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October 26, 2016

Li Haotong

Shanghai, China

Q. How do you feel this week coming back to the WGC-HSBC Champions?
LI HAOTONG: I feel good about it because I feel good about my performance from last year in the WGC-HSBC Champions. This year up until now I've had wonderful performances and I'm very encouraged.

I see a lot of good friends coming to support me this year, and I feel that the course this time is in a pretty good condition, even though it's going to be challenging, but I'm looking forward to it.

Q. What's the biggest challenge?
LI HAOTONG: The rough will be one of the biggest challenges for me. It would be another motivation for me to hit the greens and the fairways more than leaving the ball in the rough, so this will be my biggest challenge.

Q. Having a chance to participate in the Olympics, will that give you confidence coming into this year's WGC-HSBC Champions?
LI HAOTONG: I did gain quite a lot of confidence, and in particular, gained a lot of experience because not everyone had the opportunity to participate in the Olympics. I did put a lot of effort to make this happen, and I'm glad that I got a really good opportunity to participate in the Olympics. I'm already looking forward to participating in the next upcoming Olympics in 2020.

Q. We've heard that recently you moved back to Shanghai for more training. Is there any special preparation before this weekend?
LI HAOTONG: What I'm trying to get more prepared, is to be prepared with more rest, because he has already gotten five weeks of rest time before this weekend.

Last week, I was only participating in a celebrity tournament, so I'm still in a pretty relaxed mode to get ready for this weekend.

Q. A year ago, you tied seventh here with Jordan Spieth, amongst others. And since then, you've gone onto win the Volvo China Open. Do you now start to feel that you belong in this kind of elite company in golf?
LI HAOTONG: Elite company, what does that mean? (Laughing).

Q. All the world's top players, do you feel you belong in that company, alongside those great players?
LI HAOTONG: For me, it's not good enough. Still a long way to go. So I think just try my best.

I think just keep working hard and one day I will be there for sure, I know that. So let's see.

Q. Yesterday you participated in the kickoff ceremony and you have been nicknamed, "The Force", and you have your own superhero image. How do you like it, and what were you thinking when you first received that news?
LI HAOTONG: Well, I laughed. It's interesting that I've been named as the force, and I'm very happy about it because I've been portrayed by the tournament this weekend to be a superhero.

On the other hand, it's an honor to be the first Chinese player to be participating in the WGC-HSBC Champions Opening Ceremony, the kickoff ceremony, and I wish to do better, keep doing better continuously, and hopefully build up the image of China golfers, not only in China, but all around the world.

Q. Who was your golfing hero when you first started playing, and do you think you could ever -- or do you think you are one to anyone now?
LI HAOTONG: My hero always is Tiger Woods, because no one can be like him. Like for ten years, you know, ten years on top, never missed a cut, and always tried to win the events. Actually win a lot.

So for me, he's just superhero for me. I just try to catch up with him and try to be close.

Q. What do you think that you have to do for a young boy in China to say, I want to be like Haotong Li?
LI HAOTONG: To encourage young boys, they need to know three things. One, they need to enjoy golf. If not, they cannot be a pro player.

Secondly, they have to keep continuously training to get better.

And third, is self-discipline. If they can follow these three points, young boys, young golfers in China can be a better golfer.

But if they want to be me, I don't have any thoughts about that yet.

Q. Recently you've been winning a lot of tournaments, and you have experience of winning a championship and a tournament. This weekend, coming into this weekend, you definitely have the opportunity to try and win, but how would you rate it out of a hundred, the difficulty level, compared between the past championship and this one?
LI HAOTONG: The difficulty level to win a WGC-HSBC Champions is basically equal to all the four majors because they all have the best lineup, the best lineup of players participating. But I cannot describe it and I cannot rate it in points, but all that accounts is the momentum and the performance that I put in in the weekend.

I feel that if I can play in my own style, I will be able to win, but I would not put it into points or marks and how to rate each tournament.

Q. Do you have a base in the United States?
LI HAOTONG: Oh, actually my sister has a base in the United States in Rancho Cucamonga now.

Q. Southern California?

Q. Do you have any plans to play in the US this year?
LI HAOTONG: Yes, yes. I always try to get some sponsor invites. Hopefully I can get some.

Q. You were playing Web.com and now you have full status in Europe. Will you stay in Europe or try to do both?
LI HAOTONG: I will still try to do both but I just lost my card on Web.com last year. So hopefully I can get some sponsor invite on the PGA TOUR and get some points to get in the finals. So I think this is a good way to go, so let's see.

Q. Do you have any advice for Dou Zecheng, on getting a chance to participate in the Web.com and any advice to him?
LI HAOTONG: Basically just want him to enjoy and play his best, but not try too hard. I mean, just don't try too hard to get in the Top-25. I don't want him to be like me (laughter). Stay patient.

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