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BlogHSBC Champions Preview and Picks

HSBC Champions

October 31 – November 3, 2013

Sheshan International G.C.

Shanghai, China

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,266

Purse: $8.5 Million

with $1,530,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Ian Poulter

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

A great field this week, best of the fall events as 40 of the top 50 in the latest Official World Rankings are in China this week. The field consists of six of the top ten; #3 Phil Mickelson, #4 Henrik Stenson, #5 Justin Rose, #6 Rory McIlroy, #9 Brandt Snedeker and #10 Jason Dufner.  Of those between 11 and 25 there are ten players; #12 Graeme McDowell, #14 Luke Donald, #15 Keegan Bradley, #19 Sergio Garcia, #20 Jordan Spieth, #21 Lee Westwood, #22 Ian Poulter, #23 Dustin Johnson, #24 Ernie Els and #25 Bill Haas.  Of those from 26 to 50 there are 24 of them, probably to make sure that they stay within the top-50 by the end of the year;  #27 Nick Watney, #28 Hideki Matsuyama, #29 bubba Watson, #30 Louis Oosthuizen, #31 Ryan Moore, #32 Gonzalo Fdez-Castano, #33 Graham Delaet,  #34 Matteo Manassero, #35 Billy Horschel, #36 Rickie Fowler, #37 Francesco Molinari, #38 Jonas Blixt, #39 David Lynn, #40 Jimmy Walker, #41 Martin Kaymer, #42 Kevin Streelman,#43 Peter Hanson, #44 Thomas Bjorn, #45 Richard Sterne, #46 Scott Piercy, #47 Jamie Donaldson, #48 Bo Van Pelt, #49 Thongchai Jaidee, #50 Branden Grace.

The field includes 14 of the Top 25 on last year’s final FedEx point standings for 2013.  Those players include  #1 Henrik Stenson, #7 Jordan Spieth, #8 Graham DeLaet, #9 Phil Mickelson, #10 Justin Rose, #12 Brandt Snedeker, #13 Dustin Johnson, #15 Nick Watney, #16 Billy Horschel, #18 Keegan Bradley, #19 Jason Dufner, #22 Sergio Garcia, #24 Bill Haas and #25 Kevin Streelman.

The field includes 15 players in the top 25 on last year’s PGA Tour money list; #2 Henrik Stenson, #4  Phil Mickelson, #5 Brandt Snedeker, #8 Justin Rose, #10 Jordan Spieth, #11 Keegan Bradley, #13 Billy Horschel, #14 Bill Haas, #16 Jason Dufner, #17 Kevin Streelman, #19 Dustin Johnson, #21 Graham DeLaet, #22 Boo Weekley, #23 D.A. Points and #24 Nick Watney.

The field includes all 8 of their past champions: Ian Poulter (2012), Martin Kaymer (2011), Francesco Molinari (2010), Phil Mickelson (2009), Sergio Garcia (2009, Nov.2008) Phil Mickelson (2008), Y.E. Yang (2007) and David Howell (2006).

A perfect way for fantasy golfers to check on the past performance of all the players in the WGC-HSBC Champions field is our performance chart listed by average finish. One last way to check who is the best is through a special formula worked out in Golfstats that gives us the best average performances at WGC-HSBC Champions in the last five years or check out our sortable 8-year glance at the WGC-HSBC Champions.

A good cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmakers in England.

Another cheat sheet is this list of odds from the top bookmaker in Las Vegas.

 

 

 

Time to look at our who’s hot and who isn’t:

Who’s Hot in the field for the HSBC Champions

Player CIMB Classic BMW Masters Shriners Hospitals Handa Perth Frys.com Open Portugal Masters Dunhill Links Tour Champ. Open D’Italia Lindt BMW Champ. KLM Open Deutsche Bank Barclays Classic
Jimmy Walker
(244.5 pts)
6
(60)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(19.5)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T54
(0)
Henrik Stenson
(226 pts)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP Win
(66)
T43
(3.5)
Ryan Moore
(209 pts)
Win
(132)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(19.5)
DNP 75
(0)
T25
(12.5)
Graham Delaet
(173 pts)
T7
(55)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 28
(22)
DNP T28
(11)
DNP 3
(45)
T2
(50)
Jordan Spieth
(172.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T16
(17)
DNP T4
(40)
T19
(15.5)
Francesco Molinari
(155.67 pts)
DNP T2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T17
(33)
DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
David Lynn
(149.33 pts)
T64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP 23
(13.5)
DNP CUT
(-5)
T19
(15.5)
Sergio Garcia
(146.5 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(45)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP T4
(40)
T37
(6.5)
Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano
(140 pts)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP T38
(8)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Peter Uihlein
(136.67 pts)
DNP T5
(70)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Justin Rose
(135.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP 6
(60)
DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP T16
(17)
T2
(50)
Nick Watney
(133 pts)
T35
(15)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP 2
(50)
DNP T35
(7.5)
T9
(22.5)
Jin Jeong
(132.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T50
(0.33)
DNP DNP
Ryo Ishikawa
(129 pts)
DNP DNP T2
(100)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Keegan Bradley
(120.5 pts)
10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T16
(17)
DNP T16
(17)
T33
(8.5)
Hideki Matsuyama
(115 pts)
T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Dustin Johnson
(114.5 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP 5
(70)
DNP T62
(0)
DNP T27
(11.5)
CUT
(-5)
Martin Kaymer
(112.67 pts)
DNP T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(37)
T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1.5)
T50
(0.5)
Phil Mickelson
(112 pts)
T19
(31)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T12
(38)
DNP T33
(8.5)
DNP T41
(4.5)
T6
(30)
Luke Donald
(100 pts)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP T4
(40)
DNP T41
(4.5)
T41
(4.5)
Billy Horschel
(95 pts)
T11
(39)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP T18
(16)
DNP T70
(0)
CUT
(-5)
Tommy Fleetwood
(93.33 pts)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(24)
5
(46.67)
DNP DNP DNP T30
(6.67)
DNP DNP
Jamie Donaldson
(92 pts)
DNP T34
(16)
DNP DNP DNP T6
(60)
T26
(16)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
David Howell
(91 pts)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP DNP DNP T51
(0)
Win
(88)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP T41
(3)
DNP DNP
Kiradech Aphibarnrat
(90 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

