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HERO WORLD CHALLENGE MEDIA DAY
September 15, 2014
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â Good morning.Â Thank you all for joining us today.Â My name is Mike Antolini.Â I'm the vice president of championships for the Tiger Woods Foundation.Â We're thrilled to be here at beautiful Isleworth Golf and Country Club today, and before we start today's program, I just want to thank Mr.Lewis, his daughter Vivian and the Tavistock Group, and David Kemp and the Isleworth staff for their warm welcome today.
I'd also like to recognize Tiger Woods Foundation president and CEO Rick Singer, and the tournament's founding partners, Dole, Itochu, CDW and Citi Private Bank.
Last November, the Tiger Woods Foundation and the Tavistock Group formed a partnership designed to elevate the World Challenge to new heights, and today we're thrilled to announce as its new title sponsor, Hero Motocorp.
Hero is the world's largest manufacturer of two‑wheelers, and it's based in India.Â We're very excited to see what this global brand can bring to the game of golf through the Hero World Challenge.
Representing Hero today is its vice‑chairman and CEO, Pawan Munjal.Â Pawan has consistently demonstrated his visionary leadership to emerge as one of India's most highly respected business leaders.Â Even in the highly competitive and volatile market, he has guided Hero to not just consolidate its leadership status but to also expand its global footprint across continents.
Under his leadership, Hero has achieved the coveted title of world's No.1 two‑wheeler company in 2001, and it has retained this status for 13 consecutive years.
Before we hear from Mr.Munjal, I'd like to direct your attention to the monitors so we can learn more about Hero Motocorp.
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome Hero vice‑chairman and CEO, Mr.Pawan Munjal.
PAWAN MUNJAL:Â Tiger, Mike, ladies and gentlemen, I've come to this club quite a few times over the last 10‑odd years, most of the time as a spectator to the Tavistock Cup here, and every time I would come here, I would ask myself when will Hero become part of one of these big events here in the U.S.
Well, today is the day.Â It is a very special occasion, not just for my company, Hero Motocorp, but for me personally, too.Â There is much to be proud of as we gather here today to announce the title sponsorship of the World Challenge, which from now on will be called the Hero World Challenge, a tournament known across the world as a premier invitational hosted by Tiger Woods.Â It serves as a perfect platform for us to start our journey in these lands at these levels.
This title sponsorship of the Hero World Challenge is reflective of brand Hero's rapidly expanding global footprint.Â Having been associated with the game in India for over two decades and being the title sponsor for the Hero Indian Open for both men and women for over 15 years, it is only befitting that Hero should now be stepping out of the Indian shores and take the grandest stage, and what grander stage could it have been for Hero than the Hero World Challenge?
As anyone who knows me will attest, I have been keen to foster an association with Tiger and the Tiger Woods Foundation for many, many years.
I first happened to be introduced to Tiger right here in this club in the dressing room during the Tavistock Cup by another friend of mine, Daniel Chopra.Â I think that was the day I decided sooner than later I would get into a friendship with Tiger, I would work together with the Tiger Woods Foundation towards the betterment of the underprivileged, and also for the betterment of golf, not just in the U.S. but around the globe.
It is my proud privilege to host‑‑ it was my proud privilege to host Tiger when he took time out to come on his maiden visit to Delhi in February of this year to play a round of golf with some of us.Â In our cricket‑mad country, his visit generated unprecedented enthusiasm and accentuated the importance of the association I felt we must foster with Tiger going forward.
We've run the Indian Open for many, many years, as I've said.Â We've never had such large crowds on the golf course, and I just mentioned before coming in here to this room, there were kids five years, seven years old, there were all people, ladies, men in wheelchairs, who came to see Tiger on the golf course, and they were lining up on the tee, 5,000 of them.Â For me, surely I managed not to hit any one of them while driving.Â For Tiger it was, of course, an easy game.
I feel there are many synergies between us at Hero, a rapidly growing global brand, and Tiger, a true champion who exemplifies great toughness, never‑give‑up attitude, and sustained excellence for the game.Â His foundation mirrors his own personal attributes.
