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November 3, 2010
SCOTT CROCKETT: Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, it's my great pleasure to welcome you here this morning on the eve of the sixth staging of the HSBC Champions, and the second year the tournament has come under the umbrella of the World Golf Championships.
In a relatively short time, the HSBC Champions has established itself as one of the most important and prestigious golf tournaments in the world; a fact illustrated by the world-class field we have assembled here this week. And I'm sure we will all be treated to another thrilling week's golf here at Sheshan.
Par to begin proceedings this morning, it is my pleasure to introduce today's top table to you. Second from the right, is Mr. Zhang Xiaoning, Director General Multi-Ballgames Administrative Centre, General Sports Administration, Vice President and Secretary General of the China Golf Association. Par closest to me here is Mr. Giles Morgan, Group Head of Sponsorship at HSBC.
And on the far right of the table, is Mr. Richard Cheung, who is Chairman of Sheshan International Golf Club.
Last, but by no means least, we are delighted to welcome a man who has won 14 major golf championships, and 16 World Golf Championships, and is always a very popular visitor here to China, Mr. Tiger Woods.
To start this morning's proceedings, I would like to invite Mr. Zhang to say a few words of welcome. Thank you, sir.
ZHANG XIAONING: On behalf of the Sports Administration Center and China Golf Association, I would like to extend my warmest welcome to you. This is the second World Golf Championships HSBC Champions, and this is the second year after we successfully hosted the Olympic Games.
We feel that the WGC HSBC Champions has been more and more popular among the Golf Association and golf players. They are paying a lot more attention to this tournament. As we all know in the next week, the Asian Games will be held in Guangdong, China. We would like to first wish a complete success to the Asian Games.
In the next week, we will have the strongest field of players here at the Sheshan International Golf Club. I am very excited about this tournament, and I am looking forward to all of the best play from all of the players, and professional golfers from China will also participate in this tournament; I also hope that they will have a very good performance in this HSBC Champions tournament.
I would also like to thank the PGA Tour, the Shanghai Sports Administration Bureau, the Songjiang District Government, the Sheshan International Golf Club and IMG for their great support. And I would also like to thank HSBC for their enormous support for the golf development in China, especially the junior golf development in China.
In closing, I would like to wish this tournament a great success. Thank you very much.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Mr. Xiaoning , thank you very much for those kind words.
I would like to now invite Mr. Giles Morgan to say a few words.
GILES MORGAN: Ladies and gentlemen, a warm welcome from all of my colleagues at HSBC and I would like to start by thanking all of you for all of the coverage and media exposure that you have given HSBC Champions over the last six years. It's an event that's grown from nowhere to really one of the most important golf tournaments in the world, and it's the role of the media in helping us do so, and we are all very grateful.
We are also proud because like the gentleman on my left and the many other players here, we have the greatest golfers in the world here this week. And it gives us great pride that we can help the game of golf grow within China by showing the talents of the best players in the world.
But we are particularly proud, because this weekend at the HSBC National Junior Golf Championship, we celebrated our thousandth child coming through playing top-level tournament golf. A thousand children may not sound like a lot over the four years that we have been investing in the CGA Programme, but below that at the top of that pyramid, we have had 8,000 children who have come through our summer and winter camps, learning the great game of golf, and we low that at the foundation of the pyramid, we have had 200,000 children learning golf through the HSBC Education Programme, learning not just the sport of golf, but the values of this very fine and historic game.
With the CGA, we are educating children about the game of golf. And if that can be our legacy, alongside the HSBC Champions, then we will feel we have done our piece for helping grow this game in China.
And it's an important step; as the Olympic Games comes to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, the game of golf is going to a whole new dimension, and it is important that initiatives such as ours all over the world happen to ensure the future of the game.
To help these sports benefits is something that a sponsor can do, and from all of us at HSBC we are very, very proud. Thank you.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Thank you very much, Giles, and thank you again for HSBC's continued sponsorship of this event.
Before we move into the Q&A session, I would like to ask Tiger just to give a few words of his own welcome.
Tiger, it's your fourth appearance here. Just give us your thoughts on the week ahead here at Sheshan.
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I'm looking forward to it. This is my fourth appearance here, and it's amazing to see how much this tournament has grown over the years.
Going from just a tournament to now one of the world's top events in all of golf; so it's been exciting to see and been exciting to be able to participate in this event over the years. And looking forward to getting out there and playing and competing.
Q. I would like to ask your comment on the HSBC Junior Programme; do you have any plans for the future Junior Programme?
ZHANG XIAONING: I think this is a very important plan for the Junior golf development, thanks to the sponsorship of HSBC, great progress has been made in this Programme.
