2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions Preview

2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions Preview2017 World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions Preview

Dates: October 26-29, 2017
Where: Shanghai, China
Course: Sheshan International Golf Club
Par/yardage: Par 72/ 7,266
Field: 78 players
Purse: $9.75 million ($1.66 million to the winner)
FedExCup Points: 550 to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play (no cut)
Defending Champion: Hideki Matsuyama (Japan)

Quick review of tournament history

  • The HSBC Champions was created in November 2005 and became an official European Tour and Asian Tour event beginning in 2006. Event champions during that timeframe: 2005 – David Howell; 2006 – Y.E. Yang; 2007 – Phil Mickelson; 2008 – Sergio Garcia.
  • In 2009, the HSBC Champions was granted World Golf Championships status but was an unofficial event on the PGA TOUR. Phil Mickelson’s win in 2009 is not considered an official PGA TOUR victory.
  • Beginning in 2010, the HSBC Champions counted as an official PGA TOUR victory and offered a three year exemption on the PGA TOUR—provided the tournament was won by a PGA TOUR member. Prize money, however, did not count toward the official PGA TOUR money list, even if a PGA TOUR member won the event. Tournament winners during this timeframe include: 2010 – Francesco Molinari (unofficial PGA TOUR win); 2011 – Martin Kaymer (unofficial PGA TOUR win); 2012 – Ian Poulter (official PGA TOUR win).
  • On the final day of the 2012 event, HSBC announced renewal of its title sponsorship through 2015, along with the announcement that the event would become a part of the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup schedule, awarding official money and FedExCup points (and a three-year exemption) beginning in 2013 with Dustin Johnson winning the 2013 event, Bubba Watson winning in 2014, Russell Knox winning in 2015 and Hideki Matsuyama winning it last year.
  • The World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions is one in a series of four World Golf Championships events including the Mexico Championship (Mexico City, Mexico), the Dell Technologies Match Play (Austin, Texas) and the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio).
  • The title holders of four current World Golf Championships tournaments in the 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season are Hideki Matsuyama (HSBC Champions and Bridgestone Invitational) and Dustin Johnson (Mexico Championship & Dell Technologies Match Play).

A look back at the 2016 event

  • Hideki Matsuyama began the final round with a three-shot lead over Russell Knox, matching Dustin Johnson’s 2013 lead as the largest 54-hole lead in tournament history. He birdied six holes on Sunday against no bogeys to defeat Henrik Stenson and Daniel Berger by seven shots. He played his final 45 holes bogey-free.
  • Matsuyama shot rounds of 66-65-68-66 for a winning aggregate of 23-under-par 265, one shot shy of the tournament record held by Dustin Johnson (2013). With his strong performance at Sheshan International Golf Club, Matsuyama won his third career PGA TOUR event at the age of 24 years, 8 months, 5 days in his 85th start on TOUR, making him the youngest winner of the HSBC Champions.
  • The win also made Matsuyama the first Asian golfer to win a World Golf Championships.
  • Matsuyama’s seven-shot win is the largest margin of victory in HSBC Champions history, the previous best mark of three shots was set by Martin Kaymer in 2011 and Dustin Johnson in 2013.

Select player updates

Dustin Johnson

  • World No. 1 Dustin Johnson returns to the WGC-HSBC Champions as a former winner of the event. He won in 2013 for his first World Golf Championships title with a four-day aggregate of 24-under-par 264, the tournament record.
  • In the recent 2016-17 PGA TOUR season, Johnson won a career best four times, including three tournaments in a row – Genesis Open, WGC-Mexico Championship and WGC-Dell Technologies Match Play Championship. He also won THE NORTHERN TRUST during the FedExCup playoffs.
  • Johnson’s win at the Dell Technologies Match Play also made him the first player to win each of the four World Golf Championships events, completing the ‘WGC Slam’. Johnson’s five WGC victories are the HSBC Champions (2013), the Mexico Championship (2015), the Bridgestone Invitational (2016), the Mexico Championship (2017) and Dell Match Play Championship (2017).
  • Johnson defeated Jordan Spieth with a birdie on the first playoff hole after rallying from five shots back during the final round to earn his 16th PGA TOUR victory at THE NORTHERN TRUST.
  • He registered four other top-10s, including two top-3 finishes at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am (3) and Wells Fargo Championship (T2). He finished fourth in the final FedExCup standings.
  • Johnson, 33, has now won at least one PGA TOUR event in 10 consecutive seasons, dating back to his rookie season in 2008, the longest active streak on TOUR.
  • Johnson will be making his first appearance in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Hideki Matsuyama

