The final World Golf Championship of the year, the WGC-HSBC Champions, is the last show-stopping event of the year boasting the biggest names from all over the world.
With the four majors, the ‘fifth major’ (THE PLAYERS Championship), and three of the WGCs already gone, Sheshan International Golf Club hosts the last assembly of all the world’s best in 2017.
21 of the world’s top 30 enter ‘Asia’s Major’ including world-number-one Dustin Johnson and defending champion Hideki Matsuyama. The Japanese-star also won the most recent WGC event, the Bridgestone Invitational, back in August. World-number-five Jon Rahm makes his debut at this event whilst Henrik Stenson and Jason Day complete the list of entrants from inside the world’s top 10.Embed from Getty Images
The tournament also marks the final event of the regular European Tour season before its Final Series. Race to Dubai leader Tommy Fleetwood enters, as does third-placed Rahm, Ross Fisher (fourth) and Tyrrell Hatton (fifth) looking to make it three consecutive wins on the back of his successes in Scotland and Italy.Embed from Getty Images
But this week is perhaps more important for those looking to break into the Final Series qualification places just in time for the Turkish Airlines Open. The amount of Final Series places open via Race to Dubai points depends on the numbers of world ranking spots and invitations taken up.
Matsuyama became the first Asian winner of his continent’s ‘major’ last year when he walked to a seven-shot victory over Stenson and Daniel Berger. He, along with Johnson (2013), Francesco Molinari (2010) and Phil Mickelson (2006 and 2009), returns as a previous champion.
Sheshan International Golf Club has hosted this event every year since its 2005 inauguration, bar 2012. It’s a par 72 measuring a standard 7,266 yards that’s famed for its ancient trees and winding waterways. With that said, it’s a course that can be dominated. Johnson set the tournament-record of 24-under-par in 2013 and 20-under-par has been cracked by five of the past six winning scores.Embed from Getty Images
This year’s victor will take home a $1.7million share of a $9.75 prize fund and the equivalent in Race to Dubai points and/or 550 FedExCup points depending on Tour memberships.
In a year that’s seen three first-time majors winners and a first-time winner of THE PLAYERS, there’s yet to be a new WGC champion, but one event remains.