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November 10, 2015
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, distinguished guests, and dear friends, media friends, very warm welcome to everybody, and welcome to the press conference of the BMW Masters 2015. Good to have you all with us.
From the coverage we had, we experienced some exciting moments, and we have reason to believe this year the tournament is going to be exciting, as well, and we have so much to look forward to as we have a brilliant and strong lineup. So without further ado, ladies and gentlemen, please allow me to introduce our VIPs and distinguished guests present.
Mr. Wang Liwei, Director General, Multi-Ball Games Administrative Centre of General Administration of Sport of China, Vice President and Secretary General of China Golf Association.
Mr. Sun Weimin, Deputy Director of Shanghai Sports Bureau.
Mr. Pang Zheng, Director of Olympic Support Department of Multi-Ball Games, General Administration Sport of China and Deputy Secretary General of CGA, welcome.
Ms. Tao Xiafang, Deputy Magistrate of Baoshan District Government.
Mr. Keith Waters, Chief Operating Officer of The European Tour.
Mr. Ulrich Sanne, Senior Vice President and CFO, BMW (China) Automotive Trading Ltd.
Mr. Jack Lei, Senior Vice President and CFO BMW Brilliance Automotive, Limited.
Mr. Marco Kaussler, Tournament Director, BMW Tournament Director.
Last but not least, Mr. Jeffrey Kao, general manager of Lake Malaren Golf Club, Shanghai. Welcome.
Ladies and gentlemen please join me in welcoming Mr. Ulrich Sanne from BMW who would like to say a few words. Mr. Sanne, if you please.
ULRICH SANNE: Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning, everyone.
On behalf of BMW China, I would warmly like to welcome all the players, tournament official, sponsors and media to the BMW Shanghai Masters 2015.
First of all, let me sincerely thank the China Golf Association, the Shanghai Sports Bureau, and the Baoshan District Government for continually supporting this event and my special thanks to Lake Malaren Golf Club. The main sponsor, Ballantine's, Minsheng Bank, Rolex and Samsung, as well as everyone else engaged in preparing this exciting tournament.
Also, I would like to express our gratitude to The European Tour, our one-time honoured partner on a global level for enabling BMW to present the BMW Asia Open and the BMW Masters for so many years.
Above all, I would like to welcome and thank all players joining the BMW Masters. We are graduate to again have so many top players in the field in 2015.
From BMW's side, we have always strived to make the BMW Masters the best organised tournament providing service that matches the high standards of our brand to the players and tournament team, as well as the media and spectators. This year is no exception. We try to be precise and paid attention to every detail the same way as we build our cars.
Our newly a launched 7 Series is the hole-in-one prize. It is the most progressive and the most innovative car in the luxury segment, standing for our quest for the highest quality and absolute precision.
We also arranged a series of new cars for display or test drive, including the BMW i and the locally-produced plug-in hybrids. In China we always try to align our brand with modern values of society which today are innovation and progression. So our brand stands for innovation powered by joy, and we are demonstrating this spirit at the BMW Masters, and with the exciting tournament we look forward to.
Sport in general is a key part of our brand tradition and brand strategy. Beyond golf and motorsports, we also support other prestigious sports such as equestrian, sailing, as well as mass sports. BMW is becoming a dominant force behind the sport of running. For example, BMW is the main sponsor of the top marathon events in Shanghai, Lanzhou and Xiamen, and we support eight events organised in many communities on an ongoing basis.
As a long-term partner of the Chinese Olympic Committee, BMW is committed to promoting Olympic movement in sports and healthy lifestyles in China over the long run. This is in line with our brand strategy and social responsibility, as a key market player in China.
Golf is making a return to the Olympic Games next year. We especially wish the Chinese players an excellent performance up to the Games. Once again, thank you, everyone. Let's wish the BMW Masters another huge year of success. Thank you very much.
THE MODERATOR: Mr. Wang Liwei on behalf of CGA to say a few words, as well.
