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BlogWGC-HSBC Champions Preview and Picks

WGC-HSBC Champions

October 31st – November 3rd, 2019

Sheshan International Golf Club

Shanghai, China

Par: 72 / Yardage: 7,261

Purse: $10.25 million

with $1,700,000 to the winner

Defending Champion:
Xander Schauffele

by Sal Johnson

Founder, Chief Data Officer, GOLFstats

E-mail me at:
sal@golfstats.com

This week’s field includes:

Last week we had a great field in the inaugural Zozo Championship with 56 players from the top-100.  In past years the WGC-HSBC Champions always had the best field and despite the great competition from the Zozo Championship, the WGC-HSBC has beaten it out by just a bit.  It has only 52 top-100 players in the field but beats out Zozo’s 31 top-50 players as 35 top-50 players are in the field this week in China.  Those in the field include #2 Rory McIlroy, #8 Justin Rose, #9 Xander Schauffele, #11 Francesco Molinari, #12 Paul Casey, #14 Tony Finau, #16 Adam Scott, #17 Patrick Reed, #18 Tommy Fleetwood, #19 Shane Lowry, #22 Hideki Matsuyama, #23 Bernd Wiesberger, #24 Kevin Na, #26 Louis Oosthuizen, #27 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #29 Matt Wallace, #30 Danny Willett, #31 Chez Reavie, #32 Kevin Kisner, #33 Billy Horschel, #34 Sungjae Im, #35 Rafa Cabrera Bello, #36 Sergio Garcia, #37 Bubba Watson, #38 Ian Poulter, #39 Henrik Stenson, #40 Jordan Spieth, #41 Byeong Hun An, #42 Abraham Ancer, #44 Adam Hadwin, #45 Keegan Bradley, #46 Andrew Putnam, #47 Cameron Smith, #49 Tyrrell Hatton and #50 Phil Mickelson.

The field includes 8 of the Top 25 on the FedEx point standings for 2020.  Those players include #4 Kevin Na, #7 Sungjae Im, #9 Hideki Matsuyama, #10 Adam Hadwin, #13 Byeong Hun An, #20 Xinjun Zhang, #21 Charles Howell III and #22 Cameron Smith.

The field includes 23 of the top 25 in this year’s Race to Dubai standings.  This is the last regular tour event, next week is the first playoff event.  Here are the top-25 players: #1 Bernd Wiesberger, #4 Matthew Fitzpatrick, #5 Matt Wallace, #6 Tommy Fleetwood, #7 Robert MacIntyre, #8 Erik van Rooyen, #9 Danny Willett, #10 Christiaan Bezuidenhout, #11 Louis Oosthuizen, #12 Kurt Kitayama, #13 Rafael Cabrera-Bello, #14 Jorge Campillo, #15 Sergio Garcia, #16 Ian Poulter, #17 Benjamin Hebert, #18 Justin Harding, #19 Victor Perez, #20 Paul Casey, #21 Francesco Molinari, #22 Romain Langasque, #23 Haotong Li, #24 Paul Waring and #25 Andrea Pavan.  The only players not in the field in the top-25 of the Race to Dubai is #2 Jon Rahm and #3 Shane Lowry.

The field includes only 8 of their past champions: Xander Schauffele (2018), Justin Rose (2017), Hideki Matsuyama (2016), Bubba Watson (2014), Ian Poulter (2012), Francesco Molinari (2010), Sergio Garcia (2009) and Phil Mickelson (2009 & ’08).

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 the 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 WGC-HSBC Champions