In August last year, Hero Motocorp became only the second company in the world but the fastest to produce and sell 50 million motorcycles and scooters since its inception.Â Today, one out of every 10 motorcycles in the world globally is a Hero bike, and one out of every second motorcycle in India is a Hero bike.Â Even as Hero two‑wheelers have gone on to become the most popular mode of personal transport for millions, the brand Hero has also become synonymous with sports, supporting and promoting a diverse area of sports in India and globally, most notably cricket, golf and hockey.Â Only two weeks back Hero signed on as the title sponsor of the Hero Indian Super League of Soccer on the lines of EPL (English Premier League) in India.
As a passionate golfer myself, I fully understand the significance of our association with an event of the highest caliber such as this and what it means for Hero.Â I am equally confident that the Hero World Challenge is poised for greater glory with the coming together of our combined values, ideas, and the spirit of excellence.
I thank everyone associated with the Hero World Challenge, the media present here today, the Tavistock Group, and above all, Tiger Woods and the Tiger Woods Foundation.Â This is truly the perfect platform for Hero Motocorp to introduce ourselves to you all and to the world out there and to what our corporate philosophy is, the Hero World Challenge is the harmonious blending of two global brands coming together for an event that couldn't be scripted in a more idyllic setting than this.Â This is just the beginning.Â Going forward, we will certainly look at further cementing this relationship.
I wish the Hero World Challenge all the very best and look forward to seeing you all in December.Â Before I sit down, let me say that you have one Hero sitting in front of you.Â Ladies and gentlemen, the other Hero from India is coming soon.Â Thank you very much.
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â Thank you, Pawan.Â Pawan spoke about Tiger's visit to India earlier this year, and if I could again direct your attention to the monitors, we have a brief video that highlights this trip.
This year's Hero World Challenge is shaping up to be a truly special event.Â As we welcome a field of the top PGA TOUR players to Isleworth this December 3‑7, competing for a $3.5 million prize purse.Â We have early commitments from tournament host and five‑time Hero World Challenge champion Tiger Woods; our defending champion, Zach Johnson; two‑time champion Graeme McDowell and his fellow European Ryder Cup teammates Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson; Australia's Jason Day; U.S. Ryder Cup team members Matt Kuchar, Rickie Fowler, Jordan Spieth, Jim Furyk, Hunter Mahan, and 2014 Masters champion Bubba Watson.Â Also we're very happy to welcome to the field recent Deutsche Bank Championship winner Chris Kirk and yesterday's FedExCup champion Billy Horschel.
As you know, the World Challenge field is limited only to those players in the top 50 in the Official World Golf Rankings, and we will continue to receive a few more commitments this week in addition to two exemptions that will be announced, as well.
More exciting news:Â For the first time ever, Isleworth will open its doors to the general public for the Hero World Challenge.Â A limited number of tickets to the Hero World Challenge are available beginning today at heroworldchallenge.com.Â We do anticipate this event to sell out, and we encourage everyone to go to heroworldchallenge.com for tickets.
The Hero World Challenge benefits the Tavistock Foundation and the Tiger Woods Foundation.Â Now please join me in welcoming the founder of the Tiger Woods Foundation, five‑time Hero World Challenge champion and tournament host, Tiger Woods.Â Tiger?
TIGER WOODS:Â Thanks, Mike.Â Mr.Munjal, everyone, first off, it's great to be back here at Isleworth.Â You guys saw the video; that's my last good round I played all year.Â I shot 63 that day.
But no, it's great to be back, to have Hero here as our title sponsor, and to have it coming back to a golf course that's been near and dear to my heart here at Isleworth, it's very special.Â Thanks to Joe Lewis and all the Tavistock guys for their hard work and making this come together.Â Everyone who's involved with our foundation is so excited to come back here.Â Everyone is signed up.Â We've got an unbelievable field this year, some early commitments as Mike was saying.Â It's going to be a deep field, and again, we're so excited to come back here, and hopefully I can play a little bit better than I have been playing.Â So thanks again.
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â Now I'd like to begin today's Q&A with a question for Mr.Munjal.Â Pawan, it's clear that you and Tiger quickly developed a strong bond during his visit to India.Â How did the idea of sponsoring the World Challenge come about?