WANG LIWEI: Good morning, everyone welcome to the BMW Masters 2015. On behalf of the Mult-Ball Games, CGS China and the CGA, I would like to welcome everyone to Shanghai to attend this BMW Masters event. BMW Masters is one of the four major tournaments sponsored by BMW worldwide, and is a clear testament of BMW's commitment to supporting the development of golf events in China.
We are confident that BMW Masters will play a positive role in promoting the golf sports in China and around the world and will further enhance the golf competition at large in the world.
This year is the fourth edition of the BMW Masters in China. The 2015 tournament presents a similar number of players and prize money as the last three events, 78 top players from more than a dozen countries and regions will be playing for a total of $7 million.
It is also worth mentioning that there will be around 14 players recommended by CGA in the field here this year, and it makes a new record for the number of Chinese golfers in a tournament of this level, of this kind. The participation of the top golf players here will help enhance the popularity of golf events in China, and will further seek to attract a large number of Chinese youth to join the sports. In addition playing in a tournament of this calibre and exchanging experiences with top-calibre players will greatly be helping the Chinese players to be better prepared for the Olympic Games next year.
The various hosts and sponsors of this event including the Shanghai Sports Bureau and the Baoshan District Government have all made great effort for the success of this tournament, so on behalf of the Multi-Ball Games Administrative Centre of the CGS and CGA, I would like to say a big thank you to all of these professional organisations and also I want to specifically thank BMW Group, in particular, for your kind and important contribution to this event.
Last but not least, let me sincerely wish the BMW Masters 2015 a great success. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, please join me in welcoming Mr. Sun who would like to say a few words, as well, on behalf of Shanghai Sports Bureau, if you will.
SUN WEIMIN: Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, good morning. First of all, on behalf of Shanghai Municipal Sports Bureau, I would like to express my warm welcome and sincere gratitude to the sports players, athletes, coaches and guests and media friends to attend the 2015 BMW Masters.
The BMW Masters is part of The European Tour and also top of its kind in size, prize money and the level of competition. This event will seek to further promote the image of Shanghai as an international metropolitan city, and also to help further promote the development of golf in China.
There will be all together 78 top-class players from more than 17 countries and regions around the world to play in this year's tournament, including 13 players recommended by the China Golf Association. Let me wish you success this year, and I would like to thank all the sponsors and also the contributors to this event, including the Baoshan District people's government and BMW Group.
I would like to wish the BMW Masters 2015 a great success and wish all of you a very happy stay here in Shanghai. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Now, like to also ask Ms. Xiafang on behalf of Baoshan District Government to say a few words, as well.
TAO XIAFANG: Dear guests, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends from the media, good morning.
In this golden season of autumn, the 2015 BMW Masters came back again to this beautiful City of Shanghai and came to the beautiful District of Baoshan, especially to Lake Malaren. Around 78 top-class golf players from 17 countries and regions around the world have gathered together with our friends from abroad for this event. This is a very grand event for us.
On behalf of Baoshan District Government, let me say a big welcome to all of you, and also I would like to say a big thank you to the CGA, the Sports Bureau of China, and also Shanghai Sports Bureau for your kind support.
And also, I would like to express my warmest welcome to all the leaders, guests, officials, athletes and media friends who come all the way to attend this event today.
I hope in the next week following the tournament week, you will feel the warmth of Baoshan, and all of our departments do what we can do ensure the tournament goes safely and smoothly and everybody can enjoy a lovely week here.
We are confident that this year's BMW Masters event will further promote the development of golf in China and will further enhance and develop the popularity of Shanghai and will further boost the ability of Baoshan to provide high-quality and comprehensive services to events of this kind.
Finally, we wish all the best for 2015 BMW Masters, and also wish you a very good health and all the best. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: I would like to call up Mr. Keith Waters on behalf of The European Tour. Would you share your thoughts with us.
KEITH WATERS: Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, on behalf of The European Tour, I'd like to welcome everyone to the BMW Masters, the penultimate event of The Final Series.
