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February 8, 2011

Mohamed Juma Buamaim

Anders Sundt Jensen

Gary Savage

Marcel Siem

Michael Tate


THE MODERATOR: Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to welcome you on behalf of Mercedes-Benz to this press conference today. I want to introduce our talkers today, Mr. Mohamed Juma Buamaim, vice chairman and CEO of golf in DUBAi. Mr. Michael Tate, director of the R&A. Anders Sundt Jensen, Vice President Brand Communications Mercedes-Benz Cars. And Gary Savage, Managing Director, Mercedes-Benz Cars, Mercedes-Benz U.K.
ANDERS SUNDT JENSEN: Mohamed just said to me, you always have a lot to say because the fact there's a lot of paper (laughing).
Just from my side, a warm welcome to the media, the guests and also some of the players. It's a pleasure to be here and as I also said when we were sitting together, again, to you, Mohamed, thank you very much for giving us an opportunity to utilise this platform with the Dubai Desert Classic which is a tournament with a fantastic international field of players and giving us the possibility to have a press conference here at the beginning of the year. And also, at the same time, of course, as you know we are partners of the Dubai Desert Classic. So we are extremely happy for being here.
And one of the things which you perhaps might know is that we have been in golf for many, many years, and this tournament fits perfectly in all of our engagement and we have stayed here as a partner for many years and we have signed up for next four years.
So from my side, it's a good thing, and let's move on to you.
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM: You can say more than that. (Laughter).
Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for being with us today. I have actually hijacked this press conference because as you see it's got nothing to do with the Dubai Desert Classic. But I just wanted to thank Mercedes since they are here from Germany to say thank you very much for being partners for our two events and they are going to be partners with us up to 2014, and hopefully will continue for many years to come.
Mercedes is a big name and a big brand and it's an honour and privilege for us to have Mercedes-Benz be a part of our family of sponsors. We have sponsors who have been with us over the last 20 years, and hopefully Mercedes-Benz will be there next 20 years. Thank you very much for your support.
ANDERS SUNDT JENSEN: As you perhaps might also know, we would also like to announce today that we have started a cooperation with The Open Championship. We are, as you know, already a partner of the Masters, also with the PGA Championship in the U.S. We are having on the other side also I think one of the biggest amateur golf tournaments in the world, the Mercedes-Benz Trophy with over 60,000 participants in more than 40 countries ending up in a final in Stuttgart.
So for that reason, we are agreeing to golf, and also when you look at time of the year when these golf tournaments take place, at the beginning of the year in Dubai, an engagement which we will have many, many years and I definitely agree it is a brand that stands for continuity and consistency. Always as a partner, our partnership strategy is to be a partner for long term because we do not like stepping in and stepping out. It always takes time to be established, and then to really, to use the point I say, to be in the normal and logical part of an activity.
The final thing, being here at the beginning of the year in Dubai and knowing that in springtime at Augusta, we have a good start, and then we have The Open Championship later on. And then we actually we do not play only 260 days marketing, 365 days a year and that, as I say, is how marketing should work.
Golf has to do with fascination and it has to do with thrill. It's a fantastic variety of the game. Look at the different players that have a different way of reading the golf course and playing it. It has to do with intelligence. It has a lot to do with precision, all elements actually which goes hand in hand with Mercedes.
So we are really proud of being a partner of this. We have our engagement in England and Gary, my colleague from the U.K., can tell you about the details around it. And also if you have any questions later on, I can answer.
GARY SAVAGE: Well, as Anders has already explained, we at Mercedes-Benz are incredibly proud to be a partner of the Open and to be The Official Car of The Open Championship. And our association with The Open comes at a great time for Mercedes. Our founders, Karl Benz, and Gottlieb Daimler invented the automobile some 125 years ago, which in reality was about 26 years after The Open had started. So this year we celebrate, as I say, our 125th anniversary, and we'll activate the partnership with The Open and to maximise this association.
As you'd expect, really, from two long-established organisations, this partnership is long term. We have signed a five-year deal to be the exclusive car partner and starting at this summer's event at Royal St. George's in the garden of England in Kent. Mercedes-Benz will provide around 60 cars and drivers, so throughout the tournament everybody will get a chance to see our fabulous product.
And as Anders has already said, we have been in golf for a long time, since the 1980s, and we continue to hold the Mercedes-Benz Trophy. And what we are going to do as part of this partnership with The Open, there will be a competition to sort of drive to the major, and that will give the winners a chance to play on the Monday following the championship in a fourball. So it's a really good opportunity for our customers to really feel what it's like to play on a championship course.
So we'll be talking about this partnership between now and July, and to tell you more about The Open in 2011 I would now like to hand it over to Michael from the R&A.
MICHAEL TATE: Thank you, Gary. Firstly, Mohamed, thank you for allowing us, the R&A to be here. I think I first came here in '86, '87, and there was a square of grass in the middle of the desert. It is staggering what has happened here. It's fantastic.
And on behalf of the R&A, Anders, Gary, thank you for partnering The Open. I notice we have a five-year deal and mow happened only has the four year deal. So we're right up for that. We'll talk about that.
MOHAMED JUMA BUAMAIM: There is a reason for that. (Laughter).
MICHAEL TATE: We'll talk about that afterward. You talk about 1886; I think The Open in 1886 was the 26th Open and was a guy called David Brown in Musselburgh, and he had a score of 157 shots. It was a two-round event at that time and there were 42 competitors, seven of whom failed to return their scores at the end of the competition; so it must have been a pretty rough week.
I think it's grown a little bit more since then. We'll have 156 competitors, as many of you know at Royal St. George's. We qualify Open on five continents. We like to think we are the oldest and most international of the Majors. There has inform been an invitation Open. You have to play your way in, and that will continue.
And The Open likes to associate itself with -- or it's been fortunate enough to associate itself with fantastic brands through the years. You can look at our category of sponsors and Mercedes-Benz is one of those fantastic brands. We are delighted. It is absolutely terrific. So thank you for your support.
The other thing, the money from The Open Championship is not kept by the R&A. It's recycled into the development of the game, and you see Marcel here, it is usually not the glamorous level of the game. We are probably a little unglamorous in that we concentrate on the amateur game from which the great champions come and from which just general golfers arrive.
Where we are in this region, the last few years, we have been able to help sponsor the Pan Arab Junior and Senior Teams Championship. We have held a rules school in Dubai. I think those two gentlemen coming from the Golf Federation here and to our root school in St. Andrews this week, I suspect they will be enjoying the snow there that I gather was landing yesterday, but there we are. We've sent golf clubs to Oman, and I think, Mohamed, there is more to come on what we are hopefully able to do to help develop this game in this region in the days to come.
It must be one of the most extraordinary regions on to have come from a very static point ten years ago to the place that the golfing world looks at golf at this time of the year. I think it's extraordinary.
So with all of that in mind, thank you, Mercedes-Benz, thank you Mohamed, we are delighted to be here and support as much as we can golf in this region. Thank you.
THE MODERATOR: And now I would like to introduce our special guest, Marcel Siem, German Mercedes-Benz brand ambassador, and he has a really strong relationship to Mercedes-Benz as we show in a short film for you. (Video played).
MARCEL SIEM: Hello, I'm Marcel Siem and very, very proud to be ambassador for Mercedes and I'm open for some questions. (Smiling.)
MICHAEL TATE: Ask him what happened on Tuesday.
MARCEL SIEM: I'm very proud, I'm a daddy last week since Tuesday. That's one thing.
About Mercedes, I'm very, very proud to be part of a strong brand like Mercedes-Benz, and I think it's one of the strongest, or maybe the strongest in Germany. I think it's great that Mercedes-Benz is doing the courtesy cars and is a partner and sponsor from The Open Championship. Tradition counts to tradition there and it's very, very good and I think especially for us golf players, it's always nice to have Mercedes around, and for me, I love Mercedes. On the golf course, when I mark the ball, always with this little marker (coin-size Mercedes-Benz logo) and all of the players, they never see a marker like that. Usually we use coins like that.
Yeah, I'm very, very proud.
THE MODERATOR: And I think we have to congratulate because you are a young father since a few days and you know that we have lovely family cars, so I think it's no problem for you.
MARCEL SIEM: We just ordered a GLK. It's very, very good. So I'm looking forward to coming back to Germany and see my little daughter. I just saw her one day unfortunately so I feel a little bit sad about it, but this week, I'm really looking forward to play well and hopefully come home with a trophy.