The junior development programme has been brought to over one hundred schools and over 1,000 junior golfers are trained in this programme. We are also investing very heavily in training the junior players in the National Team. I believe that in the future, this programme will make great contributions to the development of the sport of golf in China.
SCOTT CROCKETT: Giles, do you have anything to add to that?
GILES MORGAN: I don't. I think he said everything beautifully.
Q. I have a question for Tiger. We heard that there will be a golf course in Tian Jin and you will be the designer for that golf course in Tian Jin; is that true, and they will pay two million U.S. dollars; can you confirm the news?
TIGER WOODS: That's more than I know. You must know more than me. (Laughter).
Yeah, that's a first.
Q. About the HSBC Junior Golf Programme, I have a question for Giles Morgan; what's your future plan for the Juniors, will you add new contents to this plan in the future?
GILES MORGAN: Every year we sit with the CGA and we look at the programme that we have developed over the last four years to look for where we can make constant improvement.
So we will be meeting very shortly after this tournament to look at 2011 and beyond.
But it's terribly important for us that where we look to develop the game, we work with the CGA. So there will be developments particularly as the game goes forward and that the interests and the growth in the game, particularly with the Olympics in 2016.
Q. I know you talked about this Monday when you were in Japan, about losing the No. 1 ranking, but now we are here at a tournament where you have a chance to get back to No. 1; how hungry are you to do that?
TIGER WOODS: That hasn't changed. I come to every event with the same intention and that's winning a golf tournament, whether I'm ranked No. 1 or not; that has not changed and it never will. That's why I come to events is to try to get the W.
It's a hell of a field this week and it's going to be a lot of fun going out there competing and trying to win the event.
Q. Many young golfers in China want to become professionals. What suggestions or advice do you have for them?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think in order to become a professional and be able to compete at a tour level, it just takes a lot of experience and dedication.
China is just now getting started in their junior golf programmes and that's how I got started. I started playing junior golf and made my way into amateur golf and then eventually into -- well, also the collegiate ranks, and then into professional golf.
I was lucky enough to be able to compete in a lot of events over the years in junior golf and amateur golf, which allowed me to gain the experience I needed to feel like I was ready to turn professional.
It's just a matter of going out there and obviously believing in what you're doing; it's getting a lot of hard work in, but it's also getting a lot of experience along the way.
Q. You once mentioned that this event is the crowning jewel of the Asian Golf Games; why did you say that? Can you give us an explanation?
TIGER WOODS: Well I think it's the biggest event in Asia, and now it has a World Golf Championships title to it. There's some big events around the world, but this is certainly the biggest event in all of Asia.
HSBC has been invaluable in creating that and being able to not only have a great field, but also to be able to promote the game of golf.
So it's been my fourth time playing, and it's pretty exciting to see the growth of this event and hear what Giles was talking about the Junior Golf Programmes starting in China. It's pretty exciting to see the whole process.
Q. This is your first tournament since you aren't No. 1. Can you just say, does it make you feel slightly different in any way, and has it changed your psychological approach?
TIGER WOODS: No, it hasn't changed anything. I come to the event to win the event. I haven't won an event in about a year. I've gone through periods like this before in the past. In order to become No. 1 in the world and to be able to have the sustainability, I've won golf tournaments. It's something I haven't done, and it's a matter of going out there and competing and winning golf tournaments, and winning enough tournaments, it will take care of itself.
Q. From last year, many sponsors have left you so are you considering getting sponsorship from some leading Chinese companies, or have you been contacted by some Chinese companies? For Mr. Xiaoning is that recently you are organising a big tourist project, a resort village, would you ask, for example, Tiger to be the spokesman for this resort programme for you.
TIGER WOODS: I guess I'll start. You know, obviously we're looking at all opportunities and we always do. We consider every single opportunity. That hasn't changed. It's just a matter of finding the right fit and believing in the company and making sure that I can help them and we see eye-to-eye in that regard.
So as I said, we are considering all opportunities, and certainly Chinese companies are, as well.
RICHARD CHEUNG: As Mr. Zhang has mentioned, golf in China has just started and we are looking to support junior programmes with the help of HSBC. We are making good progress, and for us, by hosting such tournaments, we can see that China still has a long way to go in terms of its golf development.
As the organizer, we will work harder in organisation of such events. And the project you mentioned is a new brand from us. We are about to promote it in places like Beijing, Shanjong and Hangzhou. We hope that in the future golfers from around the world will play our courses in these places, so this will make us one of the leading countries in terms of the golf courses.