  • Hideki Matsuyama returns as defending champion of the WGC-HSBC Champions on the heels of a highly successful past 12 months.
  • In the recent 2016-17 PGA TOUR season, Matsuyama, currently ranked No. 4 in the Official World Golf Ranking, won three times – the HSBC Champions, Waste Management Phoenix Open and WGC-Bridgestone Invitational – and entered the FedExCup Playoffs No. 1 in the FedExCup standings. He subsequently finished eighth in the final standings following the conclusion of the Playoffs.
  • In addition to his victories on the PGA TOUR, Matsuyama also won twice on the Japan Golf Tour – the 2016 Japan Open and 2016 Mitsui Sumitomo Visa Taiheiyo Masters – and the Hero World Challenge in the Bahamas at the end of 2016.
  • During his last PGA TOUR victory at the Bridgestone Invitational, Matsuyama shot a closing 9-under 61 for his career low round on TOUR, bettering his previous-best 63 by two strokes (63/R3/2015 Waste Management Phoenix Open, 63/R2/2015 BMW Championship).
  • Matsuyama’s 61 is also the lowest final-round score, by three strokes, in any World Golf Championships event. The effort also matched the 18-hole record at the Bridgestone Invitational (Tiger Woods/R2/2000, Tiger Woods/R2/2013, Sergio Garcia/R2/2014).
  • Matsuyama enjoyed strong performances in the majors this year, finishing T12 in the Masters Tournament, T2 in the U.S. Open, T14 at the Open Championship and T5 at the PGA Championship.
  • The HSBC Champions will be Matsuyama’s second appearance during the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season following his T5 at the CIMB Classic in Malaysia.
  • This is the fifth time that Matsuyama will feature in the HSBC Champions.

John Rahm

  • In his first full season on the PGA TOUR in 2016-17, Rahm recorded 11 top-10 finishes, second only to Jordan Spieth and Justin Thomas (12), and finished fifth in the FedExCup standings.
  • Rahm is No. 5 in the Official World Golf Ranking.
  • Rahm, 22, earned his first career PGA TOUR title at the Farmers Insurance Open in January, the second Spaniard after Jose Maria Olazabal (2002) to win the event, and advanced through all four FedExCup Playoffs events, where he finished no worse than seventh in any of the events. In his first start at the TOUR Championship, he posted four scores of par-or-better at East Lake to finish T7.
  • Rahm earned his first European Tour win with a record victory at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open Hosted by the Rory Foundation in July. Entered the final day at Portstewart Golf Club with a share of the lead but produced a closing 65 to get to 24-under and win by six shots.
  • Rahm will be making his debut in the WGC-HSBC Champions, which will also be his first appearance in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season.
  • In his previous three World Golf Championships events, he finished 2nd in the Dell Technologies Match Play, losing to Dustin Johnson 1-up in the final match, T3 in the Mexico Championship and T28 in the Bridgestone Invitational. • Rahm played in his first event as a professional at the Quicken Loans National in 2016. He held or shared the lead for the first two rounds and finished tied for third place, four strokes behind the winner, Billy Hurley III. The finish was enough for Rahm to regain entry into The Open Championship, as the Quicken Loans National was part of the Open Qualifying Series. Rahm then finished tied runner-up in the RBC Canadian Open, securing Special Temporary Member status for the remainder of the season. He gained enough points as a non-member to earn a PGA Tour card for 2017.

Jason Day

  • A 10-time winner on the PGA TOUR and former No. 1 player in the world, Jason Day will be making his debut at the WGC-HSBC Champions this year.
  • The WGC-HSBC Champions will be his second start in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR, following his appearance at the CJ CUP @ NINE BRIDGES in South Korea.
  • After winning three times in the 2015-16 season, Day was winless in the recent 2016-17 season but finished with three top-10s over final five starts.
  • Day’s 10 PGA TOUR victories include two World Golf Championships events, THE PLAYERS Championship in 2016 and the 2015 PGA Championship.
  • Day’s victories: 2010 AT&T Byron Nelson, 2014 World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, 2015 Farmers Insurance Open, RBC Canadian Open, PGA Championship, THE NORTHERN TRUST, BMW Championship, 2016 Arnold Palmer Invitational, World Golf Championships-Dell Technologies Match Play, THE PLAYERS Championship.
  • Day made his fourth successive appearance for the International Team in the Presidents Cup recently and won the team and individual titles at the 2013 ISPS HANDA World Cup of Golf on home soil.

