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November 4, 2012
LAURA HILL:Â Good morning, ladies and gentlemen.Â Thank you for joining us today for what promises to be an exciting announcement in the history of the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions, which as you can see as enjoyed an incredible history.
This important new era we will talk about today is evidenced by the dignitaries who have joined us on stage today:Â Giles Morgan, Global Head of Sponsorship and Events for HSBC; Ms.Helen Wong, Chief Executive Officer, China, HSBC; Mr.Tim Finchem, PGA TOUR Commissioner; Mr.George O'Grady, Chief Executive of The European Tour; Mr.Zhang Xiaoning, China Golf Association, Executive Vice President and Secretary General; and Mr.Li Yuyi Shanghai Administration of Sports Director.
At this time it is my pleasure to invite Mr.Giles Morgan to announce HSBC's good news to the audience.
GILES MORGAN:Â Thank you for the introduction and it's a great honor for me to be sitting here with senior representatives from the world of golf and from Shanghai, and a good morning to you, ladies and gentlemen, and it really is a good morning for HSBC and for golf in Asia.
As the last three days have illustrated, the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions is a world‑class event which is right up there with the very best this wonderful sport has to offer.
And so it gives me huge pleasure to announce today that we are extending our title sponsorship of HSBC Champions for another three years.Â In addition, the tournament will return to Shanghai and the Sheshan International Golf Club, the venue which hosted the first seven HSBC Champions tournaments.
This announcement is a genuine landmark moment for HSBC and our sponsorship of golf.Â We are very proud to support golf all over the world, with the HSBC Women's Champions in Singapore, the Abu Dhabi HSBC golf championship, the LPGA Brazil Cup and The Open Championship.
But HSBC Champions is our Flagship Event and hugely important to us, and we are just weeks away from our 10th anniversary as major international sponsor of the sport, and I can't think of a better way of celebrating.
This announcement today is not so much as a sponsorship renewal, but is a rebirth.Â It's a new dawn for the HSBC Champions and for Asian golf, which is now right at the top table of world golf.Â In a few moments, Tim will talk through the specific details from a golfing perspective.Â This tournament is often referred by the players as 'Asia's major,' and a quick glance at the current leaderboard shows you exactly why.
When we first came to China in 2005, our ambition was to create a world‑class international golf tournament in an emerging golf market.Â Eight years on, and it really feels like HSBC Champions has been the catalyst for the growth of golf in Asia as more and more world‑class tournaments have been created.
Mission Hills has been a great experience for us this year, and I would like to publically thank all of the management and staff here for their great hospitality and support.Â But Shanghai is a city of major significance to HSBC as a business, and Sheshan International Golf Club is a world‑class venue to host a world‑class tournament.
As a global financial services organisation, we pride ourselves on opening up a world of opportunities for people, and the HSBC Champions has proved to be the perfect stage for golf in Asia to come of age.Â We look forward to the next chapter in the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions story, and that chapter starts today.
Thank you very much.
LAURA HILL:Â Mr.Morgan, thank you, and congratulations to you and HSBC.
At this time I would like to introduce Commissioner Tim Finchem of the PGA TOUR to speak about what this event in the new era for the HSBC Champions means for the PGA TOUR and world of golf in general.
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Thank you.Â Thank you, Giles, and thank all of the team at HSBC for their support of not only the World Golf Championships, but for golf in this region of the world.
The World Golf Championships were brought forth starting in 1999 by the International Federation of PGA Tours working together in collaboration and in addition to Mr.O'Grady, Mr.Zhang and myself, Kyi Hla Han, the Executive Chairman of the Asian Tour, is with us as well here in the first row, and we are here representing all of the various tours who comprise the International Federation for these announcements.
Today's announcement by Giles marks an executing new era for the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions.Â This is great news that HSBC has committed for an additional number of years for this prestigious event.Â Their continued support means continuity as we build a quality championship here in China.