Player Zozo Champ. Portugal Masters Nine Bridges French Open Houston Open Italian Open Shriners Hospitals Spanish Open Safeway Open Dunhill Links Sanderson Farms Champ. BMW PGA Champ. The Greenbrier
Hideki Matsuyama
(206 pts)
2
(100)
DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kurt Kitayama
(199.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP 4
(80)
DNP 3
(90)
CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T14
(36)
DNP
Danny Willett
(184 pts)
DNP DNP T46
(4)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP Win
(132)
DNP
Sungjae Im
(178.67 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP T39
(11)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T49
(0.67)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP T19
(10.33)
Rafael Cabrera-Bello
(164 pts)
T30
(20)
DNP T26
(24)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP
Bernd Wiesberger
(158.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP Win
(132)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T17
(33)
DNP
Byeong Hun An
(157.67 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 3
(60)
DNP T47
(1)
Rory McIlroy
(151 pts)
T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T9
(45)
DNP
Billy Horschel
(140 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP 64
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP
Matt Wallace
(137.33 pts)
DNP T8
(50)
DNP DNP DNP T7
(55)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T41
(9)
DNP
Xinjun Zhang
(136 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP T16
(22.67)
DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP 60
(0)
DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Charles Howell III
(133.33 pts)
T8
(50)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T68
(0)
DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Adam Hadwin
(129 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(53.33)
DNP 2
(66.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Kevin Na
(127.33 pts)
T46
(4)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP T14
(12)
Victor Perez
(122 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T16
(34)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP Win
(88)
DNP DNP DNP
Matthew Fitzpatrick
(120 pts)
75
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP 2
(100)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T46
(4)
DNP
Robert MacIntyre
(118 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP T26
(16)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP
Cameron Smith
(116.67 pts)
DNP DNP T3
(90)
DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T24
(8.67)
Corey Conners
(116 pts)
T6
(60)
DNP T12
(38)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T13
(24.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP
Paul Waring
(114 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T3
(60)
DNP T21
(29)
DNP
Patrick Reed
(113 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T4
(80)
DNP
Tyrrell Hatton
(105.33 pts)
DNP DNP T6
(60)
DNP DNP T18
(32)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP
Tommy Fleetwood
(104.67 pts)
T22
(28)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T5
(46.67)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Andrea Pavan
(96 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T10
(40)
DNP T12
(25.33)
DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T46
(4)
DNP
Justin Rose
(95.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T15
(35)
DNP DNP DNP T34
(10.67)
DNP 8
(50)
DNP
Joost Luiten
(89.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP T25
(25)
DNP DNP DNP T40
(6.67)
DNP T31
(19)
DNP
Shane Lowry
(89.33 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP T15
(23.33)
DNP T11
(39)
DNP
Matthias Schwab
(85.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T4
(80)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T28
(22)
DNP
Christiaan Bezuidenhout
(83.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP 3
(90)
DNP
Andrew Putnam
(80.33 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP T20
(30)
DNP DNP DNP T18
(21.33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T21
(29)
DNP
Paul Casey
(62 pts)
T17
(33)
DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T11
(39)
DNP
Ian Poulter
(61 pts)
T13
(37)
DNP T16
(34)
DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T60
(0)
DNP
Erik Van Rooyen
(59.33 pts)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP T10
(40)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP T14
(36)
DNP
Tony Finau
(56.67 pts)
T59
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T9
(30)
DNP DNP T10
(26.67)
DNP T51
(0)
DNP
Sergio Garcia
(53.67 pts)
T33
(17)
DNP T60
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP T7
(36.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

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

Player Zozo Champ. Portugal Masters Nine Bridges French Open Houston Open Italian Open Shriners Hospitals Spanish Open Safeway Open Dunhill Links Sanderson Farms Champ. BMW PGA Champ. The Greenbrier
Jorge Campillo
(-26.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP
Scott Hend
(-20 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-10)
DNP
Neil Schietekat
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Daniel Nisbet
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Bryce Easton
(-6.67 pts)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP
Bubba Watson
(-5.67 pts)
T51
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T47
(1)
Abraham Ancer
(-4.33 pts)
T41
(9)
DNP T57
(0)
DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP CUT
(-6.67)
DNP DNP DNP DNP
Jason Kokrak
(-3.33 pts)
71
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP T63
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP CUT
(-3.33)
Jazz Janewattananond
(0 pts)
T57
(0)
DNP T65
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP
Taehee Lee
(0 pts)
DNP DNP 76
(0)
DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP DNP

How Player Rankings are Computed

The Buzz:

Tiger and 82

I shake my head in amazement at the thought of Tiger Woods tying Sam Snead with 82 PGA Tour victories.  This has been one of those records that some thought would never be broken.  Now Snead won for the last time on the PGA Tour in 1965 at the Greater Greensboro Open.  At the time it was thought to be his 86th career PGA Tour victories and with the tour looking through the records, in 1995 his final total became 82 “official PGA Tour wins.”  At the time of Snead’s ’65 Greensboro victory he was 52 years old and it was thought that it would be the record for a long time.  64 years later Tiger Woods, who is 43 years old caught Snead and sometime in the next year will probably surpass him.

