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March 20, 2003

John Bond

Ernie Els

Andrew Hampel

Renton Laidlaw

Arnold Palmer

Julian Small

SIR JOHN BOND: Good morning, everybody and welcome to HSBC and welcome to Canary Walk for those of you whom it's the first visit to London's new territories. This is a somber day for us to be making a make or announcement but we decided to go ahead. We have all of the key players here. My name is John Bond, and I am group chairman of HSBC. And I hope that you probably already know the gentleman beside me. On my left is Andrew Hampel, the senior international group vice president of IMG. And on my right is Julian Small, the managing director of the Wentworth Golf Club. As you can see from our new logo, we are here today to announce HSBC's sponsorship of what will now be the HSBC World Match-play Championship to be held at Wentworth and with the biggest prize in European and American golf, 1 million pounds to the winner. The sponsorship is for ten years, and in that time we aim to ensure that the HSBC World Match-play will be golf's premiere match-play championship. This is an exciting new chapter for The World Match-Play, but we should not forget that it already has a long and a very distinguished history. Let me introduce someone who knows the championship inside-out and can help place it in a historical perspective. Journalist, broadcaster, voice of the European Tour, Renton Laidlaw.

RENTON LAIDLAW: Ladies and gentlemen, good morning. Some of you here like me I'm sure know all about the World Match-Play Championship because we have covered a great many of them over the years. I know myself I have covered over 30. But there are others here who are not so well acquainted with an event which has a very special place in the hearts of most golf fans. When the World Match-Play Championship was first played in 1964, the international golfing scene was very different from what it is today. The leading players, some of them, at any rate came to Britain once a year to play in the Open Championship, and that was the only opportunity which golf fans had the opportunity to of seeing them in action. There was no global television. Going to the club on a winter's night to watch a screening of the World Match-Play Championship in color was a big highlight in itself. On its 40th anniversary, it is appropriate to recall that the tournament was started by Mark McCormack, sadly unable to be with us today. He was managing at the time the big three, Jack Nicklaus, Gary Player and Arnold Palmer. He was looking for ways to maximize the earning capabilities, especially in Britain. He himself had always been a fan of match-play golf and he decided to stage his own Match-Play tournament as a vehicle for them, and in a moment of inspiration, he chose the venue, Wentworth. Less than an hour's drive then from Hyde Park Court, it is perhaps more these days, but the chub has a long history of staging top events: The Ryder Cup, the World Cup and the Curtis Cup, and the West Course is unanimously regarded as one of the most demanding of golfing tests. 40 years on and in a very different golfing world, the event matching the world's best in head-to-head competition over 36 holes; Mark McCormack always believed that over 18 holes, anybody could beat anybody, but that over 36, the better player would win. The event is still as popular as ever. The World Match-Play Championship truly is a golfing success story. Not least, of course, for five-time winners Gary Player and Seve Ballesteros, and more recently, Ernie Els, who has won the event on four occasions. Such has been the quality of the fields each year that 17 of the 21 winners have collectively won 66 majors: 22 Opens 22 Masters, 30 U.S. Opens and nine U.S. PGA Championships. In a moment we shall see a short video highlighting the impressive list of former winners of this event who have triumphed in the annual autumn get-together that has provided us with so many great golfing moments, so many spectacular shots, so many comebacks and controversies, too. Each year the pre-tournament stories in the press where we assess the field, who should have been in and wasn't, who was in and shouldn't, these stories only heightened the awareness of the event for the public and added extra spice to a tournament in which all of the top stars have at one stage or another played. Over the years the quality of the golf has been outstanding, and as an example just think of the 2001 final in which Ian Woosnam winner for a third time beating Padraig Harrington. They had 31 birdies between them in 35 holes. There have been many other magical and majestical moments. We all have our favorites, those of us who have watched The Match Play or reported on it. The World Match-Play is steeped in tradition. It's become a golfing institution. Back in 1964, when Arnold Palmer beat Neal Coles in the final, the first prize was 5,000 pounds. This year the winner will collect 1 million. Over the years, this been a championship that has tested stamina and determination and courage. So, let's look back for a moment and remember the stars, the international stars, who have battled over the past 40 years, often in difficult weather conditions in the autumn, to win a title that has always carried with it tremendous prestige.