I'd like to place on record my thanks to BMW, one of our longest-serving partners for The European Tour; to the Shanghai municipality; to the Shanghai Sports Bureau; and of course to the Chinese Golf Association. Special thanks go to Jeffrey Kao, the SRE Company and Lake Malaren.
In conjunction with Mikael Eriksson and Eddie Adams, the agronomist for The European Tour, I know all the greens staff here at Lake Malaren have worked extremely hard over the last few months to prepare this course. It's in excellent condition for the tournament this week, so many thanks to them.
BMW have been a tremendous supporter of The European Tour now for over 27 years, encompassing 55 events back to the BMW International Open in Munich in 1989. So a special thanks to Ulrich and the continued support of BMW for this tournament. Also, to the other sponsors, we have Ballantine's, Samsung, Rolex and Minsheng Bank.
This is the penultimate tournament in The Race to Dubai. Next week is the final tournament, the DP World Tour Championship. We are very fortunate that we have some great players here this week in Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson that have an opportunity still to win the Race, but particularly, Danny Willett, who is in second place behind Rory McIlroy. He has a chance this week to overtake Rory. He closed last week by finishing third in the HSBC Champions, so he's only 75,000 Euros behind Rory now in the Race.
Further down the rankings, players are trying to qualify for the 60th place to actually qualify for the final event next week. The Top 60 qualify for The Race to Dubai.
We had a very dramatic finish here last year, Marcel Siem, fittingly a German player in a German-sponsored tournament chipping in on the last hole in very dramatic fashion as we saw on the video earlier. We look forward to another exciting tournament this week.
And of course we have recent performances from Li Haotong, who played well in the HSBC Champions, and he also played very well in Shenzhen earlier this year. Ashun Wu went on to win the China Open earlier this year. We look forward to welcoming all the Chinese players and hope they perform well again this week.
Many thanks to everyone. We are looking forward to a very exciting week and a climax to the season. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: Thank you, Mr. Waters.
At this stage, I'd like to also invite our Tournament Director, Marco Kaussler. I'm sure he has a lot to share with us about all the information related to the tournament.
MARCO KAUSSLER: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome, and also warm welcome from my side to the press conference of the 2015 BMW Masters. And I have to say, Lake Malaren Golf Club, the course is in excellent condition, and Jeffrey and your team, thank you for preparing this event to perfection again.
The total prize money will be $7 million and the winner will receive a cheque for almost 1.2 million dollars this week, but it's not all about the money. With a bit of luck and a hole-in-one on the 17th hole, the professionals can actually win the all brand new BMW 7 series.
During the fourth edition of this tournament, BMW is offering more activities to introduce the game of golf to the general public. On Thursday and Friday, there will be free entry to the event and in the Public Village there will be plenty of activities going onto promote the sport.
The 2015 edition of the BMW Masters shows again strong support by the best players in the world with Justin Rose and Henrik Stenson, that we have two players from the Top-10 in the World Ranking and 14 of the 15 leading players in The Race to Dubai are playing this week, where five of them can actually overtake the leader in The Race to Dubai just before the final tournament.
But Keith Waters said it before: We wish the 13 Chinese players a great performance this week, and it would be amazing if one or two would actually be in contention to win the title on Sunday. We wish them all the best.
Ladies and gentlemen, I would now like to take this opportunity and welcome four of our top stars here on stage who will be interviewed by The European Tour's press officer, Paul Symes. Please welcome the former U.S. Open Champion and currently world No. 6, Justin Rose. And World No. 7, Henrik Stenson; and two national golf heros, Wu Ashun, and here at his home club, Li Haotong to the stage. Thank you very much.
PAUL SYMES: Many thanks, Marco, and everyone else, and welcome to our four players here.
If we could start with you, Henrik.
HENRIK STENSON: Since I have the mic.
PAUL SYMES: Indeed you do. Coming here on the back of a very good performance at the weekend last week, so I guess you're looking to carry that momentum through this week.
