Although his current home is in the northern Virginia suburbs near Washington, D.C., with his wife and children, forgotten in the glare of the klieg lights is the biographical tidbit that Case was born and raised in Honolulu. "When I was a kid I'd come to Kauai every year or so for a vacation," he says. "So for this island in particular, there's always been a place in my heart."
At the opening ceremonies of the full 18-hole Puakea course last August, Case, 45, pointed out the home where his father, Daniel, was raised on Grove Farm property - now within a wedge shot of the golf course. Daniel Case eventually served as attorney for the company. "My grandfather was the treasurer of Grove Farm many years ago," says Case, "so when I was approached about Grove Farm, it made sense.
"I played a little golf when I was a kid, but not in the last decade or so, because I've kinda been busy. In the next decade, I'm looking forward to more golf, and obviously Puakea will be a key part of that. That I've redefined my role at Time Warner gives me time to spend on other things - such as trying to figure out how to be helpful to Grove Farm as a company, and Kauai as an island."
And though the scale might be different, Case sees similarities in revving up Puakea and launching AOL. "We think Puakea is unique, but not as well known as other Hawaiian courses largely because it was 10 holes, which didn't fit into people's conception of a course - they couldn't really focus on it." Now the word will get around, Case suggests, just as it did about AOL, which was difficult to focus on in its early days, too. "AOL was really sold because people had the experience of getting online and being captivated by it," Case says. "They told their friends and family about it and it spread through word of mouth."