In addition to the HSBC announcement, we are also announcing today the following:Â Starting next year, this tournament will now be recognised as an official event on the PGA TOUR and will become part of the PGA TOUR's official schedule.Â The tournament will offer FedExCup points with the same ten percent premium offered by the three other World Golf Championships.Â The champion of this tournament starting next year will receive a three‑year exemption on the PGA TOUR.Â The purse for this tournament will be increased to 8.5 million dollars.Â And of course, as Giles mentioned, the tournament will make its permanent home in the terrific city of Shanghai.
I want to thank the Chu family and Mission Hills Golf Club for being hosts here this week.Â They have been our partners now for some 20 years in developing golf, and we look forward to many more years of partnership with them in the years to come.
Today's announcement is important in elevating the status of the World Golf Championships as a whole.Â The World Golf Championships are important to the game of golf.Â These events draw global interest.Â They have international fields of the world's best golfers which we are witnessing this week.Â They are broadcast in over 225 countries and territories to over 600 million homes around the world.
We look forward to building on the announcements today to continue to build what the World Golf Championships mean not just to the TOUR players, but to the fans and to the growth of the game around the world.Â Thank you.
LAURA HILL:Â At this time I would like to invite Mr.George O'Grady to say a few words on behalf of The European Tour.
GEORGE O'GRADY:Â I'd like to reiterate Mr.Finchem's remarks.Â HSBC has shown great leadership across the world, not just here in China where they have the Flagship Event; one, to our players; and two, to all the fans who support the tournament that go through the Interactive Zone down in the village.Â You see how many people can experience what it's like to play with the modern day professional golfer.
HSBC has shown great leadership, great vision, here, in Britain, and Abu Dhabi as well with our selves, and across the region with ladies golf and junior golf.Â We couldn't have a better partner.Â Thank you.
LAURA HILL:Â At this time we would like to open the floor for questions.
Q.Â Very simple one:Â The FedExCup finishes in September, this tournament is held every year in November; is it going to change its date in the future?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Â No.Â As you may be aware, the PGA TOUR schedule will now end at THE TOUR Championship, the event that determines the winner of the FedExCup, and it will restart in October.
So all of our fall events in the United States will be granted FedExCup points, not at the level of the World Golf Championships.Â But this event will take on new meaning because it will have a huge impact on the status of the FedExCup points list as we come towards the beginning of calendar year.
Q.Â What kind of positive impact will this news bring to the business of HSBC in China?
HELEN WONG:Â Well, to be a sponsor is totally a business consideration.Â For the past eight years, the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions has brought in a lot of opportunities and branding to HSBC.Â This sponsorship will have a synergy effect through our clients, government bodies, golf clubs and golf lovers.Â This is a total successful business consideration as a sponsor for this event.
Q.Â Will there be any changes in the composition of the field next year or onwards, and will Asian and China players get a few more spots in the tournament?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Well, there are some discussions going on about tweaking the field a little bit, but we are not prepared to announce any details today.
Q.Â Mr.Zhang, how do you feel about the upbringing of this event will influence the development of golf in China?
ZHANG XIAONING:Â Well, definitely, this is a very influential event in China, and it will help the golf development in China, as well.
With the elevation of golf's status of all the tournaments in China, this is a special one.Â We show it to all of the people in China, the world‑class players, and also this will upgrade the local players playing skill and sharing experience, and this is a very, very good preparation for the 2016 Olympic Games for China teams.
Â LI YUYI:Â Well, it is a business decision for HSBC to move back to Shanghai, and obviously HSBC has thought about the status of being a world‑class financial organisation.
Also, I would like to thank HSBC, the PGA TOUR, CGA, IMG and everyone here for being a supporter for this event.Â This is very important for Shanghai's economic growth as a city, and Mission Hills is a high‑class tournament golf course, but, we can also be excellent to organisation high‑level tournaments.
But the reason why we go back to Shanghai is we have a lot of synergy effects in between, such as HSBC's decision of being the world's local bank and to establish their footstep as branding as a world‑class financial institute, and Shanghai is China's leading financial centre.Â It has a very strong branding effect and also, it will upgrade the citizen's cultural level in different aspects, such as ecology, environment protection and everything.
