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September 12, 2006

Tiger Woods


GILES MORGAN: Today kicks off one of the most exciting weeks in our international golf sponsorship calendar, the HSBC World Match Play. It also heralds a mouth watering few weeks in the U.K. and Ireland.

I'm delighted to welcome on the stage world No. 1, Tiger Woods. Tiger, welcome to London. We're so pleased you're making a return to Wentworth this year and wish and you the entire field the best of luck in the next few days.

Also want to welcome David Hodkinson, HSBC group operating officer, who tells me his banking skills are better than his golf.

DAVID HODKINSON: Good morning, everyone, and welcome to HSBC's global headquarters. It's fantastic to see Tiger in the U.K. this week at the start of a great autumn of golf, teeing off with the HSBC World Match Play Championship at Wentworth. With the Ryder Cup and the World Golf Championship to follow.

For me, this week a rare chance to mix business with pleasure. As a golfer, I know the occasional personal satisfaction and more frequent went despair that the game inspires. As a banker, I'm also aware of the economic contributions that the business of golf makes to our lives. Market in the U.K. is estimated to be worth well over three billion pounds. We ran additional calculations to estimate the economic impact of Tiger's three week trip to the U.K. and Ireland, we estimate this will put an estimated 170 million pounds of value into the economy, a growth in the golf economy of five percent and another Tiger economy, in the pun, is in achieving that race.

In just a moment I will hand you over to Tiger but before I do so, I'd like to say a few words about HSBC and golf. I know that many of you will have followed HSBC's involvement in your game over past three years, during which time we have become sponsors of golf worldwide. We chose to invest in golf because it is a sport that is international. There are players of 9 nationalities in the field at Wentworth this week. It is a game of great integrity and it is one that is inclusive. We like those associations. Indeed, they have values that we in HSBC aspire to, and we like the opportunity that golf gives us to engage with customers around the world.

The Wentworth tournament was our first commitment but it was only beginning. We now support over 30 events worldwide from elite championships to amateur tournaments to grass roots golf for children and wrung people. We're delighted that Tiger will play later this year at the HSBC Champions Tournament as well as at Wentworth with week, which has an absolutely first class field.

I'd like to wish Tiger and all of the other 15 competitors in the HSBC World Match Play the very best of luck. And I hope you all enjoy watching what will undoubtedly be a fine competition. Thank you again for coming, ladies and gentlemen, Tiger Woods.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks, David. Well, I'm excited to be here. Obviously as David explained, I'm here for three weeks. Excited about playing Wentworth again. Curious to see what the changes are Ernie has made to the golf course since I played back in '98.

Obviously next week is a very exciting week for all of us, and then coming back here to play in London at The Grove, another World Golf Championship, is three great weeks right in a row.

So this week is wonderful preparation for the Ryder Cup next week being match play, and I've got a really tough opponent in the first round, Shaun Micheel, former PGA Champion.

. So it will be a fun week for all of us, and HSBC and all of the support they have done, not only for golf here, but golf around the world, has been truly remarkable. And it's actually pretty cool to have them as one of the big players in the sport of golf around the world, and without their support we obviously wouldn't be having events around the world such as the one in Shanghai.

Q. Talk about being at the US Open last week and meeting Roger Federer, another of the greatest active sportsman at the moment. What separates you, Roger and Michael (Schumacher) from other sportsmen? Who is the best active sportsman right now?

TIGER WOODS: Well, as far as your first question, you know, we are pretty lucky, you know, the way sports is around the world, it's hard to obviously separate yourself in any sport, but it's always easier to do it in an individual sport because there's no one to rely on. If you play well in any sport as an individual, then you're going to win. What you're seeing with Roger and myself and Michael is that we've been consistent over the years. That's the key is that you have to bring it each and every time you compete.

That's why I have always truly admired Michael in his sport and obviously with Roger, phenomenal to see. For someone such as myself, I've been very lucky to get to know Michael Jordan and talk to him about things like this. Michael was very adamant in saying that an individual sport, it's much easier to separate yourself than in a team sport because there's more moving parts that have to come together. I think if Michael would have played an individual sport, he would have done all right.