Q. A couple of questions, one to Anders and one to Michael. Anders, first to you, Martin Kaymer, a German, possibly going to become the world No. 1 at the end of this week perhaps, already the European No. 1, and being a German company which has worldwide ambitions, how do you feel about a German player doing so well on the world scene?
ANDERS SUNDT JENSEN: It's fantastic. Beside that, we actually came from Abu Dhabi yesterday at the Laureus World Sports Awards, and I don't know if everybody knows, but Martin Kaymer was selected by 2000 journalists all around the world Breakthrough of the Year Award. And knowing what field you have there regarding other sports men and women from all around the world is a fantastic achievement. He had a tremendous year. And knowing -- I did not know him but I had the possibility to meet and greet with him several times but not that close, but he seems so normal and nice and so approachable; and at the same time, being so disciplined and concentrated; he's doing so for that reason. He's of course a fantastic guy with huge development potential. Whether he will become No. 1 or not, we will see through the next days. And, well, I think the future is his.
But there are many good players out there, as well, not only Germans.

Q. Michael, you spoke about donations from the R&A to various golf projects, and there is a fantastic project being announced by Mohamed tomorrow. Have you considered doing something for that tour or this region, apart from what you have mentioned?
MICHAEL TATE: Yes. I think I would hate to steal Mohamed's Thunder and I think any announcement will be tomorrow, but rest assured we will be behind him in whatever help financial or through personnel that we can do. I think it's a great initiative that's going to be announced tomorrow, and we're certainly with you all the way, Mohamed. Don't want to steal his thunder. (Laughter).

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