PAWAN MUNJAL:Â Well, as I just mentioned from the podium, after having spent almost two long decades supporting golf in India, sponsoring tournaments, sponsoring golfers, it was only just the right thing for us to do, as I said, step out of the Indian shores, go on to a bigger stage, and what better time than now when as a company Hero Motocorp is going global from being more a domestic company selling so far mainly in India very large volumes.
You mentioned us being the single largest producer of motorcycles and scooters in the world for 13 consecutive years.Â For your benefit, ladies and gentlemen, last year we produced 6.25 million motorcycles and scooters, and I have set myself a target to get up to 12 million annually by the year 2020.
So 6.25 today translates to 23,000 motorcycles every day, which is a very large number.Â So we have to take our motorcycle scooters to the rest of the globe.Â We've started going into Africa, into Latin America, into Central America.Â So to take the brand global, clearly we have to go on to the global stage, so this was the right thing for us to do.
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â And Tiger, one question for you:Â What does it mean to have Hero on board, and have you thought about what this partnership can mean for our foundation as it relates to India?
TIGER WOODS:Â Well, as I said earlier, I got a chance to meet Mr.Munjal when I was there in February and struck up a friendship, and now we're in a partnership, which is fantastic.Â Their brand is growing globally.Â We as a foundation have been very domestic, and we're looking to expand our reach, what we've done for kids.Â We've helped millions of kids here in the United States, but ultimately we would like to do that on a global basis, and having Hero on board ultimately will help us do that.
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â Now we'll turn over the questions to the media.Â I know there's a lot of folks in the room today, but we ask that the questions come strictly from media members, and if you could, if you could state your name and outlet before you ask your question, we would appreciate it.Â We have a few microphones here.
Q.Â If you could just kind of give us a timeline of what you've been doing, physical‑wise, golf‑wise, and how your progress is coming.
TIGER WOODS:Â Well, golf‑wise, nothing.Â I haven't swung a golf club yet.Â I've just been shadow swinging without a club, but I've been busting my butt in the gym pretty hard.Â I've got my strength back, which is nice.Â Now the next goal is to get my explosiveness and my fast twitch going, and that's the next phase of my training.
Q.Â I'd like to ask one question of Mr.Munjal and one of Tiger.Â Mr.Munjal, Tiger just spoke about the Tiger Woods Foundation going global.Â I know your company has been doing a lot of charity work back only in India.Â How do you see the Tiger Woods Foundation making its entry into India?
PAWAN MUNJAL:Â Well, as Tiger just mentioned, the Tiger Woods Foundation would also like to go global as my company is going global, and only yesterday evening we were chatting up and saying that Tiger Woods Foundation is doing a lot of work here in the U.S. on stem, so why don't we take this to other countries outside the U.S., and to start with, let's say India.Â So we are already starting to chat up, and I'm sure very soon we will work out something together to do something in India with the Tiger Woods Foundation.
Q.Â Tiger, you were there in February in India.Â I mean, it was an epic moment for Indian golf, as Mr.Munjal mentioned, more than 5,000, 6,000 people there.Â What was your experience of India?Â What had you heard about Indian golf?Â You've got a great friend in Arjun Atwal, one of India's favorite golfers.Â What was your impression when you actually landed on Indian soil and played a round of golf with Mr. Munjal and a few others at the Delhi Golf Club?
TIGER WOODS:Â Well, I don't know if anyone knows about Delhi Golf Club, but it is one of the most narrow golf courses you'll ever play.Â It is fairway and bushes, and there's 6,000 people all inside the tree line.Â I've been nervous on golf courses before.Â It's no big deal, right?Â Well, here you've got 6,000 people and you have no place to land the ball.Â Our goal was not to hit anybody, and I think we did a pretty good job of that.Â I think I only hit one.
It was a great time.Â I'm going to tell you, we had a blast.Â We had an absolute blast.Â Arjun, who's one of my best friends, he's been telling me that I really need to get to India, and I finally did, and he was right, I had a great time.Â Mr.Munjal and his entire staff and Delhi Golf Club, all the people that came out, it was just a fun time.Â We were all high fiving, having a great time.Â People were asking questions while we were playing.Â It was very lighthearted, very fun and very intimate, and I think everyone who was out there and watched had a great time.