It is a good news for the citizens of Shanghai, because they have the opportunity to see a world class tournament right at their doorstep.Â I would like to take this chance to thank everyone for supporting this event and Shanghai City and Shanghai Sports Administration Department will welcome everyone coming here next year again.Â Thank you.
Q.Â As we are made aware, on the PGA TOUR, appearance fees are not allowed to offer to the players, as we see this week, we might have some players missing, not joining this tournament.Â Will this regulation apply to the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions in the future?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Yes.Â (Laughter) The shorter answer was delayed.
Q.Â As we are aware, next year we are going to have the World Golf Championships ‑ HSBC Champions event organised in Shanghai again.Â As we are made aware of that, we also have the BMW Masters in Shanghai.Â Do you think this is an overflow effect in Shanghai city?
GILES MORGAN:Â No, I don't.Â I think it's fantastic, as I referenced earlier the number of tournaments that are growing in this part of the world, has only got to be good news for golf in China.
Shanghai is a massive city with a growing appetite for golf, and I think to have two wonderful tournaments, the BMW event, which is part of The European Tour, and then leading into ours, which is part of the World Golf Championships, will give a riotous two weeks for golf fans in Shanghai and we think it will be be excellent for golf in China, which has been one of the things we have been trying to drive from the day we started in 2005.Â
Q.Â Slightly off the point, I would like to ask what is the status of the belly putter.Â There's a lot of talk about a possible ban on it.Â Have you been discussing that here and what is the current situation?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â I'll let George go first.
GEORGE O'GRADY:Â There's certainly been plenty of discussion and we are waiting formal notification from the world's governing bodies.
Q.Â What's the next step?Â When will that take place?
GEORGE O'GRADY:Â I think they work to their own timetable.Â But I think the Rules of Golf are reviewed every four years, and so they would have to be considered taking place in the beginning of 2016.Â We have not been formally informed by the R&A and USGA, but there has been talk.
Q.Â I'm happy to hear that we have the FedExCup and points for the HSBC and premium stature for the HSBC Champions, but do you have any plan to really have a PGA event in China?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Well, it is a PGA TOUR event.Â It's also shared by other tours as official events on their tours.Â It's not any different than the other World Golf Championships, or for that matter, the major championships in terms of joint sanctioning.
So we view it as very much a part of the PGA TOUR.Â Going forward, we will continue to look at the landscape and our calendar and see what might develop.Â You know, we came here in 1995 with the World Cup, and things have changed in China a great deal.Â We look forward to the Olympic Games in 2016.Â And things will continue to evolve.
But to answer your question, we have no specific plan for any specific event at this point in time.Â As things develop we'll have more to say down the road if need be, but right now the answer is no.
Q.Â If you look at the wall behind you, the Federation of PGA TOURs, shows Sunshine Tour, PGA TOUR, Australasia, Japan, European Tour.Â We have four World Golf Championships events, a lot of excitement that there's one here in this region.Â Why are the other three all in America and what are the chances of starting to take them to places like South Africa, Japan and back to Europe?
COMMISSIONER FINCHEM:Â Well, it primarily relates to the marketplace in terms of where you can stage events that have this impact, and given the financial requirements necessary.
I would point out that they have not always been in the United States.Â They have travelled in the past.Â I think we have been on five continents with the World Golf Championships, so we'll continue to look at opportunities.
The schedule just happens to be what it is now.Â Doesn't mean it will always be that way.Â And a schedule is impacted by a wide range of things, particularly the schedules on the other tours, the ability to stage these events at different times of the year that works best for the top players in the world to be there, and the marketplaces they are in.
So I think what you see right now is the basic structure for the next few years, but we're delighted with HSBC coming aboard a few years ago; that now we have representation in Asia,.
And we will continue to look at options as we go forward.
LAURA HILL:Â Congratulations, and thank you to all of our participants.Â Thank you, and enjoy today's final round.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports