Sheshan International Golf Club
Yards: 7,266 as per the scorecard
Par: 72 (36-36)
Greens: Creeping Bentgrass
Rough: Seashore paspalum and rye at 2”
Water Hazards: 7
Course Architects: Nelson and Haworth (2004)
Winner’s Share: $1,530,000
FexExCup Points: 550 to the winner
Defending Champion: Ian Poulter**
Dates: October 31- November 3
**Notes: Ian Poulter’s victory did NOT come on this course. This event returns to Sheshan where it was played from 2006-2011.
Notes II: There are only 78 players in the field and they will all play 72 holes of stroke play. There is no cut.
After winning 31 of 40 tournaments in 2013, the USA has won the first three of the 2013-14 season as Jimmy Walker broke his maiden and Webb Simpson and Ryan Moore each add another trophy to their respective cabinets.
There were 12, first-time winners in the 2013 season and just six players with multiple victories (Woods, Mickelson, Kuchar, Snedeker, Scott and Stenson). In 2013-14, we now have a first-timer and two proven “veterans” hoisting trophies through three events.
Gamers, please omit last year’s results at Mission Hills.
The HSBC returns to Sheshan where it was staged from 2005 through 2011.
Previous champions, their OWGR at the time and their scores on this course include:
2005: David Howell; No. 19 (-20)
2006: Y.E. Yang; No. 77 (-14)
2007: Phil Mickelson; No. 2(-10)
2008: Sergio Garcia; No. 3 (-14)
2009: Phil Mickelson; No. 2 (-17)
2010: Francesco Molinari; No. 30 (-19)
2011: Martin Kaymer; No. 6 (-20)
For what it’s worth, Ian Poulter was ranked No. 26 last season when he won at Mission Hills.
Those are all Ryder Cuppers or Presidents Cuppers. No slouches here, boys and girls and plenty of chalk. The WGC events are dominated by the chalk as we have seen over the past five years.
No first-timer has even won a WGC event, minus the inaugural event, obviously.
Only Geoff Ogilvy (2006 Match Play) won a WGC event in his first season of playing in them.
From the list of past champions above, only Y.E. Yang is not playing this week.
Only Phil Mickelson has won this event twice.
Only Tiger Woods has won back-to-back WGC events. He’s not playing this week.
Only seven players have won multiple WGC event titles. Tiger Woods (18), Geoff Ogilvy (3), Darren Clarke, Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Hunter Mahan and Ian Poulter all have two victories. Again, there are no slouches in that group either.
Lee Westwood (44) and Ernie Els (42) have the most WGC starts.
In 2011 Martin Kaymer closed with 63 and came home in 29. He overcame a five-shot deficit to win and tied the course record. On Sunday. It’s not a hard course folks.
Also in 2011, the top 15 were double-digits under par and the top 45 (of 78) were under par for the tournament. In 2010, 38 players finished under par. It’s not a hard course folks.
Inside the Ropes
It’s week two in the Far East at minimum for most of the 78 players at the WGC-HSBC Champions so everyone should have their body clocks tuned and ready to go. The European Tour was in Shanghai for the BMW Masters and the PGA TOUR was in Kuala Lumpur for the CIMB Classic.
The average winning score around the Sheshan International course is just a tad above 16-under and I would expect more of the same this week unless the weather happens to play a major factor. The TOUR players will be excited to see slicker rolling Bentgrass after dealing with sticky, wet paspalum all last week in Malaysia. The players who strike the golf ball well off the tee will be encouraged to see tree-lined fairways and water hazards throughout this set-up. The premium iron players will have a chance to pick and choose their spots on the undulating greens and will try and avoid the false fronts. The putters will hope the Bentgrass is the great equalizer but if 16 and change is the average winning score and more than half the field is under par, it’s no wonder players like Mickelson and Garcia, known for their ball-striking over their putting, have excelled here.
All of these guys will be drooling again this week to get a chance to attack four par fives and a drivable par four. In 2011, only three players in the top 10 were outside of the top 11 in GIR; only four were INSIDE the top 10 in putting. This tells me what I need to know so I’ll be looking for ball-strikers this week who will get the most chances on these greens.
Phil Mickelson: He’s won here twice and he’s knocked the rust off with his T19 last week. The lower the winning score, the better as Mickelson loves par five scoring and making birdies. His driver and putter struggled last week but he will be on a track of land where he should be more than comfortable and has had past successes. Only premium players win these events and he fits that bill.
Keegan Bradley: I should just copy and paste what I wrote last week. He taunted gamers last week with a blistering first 36 holes and a four shot lead before playing the weekend in four-over to finish 10th. His worst finish in any WGC stroke-play event is 23rd and he has four top 10s. He did play here in 2011 and finished T16.
Jimmy Walker: For those of you non-believers, of course he’s going to have a week where he doesn’t bring it. I just can’t get off a guy who has started the 2013-14 season WIN, T12 and solo sixth last week. The more birdies he has to make, the better. DYNOMITE has no problem rolling them in.
Sergio Garcia: His T11 last week in Malaysia continued his excellent recent form which has seen him net T18 or better in his last four, including two top 10s. He won the 2008 event on this course before it became a WGC event so that won’t dissuade me either!
Rory McIlroy: I’m on record in our pre-season chat stating that McIlroy will bounce back nicely this season and he’s already showing signs of moving in that direction. He was upset with his high finish at the Kolon Korea because he thought his final round 67 should have and could have been lower. He lost by a shot. Earlier this week he defeated Tiger Woods for the second time in a row in a heads-up, pay-for-play event at Mission Hills, the site of last year’s HSBC, so that can’t possibly hurt his confidence. McIlroy fired 67 to Woods’ 68. Sure, he’s in the midst of suing his former management group but I think he’ll find refuge in good golf. I would take a chance this week because of the no-cut format as well.
Brandt Snedeker: After an incredible 2012, Snedeker roared back in 2013 making even more cash (not including bonus money, of course) and there is no sign this train should be slowing down for 2013-14. His improved ball-striking was the key the last year and will be the key again this season because you and I both know he’s not going to suddenly forget how to putt! He’ll have no problem putting these Bentgrass greens and making birdies.
Jason Dufner: Here’s another player who was disappointed to see summer end and fall begin as Dufner’s season didn’t really get kick-started until the first week in August. He cranked out a T4 at WGC-Bridgestone before claiming his first major a week later at the PGA at Oak Hill with a masterful ball-striking performance over the four days, including the course record 63 on Friday. He cashed on two top 9s (T9 both) in the FedExCup Playoffs, including a 66-65 finish at East Lake to conclude an excellent run. The way he hits it, I have no problem endorsing him after a break as he’ll jump right back on that horse that only finds fairways and greens.
Francesco Molinari: A 63 in Portugal led to T17 and a closing round of 64 last week should find Molinari on your radar this week. He’ll hit every fairway and should find quite a few GIR and obviously his current form doesn’t hurt. Neither does his 2010 victory, 2009 T10, 2007 T9 or his T23 last here on this track. In 16 rounds around Sheshan, he’s been over par exactly once.
Justin Rose: If you’re looking for a ball-striker this week, well he’ll qualify! The Englishman sits third in the Race to Dubai and is the reigning U.S. Open champ. He finished second at the Barclays and sixth at the season-ending TOUR Championship. His worst round in the Playoffs was 72, exactly ONE time. He’s played here once and shot 14-under to finish T7. No rounds were over 70. Yes, please.
Jordan Spieth: If you’re not sure what I think about Spieth, then I know you must be new to the column. Thanks for reading! Here are his last six events: P2, T19, T4, T16 and T2. The last four were his first swing at the FedExCup Playoffs. The only thing that worries me this week is a twinge of rust but he’ll have all four rounds to swing himself silly.
Lee Westwood: The man with the most reps in the WGC series, Westwood is also quite fond of the golf at Sheshan. In 20 rounds of play here, he’s been over par three times and his finishes are T12, T2, T8, second and T13 the last time this event was held here. That’s more proof that premium ball-strikers are the way to go this week. Westwood also played last week at the BMW Masters and tuned up with a T24.
Ryan Moore: An absolutely solid week that began with 63 resulted in Moore’s second career playoff victory and third TOUR title overall. He split most of the fairways, hit most of the greens and holed plenty of putts on his way to 25 birdies, which include the final one in the playoff. I argued last week that the next step for him is to start factoring in WGC events and majors and he gets a chance to do so this week. He plays well in patches and his last three finishes have been T11, T9 and his victory last week. Go on, son!