Q.Â Tiger, Rory said last week that he thinks you and Phil are on the last few holes of your back nine.Â I don't think he meant anything by it, but it created a bit of a stir.Â Where do you think you are, and what did you think of his comments?
TIGER WOODS:Â I thought it was funny.Â I mean, Phil has less holes to play than I do, though.Â (Laughter.)Â What is he, five years older than me or four?Â Five.Â Yeah, so yeah, it's a reality, you know?Â We're all older.Â I'm nearing my 20th season on TOUR here coming up pretty soon.Â I've been out here for a while, and Phil has been out here for a while.Â Phil has made every single Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup team since, I think, what, '95.Â Pretty remarkable.
But yeah, it's just part of the aging process.Â When I first came out here on TOUR, I remember seeing some of these kids out here that‑‑ fellow players and their kids, and now I'm actually playing against their kids.Â It's just how time goes on and time goes by.Â As long as you're still part of that conversation, you cross generations in this game of golf.Â For instance, I got a chance to play with, as you saw all in 2000, Jack Nicklaus in the PGA Championship.Â Being able to cross generations like that, I remember Jack telling me at that PGA that he got a chance to play with Gene Sarazen in his last PGA.Â It's not too often you get a chance to play with people who are legends of the game, obviously well past their prime, but they're still playing in the same event.Â You don't see that in any other sport.Â I think that's what makes golf so special, and that's also what makes it so enjoyable to play, is that you can play for such a long period of time and still be successful at it.
Q.Â With the rehab and whatnot, is it a day‑to‑day thing, or are you trying to set goals and benchmarks as you go along?
TIGER WOODS:Â You know, it's both.Â It's both.Â We have our goals and benchmarks, but it's also day‑to‑day.Â Some days I'm making bigger gains than others.Â Same days I'm backing off a little bit.Â But as I said earlier to Doug here, we're pretty much past the strength phase now, and I've got my strength where I want to have it, now I just need to get my fast twitch going and get my speed back, and that's going to take a little bit of time.Â That's part of our second phase of training, and that's coming up now.
Q.Â Being three months away, you're not swinging a club, will this be your first competitive time back?Â Do you anticipate anything else?Â And is it hard not to put yourself‑‑ as competitive as you are, a timeline of I want to be here at this point leading up to that?
TIGER WOODS:Â Would I like to play?Â There's no doubt, yes.Â I miss competing, I miss playing, I miss being out here with the guys, I miss all that, but I'm not physically ready for it yet.Â You know, there's two components to it.Â Yeah, you can be‑‑ you can be strong, but I want to be back to where I used to be.Â I want to have that speed back again.
This summer I had it for a little bit, and then it kind of deteriorated as I played.Â It was nice to be able to shut it down, get stronger, now I'm incorporating the speed element into it, and I'll start ramping up from there.Â Once I get to that point where I feel comfortable doing that, then I've got to get out there and do all the legwork on the range and eventually the golf course and ultimately under tournament conditions.
Q.Â Is it by design to not be hitting balls yet or practicing, or had you hoped to start by this point, and also, looking back, do you regret coming back, playing tournament golf this summer?
TIGER WOODS:Â Yes, the design was to start making golf swings either late September or early October, then if I started early October I'd have two full months to prepare to play in the Hero World Challenge.Â I'm right on the timeline, so that's perfect.
As far as coming back this summer too soon, I felt good enough to do it, and the only unfortunate part is I couldn't maintain the conditioning.Â I wasn't as conditioned as I needed to be.Â So as the tournament would wear on, I would get more and more fatigued and tired, and I wasn't as explosive, I wasn't as strong because I couldn't burn the candle at both ends.Â I couldn't lift the weights that I'm used to‑‑ or accustomed to lifting as well as playing and practicing.Â I just couldn't do all of it at the same time.Â Eventually the game started to deteriorate a little bit because physically I couldn't‑‑ I wasn't in good enough shape to maintain it.
One of the reasons why we had our different phases we have in my conditioning program, this conditioning program is very similar to what I went through in '08 when I came back from my reconstructed knee.Â There's different phases to it, and eventually I get out there where I can start playing and I'm explosive, but also I have the strength and endurance component, too.