Who’s Not Hot in the field for the HSBC Champions

Player CIMB Classic BMW Masters Shriners Hospitals Handa Perth Frys.com Open Portugal Masters Dunhill Links Tour Champ. Open D’Italia Lindt BMW Champ. KLM Open Deutsche Bank Barclays Classic
Derek Ernst
(-30 pts)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-5)
CUT
(-5)
Raphael Jacquelin
(-14.67 pts)
DNP T48
(2)
DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
Louis Oosthuizen
(-6.67 pts)
DNP 59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Graeme McDowell
(-3.5 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T57
(0)
DNP T47
(1.5)
CUT
(-5)
Liang Wen-Chong
(-3.33 pts)
DNP T53
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
DNP DNP
George Coetzee
(0 pts)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Seuk-hyun Baek
(0 pts)
T77
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Matteo Manassero
(3.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP T42
(5.33)
DNP T26
(8)
DNP DNP
Branden Grace
(7 pts)
DNP T61
(0)
DNP T43
(7)
DNP DNP T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Mark Brown
(7.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T36
(14)
DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

The PGA Tour has another week in Asia and the last WGC event of 2013 (or should we say first one on the PGA Tour 2014 schedule).  What’s interesting about this one is the fact that so many marquee names are here, a sign that shows that players will travel anyplace to compete in a good event with great players for a boat load of money.

Now before we go on, anybody else find it weird that Tiger Woods isn’t there?  First of all he played in four previous HSBC in 2005 (2nd), 2006, (2nd), 2009 (T6th) and 2010 (T6th) and had a good record in the event.  Second he flew all the way to China to play in a one day exhibition with Rory McIlroy.  You mean if he flew that far for a one day payoff, why wouldn’t he stick around for the week and play in this event on a course he has played well on and the same course has been featured in all of his computer games.  Another big mystery, Tiger is flying to Turkey next week to play in that European Tour event.  Puzzling, not really.  Again it has to do with money and he use to command millions of dollars to play in the HSBC event.  But now that this event is an “official” event on the PGA Tour, he isn’t allowed to take appearance fees so it’s off his schedule, for the time being at least.

Now the dirty secret is that there is appearance fee’s on the PGA Tour despite what tour officials say.  But they are small potatoes like a player will get between $50,000 to $100,000 for showing up at a dinner or some tournament function, which is considered doing a sponsor a “favor”.  There is probably a magical figure that a player can’t go over that would bump it into that “appearance fee” category.  So let’s say that the tournament sponsor would pay Tiger a million to two million dollars to just show up at a dinner, that doesn’t pass the tour’s sniff test.  So I guess since Tiger use to get millions for showing up in past years, he doesn’t want to start breaking off and playing someplace for free when he use to get paid for it.  Oh well.

Now let’s look at the European Tour, in which this is the second event on their four tournament final series.  Many thought that this four event series would be like the FedEx Cup playoffs but it really isn’t.  It’s just a way to force marquee players to participate in two of the three tournaments before the DP World Tour Championship.  In previous years players didn’t have to do anything but show up to Dubai for a final season payday.  But that is changed, in order to play in Dubai, they have to play two of the three events.

The first two events the BMW Masters and this week’s WGC-HSBC is not open to the rack and file of players on the European Tour, if you were out of the top-60 of the race to Dubai money list, you don’t have a chance to play in Dubai.  At least in the FedEx Cup playoffs, those high up in the FedEx Cup point list had a chance to move on for playing well, that isn’t really offered here.

Another tricky thing, for the PGA Tour this week counts toward the 2014 season, but for the rest of the tours it’s all part of the 2013 season so doing the math will be a bit weird.

Other than that, it’s great that the PGA Tour is more involved this week with it being an “official” event.  One thing is nice for those on the European Tour, two straight weeks in Shanghai, this week’s event at Sheshan is just on the other side of town from were the BMW Masters was played, so all the players will be adjusted to the time zones and may have a bit of an advantage.