Q. Four golfers have a chance to take the No. 1 spot by the end of play this week. I know that you would like to be that person. But can you comment a little bit about with golf being this wide open for the first time in, say, five years, what does that mean for the game of golf; in particular, what are your thoughts on that?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's exciting for I'm sure the public. But as far as the players are concerned, I think that everyone still has the same focus, and that is to golf tournaments. That's how we got into the position we are at, how we got our ranking as high as the top four players in the world is we were able to win golf tournaments over the years.
I think that's why we are here doing that, as well.
Q. Two-part question in a way, if you can talk about where your form is since The Ryder Cup, and from the time you returned to competing again in April, are you about where you thought you would be at this point; behind, ahead, assess that, if you could.
TIGER WOODS: As far as after The Ryder Cup, Sean and I have done some work and it's been good and it's been building on what we have been working on since the PGA. Working on the same things, haven't changed. Just trying to get more solidified in what we are doing.
As far as returning to golf in April compared to now, you know, I never would have foreseen when I returned to the game at the Masters I would have a new coach and I would be here.
So the game is certainly much different than what it was in April; and moving forward and working on it.
Q. With where you thought you would be --
TIGER WOODS: No. With all of the things I was dealing with, I certainly could have understood that and could have come to grips with that.
Q. We have developed a new understanding about you. How do you look at yourself for this period, and how do you look at the Sheshan tournament from your own perspective?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I look at myself as a much better person than what I was. All that I have gone through has certainly made me a better person and has enabled me and forced me to take a look at myself and have become a much better person because of it.
And unfortunately I had to go through it to get to this point. But I'm looking forward to and working each and every day at trying to become the best parent I possibly can.
And as far as this tournament is concerned, I think all of the players here are very excited about this event. This is, as I said, the biggest event in Asia, a World Golf Championships. It's going to be an exciting week.
Q. In the past few years, you have been very cool the past few years, you always keep a distance from the media; will you change this time? Will you have more smiles this year? (Laughter).
TIGER WOODS: I need to make more birdies. (Smiling).
Q. In this period of turmoil, did you ever fall out of love the with game of golf, the game that has defined you? And a supplementary to that, looking forward into the future, do you think we have seen the best of Tiger Woods? Can Tiger Woods get even better than the Tiger that won 14 majors?
TIGER WOODS: The first part is no and the second part is no.
Q. So we can't -- you are not going to get better --
TIGER WOODS: You said is my best golf behind me.
Q. Sorry. I'll rephrase that. You never fell out of love with the game, which is nice to know.
TIGER WOODS: No.
Q. And the second part of the question was: Have we seen the best that Tiger can be, or are you going to improve as a golfer in the future?
TIGER WOODS: I'm always trying to improve, each and every day. That hasn't changed.
Q. So the Tiger Woods here is an inferior product and the Tiger we are going to see is going to be even better?
TIGER WOODS: I'm trying to get better every day, and that's been ever since I first started playing the game, for as long as I can remember; and I started playing since I was 11 months, so it's been a while.
Q. Last year's tournament was one of the last ones before some of your problems began and your dip in form began. Are you looking at all at this year's HSBC as a chance to come full circle, sort of hit the reset button in any way? What are your thoughts in terms of -- on that point?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I think it's just continue to work on what I'm working on. I started at the PGA working with Sean on totally different fundamentals and totally different shift on what I was working on prior to that and still just trying to improve on what we are doing, and understand obviously in more detail what my fixes are for my swing and when I see a certain ball flight. Still trying to understand all that. That's obviously a work-in-progress, each and every day.
Q. I heard you believe in Buddhism. Will you go to a temple to offer a prayer when you are here in Shanghai?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, I was raised as a Buddhist. My mom is a Buddhist. She obviously is from Thailand.
As far as I haven't seen any Buddhist temples, but I work on my meditation each and every day, and my prayers and all of the things that I used to do as a child, and going back to my roots.
Q. Aside from the obvious, does this feel like the other World Golf Championships at Doral and Firestone when you're here, and are you at all annoyed that this is the only one you haven't won?
TIGER WOODS: Well, I've come close. Unfortunately I just haven't done it yet.
As far as the different feels, it is different. Certainly a lot more Asian players than we have in those other events. You know, those other events are more American, I think, biased as well as European-biased.
You know, this certainly has a different feel to it, and you certainly see a lot of the players who have been playing well on the Asian Tour and Japanese Tour here. So that's something that we don't get a chance to see in I think those other events; not at this quantity.
Q. You said earlier that you feel you are a better person than you were a year ago; in what way do you feel that you've improved as a person?
