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November 8, 2005

Tiger Woods


SIR JOHN BOND: Thank you for joining us today for this press conference. Let me start by making some introductions. My name is John Bond. I work for HSBC. By contrast, the person sitting next to me, Tiger Woods, needs no introduction. At the top table are Mr. Zhang Xiaoning, the executive vice president of the China Golf Association; the director of multi ball center of the State Sports Administration, the deputy director of the Shanghai Administration of Sport; deputy director of Shanghai district government; and the president of Shanghai Sheshan International Golf Club. We've invited you to mark the inaugural HSBC Champions Tournament, which we hope will become Asia's most significant golf championship.

We've chosen to site this tournament in China and Shanghai for several reasons, partly because of our history, HSBC was founded in Hong Kong and Shanghai in 1865, and we've been here ever since. We are not investing in golf in China simply because of our history. China is a country with an amazing future. With it's rapid growth and increasing prosperity, we expect it to be a vibrant and growing golf market for years to come.

We hope that the HSBC Champions Tournament will play a significant part in the development of golf in China by bringing the world's best golfers to Shanghai to play alongside the winners from the Asian and other tours, plus China's own talented young golfers.

And there's another reason we've chosen to sponsor the game of golf. Golf is an international game: It's inclusive, and above all, it's a game of great integrity. These are all values that we at HSBC share and support. So we are very grateful to the State General Administration of Sport, the China Golf Association, Shanghai municipal government, the district government and Sheshan International Golf Club for their support in establishing the HSBC Champions Tournament, and we are extremely honoured that Tiger Woods has chosen this event as his first official event in China. Now I would like to invite Tiger to say a few words.

TIGER WOODS: Thank you. First off, I want to say thank you. I haven't been here very long, got in early this morning, so far, my visit has been short, but again it's been wonderful. My second time here in China, and it's been absolutely fantastic so far.

I'm looking forward to a great week. HSBC has been a tremendous sponsor of this tournament, but more importantly, what we're going to try and do today, we announced earlier, my partnership with my foundation, which I'm very excited about. We're going to try and create an international program for kids, and what we're doing in the United States I think is very positive. Thank you to HSBC for what they are doing to try and help us spread the word of how we can help kids around the world. So for me it's very exciting.

Again, this week is a very special week, one that will probably be one of the most premiere event ever held in China, a golf event, and it will be exciting for you will of us players, we have some of the greatest players in the world playing this week. And again, hope all of you guys can come out and support this event, because you're going to see some pretty exciting golf. Thank you.

SIR JOHN BOND: I'd like to add that at HSBC, we are very excited to be launching this initiative with the Tiger Woods Foundation, with its focus on inspiring dreams in young people. The announcement of this agreement shortly after the signing on the 29th of September of a memorandum of understanding between HSBC, the Chinese Ministry of Education, demonstrates the extent of HSBC's commitment to further strength the links in education in China and around Asia. So it's a pleasure for HSBC to be supporting the Tiger Woods Foundation which we do internationally.

That concludes our formal business. Our official representatives will need to leave now to attend another function. Before they go, I believe we are going to have a photo together and Tiger in particular with me in support will stay to answer your questions.

Ladies and gentlemen of the press, your questions, please. You have in front of you the world's best golfer and the world's worst golfer.

Q. How do you balance practice with travelling, sponsors?

TIGER WOODS: How can I balance my practice with my tournaments with sponsors and all of the events? It's something that it has taken me a while to learn. When I first turned pro, I didn't have an understanding of how to do that. Certainly didn't do as good a job; I have a complete understanding of how to do it now, yes. It's taken me a few years to get the grasp of it, to get the balance of how much practice I need, how much rest I need, as well as delegation of time to my sponsors. There's no manual in college that can ever teach you that, so it's something that you have to learn on your own and you have to go through your own mistakes and learn from them, which I did.

Q. Tiger, you're the world No. 1, multiple major winner, what's your main motivation for coming to Asia to compete, what do you hope to achieve? Is it to increase your fan base over here?

TIGER WOODS: I've always enjoyed playing around the world. I believe that as golf has grown, it's become a global game and that you have to play around the world. You can't just delegate all of your time to the United States and our PGA TOUR. You have to play around the world.

I've always enjoyed it. I first turned pro in '96 and I played in Australia. I've travelled all around, I've been to different places, I've been to all different continents and I've played golf. I enjoy going to different cultures. I've always felt very comfortable coming to Asia. This is how I was raised. My mom, she's basically that's the household I was raised under. So any time I get a chance to come to Asia, I feel very, very comfortable. It's just a matter of coming here, competing, enjoying the culture and hopefully going home with a trophy.

