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February 23, 2010

Guy Harvey-Samuel

Robbie Henchman

Cristie Kerr

Ai Miyazato

Giles Morgan

Lorena Ochoa

Jiyai Shin

Michelle Wie


Q. First of all, congratulations on the win, you've played some great rounds of golf in your life, where would that round on Sunday rank up with the best of them?
AI MIYAZATO: Well, I played really good on Sunday and Suzann also played really good, so while Sunday morning I thought I couldn't catch her, but I really focused my game. You know, the other players also played about, but I was really happy that I could win last week, and I got a really good start.
I have got good friends over here, so I'm really excited about this week.

Q. Given your win at Evian and this week, this must give you the confidence to think you can do just about anything at the moment.
AI MIYAZATO: Not really, but Evian gave me such huge confidence in myself and no doubt I could play more good this year, and I still have so many inspirations from the other players, too, so looking forward to this year.

Q. Any of you can answer this, but when you have a tournament where the world No. 1 has won it one year, the world No. 2 has won it the next year, what does that tell you guys about the quality of the tournament and how much it's worth winning?
CRISTIE KERR: Well, I think it's a testament to the different aspects of the tournament, you know, with this being from the players perspective, no doubt, Asia's major; the competition is fierce. You know, the world No. 1, world No. 2, winning it year after year, hopefully it won't be that far down the line for fifth or sixth, but it's definitely a testament to the course that we play on, the partnership and the overall feel of the event.
You know, there's a lot of different things that go into making a tournament great and they are very hard to do and they have hit it on the head here. They have put together an amazing tournament, and when you have all of those different things come together, the players want to win the tournament. So it makes the competition that more fierce.

Q. Michelle, you are playing this tournament for the first time and we look at the lineup, you are the world No. 9 surrounded by top-class players, how excited are you come Thursday morning?
MICHELLE WIE: I'm really excited. I'm with Cristie, I hope it's not that for down the line; I'm nine, hoping to go that way.
I agree; I think the players really want to win this tournament. It's so prestigious. It's one of the best tournaments of the year, and my first time over here in Singapore, so I'm really excited to play in front of the fans in Asia and the golf course is fantastic and the condition is superb. I think the competition is fierce, the golf course is great and the weather is good. Hopefully it won't rain. I'm really excited. It's a great tournament.

Q. What do you think a tournament like the HSBC Women's Champions does for Singapore from a tourism point of view, and perhaps moving forward, what do you think perhaps the country needs to do to help bring the tournament up to the next level?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: It's a very good question, actually. I think the fact that this is the third year we are having the tournament in Singapore does a lot for Singapore and for Singapore tourism; the coverage that we get on the television, the press media, as well, only goes to endorse that and the fantastic footage that we get from Tanah Merah Country Club, and actually, again, just endorses and underscores that.
Now from my perspective as CEO of HSBC Singapore, we have guests coming from a number of different countries, we have my opposite number's CEOs from other Asian countries coming here, too, and that just goes to really under score how important this golf tournament has become for women's golf, but golf in general, actually, in Asia.
The tournament is on everyone's lips, and I'm sure that tourism will benefit as a result of that. I think the Government of Singapore has been very farsighted in the way that we have endorsed sport as a tool, if you like, for encouraging sport in Singapore. We have some fantastic venues for all sorts of sports in Singapore, and the HSBC Women's Champions in its third year just goes to underscore what a great venue for Singapore is for sporting tournaments of this calibre.
ROBBIE HENCHMAN: What I would add to that is in testimony of your question related to where does the tournament go from here, I think we have established a platform in terms of bringing the very best of the best in women's golf. We have an amazing venue. The whole experience is fantastic. What I would love to see from a local perspective is greater participation year-on-year in the qualifying tournament. These players come here to showcase their talents and hopefully locals can aspire to the level of quality and excellence that these players have reached themselves. I hope that inspires people in Singapore, young girls to come out and play the game and enter that tournament in the beginning of January every year.

Q. Every year, we know how hard you prepare and how much you put into your fitness each year at the start of the Tour, of course you've had some changes over the Christmas period, you got married and you moved to Mexico City; is that any interruption to your preparation for the season?
LORENA OCHOA: I got married early December for that same reason. I always take December off. So we spent a few weeks on our honeymoon 2 some great time off and time to recharge and get back to practise.
I am living in Mexico City, so that is a bit of a change, but it's been great, a lot easier than I thought. My luggage, I leave it right next to the golf course, and just go down to the golf course and ready to practise.
So, so far, everything is right where it should be. I think last week was important just trying to get a rhythm for a tournament. I was a little frustrated that I couldn't score well but I feel good. But I feel good and I'm really looking forward for this we're. My priority is the same and I'm here to play my best and I would like to continue to stay at the top.

Q. Does winning the HSBC tournament the past two years really matter or do you have to start for scratch for this tournament?
JIYAI SHIN: Last year I won this event, really big changes last year. Before this tournament last year, I played in Hawaii and Thailand, but Hawaii I missed the cut. I lost my confidence and I really worked for the last year on Tour. But last year, a win here was a really big change for myself, and also, last week, I finished 22nd, but I think just warming up for this week (laughter).
I played already two years, the last two years, so I have only good memories in Singapore. So I'm really excited to be here and I'm going to try my best this week.

Q. The prize money dropping, does that affect you, does that dampen your motivation?
LORENA OCHOA: No, I think you can tell, we are all here, very happy and excited to be here. This is a beautiful week, and you heard so many good comments, and we truly believe this is a great tournament. I think you mentioned, being the major of Asia; that's right. We love to be here.
And money-wise, we all know that for sure, it's hard to talk about the money and economy time, but what's important is that we support HSBC, that we get to play for the LPGA and we try to do our best. We are very thankful to be here and have the tournament, and we believe that it will continue getting bigger and bigger every year the way it's going. So thank you.
CRISTIE KERR: I'd like to actually add to what Lorena is saying. Last year was a very difficult year economically for the entire world, and Asia was no exception. It's a testament to HSBC to continue to support the LPGA and women's golf and come back, not only for this year, but for a three-year extended commitment.
You know, I didn't even realise that; so it gives me the motivation for certainly not only myself but the other players up here as to why we are here. It is definitely Asia's major. The competition is amazing, and we are looking forward to seeing it up on Thursday.
GILES MORGAN: If I can add to that as well, 2009 was an economic reality for people all over the world. What we were absolutely determined to do was to try and support the LPGA and this tournament as best we could. The other thing that is important, and you'll see this and it's been mentioned already, is that the investment that we make isn't just about prize money.
The investment we make is about putting on the tournament, to give the fans the greatest possible experience and for those of you who have been to Tanah Merah, you'll know the quality of all of the things that we do, from how the media are looked after, to perhaps more importantly how the generally public are looked after in terms of being able to experience golf for the first time.
Golf tournaments are not cheap, but if they are done properly, which is the way that we believe we can do them, we can create and be a catalyst for great growth. And the reason we continue beyond the first two years is because we believe in the future of the LPGA within this region.
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: If I can interject here, too, the other aspect that's a very important aspect is the youth golfers, how to inspire to what Robbie was talking about earlier on, how to inspire more people to come through into the Tour, so that we can have more Asian players, more Singaporian players coming on the Tour, and part and parcel of our support of golf here in Singapore, HSBC supported golf is very much our youth golfers programme. We had approximately 2,000 kids coming through the programme and we have just about 400 on the programme at the moment and indeed, Joey Poh, who is the local qualifier this year, is a product of this programme.
So continuing with the HSBC Women's Champions, was very important to a number of different stakeholders, to the general public, to HSBC, hopefully to the LPGA and also to the youth of Singapore as well who we want to really inspire to greater heights.

Q. Can you just speak about the rivalry between the two of you on the course, is it something that plays on your mind all the time? Do you think about it? And is it something that you like?
LORENA OCHOA: Speaking for all of us, all of the players, we all want to win, we all want to be the best, that's why competition is getting tougher and tougher every year.
I think Jiyai and my case, we respect each other a lot. We are good friends inside and outside the golf course. But when it comes to competition, you try to focus only on your game. In my case, I'm not really thinking about other players. I just try to do my job, just to focus on my game and try to make as many birdies as I can. But it's nice to see the level of focus is raising and I think we are in an exciting time.
JIYAI SHIN: As she was saying, Lorena and I are really good friends and I really respect her, and I'm really surprised for my fortune, and all the time, I focus on my game. I think everything same to me so fast, because I can't believe my fortune, and, well, just that I try to focus on my golf game. Now I'm happy to play the golf, that's enough for me.

Q. Guy, you talk about having 400 children here in your programme, how many of them are girls and what is the attitude towards women's golf in Singapore overall?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: I don't have the number, the mix, but we can certainly find out for you.
But the attitude to youth golf in Singapore is very positive, and the gentleman you are sitting next to will be able to tell you how they look after the youth of Tanah Merah Golf Course. If you play golf in Singapore, you will be very conscious of the number of kids, whichever club you play at, who are out on the driving range, out on the course, out with professionals, learning how to play the game, for enjoyment; but also, importantly, learning how to maximise their potential. I think that's the thing that certainly is most important for HSBC in terms of our Youth Golfers Programme; how to maximise young people's potential.
Some obviously will be better, will have more potential than others, and the very good, if you like, graduates from the Youth Golfers Programme can go onto our Youth Experts Programme where we have about 20 players at the moment, and they learn how to hone their skills, hone their emotional control, which is probably something I could have had a few lessons in myself when I was young; it's too late now when I'm on the golf course.
But it's a very important aspect of everything that we focus on in terms of golf, maximising the young people's potential.

Q. The attitude toward's women's golf in Singapore, do they have the rules that they have in Britain and still have, where it's more in favour of men?
GUY HARVEY-SAMUEL: I'm not aware of them. There are as many women on the golf course as there are men, and, in fact, during the week there are more women on the golf course than men.

Q. Last year was your rookie year and you won, so what are your plans, your goals for in year, for this tournament and the rest of the year?
MICHELLE WIE: I had a great year last year, just finally being a rookie out here and playing in every single event -- almost every single event. It was just really great to play in so many more events than I have in the past couple of years, and just to spend more time with these players out here. They are really cool people. They are really great players and I feel like I've learned a lot, especially playing the Solheim Cup, just playing every week, and just travelling and being around these players, you learn, you gain so much more experience.
And hopefully for this year, being my second year out here, hopefully I can do a lot better, been working really hard. Just trying to have fun out here and just try my best, no added pressure. Just have fun and work hard and hopefully the results will follow.

Q. Being here for the first time, I am sure there will be bigger crowds, what are your expectations and what are the additional measures put in place to cater to the bigger crowds?
ROBBIE HENCHMAN: Certainly with the field that has been assembled this year, we would hope to have at least the same crowds as last year and given that it's Michelle's first trip to Singapore, I would like to think that a few more people would come out to see Michelle play.
In terms of the security measures and the measures that we put in place in terms of the crowd, we have measures in place and we have done for the last years to accommodate any kind of crowd. The only thing we can't obviously predict is what happens upstairs with the weather and that's something we are all hoping for, for sunshine all week. But we are hoping to see a lot of people out there this week and we would encourage everybody to come and look at these phenomenal athletes as they play their trade in Singapore for us.

End of FastScripts

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