Brooks Koepka

  • Brooks Koepka won his first major title at the U.S. Open at Erin Hills with rounds of 67-70-68-67 for a 16-under-par 272 winning total which was also his second PGA TOUR title during the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season. He won by four shots over Hideki Matsuyama and Brian Harman and tied Rory McIlroy’s 16-under-par 272 total from 2011 for most strokes under par at the U.S. Open.
  • In the other three major championships, Koepka did not finish lower that T13 (PGA Championship). He was T11 at the Masters Tournament and T16 at the Open Championship.
  •  In 24 starts on the PGA TOUR in the recent season, he enjoyed seven top-10s, including runner-up finishes at the Shriners Hospital and Valero Texas Open and 6th in the season-finale TOUR Championship to finish 10th in the final FedExCup standings.
  • This will be Koepka’s second appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions following his T40 finish in 2016. In nine other World Golf Championships appearances, Koepka’s best results are: T5 at the 2016 Dell Technologies Match Play, T9 at the 2017 Dell Technologies Match Play and T6 at the 2015 Bridgestone Invitational.
  • Koepka, the world No. 11, holds one win on the European Tour, the 2014 Turkish Airlines Open, and also won the 2016 Dunlop Phoenix in Japan.
  • Koepka was also in the victorious U.S. team in the 2016 Ryder Cup and 2017 Presidents Cup.

Henrik Stenson

  • Playing in the WGC-HSBC Champions for the seventh time in his career, the Swedish golfer will be looking to claim his second World Golf Championships victory (2007 Dell Match Play) and for the seventh time on the PGA TOUR. He finished T2 in the HSBC Champions in 2016, finishing seven shots behind winner Hideki Matsuyama.
  • Claimed victory at the Wyndham Championship in August this year, shooting rounds of 62-66-66-64 for a one-shot victory with his 22-under-par 258 total.
  • Stenson has 13 additional international victories, including the 2016 BWM International Open on the European Tour. He also won the 2008 World Cup with Robert Karlsson in China.
  • Currently ranked 8th in the world, Stenson represented his country in the Olympic Games in Rio in 2016 and won the silver medal behind England’s Justin Rose.

Justin Rose

  • Justin Rose will be making his fifth appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions and his first since 2015. He finished 5th in 2014 and T7 in 2011.
  • Although he did win during the 2016-17 PGA TOUR season, Justin Rose eight top-10s, including runner-up finishes at the Sony Open in Hawaii and Masters Tournament where he lost in a playoff to Sergio Garcia. It was his sixth top-10 at the Masters.
  • Rose finished the season strongly with T10 finishes in three of the FedExCup Playoffs events and was T2 in the BMW Championship to end the season in 9th position in the final FedExCup standings.
  • Rose won the Olympic Games gold medal in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 where he birdied the final hole to shoot 16-under-par 268 total and win by two strokes over Sweden’s Henrik Stenson. He created additional history in the opening round when he recorded the first hole-in-one in since golf’s return to the Olympics.
  • Rose also holds nine other international victories.

Phil Mickelson

  • A 42-time PGA TOUR winner, Phil Mickelson will be making his fifth appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions, and his first since 2014. He won the event in 2007 and 2009, the year that it was afforded World Golf Championships status although the victory did not count as an official PGA TOUR victory then. He was also T2 in 2012, finishing two shots behind Ian Poulter.
  • After representing the U.S. Team in the Presidents Cup recently which kept his streak of playing in every Ryder Cup and Presidents Cup teams since 1994, Mickelson went on to finish T3 in the 2017-18 season-opening tournament at the Safeway Open, coming in three shots behind Brendan Steele.

Li Haotong

  • Li Haotong rose to international fame when he carded a final-round 7-under-par 63 in his Open Championship debut at Royal Birkdale to finish solo third (the highest finish ever in a major championship by a player from China).
  • He will be making his fifth straight appearance at the WGC-HSBC Champions, with a previous best of T7 in 2015 where he got up and down for par from the front of the 72nd green to card a final-round even-par 72, posted 15-under-par 273 and finished in tied with then world No. 1 Jordan Spieth, Patrick Reed and Matthew Fitzpatrick.
  • With his father serving as his caddie, Li became the first Chinese player to finish in the top 10 at the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions since the tournament became an official World Golf Championships event in 2009.
  • Li, 22, won three times on the PGA TOUR China series in 2014, claiming the Order of Merit title, and also claimed victory in the 2016 Volvo China Open, becoming only the fourth Chinese golfer to win on the European Tour after Zhang Lian-wei, Liang Wen-chong and Wu Ashun.
  • Li also represented China in the Olympic Games in 2016, finishing T50 in the 60-man field.