SIR JOHN BOND: Renton, thank you very much indeed, and perhaps I could also add HSBC's very best wishes for Mark McCormack. I would like to say a few words why we are excited about this sponsorship. The HSBC World Match-Play Championship gives our brand visibility in a very positive way. We like the association with golf and more importantly, so do our customers. We already sponsor sport in a variety of ways around the world, some of which you've seen in the video. We have our major Formula I sponsorship with Jaguar, of course, and if like me, you support the Buffalo Sabres ice hockey team, you can watch them in the HSBC Arena in downtown Buffalo. Much of the sport we sponsor is rooted in the local communities that we bank. It reflects local sporting interests, dragon boat racing in Hong Kong, rubgy in Australia in New South Wales , Canada s largest fun run in Vancouver and so on. As the world's local bank, we support our local communities. Increasingly our brand is recognized across markets and we are looking at ways of giving it more visibility, and as an international business, we play very close attention to demographic trends. We do so because we like to know where we can find more customers. We are a financial services group with operations in 80 countries and we believe that the financial markets of tomorrow will be different from those of today. We see new consumer markets in developing countries like China, India, Brazil and Mexico with strong growth in financial products, especially consumer finance like mortgages, credit cards, auto loans and so forth. In developed economies with an aging population, we see wealth management with savings as a key theme. So we are positioning ourselves to be a significant player in wealth management markets in OECD countries, and as a provider of consumer finance in developing countries where growth in these areas where we believe will be exponential. There are not many ways to reach as diverse an audience as the one we want to reach, but we believe golf, the HSBC World Match-Play, will give us a great way to show our brand to people in key markets around the world. Of course, no one event or sport can reach all of our audiences. But golf is one of the very few truly global sports both in terms of participation and as a spectator sport, will give us a real bang for our buck. It's popular in all of our major markets: Europe, the Americas, Asia--Pacific and the Middle East. It is growing in popularity among seniors, the Baby Boomers who are such an important part of our customer base, both here in Europe and in the United States. It's a growing sport in Asia, which is now the home to a third of all golfers in the world. It's a growing sport among young people across the world and it is also a growing sport with women, nearly 9 million women play golf in the United States. It's certainly one of the most popular and fastest growing sports among our 38 million clients. In the U.K., for example, nearly three out of ten of our customers describe themselves as golf fans, and wherever I travel in China, I seem to see another world-class course being constructed. From eight courses in 1990, China today has over 130 courses and 60 more under construction. Of course, we've seen a Chinese player win a European Tour event for the first time this year. Golf's image is changing the Tiger effect. I've seen some research in the United States showing that the Top-5 sports ranked in terms of "cool." The USA is the world's largest golf market and a very important one to HSBC where we are the tenth-largest bank and the largest-owned foreign bank in America. The Top 5 cool sports are, in case you want to know: 5, Major League Soccer; 4, women's pro basketball; 3, snowboarding; 2, mountain biking; and No. 1, golf. My children would be amazed to know that I can play a cool sport. But if they saw my performance on the golf simulator downstairs now, they might think differently. We particularly like the inclusiveness of golf. Doesn't matter whether you are young, old, male, female or where you come from. The beauty of golf is that everyone can play and the handicapping system enables anybody to play with anybody. Within the world of golf, this Match-Play event gives us great exposure to a global audience. 210 million homes around the world watch this tournament last year. We believe that a Match-Play event were the best players in the world had the unique potential to carve out a very special place in the world of golf. That is why we've made the long-term commitment to this event. But being HSBC and keen to make our money work as hard as possible, we have also tried very hard to make the event as thrilling as possible. It's not just the 1 million pound prize for the winner or the 2.3 million pound purse, although I am sure that helps. In particular, it's the elite nature of qualifying that we have put into place that we hope will make this event special. We want to see the best against the best. Champions against champions, over 36 holes of one of the great courses. And now to tell you how it will all work and what we have done to make it the best it can be, let me ask Andrew Hampel of our partner, IMG, to fill you in with some of the details. Andrew?