HENRIK STENSON: I've been out on a little journey and got another couple of weeks to go. This is right from the middle and hopefully I'm picking up some pace. Played some good golf on Saturday and Sunday, and had a decent finish. So hopefully I can start a little bit quicker than I did last week and be right there on Sunday, yeah.
PAUL SYMES: Still an outside chance of winning The Race to Dubai. I guess you need a very strong end to the season, but you can take heart from the fact that you've finished the last two seasons very strongly.
HENRIK STENSON: Yeah, it's a lot of points to play for here this week, and of course in Dubai in the final. So yeah, two wins or two really good weeks could do the trick I guess. So first thing's first: Got to play well here this week to put ourselves in position.
PAUL SYMES: Justin, your last appearance on The European Tour brought a win in Hong Kong. So how do you assess your chances of going back-to-back in China this week?
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, obviously that was exciting to win at the end of the season. Like Henrik was saying, we're all kind of trying to make up some ground on some of the guys who are leading The Race to Dubai. It was an important win for me to try and sort of keep the dream alive.
Again, obviously Henrik's had a great record and finished the year very strongly, and so yeah, he's going to be a man to still obviously keep our eye on. But there's a couple of guys: Danny Willett had a great finish last week and got himself neck and neck pretty much with Rory, so those are the guys we are trying to chase down.
It means playing well for two straight weeks. The equation is pretty simple. I think I need to win at least one of them, and it would be great to start this week.
PAUL SYMES: This week you have a great course record in the last couple of years, fourth and sixth, so that gives you a lot of confidence to take into the week.
JUSTIN ROSE: Yeah, I've really enjoyed playing this golf course. You've got drivable weather around here. Last year I seemed to start hitting the ball further in this tournament and that helped on some of the par 5s. I got off to a terrible start last year, 4-over par through seven holes, and then played some really good golf to give myself a chance it win come Sunday.
But obviously this is a new year and another week, and hopefully I can keep that momentum going but yeah, positive memories of the venue is always helpful.
THE MODERATOR: Wu Ashun, you are a BMW ambassador and attached to Lake Malaren Golf Club. How much would it mean to you to win this week?
ASHUN WU: Obviously I'm looking forward to this week, and being sponsored by both BMW and Lake Malaren, if I could do well to repeat my success from earlier this year, it couldn't be better to finish as such.
PAUL SYMES: Speaking about that success earlier in the year, how much has your life changed since becoming the first Chinese player to win a European Tour event in China?
ASHUN WU: Winning the tournament earlier this year means a lot in my life. It was good to win there and the significance is fantastic, tremendous. And of course it's also a gigantic step for the Chinese development of golf, as well.
It gives me a chance to play on The European Tour for two years. That's fantastic to be able to compete with Justin and also Henrik, and this is really a great pleasure. I certainly would like to do my best for these tournaments on these big occasions.
PAUL SYMES: And Li Haotong, you come here after a great week at the WGC-HSBC Champions. How much confidence does that give you coming into this week?
HAOTONG LI: Last week's performance really helps me pick up my confidence. Prior to last week, actually, I was struggling quite a bit, however last week I had sort of like an explosion. That really was like a career-high for me, and I hope this is a turning point for me to do even better down the line.
PAUL SYMES: And onto this week, you're also attached to Lake Malaren Golf Club, so I'm sure you know the course very well here.
HAOTONG LI: (Nodding head enthusiastically) Yes, to be able to play at Lake Malaren, this is like my home court. I'm so delighted to be here and to actually participate in this event, and also with all the fan support, I would like to do well.
This is such a happy thing for me to here, and I would like to enjoy these upcoming days to do well to really return the kindness and hospitality of everybody, all parties concerned.
PAUL SYMES: Thanks very much.
THE MODERATOR: We have four highly selected junior players from Shanghai, and we would like to start with them with their questions to their heros in their eyes.
Q. How much chip-in practise do you do every day?
HAOTONG LI: When you focus on your short putting, you should talk less and focus on your short putting and that will help you out.
Practise will probably get me anywhere and everywhere.