Dou Zecheng

  • Dou will be making his fourth straight appearance at the HSBC Champions, with a T40 in 2016 being his best finish to date.
  • The 20-year-old Dou Zecheng won four times on the PGA TOUR China series in 2016 to finish top of the Order of Merit and was named Player of the Year.
  • Earned playing status in the 2017 Web.com Tour where he claimed a three-shot victory in the Digital Ally Open, becoming the first Chinese-born golfer to win on the Web.com Tour
  • Finished 16th on the Regular Season money list to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season. • The HSBC Champions will be his second appearance in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season after he missed the halfway cut at the Safeway Open earlier this month.

Zhang Xinjung

  • Zhang Xinjung previously recorded the best finish by a player from China in any World Golf Championships event with his T13 at the HSBC Champions in 2011. This will be his fifth appearance in the event.
  • Zhang has two wins on the PGA TOUR China series, which paved the way for him to compete in the Web.com Tour in 2017. He finished the Web.com Tour season with 24 starts, two runner-ups, and 12 made cuts. • The 30-year-old secured his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season with a 20th-place finish on the 2017 Web.com Tour Regular Season money list where he posted 64-66 on the weekend at the Price Cutter Charity Championship for a T4.
  • Top-five finish pushed him up to No. 18 on the Tour’s money list with $186,306 in earnings, which was enough to secure his PGA TOUR card for the 2017-18 season, joining fellow fellow countryman Dou as the first Chinese-born players in history to earn their cards.
  • Finished T37th in the 2017-18 PGA TOUR season-opening event at the Safeway Open.

Tournament notes:

  • The field includes seven of the top 10 from the final 2016-17 FedExCup standings: Xander Schauffele (3), Dustin Johnson (4), Jon Rahm (5), Marc Leishman (6), Hideki Matsuyama (8), Justin Rose (9) and Brooks Koepka (10).
  • Five of the top 10 in the Official World Golf Ranking: Dustin Johnson (1), Hideki Matsuyama (4), Jon Rahm (5), Jason Day (8), Henrik Stenson (9).
  • It also includes nine major championship winners: Phil Mickelson (5), Jason Day (1), Dustin Johnson (1), Brooks Koepka (1), Louis Oosthuizen (1), Justin Rose (1), Charl Schwartzel (1), Adam Scott (1) and Henrik Stenson (1).
  • There are 9 World Golf Championships winners in the field: Dustin Johnson (5), Jason Day (2), Hideki Matsuyama (2), Adam Scott (2), Matt Kuchar (1), Phil Mickelson (1), Patrick Reed (1), Justin Rose (1), Henrik Stenson (1). Johnson (Dell Tedchnologies Match Play & Mexico Championship) and Matsuyama (HSBC Champions & Bridgestone Invitational) are the current title holders of the four World Golf Championships events.
  • Past HSBC Champions are in the field:
    • Hideki Matsuyama – 2016
    • Dustin Johnson – 2013
    • Francesco Molinari – 2010
    • Phil Mickelson – 2009
  • 28 players will make their HSBC Champions debut this week with 16 of those playing in their first World Golf Championships event.
  • Players making their debut in the HSBC Champions and in the World Golf Championships – Patrick Cantly, Paul Dunne, Tony Finau, Ryan Fox, Gavin Kyle Green, Ashley Hall, Shugo Imahira, Daisuke Kataoka, Phachara Khongwatmai, Chan Kim, Yan Wei Liu, Michael Lorenzo-Vera, Haydn Porteous, Hyun-woo Ryu, Jordan L. Smith, Matthew Southgate
  • Players who are playing in the HSBC Champions for the first time but have teed it up at other World Golf Championships events in the past –
    Wesley Bryan, Jason Day, Matthew Griffin, Adam Hadwin, Brian Harman, Charles Howell III, Mackenzie Hughes, Jon Rahm, Brandon Stone, Graeme Storm, Hudson Swafford and Fabrizio Zanotti.
  • Showcasing what is truly an international field, of the 78 players teeing it up at the HSBC Championship, 57 are from outside the United States. 23 nations will be represented in the event. Below shows the global reach of the field.
    • USA 21
    • England 8
    • China 7
    • Australia 7
    • South Africa 5
    • Japan 4
    • Thailand 3
    • France 2
    • New Zealand 2
    • Spain 2
    • Sweden 2
    • Canada 2
    • Korea 2
    • Italy 1
    • Belgium 1
    • Austria 1
    • Venezuela 1
    • Ireland 1
    • Denmark 1
    • Malaysia 1
    • Paraguay 1
    • Scotland 1
    • India 1


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