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September 13, 2017

Jacques Bungert

Franck Riboud

In Gee Chun

Evian-les-Bains, France

JACQUES BUNGERT: Thank you for being here. I'm going to hand the mic over to Christina from the LPGA. Welcome, because I guess it's your first year. Maybe exchange first with In Gee and ask your questions so she can be relieved and leave quickly because she's got some job to do.

CHRISTINA LANCE: Yes, as you heard, we will start with questions from me to In Gee, then we'll open the floor for any questions to In Gee, at which time let her depart and open the floor up for Franck and Jacques. This is World No. 5 In Gee Chun. She's playing in her fourth Evian Championship. Last year she took a thrilling four-streak victory and her -21 score is the lowest major winning score in the history of men's or women's golf. In Gee, it's been quite a week, and it was quite a week for you last year. What do you remember most about your victory last year?

IN GEE CHUN: So last hole, like a breaking putt. I remember that putt because it was a lot of pressure, and then I had a big spike mark on my putting line. But I read my putt, and I want to make good leading, so just let it go, and then I made it. I remember that part. And kiss.

CHRISTINA LANCE: I've been told we can see on the video that spike mark, and you got a good break there. Looking now to this year on the LPGA TOUR, you have five runner-up finishes. You're playing so well. What is going well in your game right now?

IN GEE CHUN: I always to try and enjoy my game and have more fun on the course. That part has made more keep going, yeah. I have more friends on the Tour, so I have more enjoy playing on the course with my friends, other players.

CHRISTINA LANCE: It's been such a busy week for you, so much to do here. It's a good thing. You're the defending champion. But what's been the most fun thing you've done so far this week?

IN GEE CHUN: Yeah, I had a lot of schedule before start tournament, so I went to opening ceremony last night. I think opening ceremony is always fun. I return my trophy, but I like get it back, yeah. (Laughter.)

Q. What's it like seeing your face all over town?
IN GEE CHUN: That means if I'm going to town, everyone recognize me. In France normally restaurant is open 7:00 p.m., but maybe today still go. Maybe around 6:00, I went to town, but some see and recognize me, so they gave me food earlier, before open. I really appreciate it, yeah. So I had dinner.

Q. What does that record mean to you, holding the record for the lowest number?
IN GEE CHUN: It's a big honor to me. Before start last round, I already know what I need. I need to make a low score. So I had a lot of pressure, but I did really well. That made more confidence, and then keep going for my goal.

CHRISTINA LANCE: This is also the last week for Ai Miyazato. She's retiring. What does Ai mean to you and to the other players on the Tour?

IN GEE CHUN: I think she's not only great golfer, she's great person. When I was growing up, I always watch her on TV. I'm really honored to play with her. But on both sides, I'm really sad. I think I really miss to her. I hope after the tournament she will enjoy her life.

JACQUES BUNGERT: Thank you, In Gee. If you want to leave, we know that you've got to go back to the academy maybe, but if you want to stay, you're most welcome to stay. Just to get back to your question, which is interesting, I think it's also part of the signature of the tournament, as you see, the priority here is sports, of course golf at its best, but it's also a way to look at our champions and look at all these ladies, and since the beginning Franck and all the team and us have always tried to give the best condition of sports as well as off the ropes, and including the hotel, for instance. I know that for In Gee to be at the Royal is a treat, and it's the case of all our past champions. The signature of the pictures is also part of I would say the DNA of the tournament, and we appreciate that it touches her as it does.

Maybe I'm going to hand over to Franck and myself for the question you may have. A few things you already know because obviously it's been released. First of all, I would like to underline the arrival of some new sponsors including LG, and I'm sure that the preeminence and the strength and the performance of some Korean champions we had here had an influence of LG coming and Koo Bon-Joon, who is the vice chairman of LG, is among us here at Evian, which is a big honor, a great honor for us, so the arrival of LG is interesting.

We also had some other partners like ACCOR, for instance, we've really raised the involvement, and we have some new projects coming up as far as some things are concerned, and last but not least because it has a direct impact also on our purse is the renewal of the sponsoring with Rolex, and for us Rolex is very important because it's really part of the history and the legacy of golf, and they've been totally impactful on our progression every year here. So we've signed a deal of 10 years with Rolex, and it's through that we've got also some ideas and some dynamics on the prize money as you may have seen this year, and we will go on. We will not stop there.

And last but not least -- and Lydia was part of the opening of the new largest bottling plant in Evian on Monday. Lydia Ko is also our ambassador here, and it's important to us.

Last but not least, because they are also a partner in our leadership club, I would say, Ricoh has joined us also this year, and it's obviously very symbolic and important to us because obviously they know golf and they also represent a part of the world that is important to us more than ever, and the fact that Ai has chosen Evian to end up her career tells a lot. You know that in Japan, in Korea, and also we have a qualifier in Korea, the tournament has a fantastic audience and impact. It's thanks to those players, thanks to these three with Hiromi Kobayashi and all those players, and we are really touched, and it's very emotional for us, as well, to see Ai ending up on the 18th green here in Evian, and I'm sure there will be a lot of emotion, and we'll be there to celebrate it.

Q. Could one of you please explain the extent of Ricoh's involvement with you?
JACQUES BUNGERT: Well, very quickly because it's confidential in terms of members and involvement. The fact of the matter is that Ricoh is obviously bringing in all their knowledge and skills in terms of product, technical, and all the printing technologies and devices are really from Ricoh. But also as with all our partners, and you know it was really the vision of Franck that I with Steve and the team have been trying to execute is the idea of having a real partners' club.

Evian is very special. We have longtime partnerships. We have a lot of loyalties among our sponsors, so we can build things as well as the site itself.

It's true that with partners like Ricoh, we exchange a lot. We exchange in terms of -- you know, they had some experience with the British Open, obviously they are a fantastic network worldwide for us, so it's also a very important way for us to echo the values of the tournament throughout the year. It's a speakerphone that is key on digital, as well, so it would be a little boring to extensively talk about it, but we've got a lot of projects, including communication, including technical device, including innovation that are coming from the interaction with our sponsors, and we've got a lot of ideas that you may imagine, and we need people and money to execute it.

FRANCK RIBOUD: Perhaps I can add something on this sponsoring issue. You as golf journalists, you are always looking to golf, but you have never forgot, can't forget that the end is golf tournament, and now you can see there is a new sponsor behind the tee No. 1 called Danone. I can tell you that even with LG, you can imagine that we can have a lot of projects between Danone dairy and (indiscernible), and we just went together on an advertising campaign about the fridge, the LG fridge and if you open the fridge you just have Evian and Danone product. So obviously even for Ricoh, the Danone campaign, the Danone group is also a kind of target. It's a central renewal. It's the same for (indiscernible) it's the same -- what we are building with all these people is not only sharing a golf competition or a golf tournament, but it's really a business relation. So we are a little bit more attractive than just a golf tournament, because I just remind you that Danone is a also a multibillion-Euro company in more than 150 countries. So when we are buying cars, we are buying Renault or Nissan, and certainly the tournament is a very small thing.

So that's the balance with all of our sponsors.

And I can tell you because it's not a secret we are going to reopen next year the apparel sponsoring category because Lacoste is there, but the contract finished this year, so we are in open discussion with Jacques with many of the brands for the time being.

Q. Franck, were you up there off the tee with Joanna Klatten?
FRANCK RIBOUD: Yeah, I played with her, yeah, but I played, I don't know, but I walked beside her during 18 holes. No, that was -- I know Joanna, obviously, and that was a very nice round. Also because I was playing with my two brothers, my two older brothers.