Now have to say many believed that Woods would break Snead’s record at least 8 years ago, but with all of his physical problems, it has taken Tiger a lot longer.  Amazing to think that Tiger had 46 PGA Tour wins before his 30th birthday and 71 at age 33.

Tiger has basically been healthy since the start of the 2018 season.  In April of 2017 he had a back fusion and by the results during 2018 Tiger looked great, winning at the Tour Championship.  But after that win, we saw a more human Tiger, especially at the Ryder Cup the week after his East Lake victory.  Tiger seemed very tired after his record season-ending run, but by the time he played again at the Hero’s Challenge in December of 2018 Tiger seemed ready to go for 2019.  Yes, he won the Masters but at the time we knew very little about his true physical state.  Tiger played a very limited schedule after the Masters, he played in the PGA Championship, Memorial, U.S. Open, British Open, Northern Trust and BMW Championship.  Since his win at the Tour Championship Tiger said he wanted to cut back, so his limited schedule after winning the Masters seemed to be a hint that yes Tiger was cutting back.  But just after the BMW Championship Tiger underwent an arthroscopic procedure on his left knee and things started to become clearer.  At the Japanese Skins game, he told the media that his knee was bothering him last year and he almost had the procedure done after the Hero’s Challenge.  But he wanted to play at Torrey Pines, L.A. and felt he didn’t have enough time to get ready for the Masters so he put it off.  At the time he looked ok and with his Masters win we all thought that it was the start of what could be a great run.  But he mysteriously didn’t play that much and when he did he didn’t play that great, he missed the cut at the PGA Championship and the British Open and only had one top-ten the T-9th at the Memorial.  But now we can realize that Tiger wasn’t 100%.

He played great on the back nine of the Skins Game to give us the thought that something was up.  At the same time, Tiger seemed open to the fact of him playing on the Presidents Cup squad if Tiger deemed he was playing good enough.  I guess with the victory there is no questioning that he will be a playing captain come December when the matches are played in Australia.  At the same time, this opens up the fact that Tiger may be a big force in 2020.  He has proven with his win at East Lake, Augusta and now in Japan that his game is not only good, but he is sharp and can still handle the pressure of being in contention.  So many are eager to see Tiger first break the tie with Sam Snead and possibly win some more majors and possibly catch Jack’s 18 major total.  One last thing on Tiger that is important, in Japan Tiger said how important it is for him to play for a possible gold medal in the Olympics, which will be in Tokyo next August.  In order for Tiger to qualify for Japan, he has to be one of the top-four Americans on the World Ranking.  With the win in the Zozo, Tiger jumped from 10th to 6th in the World Ranking and is now the fourth highest American below Brooks Koepka (1st), Dustin Johnson (3rd), Justin Thomas (4th) and a spot above Patrick Cantlay (7th).

Some Presidents Cup news

Phil Mickelson is playing this week in China and I have to think that he needs a top-three finish to possibly give Tiger a hint that he can play on the Presidents Cup team.  That really seems like a tall order, his game in Korea was still not sharp as he finished T-31st but with Phil, you never know.  But with Tiger getting a spot and you would think that Kevin Na and Gary Woodland have played good enough to also earn a spot, that leaves one spot.  Ryan Palmer has played well, so as Billy Horschel and Tony Finau and possibly Cameron Champ which leaves Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler off the team.

But for Mickelson, I have to wonder if possibly Tiger hasn’t talked to his friend Phil Mickelson about another kind of spot on the team, one of co-captain.  Phil is very qualified for the job, Tiger needs some help, both players have high regard for each other so maybe something like that can work out.  It’s a shame that Phil won’t be able to play on 25 straight Presidents and Ryder Cup teams, but sometimes you can’t justify placing someone on the team when others can help the team more.

Dustin Johnson

One player we haven’t seen since the Tour Championship is Dustin Johnson.  His year didn’t end very well and he had arthroscopic surgery to repair cartilage damage on his left knee on September 5th, nine days after Tiger had the same thing.  Dustin said his knee started bothering him at the Valspar in March and other than a pair of runner-up finishes at the Masters and PGA Championship seemed to struggle.  After the PGA Championship, he had two T-20th finishes but those were the best of the year.  At the time he didn’t send date for return but said he would play in the fall.  At the time we all thought his return would come this week in China, he has played every year in the WGC-HSBC since 2012 and won it in 2013.  But he has been quiet on giving us a hint on when he will be back.  The only commitment he has is playing in the Hero World Challenge the week before the Presidents Cup, who knows maybe he will add on RSM Classic that is played in Sea Island, Georgia and is an easy trip for him to play in that event.

A personal item

On Wednesday I am having my other knee replaced.  I was supposed to have it last month, but with the Washington Nationals playing so well and wanting to attend the playoff and World Series was able to postpone it.  The only real problem the surgery is at noon and game seven is at 8 pm so it could be weird to watch after surgery if my Nats can find a way of winning on Tuesday.  So if things over the next two weeks seem a bit behind it’s because it will be hard the next three weeks to sit and do all of these things in keeping GolfStats up to date.  Still, I should be able to get a preview done for next week, but again it may be late Tuesday before it’s up.

Tournament Information:

This event started in 2006 and played at Sheshan Golf Club.  Because of the big purse and the event giving out appearance money, most of the top players of the time including Tiger Woods played.  Tiger came close finishing second in it’s first year as David Howell won by three shots.  The event was part of the European Tour and despite being played in November was the leadoff event for the European Tour’s wrap-around season.  So the first event was played in November of 2005 but counted for the European Tour’s 2006 season.  It continued to grow for the next three years as more marquee names went to China and in November of 2008, the European Tour started it’s 2009 season with Sergio Garcia winning.  Right after the tournament, it became part of the World Golf Championship series, which help elevate it.  At the same time, the European Tour revamped the way they ended their season, so the event in November of 2009 was included in the 2009 European Tour season.  This created the problem of the same event being played twice in the same season.  Phil Mickelson won the November 2009 HSBC and despite the PGA Tour being part of the WGC was not considered an official PGA Tour event.

The tournament went on a bizarre three-year journey.  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 tournament. 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 the renewal of its title sponsorship, something it did renewing in 2015.  With this announcement, the HSBC became part of the PGA Tour’s FedExCup schedule.  It awarded official money and FedExCup points (and a three-year exemption) beginning in 2013 (which later changed to 2014 because the Tour went to a wrap-around schedule for events ending in 2013).  Sound confusing, it is so you just have to remember one thing.  The first “official” WGC-HSBC for the PGA Tour was the one played in November of 2013, but it counted for the 2014 PGA Tour season.  So this week’s event counts on the 2020 PGA Tour season and the 2019 European Tour season.  This year it won’t be a part of the final series, it was dropped because the top players on the Race to Dubai couldn’t get in so the tour realized that it favored the top stars.

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. Not long after its opening, Tiger Woods praised the layout as “the crowning jewel of all of Asian golf.” To create the layout’s drastic elevation changes, work crews reportedly moved more than 2 million cubic yards of earth.  Sheshan International Golf Club features beautiful tree-lined fairways and gently 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.

DraftKings tips

*Here are the guys that cost the most on DraftKings this week:
  • Rory McIlroy – $11,700
  • Hideki Matsuyama – $11,100
  • Xander Schauffele – $10,800
  • Justin Rose – $10,500
  • Paul Casey – $10,000
  • Tommy Fleetwood – $9,900
  • Henrik Stenson – $9,800
  • Tony Finau – $9,700
  • Patrick Reed – $9,600
  • Sungjae Im – $9,500
  • Jordan Spieth – $9,400
  • Adam Scott – $9,300
  • Bernd Wiesberger – $9,200
  • Byeong Hun An – $9,100
  • Cameron Smith – $9,000

This will be the last of three weeks in which there won’t be a cut so enjoy the fact of not seeing one of your players not going 72 holes.  We have been very spoiled by this fact and I will miss it after this week.  DraftKings top pick is Rory McIlroy at $11,700 and yes it’s a lot of money and yes he should play well enough to help you.  Normally I don’t like players at this price point, but Rory is playing weel and finished T-3rd last week in Japan.  Last week I didn’t show much love for Hideki Matsuyama at $11,100 and sure enough, he was runner-up at the Zozo Championship.  Will show a bit more respect for him this week, he has won on this course but should caution you on the fact that other than his win at the HSBC in his other five starts didn’t finish higher than T-30th.  Xander Schauffele is $10,800 and the defending champion, he has played good of late and someone to consider.  Justin Rose is at $10,500 and I think too high, he hasn’t played great since the U.S. Open and even though he won this event two years ago and was 3rd last year am still cautious in taking him.  I like Paul Casey at $10,000 even though he has played very indifferently since winning the Porsche European Open a month ago. What I like about Casey is how consistent he has been on this course, but it’s all about finishing in the top-20 so you may have to be careful about him.  Also being cautious with Tommy Fleetwood at $9,900 and Henrik Stenson at $9,800.  Both have done well in this event but both have not played all that great of late, I would pass on them.  Now many will think of Tony Finau at $9,700, he was runner-up last year losing a playoff to Xander Schauffele so he has the game to play on this course, he finished T-59th in Japan but I am not worried, he is playing too good.  Patrick Reed is $9,600 and I have mixed emotions, he has been inconsistent of late and was T-7th last year so it’s a toss-up in my mind.  No toss-up with Sungjae Im at $9,500 he has played so well over the course of the last year and over the summer, have to take him at a good price.  Have no idea what to do with Jordan Spieth at $9,400 other than to say you can’t pick him.  He is playing in his third straight event to try and show Tiger he is worthy of a Presidents Cup pick, but after T-66th last week and a T-8th in Korea, he needs a top-three to impress Tiger and I don’t think that is in the cards.  Adam Scott is at $9,300 and normally would give him the benefit of the doubt but not this week. Bernd Wiesberger at $9,200 is someone to consider, he has played well of late and after taking last year off in this event due to an injury was T-7th the previous year.  Byeong Hun An at $9,100 is also high on the list of takes, he played well in his last two events and should do ok this week.  Last in the top-players is Cameron Smith at $9,000, he played well last week in Japan but hasn’t shown much on this course so I say no.

*Players in that $7,500 to $8,900 price range, which ones are worth the money?:

Billy Horschel is $8,900 and could be ok, was T-11th last year.  Many will think Shane Lowry at $8,800 is a good choice, I would avoid him he hasn’t shown us much.  One very sneaky pick is Matt Wallace at $8,700.  He has top-15 finishes in four of his last five starts and was T-8th last week in Portugal.  Rafael Cabrera-Bello at $8,500 could also be a good choice, the only problem he is a hit or miss, hard to judge if he will be good this week.  Sergio Garcia is $8,000 and could be a good choice since he plays well at Sheshan International, he was 4th in 2013.  I also like Charles Howell III at $7,900 for getting a lot of points along with Ian Poulter at $7,700.  Ian has won before at this event and been ok of late.  Louis Oosthuizen at $7,600 is also a good choice at such a bargain price.

*Some of the “bargains” this week at the CJ Cup

Now we know he has struggled, but Phil Mickelson is just $7,400 and over 72 holes will make a lot of birdies.  Keegan Bradley at $7,000 is a great buy along with Bubba Watson at $6,800.  Also, like Justin Harding at $6,600 who after a tough stretch seems to have his game back.

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

The key stat for the winner:
  • The event will be played again at Sheshan after being played in 2012 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. Bubba Watson had a great 2014 and five months after his China victory won the Masters in 2016.  Dustin Johnson and Ian Poulter were also very successful before and after.  The same with 2016 champion Russell Knox, he won again on the PGA Tour over the summer.  Three years ago Hideki Matsuyama won in China and after that won on the Japan Tour at the Taiheiyo Masters, then in his next start won the Hero World Challenge.  He started in 2017 with an early win at the Waste Management Phoenix Open and won again at a World Golf Championship when he won the Bridgestone Invitational.
  • All the other champions also had the same thing going.  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.  So in a way, the course favors a top-notch player, someone that has won big events including other WGC events and majors.  The point is don’t be surprised to see either Rory McIlroy, Henrik Stenson or a Bernd Wiesberger do well.
Here are some more key stats to look to for this week:

One thing that is for certain, look for a high ranked player to win.  The lowest-ranked player in the Official World Golf Ranking to win the HSBC Champions was Y.E. Yang, who was No. 77 when he won the event in 2006.  Here is a look at the HSBC champions over the years and how they ranked in the world rankings prior to victory:

  • 2018, Xander Schauffele, No. 19th
  • 2017, Justin Rose, No. 13th
  • 2016, Hideki Matsuyama, No. 6th
  • 2015, Russell Knox, No. 65
  • 2014, Bubba Watson, No. 7
  • 2013, Dustin Johnson, No. 23
  • 2012, Ian Poulter, No. 26
  • 2011, Martin Kaymer No. 6
  • 2010, Francesco Molinari No. 30
  • 2009, Phil Mickelson No. 2
  • 2008, Sergio Garcia No. 3
  • 2007, Phil Mickelson No. 2
  • 2006, Y.E. Yang No. 77
  • 2005, David Howell No. 19
  • Very interesting to see how Sheshan compared with the other courses on the PGA Tour last year.  In driving accuracy, it ranked 14th, in green in regulation was the 4th hardest course.  In scrambling it was 4th while in overall putting average is ranked 36th.  The course had a 73.26 scoring average which ranked 3rd hardest mostly because of the high winds that week.
  • With tight fairways and lots 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 3s. It’s also interesting to note that last nine champions at Sheshan (not including 2012 when it was played at Missing Hills) have had problems on the par 3s, Last year and the year before Xander Schauffele and Justin Rose was even par, 2017 Hideki Matsuyama was even par, in 2016 Russell Knox was 2 under, in 2015 Bubba Watson was even par, 2014 Dustin Johnson was 4 under, 2011 Martin Kaymer was 5 under, Francisco Molinari was even par in 2010 and Phil Mickelson was 1 under in 2009.
  • Last week in Japan the weather was terrible and the event had to be finished on Monday,  The good news is this week will be very dry and the winds will not be very high, topping at 9mph so the course will play easier this year.
  • Again like we say, look for the player with the hot hand.  Those that have played well the last two weeks could play well this week and win.

Who to watch for at the WGC-HSBC Champions

(As a PGA Tour event only goes back to 2014 which is shown, but event does go back to 2006 which is not shown)

Best Bets:

Rory McIlroy

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T54 T4 T11 T6

Course is good for him, he is playing well and could be hard to beat.

Hideki Matsuyama

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T30 T50 Win WD T41 T41

I didn’t think he would play well last week in Japan and he did, won’t forget about him he is playing on a course he has won on in past years.

Xander Schauffele

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
Win T46

Past champion that can do it about, has played well last couple of weeks.

Best of the rest:

Sungjae Im

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
First time playing in this event

He seems to be a favorite just about every week he plays, he should again be in the top-ten.

Bernd Wiesberger

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T9 T35 T17

This guy has been lights out in Europe over the summer, should continue this week.

Paul Casey

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T16 T11 T12 T23 20

The course is perfect for his game, a bit weird that he isn’t playing any better.

Sergio Garcia

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T9 T11 T28 T28

The course is good for shotmakers and Sergio is one, look for him to have a great week.

Adam Scott

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T18 T50 T14 70 T12 T12

Another of these guys that am surprised haven’t played better of late

Solid contenders

Justin Rose

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
3 Win T48 T48

Has won on this course before and could do it this week, hard player to judge.

Tony Finau

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
2 T11

Was runner-up last year losing a playoff to Schauffele, could be better this week.

Jordan Spieth

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T7 T35 T35

Still looking for his game as he gives one more try to making the Presidents Cup team.

Rafael Cabrera-Bello

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T14 T5 T19

Has been off and on this summer, the course is good for him.

Henrik Stenson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T2 T2 T11 T24 T24

He also has a good track record at Sheshan, could strike this week

Long shots that could come through:

Louis Oosthuizen

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T45 T44 T14 T14

He also plays well on this course, haven’t seen him play great in a bit.

Phil Mickelson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T15 14

Has played well on this course, his last stand to get on the Presidents Cup team could be a good sign for him to have a great week.

Bubba Watson

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T54 T35 Win Win

Another who has played this course well in past years.

Charles Howell III

2019 ’18 ’17 ’16 ’15 ’14 ’13 ’12 ’11 ’10 ’09 ’08 ’07
T15

Could be a good pick since the course is perfect for his game.

Comments

  1. modlish.ed@gmail.com says:

    Hope your surgery goes well, nice call on tiger last week !

  2. howister12@verizon.net says:

    I ASKED U ABOUT HIDEKI AND NA AND THEY BOTH FAILED. THINK U GOTTA STEP UP UR GAME

  3. When have you asked me? If it was last week I said didn’t think Hideki would do well and I was wrong. Thought that Na would do well and was wrong.
    Think Hideki plays well this week, don’t have much to say on Na other than I don’t think he will finish in the top-ten.

  4. howister12@verizon.net says:

    I PAY ALOT OF MONEY FOR UR ADVICE.

  5. Michael C says:

    Easy howy..,Sal’s been distracted by the Nats

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