ANDREW HAMPEL: Good morning, everybody and thank you for the kind word about our chairman. As those involved in golf will know, the World Match-Play Championship holds a very dear place in the heart of our chairman and also us at IMG. It's the event which he possibly has the closest affinity of the events we are involved. He created the event and has been intimately involved in it in the 39 years of its history. It has a very special place because I think as the heritage it has developed, it has developed that heritage because of the venue. Wentworth in October in the autumn has consistently produced a fantastic test of golf and the players love to play there. It has produced a great list of winners. The number of major champions that Renton referred to among its role of honor testifies to that. As does that testify to the importance of us and to which our chairman subscribes 36 holes of match-play, we believe that delivers the quality winner at the end of the day; and I think some of the remarks Tiger made at a recent eventually bear that out, as well. As I say, Mark has a great affinity with this event. He would have been here if he could have been here. We very much hope that he will be with us in October. He was fully aware of the relationship which we formulated with HSBC, and we finalized that relationship before Mark fell ill and I think that it's something that he was very proud of. He's very proud of the 39 years of history that we have. He was equally confident that we would be producing another tenure, at least, of an improved event, which for Mark to acknowledge that is quite a significant thing for him to say. There are a number of changes which we are going to introduce from this year, and I will take you through on the PowerPoint presentation the qualification criteria, etc., Which relate to how the event will be staged. The format of the event is the same as it always had been historically: 12 players, with four players seeded to the second round and all matches played over 36 holes. As I have said, the schedule, again has not changed. There will be four matches on Thursday, four on Friday, two semifinals will take place on Saturday and the final on Sunday. There are, however, two major changes to both of which Sir John has already eluded. The purse last year was 1 million pounds; the winner took home 250,000. The prize money this year as you can see has been increased very significantly. That is an important point to make both in terms of the prestige which we attach to the event, the prestige which our partners attach to the event, but equally, it's important to the players as you will be aware. The second major change relates to a very sensitive issue to which Renton again eluded during his introduction. In the past, the qualification criteria for the event had been deliberately vague, shall we say. This has resulted from our perspective we believe in the quality of field and quality of winners the event has delivered over the past. Certain other interested or objective observers, however you wish to categorize it, thought it gave IMG too big of discretion to include people in that field that might not deserve to be there. We stand very strongly against that suggestion. We point to the quality of the field. Thus, when we engaged in these conversations with HSBC, it was a pre-condition from their side that the qualification process needed to be transparent, needed to be objective and in addition it needed to be campaignable. It needed to be something that would be a story throughout the year as the field was filled, as a result of which we sat down, got together and tried to figure out a way of meeting their needs in terms of transparency, but meeting our needs in terms of guaranteeing the quality field we were able to guarantee when we had discretion, as a result of which we came up with a formula based upon performances in the four biggest events of the year, the major championships. The 12-player field will be as per the previous life and the ten positions after the defending champion and the world No. 1 will be based solely upon performance in the four major championships each year. The Official World Ranking basically awards points according to the performance in those events. We will take that scoring system without any amendment to it and we will publish a major championship ranking, the HSBC Major Championship Ranking after each of the major championships. Ultimately this will deliver the quality of field that we need. It will deliver the qualification process, the campaignable process which HSBC required. I was given the somewhat unenviable task of explaining to our chairman that this was a good idea. It was a challenge but I am delighted to say that he conceded to the request very positively in light of the shared goals that he saw that we did indeed share with HSBC. To give you an example of the sort of field that we believe will be created, we have the field that would have been put together based upon the 2002 event based on performances last year. As you can see, it is a stellar field: Defending champion Ian Woosnam, World No. 1 Tiger Woods, and if you run down the list of the players who did achieve genuinely positive results in the majors that year, you can see that no one can question the quality of that. So to recap that, we have a objective quality criteria and we have a qualification criteria that will be relevant and interesting throughout the year, as different players qualify. Ultimately you will need to play. If based upon one performance in a major, if you finish second in a major on your own, you will probably qualify for the event but you cannot be sure. The seeds in the next slide will be based upon a completely clear and understandable process, as set out there. In conclusion, we are very, very proud to be entering into this long-term relationship with HSBC. They fit every criteria you could possibly want from a long-term partner. They are global, they are blue chip and they share our ambitions for this event, not just to keep it at its current level, but to enhance its status, to produce the best field possible every year. We believe that will be achieved and our chairman believes that will be achieved. I very much hope he will be here to tell you the story in October. In conclusion, I thought you might be interested to hear from the first winner of the event, and winner of the most recent event in 2002, namely Arnold Palmer, and Ernie Els.

ERNIE ELS: Sorry I can't be here with you guys today, but I just want to congratulate HSBC for stepping in as a new sponsor for the World Match-Play Championship being played at Wentworth Club. It's always been such an exciting event, not only to myself but to the rest of the players. Not only just to get into the event, into the field but also to participate in such a prestigious event. Through the years we have had some great champions at the world Match-Play. I've obviously enjoyed myself at the tournament, especially winning it for the fourth time last year, beating Sergio Garcia in the final which was a really great reward for me for my end of the season, especially after the Open Championship that I won in July and obviously the birth of my son, Ben, that came just a week before the championship started. So I have some great memories and it's a great championship.

ARNOLD PALMER: I can say that 40 years ago, I won this championship and to think that that many years has gone by. It's a great championship, a great golf course, a great sponsor and great players. This will be something that all of you who hear and watch the World Match-Play Championship will enjoy.

ERNIE ELS: I would again like to congratulate HSBC for coming in as such a major sponsor and really upping the prize money to 1 million pounds, which is quite unheard of on the European Tour. It will be an unbelievable event and I can't wait to see you guys there in person. Thank you very much.

ANDREW HAMPEL: Of course, we are thrilled to be able to confirm that the first confirmed participant in this year's event will be the arguably foremost player of the year so far, Ernie Els, defending champion.

SIR JOHN BOND: We look forward to seeing Ernie alternate Wentworth. Those of you in the audience that are shareholders, rest assured that as we present those big checks we will have bankers present to see if we can open accounts for the winners.

Q. You say the world No. 1, will Tiger be there?

ANDREW HAMPEL: Who knows in the current world environment. Obviously we are very hopeful that he will be. A prediction like that is impossible to make at this stage but all things being well, we would expect to see Tiger well.

Q. Has he actually been approached?

ANDREW HAMPEL: You can be rest assured that since we are involved in managing his affairs, discussions have been ongoing with him.

Q. Would he get an appearance fee?

ANDREW HAMPEL: No. There will be no appearance fee paid. There have never been appearance fees for this event.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDREW HAMPEL: First, just like to emphasize that that provides our only -- if any of the first 12 players invited turn down the invitation. It would then be exercised in circumstances where a player that should be there is not there for an unforeseen reason. If Tiger was not world No. 1 and broke his ankle or his knee flared up again and was therefore not able to play in first two majors, perhaps it would seem to make sense in most circumstances to send an invitation. That decision can only be made based upon the quality of the field.

Q. Julian, how pleased are you that the organizers have decided to stick with Wentworth for this event? They could have moved it, I guess, with all of this prize money they could have moved it anywhere in the world, but they decided to stick with Wentworth?

JULIAN SMALL: I'm obviously delighted. I think the home of the World Match-Play Championship is Wentworth. It's been there for 40 years. I think it's a world-class event. I'm delighted to welcome on behalf of the club a world-class sponsor and everything will be done by us to ensure we produce a world-class golf course, and continue to develop that course every year, to toughen it up, but also give the opportunity to attack which I think creates a great spectacle for everyone that's there. For us, the home of the World Match-Play has always been and hopefully always will be Wentworth.

Q. In view of the current climate in the world, was there much thought to before you actually decided on 1 million pound prize money?

SIR JOHN BOND: I can assure you there's always sole searching in HSBC before we part company with money like this. We have made sure that it suits our plans. We have checked on the sort of audience it gets we have done as much due diligence, as you would expect us to do, and we have decided that this is a major opportunity for HSBC to stamp its mark in golf in a very meaningful way with terrific partners.

Q. If two of the Top-12 are unable to make it, you will then go to the 13th, 14th, 15th, and it will be left open to the organizers to decide?

ANDREW HAMPEL: There will be a discussion if any of the first 12 invites do not accept the invitation, there will be discussion as to whether we should go straight back to the meaning or championship list or exercise that discretion. It will be only exercised in the exception of circumstances. So normally we don't expect to revert to the HSBC Major Championship Ranking. It's worth pointing out that in a field of just about every other major event in the world, there are 144-player fields, and ten provider invites within that field. In this situation, there are none. It is only an IAC independent body who makes a decision for 13 players for quality purposes should any of the 12 not choose.

Q. (Inaudible.)

ANDREW HAMPEL: The conversation will obviously be held in partnership with our very long-term partners should they feel that certain markets are not catered for, provided again the quality of the field such held as a result and you might exercise that discretion. But I think it has to be quality of the field first and foremost because that is what we are looking for.

Q. In the past one of the things that have made the world Match-Play interesting was that you used to invite an up-and-coming player. For example, Bill Rogers who nobody had heard of before he came to the wormed Match-Play, he won that and went on to win the Open. In your discussion did you think of leaving one place open for somebody of that sort of category?

ANDREW HAMPEL: We did. We thought about a lot of different categories and the discussions to the long time they were without a doubt the most time-consuming part of our discussions with HSBC. Ultimately we decided that we needed something straightforward and simple that could be understood by the golfing audience out there because whatever we may think, whatever my chairman may think, there was a degree of opacity in terms of the criteria and he wanted to be absolutely open and absolutely clear. As a result we decided a simple and straightforward formula was the best way to go, quite understanding it might be desirable, but we felt we didn't want to complicate things in that way and it was quality of the major championships that was important. The major championships are the biggest event in golf and the guys playing well in those events do have the highest profile during the year, and this event wants to bring the best players together.

SIR JOHN BOND: We were particularly concerned it should be as objective and transparent as possible, so everybody knows what the rules are and how we've arranged the field or invite the field.

Q. With three major championships in the States, is there a fear it might get skewed towards American players likely to be better?

ANDREW HAMPEL: We have run a whole host of test cases based upon historical results and I think the initial suspicion everybody might have -- in fact, it turns out that the field based upon this process, I think it's a result that the Top-50 in the World Ranking get into the majors now. The field will be very evenly balanced. In the last three years, it would have been seven European Tour members playing in two of the three years, and six European Tour members playing in the other one. And that includes the likes of Ernie Els, who are European Tour members as well as U.S. Tour members. It came down and worked through as a very well balanced process. Thank you very much indeed for joining us today. We look forward to seeing you at Wentworth in October.

End of FastScripts�.

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