Q. Have you been to Singapore?

TIGER WOODS: I have never been to Singapore, but hopefully I can get there in the near future.

Q. Can you please tell us why you always seem to visit in November?

TIGER WOODS: The first part, why have I come in November? Well, it just happened to be the scheduling. I had an opportunity to visit Mission Hills for the first time, and again, it was all scheduling. It just so happened to fit and it happened to work out. Unfortunately, we can't play everywhere all the time. So it just happened to be just a wonderful fit for me to come November, two times.

Would I like to come any other time of the year? Yeah, it would be great. It just hasn't worked out so far, yet. Maybe in the future.

As far as a Chinese player playing a major championship, I think, yeah, Zhang Lian Wei, he played in the Masters last year in 2004, and certainly Chinese golf has grown quite a bit and has expended. I think it's headed in the right direction. With all of the tournaments that are being played here and now all of the participants in golf, all of the Juniors that are playing now, it's just a matter of time before you're going to have success in the bigger events and eventually you will have a major championship winner come from the country of China.

Q. Will we see more of you in Asia, and just exposure of the top world ranked players playing with the Asian Tour players, how does the exposure help the Asian Tour players?

TIGER WOODS: The first part of your question? I'm so sorry.

Q. With the new scheduling in the US, will we be seeing you more in Asia?

TIGER WOODS: With the shortened season coming in 2007, yeah, there's certainly a possibility. Each and every year, I always want to come to Asia because I always love coming. Whether it's Japan, China or Thailand, where my mom is from. I've been to a number of places in Asia, and I've always enjoyed it. As I've said, it's a comfort level every time I come. I always want to get back, I always want to bring my mom with me. She's here this week. It's going to be a great week for us as a family.

I think it's great exposure for Asian players to be able to play and compete against some of the best. Because, you know, in order to learn and grow and become better, you have to play against better competition. And that's the way it was in junior golf and amateur golf and eventually in professional golf and even in professional golf, there are different layers of professional golf.

I think for all of the Asian players, I think it's a wonderful opportunity for them to compete, a wonderful opportunity for them to learn and grow. But also I think it's great exposure for the Asian Tour, as well, and Chinese golf, as well. It's a win for everyone and everyone is going to enjoy and have a great week this week.

Q. You've always been a great player, just tell us what are the elements that are able to help you overcome obstacles? For example, your battle against John Daly, and where you almost missed a birdie shot that cost you the game, tell us about that?

TIGER WOODS: I think the mental approach that I have to the game and the style of play comes from both my parents. You know, mom being of Buddhist descent; obviously it's a very calm nature. And my dad is very competitive, as well, but I think he added a different element to it. He was in Special Forces, being a Green Beret, it's a totally different mindset, a very tough mindset. Certainly he passed on that approach. He wasn't tough on me, but he taught me the technique of how to be tough, how to be tougher on the golf course and get over things better and be able to focus. And these are things that I was very lucky and very fortunate to have had a parent that's been through those experiences before, and his life depended on it. Now golf is not live or death, it's just a game, but it makes it a lot easier for me.

The match I had down the stretch with JD was a bunch of fun. I was very fortunate to have come out on top because I know JD, in my opinion, he outplayed every one of us that week. He just missed a couple of putts. But that was the week that JD basically played better than everyone else. He just happened to miss a couple of putts at the wrong time.

Q. How are you looking forward to playing with Zhang and Monty again? (NB: They are drawn together in Round 1)

TIGER WOODS: Looking forward to it. That's the first time I ever saw Zhang was back in '98 at Johnnie Walker in Thailand down in Phuket. I believe he played right in front of me the first two days, either right in front of me I think he played right in front of me. Anyway, he's a very consistent ball striker, hits the ball very straight. So it's going to be fun playing with him again and visiting with him. I saw him again earlier today.

Monty is always fun to play with. We battled this year at the British Open at St. Andrews and it's always a lot of fun competing against Monty because he's one of best competitors out there. Again we are going to have a bunch of fun out there competing and trying to win a tournament.

Q. I was just wondering if you've been out to the course, I know you haven't been here very long, and if you haven't, what are you feeling about it in terms of its challenges?

TIGER WOODS: I got a chance to play, I played the front nine this morning. I played nine holes. The golf course is a little bit wet right now. It's a little soft. We're making ballmarks on the fairways and the greens are pretty receptive.

