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July 29, 2009

Paula Creamer

Shona Malcolm

Kirk Yoshida


COLIN CALLENDER: Paula, it was interesting a couple of minutes ago, you mentioned how important sponsors are, because I believe you have an announcement to make.
COLIN CALLENDER: Ladies and gentlemen, you may have wondered why there were five seats up there. The reason for that is we have an important announcement to make. But before I do let me identify our guests at the top table. From left to right, we have Simon Sasaki, Chairman & CEO. Ricoh Europe PLC. Next to him is Kirk Yoshida, Deputy President of the Ricoh Company Ltd. To Paula's left is Shona Malcolm, the CEO of the Ladies Golf Union and, last but not least is Alistair McKay Forbes, Tournament Chairman, Vice President IMG.
To get things underway, may I introduce Kirk Yoshida, who wants to say a few words on behalf of Ricoh
KIRK YOSHIDA: It is with great pleasure that we are here today to announce the continuation of our partnership with the Women's British Open through 2013. When we began our relationship in 2007, it was the first time a women's professional event was held at the Home of Golf, St. Andrews. The fantastic feedback from the players, fans and our customers that followed the 2008 RICOH Women's British Open at Sunningdale, further underscored the success of our relationship. And here we are at Royal Lytham and St. Annes in the third year of our sponsorship, and I am delighted to be able to share with you today we are continuing for a further three years, having already committed until 2010.
It is very important that any sponsorship project is analysed to make sure that it is answering all of our business needs. Almost every major area of the Women's British Open has overdelivered. We feel very happy to have found an event that matches up so well with our heritage and brand value, and we place a huge value in our relationship with the Ladies' Golf Union and IMG.
This championship is very special to RICOH and our customers and employees and we have all enjoyed the association with this prestigious tournament. We support the women's game and are very, very proud to be the long-term title sponsor of this great championship.
Thank you all for being here today to share in this exciting news and we are very grateful for your continued support of the championship and wish you a very successful and enjoyable week.
And finally, there is one more exciting announcement that we would like to make today. And so I will hand over to Shona to give you further details, thank you.
SHONA MALCOLM: Thank you, we at the Ladies' Golf Union and our partners, the LET and LPGA and IMG we are delighted that RICOH has decided to extend its sponsorship of the British Open. It's fantastic news, not just for our Championship, but for women's golf.
In the current climate nothing can be taken for granted and for a prestigious brand like RICOH to make this commitment is excellent news for golf and a testament to the strength of the championship. It's been a pleasure working with RICOH over the last three years, and indeed to have our showcase championship associated with such a high-quality global organisation.
The strength of the entries reflects the importance of this Championship, and the Ladies' Golf Union is committed to playing the RICOH Women's British Open only on world-class, championship courses.
To this end, I'm delighted to confirm two championship venues which I'm sure you will agree fit. Last year we announced a partnership with Event Scotland and committed the RICOH Women's British Open to being held in Scotland on five occasions between 2011 and 2020.
In 2011 the RICOH Women's British Open will be hosted for the first time over the famous Carnoustie Links in Angus, Scotland. Carnoustie is one of the U.K.'s most famous and impressive golf courses, and we are delighted to add it to the rotation for the Championship.
Secondly, the much-anticipated return to the Old Course at St. Andrews will take place in 2013 after a phenomenal success of the first visit there in 2007.
Really, these are two first-class courses that are both wonderful tests of golf and will provide an exciting challenge for the best women golfers in the world. I'm sure you'll agree that the future of the RICOH Women's British Open looks even more bright after today's great news on the RICOH's sponsorship. Thank you.
PAULA CREAMER: Speaking for the players, I think it shows how dedicated RICOH are, not only to golf, but to the LGU, the LPGA, the LET and everybody involved with it. I think it's wonderful that we will be going to those events and to those courses. I'm excited; I'm a little intimidated by Carnoustie but I'm ready to take it on. We'll see what happens with that. I have great memories of St. Andrews, and I'm really looking forward to going back and I know all of the other girls are as well.
COLIN CALLENDER: Thank you, ladies and gentlemen. We will now open in out to questions.
I might be wrong here, but am I right in saying no venue has been announced for 2012? Whay is that?
ALASTAIR: Last year, we entered into a partnership with Event Scotland, and it's common knowledge that we agreed to go to Scotland five times between 2011 and 2020, and it made sense to announce the first two of those five venues today. Especially with the return of St. Andrews which I know will be exciting news for everyone.
Discussions on the 2012 venue are almost complete. It will clearly be a championship venue of the status that everyone has come to expect of this great event, and we will probably be announcing that very shortly. It could be anywhere, but probably not in Scotland.

Q. Will Lytham still be on the rota?
SHONA MALCOLM: This is the fourth time we have been here and it is a very favourite venue of ours.

Q. Given that 2012 is an Olympic year, and that the games at to be held in London, is the current date you use an issue?
ALASTAIR: Obviously the date is an issue and one we are working through right now, and that's really why we are not quite ready to announce 2012. We want to get the dates, the venue, everything in place.
We have made commitments to the tours and we will obviously be looking to move our prize money in line with all other major tournaments. Discussions to take place, but we will be in line with other tournaments.

Q. The Women's British Open seems to be the perfect event to represent our brand; can you explain a bit more, why?
KIRK YOSHIDA: When we signed first sponsorship the first year at St. Andrews Old Course, we saw incremental value for the brand awareness of RICOH. This tournament reached out to almost 100 countries received broadcasting of this championship. So we had such a great, great return on our customers, our employees, and also we are very fortunate to have such a great support from LPGA, LGU, LET, such a great, great support for these organisations.
So one of the reasons why we extended our relationship with these organisations is that it is a very, very strong and also long-term partnership. This is a perfect situation and match for RICOH, the women's golf tournament.

Q. Does that mean you sell more product in the countries where you have held the event?
KIRK YOSHIDA: We cannot say that but it definitely provides much, much stronger exposure of the RICOH brand and also at the same time, we have now almost 110,000 employees and more than 40 different countries are all RICOH family companies. The message to the customer is we are committed to women's golf long term. We cannot yet measure specifically the return for this sponsorship, it's very tough.
But no question, during the first year and second year, and even this year, we have had a great return from our sponsorship. We played in the Pro-Am yesterday, every single customer coming from many different countries, they thoroughly enjoyed participating in the event. So definitely we think it is a great, great return for RICOH.

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