Q. And the best?

TIGER WOODS: Obviously Michael, because his consistency over the years, and I think it may be his last year, or maybe one more, I don't know. But what he's done year in and year out, and it is the most globally watched sport. The pressure that he has to deal with, immense pressure, it's really phenomenal to see him succeed at the level he has for so many years.

Q. How do you cope with that going from match to match, country to country, you're under the spotlight, how do you cope with that?

TIGER WOODS: It's pretty simple. You're there to compete and you're there to win. So it is not what your ranking is. If you're entered, or if I'm entered in an event, my goal is to win it. I put my heart and soul into every event that I play in, and when I win, obviously it's very exhilarating and when I lose, it's frustrating.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: My backhand doesn't look like that. My serve doesn't look like that. My forehand doesn't look like that.

No, I've watched a number of matches. Todd Woodbridge used to live in Isleworth and I've gone to a number of his matches. Just to see the pace, I play at home all the time, but just to see the pace at which they hit the tennis ball and how clean they hit it, it's absolutely phenomenal, the reflexes.

Andy had two first serves at 140. I never saw the ball, and actually I know Roger hit one winner from it. I never saw one. I had a perfect angle. It's remarkable how good they really are until when you are there in person. You just never know how good they really are.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: In a way, but I think also, it's neat to have a person that you can talk to that can relate. The things that Roger is dealing with are things that I'm going through are very comparable, even though they are two different sports, similar circumstances. To be able to meet him and talk to him prior and post match, we have a lot of things in common. I think Roger and I are going to be friends for a long time.

Q. You may have been asked this question before, but this September, which would you rather win, £1.000,000 at the Match Play or the Ryder Cup?

TIGER WOODS: All three events I play in.

Q. This year, you are more serious about the Ryder Cup than you have been in the past, you were asked a couple of years ago what Jack Nicklaus's Ryder Cup record was compared to the majors, but this year you seem to be even more determined than before.

TIGER WOODS: I'm there to win as many points as Captain Tom puts me out there. If he puts me out there for singles only, one match, if he puts me out there for all five, then my responsibility is to get all five points.

Q. Are you impressed by Tom's captaincy so far?

TIGER WOODS: Tom's been great. He's been a lot of fun to talk to and get to know over the past, basically, year.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: Sure, it's going to be a little more difficulty I think for the American players to come over here and play. It will be interesting to see what happens.

Q. What are you most looking forward to next week and what are you least looking forward to; Ryder Cup week itself is not always the most pleasure time for you, is it?

TIGER WOODS: I'm looking forward to competing. I absolutely love getting out there and playing and playing with my teammates in either four ball or foursomes matches. I always love doing that. I'm not a real big function guy, so there are parts that have never been fun for me. But it's part of the understanding of the Ryder Cup and when I first played with '97, I remember Payne and Mark O'Meara pulled me aside and said, okay, here's the deal. Get your sleep now, because when you get there, won't sleep a lot and they were right. We didn't eat at the gala dinner until 11:50 at night in Valderrama. We eat a little bit late there in Spain, that was interesting, because I had never experienced anything like that.

Q. You've seen the European team come together at the last week or so, you must be very pleased to see Darren Clarke?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's fantastic. What Darren has gone through, you don't wish that on anybody. Darren is one of my good friends, and to see him actually get picked to play says a lot about what Woosie thinks of Darren as a player. I talked to Darren about that, it's not just the situation that you have gone through and that you have gone through; it's about the quality of character and of the team inaudible Darren is going to be a huge inspiration, not only for the Europeans but for all of us as players to see him there and playing and get over the things that he has to do with and the families and kids, it's remarkable that he's going to play and compete. I can't wait to see him and give him a big hug.

Q. Are you happy at the prospect of playing possibly 36 holes a day for four days?

TIGER WOODS: Well, I got Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday off. We don't start until Friday, which is kind of nice. After Bridgestone, coming to Ireland for a few days, playing in the Deutsche Bank Championship, it was nice to start on Friday. I had a couple extra days of actually unwinding and get my energy back up. So it's no big deal with so many days off prior to the event.

Q. (Inaudible.)

TIGER WOODS: Quite a bit with Tom, actually, a lot. I don't know the number, but quite a bit. As far as our team coming together, it's real interesting, that it's a younger team. I think I'm still youngest one on the team, but we've got mostly guys between 30 and 40, where you know, most years, we actually have, probably sprinkle in maybe three or four guys in their 40s. This year, it's a younger crowd. All of the four rookies, I think Brett might be the oldest at 33.

Q. How do you feel about Michael Campbell being seeded No. 1?

TIGER WOODS: Michael earned it. He won his championship. So he deserves to be seeded No. 1.

Q. You said the team needed more to come together than just an individual game, how difficult was it for to you miss out on the Ryder Cup a couple years ago and how excited are you to turn things around?

TIGER WOODS: All of the teams that I've been on, Ryder Cups and Presidents Cups, it's how you play the 18th hole. We're going to play the 18th hole, I think we only one match that came to 18, and the Europeans there's only a few that actually halved. So it's about how you play during the matches and how you play 18, because playing 18, that one hole, turns a lot of momentum around. The Europeans did that at Oakland Hills. They played 18 better than we did. And I have it say, they won the Cup pretty easily. So hopefully this year we can putt a little bit better as a team and if we get to 18, hopefully we can get those matches and put the momentum back on our side.

Q. Is there more determination?

TIGER WOODS: There's always determination with each and every team I've been on over the years from '97 to now. That hasn't changed. It's all about execution. The teams that I've been on that we won, we executed and when we lost, we didn't. Or, you know, the team just flat outplayed us.

Q. Not sure how they work these things out, but getting back to these figures of 170 million pounds - the effect you have on the economy - , what do you think about having that kind impact on the game?

TIGER WOODS: It's flattering. I'm as shocked probably as you are to hear that number. I don't know where they get that number. But obviously it's wonderful to have an impact on the game of golf and hopefully I'm bringing some excitement to the youth of the game and of the U.K. here in particular. So hopefully there will be a lot of new young faces out there at the tournament.

Q. Can you talk a little about the Ryder Cup and are you ready for more of a leadership role now that this is your fifth Ryder Cup?

TIGER WOODS: As far as the leadership role, yes, because Davis isn't on the team anymore; Jay Haas was on the team; Mark O'Meara and all of the guys, Payne Stewart, all of the guys that have played multiple Ryder Cups, I think Furyk and myself and Phil have played, what, five and four. All three of us are taking more of a leadership role because we don't have the guys that have been there longer on the team. We are now the vets on the team.

As far as taking the guys out to dinner we had a great time. Had some nice steak and we basically just talked about - well, I talked about my experiences in the Cup, what to expect, things that surprised me, things that you're going to have to be ready for.

And also, these guys, they earned their way on to the team and they played their way on to the team. So they deserve to be on team. They have played well, and on top of that, it was kind of nice to catch up with J.J. and Zach and some of the guys.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: I have played some of my best golf worst golf and won points. When you play 18 holes, anything can happen. Basically it's a boat race. When you have partners involved, they can lean on one another and they can make up for each other and I think when you're playing match play, 18 holes, anything can happen and that's the difference between a 72 hole stroke play event versus an 18 hole match play event.

Q. The HSBC World Match Play, you've got all of the top 16 players together - is it getting harder and harder to do that, in theory, these days?

TIGER WOODS: Yeah, it is. The guys have their own schedules, family situations. Also there's some guys that are taking a little bit of a break or playing in other tours, South Africa or even Asia. So it's kind of a lull here where you basically only have one event, Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup, and these guys can go overseas to support their tours or after the PGA Championship.

Q. Schumacher said he's going to retire at the top, would you go that way?

TIGER WOODS: In an ideal world, yes. Other players have done it, Sampras being one, John Elway being another. I think that's no one can know whether you can keep your body going or not. I've talked to some of these guys and they say the mind is willing but the body just can't do it anymore and it's something that athletes have to face one day. Hopefully you can win that last one, that one big one, and then go out. If you can't make the body move anymore and make it do the things you know it used to be able to do, and if you're not good enough to win anymore, there's really no reason to play anymore.

Q. Inaudible?

TIGER WOODS: It's different, that's why it's played in the States and that's why it's played in Europe. I think that's the fun part about the event, everybody cheering when a putt is good. But you have the crowds that are rooting for one of the two sides instead of 156 individuals.

GILES MORGAN: Thank you very much, and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during the HSBC Match Play.

End of FastScripts.

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