Gonzalo-Fernandez Castano: Last week’s winner at the BMW Masters, the Spaniard was second in GIR and third in fairways hit in his excellent performance. He’s now quietly won seven times on the European Tour and currently sits in fourth in the Race to Dubai.
Hideki Matsuyama: He had his worst finish of 2013 when he posted T25 last week in Malaysia. He was coming off a WD in Las Vegas so whatever was ailing him is hopefully gone. He feasts on par fives and besides his WD, there hasn’t been much of anything that’s slowed him down.
Henrik Stenson: After an unbelievable summer and an even BETTER early fall, the big Swede is tending to a wrist issue that bothered him last week. The good news was he found a way to grind out a final round 65. The bad news was it only moved him to T34 as rounds of 74-79 were the meat in the sandwich. He probably hurt his wrist carrying his entire loot home from the TOUR Championship. Next time, HIRE SOMEBODY! I’m not crazy about taking a maybe-maybe not injured player in a top-heavy field. Remember, I also said this before the TOUR Championship when this same wrist was bothering him.
Martin Kaymer: See above for his 2011 stats here. He also has a T6 from 2009 in his collection. His last three starts on the European Tour have seen him card T7, T13 and T13. His ball-striking has been solid and only one round of his last 12 has been over par. He’s my OAD this week because of the aforementioned goodness and I’m not sure where else the 2010 PGA champion would “fit in” down the road. Remember, I’m a NIGHTMARE at OAD.
Billy Horschel: His final round 67 last week in Malaysia is just the sign of life gamers like me would like to see. His T7 at the TOUR Championship was backed by MC at the Frys.com so finishing T11 last week showed that he’s getting close.
Thomas Bjorn: In his last three events on the European Tour he’s won, finished T57 and was T5 last week. He’s won twice this season and has a T5 here from the inaugural event. It’s a bit of stretch but I like a veteran here over a greenhorn.
Kiradech Aphibarnrat: This week he should make enough cash to be eligible, after his T3 last week, so gain Special Temporary Membership on TOUR. Let’s see how he handles the bigger stage with the best field he’s seen since his T25 at Oak Hill. Last week I was high on him because of his form and course history. This week, I’m riding his current form because he has played seven of eight rounds here OVER par. Let’s see what a little confidence does/doesn’t do to his game.
The Man With His Own Section
Dustin Johnson is one of the most dynamic players on TOUR and one of the most frustrating for gamers to get a beat on. There’s not a course in the world that he cannot overpower and his talent level is off the charts but his inconsistent form drives gamers crazy. Last season he only had one decent result after posting a top 10 (T4 at SHO and T13 at the Masters) so he’s hard to catch “in-form”. He wrapped up the 2013 season with four rounds in the 60s at The TOUR Championship and had a top 15 in Perth so I should be excited. Or confused. Or both. Gaahhhhhhhhhh.
Horses-for-Courses/Far East Heat Check/Long-Shots
Paul Casey: He’s completed five tournaments here and his worst finish is T9. He warmed up last week by firing four rounds under par to finish T8 at the BMW Masters and led the field in GIR. When current form meets course history…
Ernie Els: He was T6 in 2010 and second in 2009. That tells me all I need to know.
Ian Poulter: The defending champion, albeit on another track, has had some decent successes on this course as well. He’s played every event and was T13 in his last two trips to Shanghai. His T15 last week was his first outing since Conway Farms in late September.
Peter Uihlein: This time last year he was hovering around No. 400 in the OWGR. Today, he’s 60th. In his last four on the European Tour he’s finished second in Wales, MC at the Omega Masters, second at the Dunhill Links and T5 last week at the BMW. He’s currently ninth in Race to Dubai. What a difference a year makes. Playing in China, or anywhere really, isn’t going to bother this young Yank from Oklahoma State.
Thongchai Jaidee: His seven top 10s on the European Tour, including his T2 last week at the BMW Masters, have put him No. 6 in the Race to Dubai. He closed with 66 last week to put the heat on GFC but fell just short. He has three top 30 finishes here in four starts and is known for his ball-striking.
Ryo Ishikawa: After closing the Web.com Playoffs fifth, T7 and T8, the first “can’t-miss” young Japanese player of this decade continued his hot start in 2013-14 as he was T21 at Frys.com and T2 at the Shriners. In two starts at Sheshan he’s played seven of eight rounds at par or better.