Q. When you don't do well, when you don't have a particularly good day, how do you try to adjust your mind-set in particular?
HENRIK STENSON: Well, part of playing professional golf or playing golf in general, you're going to have good days and bad days. I think you just need to take some time to reflect on the day that just passed by, and you know, try and make things better for next round.
There's always a chance to improve the next time you're going to play, and you've really got to think a little bit about why it didn't work out the way you wanted and then try and change those things. Then just work harder at it.
Q. Before you go out to the course, what do you eat as far as your dieting? How do you actually try to adjust yourself to not be too full on course?
JUSTIN ROSE: It's a good question. Part of what I think is important as a golfer is to eat little and often, because really, as a golfer, you want to sort of maintain your blood sugar levels so you can keep your concentration very even.
So if you have a Coca-Cola and a bag of chips and some French fries and a burger before you tee off, you might feel good for two or three holes, but then you'll feel terrible at the turn. So just try to eat a little bit every four or five holes just to help you concentrate.
Q. If you don't have a lot of time to practise, how do you improve efficiency in practicing?
ASHUN WU: The answer is very similar to the question raised by the little boy. Understand that you have school to attend and that you have to practise at the same time, so you have a lot of time every day to practise golf. But definitely, I need a very good plan. I need to identify the time available during the day, and when you do have some time for practise, you have to focus on practise. Certainly that helps to improve efficiency.
When you practise, you have to put your mind all to practise. When you study, you have to put your mind all to study. You cannot think of practising and studying at the same time. That helps you to improve efficiency in both study and practising golf.
Q. First, I would like to offer my congratulations to you for your explosive performance last week. So this week, what is your expectations for your performance on Lake Malaren? What is your target? Since Lake Malaren is your home course, which hole has left you with the deepest impression?
HAOTONG LI: Well, I naturally don't have a lot of expectations for my performance this week. I expect a very strong lineup this week. Hopefully better than the last edition of the BMW Masters. I've been playing on this golf course for a very long time, and I also live here. I receive a lot of support from Lake Malaren club, and I love each and every hole on this course.
Q. During the past couple years, the Chinese players have improved significantly, with your participation, what do you think of the BMW Masters when it comes to improving the golf industry in China?
ASHUN WU: I think this is a very valuable competition. It provides a lot of opportunities for the Chinese golfers. The Chinese golfers improve year on year. You can see that Haotong Li finished in seventh place in the HSBC. I think this is closely related to the launching of this event.
Q. This is home court for with you hand and Li Haotong. So any experience that you can share with your European counterparts?
ASHUN WU: Well, I think you have to be in your form. I think that you have to adjust your performance and conditions to the best possible level. There's no secret ingredients in winning a tournament. Of course, the golf course conditions and weather may have a direct impact on the players. If there is a drop in temperature or it's a little windy; so the elements can be a challenge to the golf players.
Q. We saw the article about you were voted to be the best choice to play 007. Do you agree with that? Or there are three players sitting next to you; do you think one of them might be a better choice other than yourself?
HENRIK STENSON: Of course not. (Laughter) I think Justin would do a great Q. He could supply with me all the things I need. Then we just need to figure out some other roles -- especially for Marco. That's going to be a tough one I think.
I have it down to probably poor selection of the other opponents then on the voting form. If I came out on top, it couldn't have been too much good Bond material around I guess, so we'll leave it at that maybe. (Laughter).
Q. What do you make of the comments from Stenson about you being perhaps cast in the role of Q?
JUSTIN ROSE: Well I think for a start, I'm the only English one here, so I have the best chance. I could put on my best accent. Right now might be wearing more of a villain look.
I can say a bit of Daniel Craig, that's the Bond closest suited to the Stenson.
HENRIK STENSON: You could be my Bond Babe (placing arm affectionately around Justin).
JUSTIN ROSE: Not so sure about Pierce Brosnan or anything like that. (Laughter).
THE MODERATOR: Thank you very much indeed, gentlemen.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports