WGC-HSBC Champions Preview
Dates: October 24-30
Where: Shanghai, China
Course: Sheshan International Golf Club
Par/yardage: Par 72/ 7,266
Field: 78 players
Purse: $9.5 million ($1.62 million to the winner)
FedExCup Points: 550 to the winner
Format: 72-hole stroke play (no cut)
Defending Champion: Russell Knox
Quick review of tournament history:
- The WGC-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 WGC-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 and Russell Knox winning 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 Match Play (Austin, Texas) and the Bridgestone Invitational (Akron, Ohio). The four champions of the World Golf Championships in the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR season include Russell Knox (HSBC Champions), Dustin Johnson (Bridgestone Invitational), Jason Day (Dell Match Play) and Adam Scott (Mexico Championship).
A look back at the 2015 WGC-HSBC Champions
- Entering the final round of the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions, Russell Knox held a share of the lead with Kevin Kisner at 16-under-par. The 30-year-old Scotsman carded a 4-under 68 on Sunday and posted 20-under 268, good for a two-stroke win over Kisner. Knox captured his first-career PGA TOUR victory in his 93rd start at the age of 30 years, 4 months 18 days and earned a three-year exemption on TOUR through the 2018-2019 season
- Knox became the second player to win a World Golf Championship in his debut. Aside from Jeff Maggert, who won the very first World Golf Championships at the 1999 Accenture Match Play Championship, no player had won a World Golf Championships in his first start in the series. He is also the first player from Scotland to win a World Golf Championships title.
- Knox was able to record his second victory of the year later in the season at the Travelers Championship in August. With his second win of the season, Knox joined Jason Day, Jordan Spieth, Dustin Johnson, Adam Scott and Rory McIlroy as the only multiple winners in 2015-16.
- Seven players have made a World Golf Championships event their first PGA TOUR win:
- Darren Clarke – 2000 Dell Match Play
- Craig Parry – 2002 Bridgestone Invitational
- Kevin Sutherland – 2002 Dell Match Play
- Henrik Stenson – 2007 Dell Match Play
- Ian Poulter – 2010 Dell Match Play
- Shane Lowry – 2015 Bridgestone Invitational
- Russell Knox – 2015 HSBC Champions
Player Updates For The WGC-HSBC Champions
- Rory McIlroy
- The 2016 FedExCup champion makes his 2016-2017 PGA TOUR season debut with hopes of continuing where he left off in late September.
- At the Deutsche Bank Championship, McIlroy found himself six strokes off the lead after 54 holes. He birdied six of his first 12 holes in the final round on Labor Day for his first PGA TOUR victory in more than a year after his last at the 2015 Wells Fargo Championship
- The win helped him enter the TOUR Championship at No. 6 in the FedExCup standings, where he was a part of one of the most dramatic finishes to the season-ending event in recent memory. In a drama-filled final round, McIlroy holed out for eagle from 137 yards on No. 16 in to move to 11-under and one stroke behind leader Kevin Chappell. A victory meant McIlroy would take home the FedExCup, while a second-place finish put the FedExCup in Dustin Johnson’s hands. A final-hole birdie in regulation moved him to 12-under and forced a three-way playoff with Chappell and Ryan Moore. With Chappell bowing out of the playoff, Moore and McIlroy required a fourth extra hole, the 16th, where he had holed out earlier in the day. After Moore had saved par with a putt from 17 feet, McIlroy drilled his birdie putt from 15 feet to claim both the TOUR Championship and the FedExCup title for his 13th PGA TOUR win and his 22nd victory worldwide.
- The win puts McIlroy with the second-most wins (13, behind Tiger Woods 18) on the PGA TOUR since the start of the 2008 season.
- McIlroy has won two World Golf Championships in his career, winning the 2014 Bridgestone Invitational and the 2015 Dell Match Play.
- This is the sixth time that McIlroy has played the HSBC Champions having never finished worse than T11 with two fourth-place finishes.
- Dustin Johnson
- Dustin Johnson, winner of the Jack Nicklaus Trophy as the 2015-2016 PGA TOUR Player of the Year, returns to the PGA TOUR at an event where he won in 2013 with a final score of 24-under-par.
- Johnson, 32, fashioned a career-best three wins during the 2015-16 season at the U.S. Open, World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational and BMW Championship. With his record-breaking victory at the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club, Johnson took over the lead in the FedExCup and ultimately finished second to Rory McIlroy in the season-long competition.
- In 22 starts, Johnson had a TOUR-best 15 top-10 finishes with 21 made cuts. In addition to his three wins, he posted top-three finishes at the RBC Canadian Open (T2), Shell Houston Open (third) and the Memorial Tournament presented by Nationwide (third).
- Johnson also took home the Byron Nelson Award for Adjusted Scoring Average (69.172) and the Arnold Palmer Award as the TOUR’s leading money-winner ($9,365,185).
- Johnson has now won at least one PGA TOUR event in nine consecutive seasons, dating back to his rookie season in 2008, the longest active streak on TOUR.
- Johnson is a three-time World Golf Championships winner with victories at the HSBC Champions (2013), the Bridgestone Invitational (2016) and the Mexico Championship (2015)
- Bubba Watson
- At the 2015 HSBC Champions, Watson made an eagle with a dramatic shot from a greenside bunker to force a playoff with Tim Clark. On the first playoff hole, Watson found himself in the same bunker, but his blast to the green came up more than 20 feet short. Watson again seized the opportunity, making the putt for his first career victory in a World Golf Championships event and his seventh PGA TOUR victory at the time.
- This is Watson’s fifth appearance at the HSBC Champions in his career.
- Watson is making his 2016-17 season debut at the HSBC Champions.
- The nine-time PGA TOUR champion and two-time Masters winner advanced to the FedExCup Playoffs for the 10th consecutive season, one of 16 players to reach the FedExCup Playoffs every season since its inception. Watson reached the season finale at the TOUR Championship for the seventh time.
- In total, Watson’s 2015-16 season included nine top-25 finishes from 19 starts. Of those, two were top-five showings, coming in back-to-back starts with a win at the Genesis Open and runner-up finish at the World Golf Championships-Mexico Championship.
- Patrick Reed
- Patrick Reed came away from the Ryder Cup as one of the team’s top performers, in no small part thanks to his win in the first singles match of the final day against Rory McIlroy.
- The 25-year-old American already has five wins on the PGA TOUR and at least one victory in each of the last four seasons.
- After a win at the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs, Reed finished a career-best No. 3 in the 2015-2016 FedExCup standings.
- Reed is playing in his second HSBC Champions with his best finish, T7, coming in last year’s event
- Henrik Stenson
- Playing in the HSBC Champions for the sixth time in his career, 2016 Open Championship winner Henrik Stenson will look to win his second World Golf Championships victory (2007 Dell Match Play) and for the sixth time on the PGA TOUR.
- Stenson has 13 additional international victories, including the 2016 BWM International Open on the European Tour
- Li Hao Tong
- At the 2015 HSBC Champions, China’s Hao Tong Li 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 a tie for seventh with 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. Xin-Jun Zhang 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
- His T7 performance in front of his home fans was the best showing in a PGA TOUR event by a Chinese player. It was the third time that Li has played in the HSBC Champions, the only tournament he has played on the PGA TOUR.
WGC-HSBC Champions Tournament notes:
- The field includes 10 major championship winners: Rory McIlroy (4), Martin Kaymer (2), Bubba Watson (2), Dustin Johnson (1), Louis Oosthuizen (1), Charl Schwartzel (1), Adam Scott (1), Henrik Stenson (1), Jimmy Walker (1) and Danny Willett (1).
- There are eight of the top 10 players from the Official World Golf Ranking in the field, including Dustin Johnson (2), Rory McIlroy (3), Henrik Stenson (5), Adam Scott (6), Patrick Reed (7), Bubba Watson (8), Danny Willett (9) and Rickie Fowler (10).
- Six past HSBC Champions are in the field: Sergio Garcia (2008), Francesco Molinari (2010), Martin Kaymer (2011), Dustin Johnson (2013), Bubba Watson (2014) and Russell Knox (2015).
- There are nine World Golf Championships event winners in the field: Dustin Johnson (3), Rory McIlroy (2), Adam Scott (2), Russell Knox, Matt Kuchar, Shane Lowry, Patrick Reed, Henrik Stenson and Bubba Watson
- Fourteen players will make their World Golf Championships debut this week. Last year, Russell Knox joined Jeff Maggert, who won the very first World Golf Championships at the 1999 Dell Match Play, as the only players to win a World Golf Championships in his first start in the series: Jacques Blaauw, Richard Bland, Dean Burmester, Kevin Chappell, Rikard Karlberg. Si Woo Kim, Jason Kokrak, Soomin Lee, Matthew Millar, Chan Shih-Chang, Miguel Tabuena, Jeunghun Wang, Huilin Zhang and Zinjun Zhang
- Showcasing what is truly an international field, of the 78 players teeing it up at the HSBC Championship, 58 are from outside the United States. Below shows the global reach of the field.
- Country – Players
- USA 20
- ENG 9
- RSA 7
- AUS 6
- CHN 6
- KOR 6
- SWE 3
- ESP 2
- FRA 2
- JPN 2
- ARG 1
- AUT 1
- BEL 1
- DEN 1
- GER 1
- IRE 1
- ITA 1
- NED 1
- NIR 1
- PHI 1
- SCO 1
- THA 1
- TWN 1
- VEN 1