Q.Â Will you be looking for a new coach?Â What will you be looking for in a new coach if you are?Â And the third part that I'm just curious about is have you ever had, of any of your coaches, where you knew more about the swing than they did?
TIGER WOODS:Â Am I looking for a new coach?Â As of right now, no, I'm not.Â Right now I'm just trying to get physically better, stronger, faster, more explosive.
As far as knowing more than my coaches, I would have to say on the technical side, I probably don't know as much as some of them.Â But from a feel standpoint, which is something that I think is innate, because of what we're able to do at such an elite level, yeah, I think I know a lot more than they do because they've never played down the stretch on the back nine of a major championship, never won majors, never felt that, what do the hands feel, what does the body feel, the things that we as players at this level who have won enough times understand, what it feels like.
I think that's something‑‑ you have to understand your practice sessions, you've got to be able to understand your practice sessions, those practice sessions, will they work on the back nine on a Sunday of a major, either yes or no, and I think that's one thing I've always tried to tell all my coaches, will it work or not work, and if it's not going to work, then we're not going down that road.
I'm in no hurry to look for one right now.Â As I said, I'm just focused on what I'm doing.
Q.Â How gratifying is it 20 years into this wonderful career you've amassed to be able to introduce a brand from India to people in North America that a lot have probably never heard of unless they're real motorcycle enthusiasts, the idea that you still move the needle.Â We know what you do on television ratings and we know the fans flock to see you, but the idea that a title sponsor in so many sports sponsorships, people are trying to hang on to what they have or find a North American company to write a check, and you went out across the world and found something fairly new to this genre.
TIGER WOODS:Â Well, if you think about it, look at the title of our tournament, the World Challenge.Â It means the world, and Hero Motocorp and what Mr.Munjal has done with his company has been remarkable, and it's a natural fit.Â You look at all of our participants in the fields over the years, they've played from all over the world.Â We've got guys from South Africa, from Australia, we've had guys from Canada, Paraguay, we've had them from everywhere, and golf is a global sport, and we wanted our tournament to be a global tournament.
That's one of the reasons why we named it the World Challenge.Â Now with Hero on board, I think it further cements that, and I think that with what Hero is doing around the world globally and their impact that they're having, I think it's a natural fit for us as a foundation that we can explore other options of expansion and how we can expand and maybe introduce satellite learning centers, not just here in the United States but also around the world.
Q.Â I know you touched on the Rory comments a little bit, but having the partnership with him with Nike in the past little bit, and I know we've seen him making the rounds on Jimmy Fallon and whatnot, and obviously your passion and your drive to win and succeed is insurmountable, but does having him around and seeing the success he had this year, does that just push you even more, and can you just touch on that a little bit?
TIGER WOODS:Â Yeah, well, it's a different generation.Â You know, the guys that I played against most of my career was Phil, Vijay, Ernie, Goose, Paddy.Â Those are probably the core guys that I played with or played against for the last 15, almost 20 years now.Â This is the next crop coming up, Rory being one, probably Jordan Spieth, Rickie.Â That's the next wave of guys that are coming up.
It's fun to be a part of.Â I've fallen pretty far in the World Rankings now, but at one point we were both 1 and 2 in the world, and very similar to what it was in the late '90s and early 2000s when Duval and I were both 1 and 2, and we both represented Nike.
To have the Nike presence out there like that I think is fantastic.Â I just hope it'll be me soon that's out there playing that well, but Rory right now is playing fantastically, and I'm sure he's going to continue to get better.
Q.Â When you had the surgery back in March, you had said since then that leading up to that, quality of life was rough.Â Can you talk about how you are now with not playing golf in that regard, and also, have you had any setbacks at all since the PGA?
TIGER WOODS:Â Let's see.Â It's fun to go out there and be able to play soccer with my kids and run around and have fun with them.Â That part I was missing a lot last year, end of last year and the beginning of this year.Â I just couldn't do it.Â You never want to have your kids think that you just can't do things with them because you physically can't.Â That was a tough time for me emotionally.