TIGER WOODS: I'm much more balanced and certainly better -- had a more introspective look at myself and where I was and where I wanted to go and how I was raised. So trying to understand all of that and trying to become better as a person; I think everyone is at some point in time in their lives have tried to do that. It's not an easy process.
But it's a process in which once you come out the other side, you feel so much better.
Q. Last week you lost the No. 1 in the world and you have been overtaken, some American media have pointed out you have won no championships for the whole year; he criticised the World Ranking, it is a bad system, what do you think about it? And Mr. Xiaoning, what do you think of the Official World Golf Ranking system in China?
TIGER WOODS: I wouldn't say it's a bad system. In order to attain more World Ranking points, you have to do well in the bigger events and ultimately win the biggest events. That's how you climb to be one of the top players in the world, and also being consistent throughout the year. It definitely rewards that.
I know we changed it throughout my career. It went from I think a two-year rolling process and now I think it's a lot quicker than it used to be. Back in I think 2000, it was a totally different system than what we have now.
So I think it it's obviously a good system, rewards guys who are playing well. I think Martin Kaymer has played well this year and has won six events over the last couple of years. It certainly rewards that.
ZHANG XIAONING: Thank you for your question. Starting from last year, we have introduced a big China Tour system. In order to award the performance of all the golfers, we have this comprehensive system. We have a five category or five-level system.
And secondly, we have been cooperating with some international tours very closely in order to get some ranking for the Chinese golfers on the global or the World Ranking system.
In the past, I'm the head of the tennis administration centre. I think the ranking system of the tennis is one of the most scientific and fairest systems in the world. I hope that the system will further improve once the golf becomes an official item on the Olympic Games.
We still need to further improve the official ranking system once the golf becomes an official game in the Olympic Games. We hope that we will see further improvements in the ranking system so that it will offer more opportunities and support for the golf development.
Q. Just going back to how it's improved you as a certain, how has it changed your outlook on life in terms of what you know value and has it changed your technique or your actual game at all?
TIGER WOODS: You haven't been paying attention on the second part.
The first part is, obviously the most important thing is become a better parent. That's my No. 1 thing is I have two beautiful kids, and just trying to be the best parent I possibly can each and every day.
Q. If you have the question, what question will you ask Mr. Tiger Woods, and Mr. Xiaoning, we have seen great progress in the HSBC sponsorship of the Junior Programme. You have been very interested in the Junior golf programme, because the Junior golfers are the future of China's golf development. We have HSBC Junior Golf Programme, and there are several junior champions, but do you have any plans for the future programmes? And other question is for Mr. Tiger. You have been an exemplary model for many junior golfers in China and you have a lot of admirers in China; because of the things in the past year, some of the Chinese junior golfers no longer like you, and just now you mentioned you want to be a better person. Do you think that you will still have many followers here at Sheshan in China at Shanghai? Are you going to sign for them?
SCOTT CROCKETT: I'm exhausted after that. (Laughter) Mr. Xiaoning , do you want to answer your question which has in the middle of that?
ZHANG XIAONING: So many questions for me. Yes, we have over ten champions or tournaments under the umbrella of HSBC programme, but we also have other partnership programmes. We are going to introduce more junior programmes and we are going to separate the junior golfers into different age groups. Maybe next year, we are going to introduce a World Junior Cup. We are working very hard on it.
So some junior golfers will represent their countries to play in this World Cup of Juniors, so this is what I want to say about the Junior development.
SCOTT CROCKETT: And Tiger, just give us your thoughts on the welcome you'll have hear, you've always had a warm welcome that won't change will it.
TIGER WOODS: No, the people here have always been fantastic. As we said, this is my fourth time here. It's been fun playing and it's been fun getting a chance to visit China over the years. And this is going to be another great week and looking forward to it.
Q. Many golfers before such major tournaments, they will go for some commercial activities, some promotions maybe. So will you participate in such activities there in this HSBC World Golf Championships, for example, some Pro-Am games or tournaments, will you participate in such games?
TIGER WOODS: Yeah, in less than an hour (looking down at watch, chuckling. )
Last night we had a chance to go downtown and do something that I've never do something before, doing Tai Chi, which was certainly interesting, understanding it a little bit more. It was a lot of fun. Got a chance to meet and talk to a lot of the different guys I haven't seen in a while, and we have a Pro-Am here this -- well, I tee off in about an hour, so, yeah.
SCOTT CROCKETT: It looks like we are all done. Gentlemen, thank you very much. Tiger, good luck this week.
End of FastScripts