Bo Van Pelt: He’s coming off a smoking Sunday in Malaysia where he birdied seven of his first nine holes to go out in 29. He made two more birdies on the back side but a double washed his card back to even. He found some form on the weekend as he closed with 69-65 to finish T19. I like the fact that he gobbled up 21 birdies (T3), was T4 in GIR and ended up T6 in putts per GIR. He was T11 here last year in his first start. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh.
Gregory Bourdy: He won the first week in September, finished 5-0 in the Seve Trophy (the only player to do so) and snagged T13 last week. That’s a pretty decent six weeks and a calculated flier if you need one.
Peter Hanson: I like that he closed with 63 last week but he opened with 79. I like that he’s played five of the six years on this course but he’s never gone lower than 69 on Sheshan. The 63 trumps the rest. I’ll always take a flier on a guy who just busted one.
Bubba Watson: He fired 78 in round one and 65 in round three. That’s not what I need from where I’ll have to pick/draft him this week. I’ll patiently wait.
Louis Oosthuizen: His website was last updated July 31. He has THREE rounds in the 80s in four trips to this course. One round of four last week at the BMW was under par (70) as he finished eight-over.
Almost Any Rookie: They don’t play well in these events. This is big boy golf. The only exceptions would be Matsuyama and Spieth.
Boo Weekley: WHAT IS HE GOING TO EAT ALL WEEK?
Chris Wood: Four reasons: 79-83-74-73 last week.
Jordan Spieth of the Week Last Week
The column was taken over and thrashed by the kid from Texas last year. Out of respect, I’m not changing the title of it for 2013-14. It will remind me just how good Spieth was in the last three months of the season. This year, we’ll still identify an up-and-coming player and/or rookie that fantasy players should have on their radar.
Frys.com: Hideki Matsuyama, T3; Brooks Koepka, T3; Max Homa, T9.
SHCO: Ryo Ishikawa is only 22, don’t forget, T2; Chesson Hadley, T5.
CIMB: Kiradech Aphibarnrat, 24, might have enough money after this week to earn Special Temporary Membership. Pay attention!
I’m off to another AWFUL start.
SEASON TOTAL: ($6,689,685 in 2013; $15,264 in 2013-14)
Frys.com: Gary Woodland, MC. Well, at least I don’t have to worry about when I’m using GARY WOODLAND again!
SHFC Open: Hideki Matsuyama. Time to break through, son. Matsuyama WD with injury so he was replaced with Nick Watney. He finished T48 for $15,264
CIMB Classic: Let’s try this again: Hideki Matsuyama. There’s no cut. This pleases me. His T25 after 74 on Sunday does not please me. Oh well. Here’s $53,433 into the piggy bank.
WGC-HSBC: Martin Kaymer. There’s no other place I would consider using him and he’s the defending champ on this track. #hangsonfordearlife
GolfChannel.com Fantasy Challenge
Mike Glasscott ($794,597; Rank: 7,004)
Group 1: Phil Mickelson
Group 2: Sergio Garcia
Group 3: Martin Kaymer
Group 4: Ryo Ishikawa
Ryan O’Sullivan ($510,231; Rank: 14,637)
Group 1: Rory McIlroy
Group 2: Sergio Garcia
Group 3: Francesco Molinari
Group 4: Brett Rumford
Ned Brown “Pure Spin” ($513,264; Rank: 14,554)
Group 1: Justin Rose
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Martin Kaymer
Group 4: Ryo Ishikawa
Rob Bolton ($654,503; Rank: 10,367)
Group 1: Phil Mickelson
Group 2: Keegan Bradley
Group 3: Martin Kaymer
Group 4: Ryo Ishikawa
Ned said, “…
Ned Brown will be back with his Yahoo! selections whenever the game picks back up. Be sure to check here each week!
Points this year:
And the analysis doesn't end here. Rotoworld's Rob Bolton and I will be co-hosting a one-hour live chat WEDNESDAY at NOON ET. We will be breaking down the field at WGC-HSBC Champions and answering your questions. Simply return to the golf home page to join in on the chatter. Don’t forget to follow Rob (http://twitter.com/RobBoltonGolf) and Glass (http://twitter.com/MikeGlasscott) on Twitter.