But now I'm able to do anything I want with them, and it's a lot, trust me, it's a lot.Â They don't stop.Â That's what my mom said; payback is something else, and she's right.
Q.Â Two questions if I can:Â First being what is the commitment to Isleworth and the Orlando market for this tournament?
TIGER WOODS:Â Well, I think it was a natural fit for us with Tavistock.Â This is where we've had the Tavistock Cup for a number of years here, here or Lake Nona.Â This has been my home golf course for the better part of 13, 14 years, and I think that when we were talking about it with Joe, we felt comfortable that it would be nice to come here and play this event here, and then the membership agreed, and hence that's why we're playing it here this year.
Q.Â The Tavistock Cup used to go back and forth between here and Lake Nona.Â Do you foresee something like that?
TIGER WOODS:Â I foresee us probably not doing that, probably moving someplace else.Â But as of right now, this year, we're excited about playing it here at Isleworth.
Q.Â And looking forward, do you have a sense of what your early schedule might be for the next season?
TIGER WOODS:Â You know, that's a great question.Â That's all dependent on how I feel and how I'm playing when I play in the Hero World Challenge here.Â That's something I'm curious about.Â I'm curious, just like I'm sure most of the media guys are here, how I'm going to be feeling, how I'm going to be playing, and if I don't have any setbacks or any pain, then I foresee a very full schedule next year.
Q.Â A lot of guys as they're hitting their 40s and have injuries talk about having to adapt and adjust their swing, and I'm curious in talking about the explosiveness and getting your strength back if there's anything you've had to do to adjust, and also, are you doing anything flexibility‑wise, any yoga perhaps?Â I know a lot of us just have trouble getting out of bed once we reach our 40s, so I'm curious what you're doing in that regard.
TIGER WOODS:Â I've always been one that has been very limber, very loose.Â I've never had a problem with my flexibility at all.Â One of the reasons why I started lifting back in high school was to tighten up.Â I was actually too loose, and even in college my shoulder would sublux every now and again.Â I've actually had to strengthen just to hold things in place.
That comes from my mom's side, my mom's side being Thai, they're very limber and very loose and that's how I've been my entire life.Â I've always been blessed in that regard.Â But as far as doing yoga or any of that other stuff, no, I don't have the patience for that.
Q.Â My question is for Mr.Munjal, obviously you're expanding your marketing efforts in the United States.Â Do you have any plans to expand your manufacturing in the United States and central Florida in particular?
PAWAN MUNJAL:Â Yeah, surely manufacturing would follow, as we've gone into Latin America and Asia, we're already setting up a factory in Colombia and one in Bangladesh.Â As we come into the United States with our products, we will start bringing them from India or maybe from South America, but for sure we are looking at manufacturing in the United States.Â I'm not sure if it's going to be Florida or some other state.Â It could be the Carolinas, could be Ohio.Â I'm really not sure, but definitely manufacturing in the United States.
Q.Â Tiger, what will you not miss about the Ryder Cup?
TIGER WOODS:Â What will I not miss?Â One, listening to Kuchar's jokes.Â (Laughter.)Â And number two, all the practical jokes that Kuch will play on everybody, namely me.
Q.Â Can we have some examples?
TIGER WOODS:Â No, I'm going to miss it a lot.Â I missed it a lot in '08 when I wasn't a part of the team.Â I felt that‑‑ I've been a part of so many teams over the years that you start to understand what these teams mean, what kind of bonds guys develop because of that one week.Â You have bonds just because of that one week that you're bonded for life.Â It's just amazing what happens during that one week.
We beat each other's brains in 51 weeks of the year, and then we all of a sudden come together and make friendships for a lifetime.Â It's pretty cool.
You know, it's interesting that I've gotten a chance to play with‑‑ over the years I've had partners that are now the captains.Â I played with Freddie in Australia in the Presidents Cup, I've played with Davis in Ryder Cups, and now they're the captains.Â That's an interesting part of it.
MIKE ANTOLINI:Â Tiger and Mr.Munjal, thank you.Â Thank you, everyone.Â Lunch is available in the ballroom, and for those that are playing golf, the range is open.Â We look forward to seeing all of you December 3‑7 for the Hero World Challenge.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports