350 jobs in Augusta.
"We've been doing it for years. It's been successful. It's proven," said Senator Tarver.
And Philip says we haven't seen the last of him. "I'd like to be back...yeah...definitely." It was a busy day for the group. They flew in from Atlanta on Thursday. They head to Columbus, GA on Friday, and then back to Augusta on Saturday for the tournament.
The chamber of commerce says more than 23,000 jobs have been created since the tour started more than 40 years ago.