Course information: 

The Sheshan Golf Club is a par-72 golf course that was designed by Robin Nelson and Neil Haworth and opened in 2004. Sheshan International Golf Club features beautiful tree-lined fairways and gentle rolling hills around 1000 year old Gingko trees, calm waterways, and a spectacular natural quarry. Set in the shadow of the Basilica of our Lady of Sheshan Cathedral and surrounded by beautiful Italian Tuscan inspired villas, Sheshan provides a truly unique experience.  Although located in the city of Shanghai, the serene surroundings suggest a genuine feeling of seclusion and nature.

Featuring well-placed bunkers throughout the golf course along with, deep collection areas, beautiful water features, and undulating greens.  The natural forestation was integrated into the course design. 10,000 trees and natural foliage has been preserved. Two 1000 year old ginko trees grace the 4th hole. 16 million cubic meters of dirt was moved to create elevation, bunkers and valleys. Sheshan provides a beautiful and challenging golf course for all, including the best Tour Professionals in the world and is considered one of the best courses in China.

 

Here are some of the secrets of what it takes to play well at the WGC-HSBC Champions:

Key stat for the winner:

Event comes back to Sheshan after being played last year at Mission Hills.  In the previous years held at Sheshan, there is no one stat that you can put your fingers on and say, geez this course favors such and such a player.  So we have to look at those that have played well before at Sheshan, one thing pops up.  All the recent champions had one thing in there favor, they had a very good year going into this event.  Look at Martin Kaymer in 2011, he had been playing well for two years, winning the PGA Championship.  In 2010 Francesco Molinari was putting the finishes touch on a great year, same with winners Phil Mickelson and Sergio Garcia.  So look for a player that has had a great 2013 to win this week.

Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

  • With tight fairways and lot’s of roll in them, accuracy is important but not a big key.  The more important factor in looking at past years is a player that can dominate the par 4s. It’s also interesting to note that last four champions at Sheshan have been 36 under on the par 4s, in 2011 Martin Kaymer was 10 under, Francisco Molinari was 12 under in 2010, Phil Mickelson was 10 under in 2009 and Sergio Garcia was 4 under in 2008.
  • Interesting to see that Lee Westwood has the best scoring average at Sheshan between 2008 and 2011.  He was 68.75 followed by Rory McIlroy with 68.92 followed by Francesco Molinari with 69.08 followed by Sergio Garcia at 69.38.  Also we can’t forget that Paul Casey is at 69.67, Martin Kaymer is at 69.69 and Phil Mickelson is at 69.92.
  • Last week in Malaysia the weather was terrible with hot muggy conditions and thunderstorms every afternoon.  Things will be totally different this week as temperatures will be in the 60s each day and no rain.  For more on the weather check out Myweather2.Com
  • Again like we say, look for the player with the hot hand.  Those that played well at both the BMW Masters and the CIMB Classic will play well this week.

Below in our picks, be aware that since there were two HSBC played in 2009, only one shows up.  Sorry for the time being we can’t do two events in one year, we will have it fixed for next year.

Who to watch for at the HSBC Champions

Best Bets:

Paul Casey

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T4 T6 WD T9 T6 7

Watch him on a course that he has done good on and his game is also coming together after finishing T8th last week at BMW Masters.

Ryan Moore

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
3

Could get the Asian slam, playing well now and coming to a course that he finished 3rd at in 2009.

Phil Mickelson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T2 T41 Win Win

Comes down to the putting, if he putts well he will win for the third time on this course.

Best of the rest:

Lee Westwood

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T6 T13 2 T8 T2 T12

Hasn’t played well this year but comes to a course he has played well on.

Rory McIlroy

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T4 5 4

Yes he has appeared in my radar scope after a terrible year. Think that he is getting things back together, wouldn’t of thought that after his T27th at the BMW Masters but he is playing a course that he has done well on in the past.

Henrik Stenson

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T13 T40 T9 T18 T32

Yes he is hot right now, but has been hampered by a hand injury which could linger this week and cause him not to contend.

Francesco Molinari

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T39 T23 Win T10 T9

Finished T2nd at BMW Masters, past winner here, he should be watched.

Martin Kaymer

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
9 Win T30 T6

Another past winner at Sheshan that should be watched, game hasn’t been that bad lately.

Solid contenders

Peter Uihlein

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Another player that could do well this week, this is a very important week for him because he is looking to get into the top-50 at the end of the year.

Jimmy Walker

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Hottest player the last three weeks, he could do well in his first visit to China.

Jordan Spieth

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

He is the typle of guy that can win any week he tees it up in, watch him.

Hideki Matsuyama

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Has been solid now for over three months, he is very close to winning.

Long shots that could come through:

Kiradech Aphibarnrat

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T66 74

One of my long shot picks last week that came close, great ball striker who will like this course, if he could only putt.

Graham Delaet

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
First time playing in this event

Playing for the first time in this event, played well in Malaysia and could carry over to this week.

David Lynn

2012 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07 ’06 ’05 ’04 ’03 ’02 ’01
T69

Watch him, he won thee weeks ago and could do well this week.