Q. Was she miles out in front of her with her drive?
FRANCK RIBOUD: Oh, yes. I think it's a discussion we had on the course because as you know, for example, on hole No. 4, we changed the landing area of the drive, of the driving, and I discussed with her because she hit a very, very strong drive and she was something like -- you see the bank here on the right, she was off the bank here, in the front of the bank here, and we just discuss before the average drive of the other ladies going to be because we would like to check if we are the right place where we change the fairway. No, she was not playing very well at the beginning because, as you know, she got her clubs just this morning. Her dad and mother drive overnight to bring the club over and got in this morning at 2:30 in the morning, thanks to the company, I will not give the name. The French one, I know. It's very impressive how long she is, really. It's a minimum 100 meter in front of me, which means 150 meters in front of my brothers.

Q. But she wasn't hitting as far as the three brothers put together then?

Q. Are you as concerned by the numbers of Asian players coming in year in and year out?
FRANCK RIBOUD: No, we are definitely not concerned by any things like this. If I am cynical, I will tell you that it's really good for our brand because if you look at the economy growth in the world, it's coming from Asia, so the more you have Asian players, the more you have exposure for our brand in this part of the world, which is the part that is growing in terms of economics. Having said that, we adapted ourselves.

We think that even if I am talking in terms of friendship and relation, I am not doing a ranking, but Asiatic people and Korean people are incredibly nice. Obviously sometimes it's difficult to discuss because of language issue, but I think the -- and we adapt ourselves because we try to have the right food, we try to have the right people to translate and so on and so on. But I don't know -- I will not make a ranking between America and Korea. I think it's different people, different things. And we are not in charge of the LET, we are not in charge of the LPGA, we are just in charge of everybody here, feel good, a lot of friendship, doing their job in the best tournament we can produce. That's all. The only thing we can control is the guy over there.

JACQUES BUNGERT: Well, we try, but it doesn't work always. But just to end up on this question, on the contrary, first of all, what we aim here is to have the best golfers in the world, and okay, the world today is in Asia. Remember before it was in Sweden and then in became in America. Secondly, it's universal, and if you look at a map, Evian is really in the middle of the world on America, Asia. So we are definitely universal, and we are very happy with it.

And last but not least, the diversity, the internationality of the tournament, of the sponsors, of the players, brings us fantastic opportunity also to innovate because we learn a lot from them, from Japan, from Korea, from America. But truly, for us it's very important to be totally open, and it's a no-brainer for us.

FRANCK RIBOUD: Now you know my position about Europe and players because I disclose that very often. Yes, I'm anxious about Europe and ladies' golf. I am anxious about the management of ladies European golf, and yes, I would like to see much more European ladies playing the Evian Championship, not because they are European, but because I think if they are not changing things, it's going to be impossible to make money and to live just playing golf in Europe. That's all. In Asia it's doing very well. In America it's doing very well. In Europe, it's just a disaster. So I know they changed the governance and so on and so on, so we'll see.

Q. You do know who's leading the Order of Merit on the LET?
JACQUES BUNGERT: Of course, but because of the impact of the tournament, it's a matter of number of points, and we all know that --

FRANCK RIBOUD: It's (indiscernible) of the tournament. It's because I love all these ladies, and we start this tournament saying that we build this tournament to be sure that all the ladies all over the world are going to make their journey making money because they have a talent, which is to play golf, and we have a lot of European ladies having this talent, golf champions. But even if they are champions, they can't live with the level, the quality level of the LET. You say, well, they just have to go to the U.S. It's not so easy. That's the only reason, nothing else. And tomorrow it's going to be China, perhaps Africa, Latin America.

Q. What do you think about the new rules of golf coming in?
FRANCK RIBOUD: If we play faster, it's okay for me. Male or female, I think we can use the -- when you look at Jordan Spieth at the British Open, climbing the hill, going behind the truck, five minutes. But I'm sure he was leveraging the situation. And definitely we are not in charge of the rules.

Q. And you're glad about it.
FRANCK RIBOUD: We don't care.

Q. Franck, am I correct in thinking that at one point you thought about buying the Tour?
FRANCK RIBOUD: Buying the Tour? Me?