So with all of that said, if you drive the ball in play with the greens, they are pretty undulating, but if you feed the ball off the slopes, you can get the ball pretty close. There's no reason why you can't shoot some good numbers out here. A couple of par 4s, you may have a run at trying to drive them, and I think three of the four par 5s are reachable in two. So you can see some of the guys could shoot some pretty good numbers out here.

Q. Sir John, will you be using your time here to expand HSBC's banking business, and in particular, any selection of a partner or thought to whether the joint venture will be with Xhiang Bank (phonetic) or Independence Bank (phonetic)?

TIGER WOODS: I'll let you handle that one. (Laughter).

SIR JOHN BOND: I think I preferred the questions on golf. I don't think we are really here to discuss HSBC's financial plans for China. We're here one with one the world's golfing greats to discuss golf. Perhaps we can have a word afterwards.

Q. I want to know if you're familiar with Hu Mu, the Chinese amateur who some are calling the Tiger Woods of China, and want to get your comments on his game. A lot of people are resting the hope of the future of golf on his shoulders.

TIGER WOODS: Actually I had a chance to meet him late this morning. I was going to the first tee and I got a chance to meet him real briefly and say hello and say good luck this week. Haven't seen him hit a shot, so I'm curious to see. I certainly will be curious to follow his play this week. I've heard some things about him, and obviously, what a talent, so you're always curious to check out the new talent.

Q. You mentioned about the Tiger Woods Foundation, can you just talk a little bit about how you would like to see some of the barriers broken down that are still in golf, the elitism in this part of the world, and what you can contribute to that?

TIGER WOODS: I think it's a barrier that we're going to fight around the world. Certainly we're trying to fight that in our country and certainly I think that's one of the things that we're trying to make it more inclusive. You know, things are starting to happen. With The First Tee initiative going around the United States now, all of the facilities being built, obviously with the things I'm trying to do with my foundation and other foundations and other charitable organizations around our country are doing some wonderful things to try and open doors. I think that's what you have to have happen. You're starting to see that here and in other countries as well; specifically here in China, with the support of, obviously, the government and other things that you're starting to find that you're starting to see some other kids come up through the pipeline.

The only thing that I hope is that kids do get a chance to participate in golf and do have the fun of playing. That's one of the things that I always stressed, that they always enjoy what they are doing out there, playing. I tell you what, it's the game of a lifetime, but you just enjoy it, too. Some people take it way too seriously and they are forced into it and it's life or death, and it's not. That's one of great things about this game, there's so many different aspects of life that I've learned in golf, and I'm sure that anyone who has ever played can certainly understand that.

Q. Can you talk more about Colin's achievement of winning an eighth Order of Merit, his achievement of winning an eighth Order of Merit in Europe, and his chances of winning a major?

TIGER WOODS: Well, Monty winning eight total now, seven in a row, truly one of the remarkable feats of modern golf. Because of the consistency that is takes to do that. You can't go out there and play poorly, and the way The European Tour schedule is, you have to play around the world. For Monty, he's played a bunch of tournaments this year, and he didn't have his ranking that he's accustomed to earlier in the year and had to work his way into it and that shows a lot, a lot of heart and a lot of desire. He has to be commended for that.

As far as winning a major championship in the future, yeah, I can certainly see Monty doing that, because he still has the game to do it. He drives the ball very straight, and it's just a matter of him putting all of the pieces together at the right time, just like anybody. To win a major championship, you have to do that. He's been there numerous times in the U.S. Open, obviously the PGA lost in a playoff to Elk.

Certainly, I think Monty will contend in a major championship. He did this year at the British Open. He certainly has the game, and now with the added confidence that he has, he should be a factor in majors to come.

Q. For many people, turning 30 is quite a milestone in their life. So will age gradually make a difference?

TIGER WOODS: Put it this way, turning 30 this year, my goal is probably not to remember it. (Laughter).

No, we're going to have some fun, and, hey, it's just a number. I know that I've enjoyed my time on Tour, I've been out here, this is my 10th season on Tour. So it's been a lot of fun for me. But obviously, I can't do some of the things that I used to do when I first came out here. I don't have the recovery like I used to. I have to train smarter, practice smarter, and I think that just comes with experience. I think that's just being more efficient.

SIR JOHN BOND: I'd like to thank Tiger on behalf of everyone for coming in. He's flown in from Atlanta in America, he's played nine holes, he hit eight balls over the Huang Pu river, he's had a very busy day, so we'll draw it to a close. Thank you very much indeed for your interest in this tournament, which we hope will become one of great ones in the world.

TIGER WOODS: Thanks for coming. Thank you, everybody.

End of FastScripts.

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