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January 18, 2005

Michael Kirsch

Jim O'Donnell

George O'Grady

GORDON SIMPSON: We would just like to welcome you all here, ladies and gentlemen, to a very special venue in Wentworth Club, for a very significant announcement. Without any further ado, I shall introduce the top table to you all. On the far left, we have Michael Kirsch, who is head of public relations, BMW Germany. And next to Michael is Torsten Muller-Otvös, director of central marketing and BMW brand management from BMW Germany. Next to him is George O'Grady, the new Executive Director of the European Tour. And on my immediate left is Jim O'Donnell, the managing director of BMW U.K. And I'll leave it to George to open proceedings. George?

GEORGE O'GRADY: Thank you, Gordon. And welcome, as well, from the European Tour, everybody who is here today, and especially to those who travelled so far and have by aircraft from different countries. This is probably the most international gathering we've had for a press announcement at Wentworth, certainly over the last 25 years, I would say. It's a very significant announcement for us today, and it's going to become very apparent. We would not actually be making this without the support of so many people who are here in the room; largely, the Association of Golf Writers, and also our television commentators and our television partners. We would not also be making it without the combined efforts of everybody who has worked for The European Tour and our Members. I'd like just briefly to pay a quick tribute to Ken Schofield, who of course retired at the end of last year. And I think on a day of this announcement, it's quite fitting that he as I speak is visiting the past president of the Association of Golf Writers, Renton Laidlaw, who everybody knows has been seriously ill over Christmas, but we are delighted to say is on the mend, though it will be a long haul. We are announcing a partnership for the players' own championship today. You will have in your press pack at the end quotes from at least 15 players on the Tour of what they think of this Championship. I think in the room we have our defending champion, Scott Drummond in the front row. We have Paul McGinley. Coming at lunchtime and giving an interview, I think now on CNN International, is Peter Alliss. He not being in the room has ruined the one joke I was going to tell today; that he is the oldest-surviving winner of the PGA Championship, having won it three times. And of course, that means he's got to be very careful what he does for the next three years, because the next three Champions have also gone. So, we'll get him at lunchtime when he arrives. But we also have a man who virtually made the PGA Championship his own, Colin Montgomerie. He's here at the back of the room because he's on a tight time scale and will be leaving in about five or ten minutes; time. All of the Champions are here, Paul, Scott and Colin, you are very welcome, and together with the 15 people you have in your press pack, you will realise the real people who sold this Championship are, in fact, the Members of the Tour, and all we have done as executives is provide a little bit of assistance. I think the Tour is about long-term relationships and people who share the same values and the same vision for what we want to achieve. In the company we are joining with today, one, they are going to develop this championship; and two, they are going to be the Official Car for the Tour. The Official Car, that's nice for us; that means most of the executives of the Tour will drive BMWs (laughter), but they will also support so many different tournaments around the world. They will be the lead, I suppose, sponsor is the right word, but I think we see this as a partnership very much with them; four major events on The European Tour for the future. Golf is increasingly with The European Tour a global game. I think you (BMW) are in Shanghai, Moscow, Munich and now Wentworth, I think that now speaks volumes for the kind of partnership we are bringing to the world of golf today. I think all of us on our side on The European Tour take great pride in the Tour, take pride in all aspects of what we do and how our players portray our image. I think to the staff, it is the single most critical issue that we have, because we are going to focus over the next two years on the team aspect of The European Tour. Bernhard Langer, who is quoted in this pack, probably developed one of the finest teams of all time, and it wasn't just the 12 players, the 12 partners, the 12 caddies; it was the backup team, Richard Hills' team who supported it, and the development of Ryder Cup sponsors. If you look across The European Tour, there's so many really solid long-term committed companies who are backing the Tour. Nowhere is this stronger than the company we are introducing today. We have a company out of all of the other ones we talked to, who first we talked to our players about whether they should get involved in this Championship and then they talked to us. Our players sold it. But today we have a company that share our vision. We are announcing today a shared vision with BMW, and we are very, very proud. Thank you. (Applause).

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you, George. And I'll pass over to Torsten Muller-Otvös, who will say a few words.

TORSTEN MULLER-OTVÖS: Thanks, George, thanks very much. Ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of BMW, I would like to welcome you all today to this press conference here and to a place which in terms of the little white ball has a great tradition. In past decades, Wentworth has experienced many thrilling golf matches and has played an important part in developing the history of golf in Britain, and the club and its fascinating surroundings has become the second home for many professional players. So Wentworth is without a doubt the home of the real elite. The PGA Championship at Wentworth is the most prestigious golf tournament of The European Tour, and I'm therefore pleased to inform you that BMW will further extend its commitment to professional golf. When the tournament tees up on the 26th of May for the 25th time on the legendary West Course, it will carry a name, BMW Championship. And BMW now has become the most significant partner of the PGA European Tour. The status of the Official Car of the PGA European Tour is also an integral part of this partnership. The question, why is BMW taking such a significant step? Within our marketing strategy, we have three pillars will all occupy the upper hand in sports. This is Formula 1 with BMW-WilliamsF1; this is sailing, with BMW ORACLE Racing, and a particular focus on the America's Cup; and of course, golf, where we pursue a number of international events and activities. In all of these disciplines, we undertake the long-term engagement where BMW is not just the sponsor, but a fully-involved strategic partner. Consequently, we bring our commitments to golf and to a new level in 2005. BMW and the PGA European Tour will be responsible for the most important and prestigious tournament of The European Tour here at Wentworth. Why does golf have such a high relevance for our sports marketing strategy? Golf, and especially The European Tour, represent many aspects of what the BMW brand stands for; this is exclusivity, aesthetics, astrive for absolute perfection and international popularity. Furthermore, up to 50 percent of our worldwide customers are either active golfers or take a team interest in this fascinating sport. Consequently, golf is a perfect match for our sports marketing strategy. We also have a long-standing commitment to golf, since 1984 through the organization of golf, amateur and professional tournaments, BMW has been conscious of the increasing importance of golf. 20 years ago, for instance, we began with a large amateur series called BMW Golf Cup International. Today it is one of the major amateur golf tournaments worldwide. We welcome more than 100,000 participants from approximately 40 countries every year. Since 1989, BMW has also been committed professional golf, and in order to make a significant contribution to the development of the sport, BMW became the organiser of the BMW International Open in Munich. The success of this event also encouraged us to become involved in other important tournaments. And of course, we remain true to our philosophy: We are not just a sponsor; we are a dedicated partner in terms of strategy, policy and also organization. We also demonstrated this by organizing the BMW Asian Open in Taiwan in 2001, which has now become one of the three leading golf tournaments in Asia. Last year, the event was moved to Shanghai, thereby providing golf with a new boost in the growing market of China. Our commitment to golf is rounded off by our engagement of the BMW Russian Open, the Dubai Desert Classic, the Heineken Classic, The Barclays Scottish Open and the BMW Ladies Italian Open; and it is with this comprehensive golfing portfolio, BMW is today one of the strongest international partners of the sport. Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to sum it up. Our commitment of golf brings together two beneficial aspects. First BMW can consistently communicate the key characteristics of the brand to the relevant customer group. And second with our comprehensive experience in sports marketing, and golf in particular, we can make a valuable contribution to the further development of this prestigious tournament here at Wentworth. So let's look forward to a super tournament at the end of May, and I would now like to thank George O'Grady and the whole of the PGA European Tour for hosting this press conference which launches our exciting new partnership. Thank you very much for your attention. (Applause).

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Torsten. I'd like to call on Jim O'Donnell to say a few words.

JIM O'DONNELL: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. On behalf of BMW in the U.K., I would also like to say how delighted I am that so many of our top journalists are here with us this morning, and to thank George and his team for their hospitality in hosting this event; and above all to thank Torsten for making this all possible by his generous support for this new venture. We are conscious that the Championship is a flagship event of The European Tour, and shall do our best to enhance its reputation still further. This is reflected by the prize money which will be raised to 4,000,000 this year with 666,600 to the Championship winner. Among the British public, the Championship is a great favorite, with over 80, 000 people visited the tournament last year, plus millions who watched it on BBC. BMW I'd also like to say is a firm favorite with the British public, and I am assured that our association with this Championship will consolidate our position as the leading premium car company in the U.K. where we employ over 8,000 people and we have manufacturing facilities for all three of the BMW group brands; BMW where we produce all of four-cylinder engines in Birmingham; Mini, of course which is produced in Oxford, and Rolls Royce at Goodwood. We are particularly pleased to continue our association with the Wentworth Club where I think the Championship has been held since 1984, reflecting the standards for the facilities in this magnificent venue. This is the first time that BMW has been the main partner of professional event in Britain. That is by no means the first time that BMW in Britain has been involved in golf. BMW in the U.K. has been involved in the amateur golf scene for over 25 years, and last year, with over 6,000 players in the BMW Golf International event, which Torsten spoke about earlier. Worldwide, there were over 100,000 players in this event and I think it is the largest, if not certainly one of the largest, amateur events in the world. In 2000, we established the BMW Golf Society for the benefit of our owners. We provide a series of professionally managed events each year where members can indulge in their twin passion: BMW cars and golf. On top of this, we support the Duke of York's Young Champion's Trophy, where I'm sure many of the future stars of the European Tour will come from in the future. And, of course, we play a part in The Barclays Scottish Open at Loch Lomond. Among our customers, golf is a favorite past time, with over 40 percent listing it as the No. 1 leisure activity. It is little wonder then that we jumped at the opportunity to sponsor the premium European Tour event. Together with our partners in The European Tour, we are determined to make this an even bigger and better experience for everyone involved. Finally, I am honoured to be the Championship President, and I can assure that I will do my utmost to make sure our new venture is successful. Thank you once again for attending, and I look forward to me meeting many of you today, and over the next few months as we continue our involvement in this great sport. Now I'll hand it back to Gordon.