Q. Yes, you. The LET Tour, thinking of taking it over in some capacity?
FRANCK RIBOUD: No, no, I have no project like this. But you have to remember that Evian was a main sponsor of the LET many years ago. The name of this Tour was Evian Tour. So having said that, yeah, I have a lot of ideas, and I have a vision for this Tour, which is -- as I say, I think the Tour was really damaged in the past, and it's going to be a long story to make over the situation for LET.

The vision I have for this Tour, it's called European Tour, and I'm sorry, but Asia and India and Hong Kong and whatever is not Europe. So when you are making no money because there is no prize money but you have to travel all over the world and coming back to Europe and go back to India and go back to UK and go back to Australia, even if you finish top 10, you lose money because you have two ways to make money, either big prize money or reducing your costs.

So if you look at Europe, I include in Europe also north of Africa like Morocco and Tunisia. You start there in March, you go -- after that you go to Sardinia or south of Italia, Algarve, Spain, and you go up and you finish in September, October, in the UK or in Sweden or whatever, you will reduce the cost. You can even imagine to have a truck carrying all the bags and everything, just to help to reduce the cost. And after that if you ask to start a tournament, you ask 100,000 Euros because of television. You don't have television at the beginning. What you need is a number of tournaments with perhaps small prize money between 80,000 and 200,000 Euros. At least you have a lot like this. After two, three years, I'm ready to bet that two, three of them will go to 500 and perhaps 600, which is exactly the Evian story. Everybody thinks, oh, it's wonderful, it's the second biggest major. But when we start, that was nothing. We were 30 people. Look at the players; 20 of them was part of my family.

It's like in every business. You have to invest and you have to be passioned and you have to build and so on and so on. But I'm sure I will discuss with the new guy and Alain and people like this how to connect that with the U.S., how to connect that with Asia. I think there is a real opportunity. But the first question would be for myself, who is going to manage.

So I'm not talking about taking back my business cap, but I'm sure we can do something. And perhaps Evian will be beside; why not? If it is interesting for the brand, why not? Me buying, I don't have the money anyway. Having said that, I think there is nothing to buy for the time being. There is something to sell, not to buy.

Q. Do you think there's enough corporate interest in Europe to have all these tournaments, and what would your pitch be to potential CEOs of why they should invest?
FRANCK RIBOUD: First of all, I think you don't have to talk about that to the CEOs, you have to go far below to the brand manager, marketing manager, communication manager. And it depends where the put the label of prize money you want. If you ask 500, 100 million Euros, it's going to be tough because times are tough. But if you accept to start, as I said, with 100,000 Euros prize money as an average, which means you can have less or more, you will find I think you can have two or three in France. You can have two or three in Italy, in the UK, and after that it's a kind of competition, and you organize a competition. The second thing is that's the job of the LET to attract people, to attract brand, to find solutions.

And just to give you an example, here in Evian, we are the tournament called Jabra. Do you think the CEO of Jabra one day wakes up and says, oh, I want to have a golf tournament? No, no. First of all, we arranged a connection with Jabra and two French players. We did the job; we convinced them. And now it's 80,000 Euros tournament because they go up, they go up, they go up. But I visit with -- because I was a CEO, no more, but because I was a CEO, I asked for an appointment with the CEO of Jabra, and I go there and we discuss and I invite them, and the guy is there, the European guy is there.

You are not going to -- hey, I found 100 million. No, no, no, no. You have to read the newspapers to look at who is involved in the golf business and so on and so on. You have to understand the brand strategy of your future sponsor. To just present yourself, oh, yeah, I have a tournament. No, first of all, you understand what the guy need, and after that you explain how my tournament is an answer to your brand strategy. So I'm not going to give you a marketing lesson. And Jacques is very strong to do that. We have a good direction.

JACQUES BUNGERT: Thank you very much. As always, it's a pleasure. I think we have some great days coming up in terms of emotions. Thank you again for being there and staying with us. Thank you very much.

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