GORDON SIMPSON: Thank you very much, Jim. (Applause). All of the gentlemen on the top table are happy to take your questions from the floor.

Q. How long is the partnership for and how much is it worth?

GEORGE O'GRADY: Four years initially. I think we listed in terms of the prize fund, which is 4,000,000 in 2005, and we'll decide where the Championship goes over the next four years. So you can either, if you want to be simple, you can multiply 4 X 4 -- but I don't think we need -- it's going to be much more than money, this thing. This is developing aspects of the Tour we want; therefore, you can't put a price on this one, but you can just measure it on prize fund alone if you want to.

Q. Is there a commitment to keep the event at Wentworth for the direction of that four-year period? And also, George, was it a tough decision to actually degree to the removal of the words "PGA" Championship from the title?

GEORGE O'GRADY: I think it's our intention to stay at Wentworth. We certainly I think in terms of straight contractual arrangements, we have a one-year contract with Wentworth finalised while Wentworth was changing ownership. The new owners are very committed to the event. They want to see the club go forward. Richard Caring was with us yesterday until about 5:00 yesterday afternoon but he's very ill. The club is represented not only by Managing Director, Julian Small, but Surinder Arora, who works together with Richard Carring. We would sincerely hope it would be at Wentworth for that time. But the choice of the title, the title is the BMW Championship. We are well aware that we have had a solid sponsor for the last 17 years, and we are in the commercial world. This is still the PGA Championship; in fact, it's the 51st PGA Championship. We will be respecting the tradition of that time. The branding which it fully comes out will reflect that. But we do live in a commercial age, and I think we feel what we are gaining with BMW, with that commitment to quality, that commitment to style and their staging; their relationship already with all of our players who are aware of what we are doing; the quality of how they put on the tournament in Munich since 1989; the way they developed the event in Shanghai; the leadership they give in Moscow, the benefits we get in return outweigh the fact of moving three initials from the title. We should be very clear on the rest of the branding; this is the PGA Championship.

Q. Will you keep the ten-year exemption for the tournament for the winner?

GEORGE O'GRADY: It's a five-year exemption. We certainly will. This is our flagship event. Our World Ranking points factor that goes to it will be the same. I think we have 64 World Ranking points. We will be at forefront of the prize money on The European Tour. The conditions here at Wentworth, I think when you see your press pack and the quotes by a lot of our players, the commitment to this particular company, picked up when the previous title sponsor withdrew, which was announced I think on the Tuesday or Wednesday of this year's championship, they immediately went into gear at that time. Before they came to me, they had already spoken to I think eight or nine of our leading players, and certainly starting with our absolute No. 1 player; and to a man, they all said this was the event that they thought had the capacity to be a really true flagship event for the Tour. I think this event will be, outside of the Open Championship, the most favorite to the players, because that's the way our players want it. It's their event. And the commitment to Wentworth, whatever I say about the new owner, Richard Carring and Siurinder Arora, if there's one unofficial agent of the PGA Championship, it's the Wentworth club and their current Managing Director, and Chris Kennedy who is in the room who is the course superintendent, and the club secretary, as well. Their commitment to looking after all our players when they come to Wentworth and especially on the Championship week is quite legendary, and Julian, we respect that. Thank you very much. From our side, we really on the Tour are looking forward to this partnership with BMW. The tournament, the Tour is a team. The people in this room, the ones I can see -- with those bright lights at the back of the room means you can't see anything beyond the first few rows -- television, BBC television, and our television partners around the world, the media support for this particular event, together with our players, have enabled us to do not just this sponsorship, because this is far bigger than a sponsorship. This is a partnership. But your commitment to this event and the Tour have enabled us to get the right partner and not have to take any partner we can get. We are in a lucky position to be able to choose, and this is the one we would have chosen if we could have picked anybody. We are very happy. Thank you for coming. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

End of FastScripts�.

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