Jordan and Rory headline HSBC Champions

A strong field will contest the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China

Bubba Watson defends WGC-HSBC Champions
Bubba Watson defends WGC-HSBC Champions
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy renew their rivalry at the final WGC event of 2015. Bubba Watson defends the HSBC Champions at Sheshan International.

The HSBC Champions began life in 2005 as a regular European Tour event but, in 2009, it was elevated to World Golf Championship status. As a result the event now attracts an exceptionally strong field. Jordan Spieth and Rory McIlroy are joined on the start sheet in Shanghai by, amongst others, Rickie Fowler, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, Henrik Stenson, Sergio Garcia and Adam Scott.

Phil Mickelson won the first instalment of this competition and, since then, Francesco Molinari, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter and Dustin Johnson have been champions. Last year Bubba Watson won a thrilling tournament via a playoff. He holed a bunker shot on the 72nd hole to tie Tim Clark then beat the South African at the first extra hole.

The tournament is being hosted at Sheshan International GC for a third straight season. Designed by Neil Haworth of Nelson & Haworth, the course at Sheshan International makes use of the natural terrain as it winds through valleys and across a deep, water-filled, rock quarry that comes into play on the 16th and 17th holes.

With big money and points up for grabs this week, there’s a great chance for European Tour members to make significant strides on the Race to Dubai standings – this event is the second of four tournaments that make up the European Tour’s Final Series.

The weather forecast for Shanghai looks a little questionable this week with rain likely on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Venue: Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China Date: Nov 5–8 Course stats: par 72, 7,261 yards Purse: $8,500,000 Defending Champion: Bubba Watson (-11)

TV Coverage: Thursday 5 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am Friday 6 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am Saturday 7 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am Sunday 8 – Sky Sports 4 from 3am

Player watch:

Rory McIlroy – The Northern Irishman played superbly from tee to green in Turkey last week but couldn’t find form with the putter. If he can discover a little magic with the flat-stick this week, he’ll be tough to beat.

Adam Scott – Just missed out on a playoff for the CIMB Classic last week and looked to be striking the ball beautifully. He’s adopted a new “claw grip” putting technique that seems to be highly effective.

Shane Lowry – Looking to join Tiger Woods as the only players to have won back-to-back WGC events. He played well in Turkey to finish eighth and is up to third on the Race to Dubai standings – he’ll aim to push on this week.

Shane Lowry swing sequence:

Key hole: 16th. At just 288 yards, you’d think this was a great birdie chance, but going for the green from the tee is extremely risky with a ravine waiting to the right hand side of the challenging putting surface. The best play is to lay-up and leave a sand wedge in, but the pros always find it hard to turn down the chance of an eagle putt.

Fergus Bisset
Contributing Editor

Fergus is Golf Monthly's resident expert on the history of the game and has written extensively on that subject. He is a golf obsessive and 1-handicapper. Growing up in the North East of Scotland, golf runs through his veins and his passion for the sport was bolstered during his time at St Andrews university studying history. He went on to earn a post graduate diploma from the London School of Journalism. Fergus has worked for Golf Monthly since 2004 and has written two books on the game; "Great Golf Debates" together with Jezz Ellwood of Golf Monthly and the history section of "The Ultimate Golf Book" together with Neil Tappin , also of Golf Monthly. 

Fergus once shanked a ball from just over Granny Clark's Wynd on the 18th of the Old Course that struck the St Andrews Golf Club and rebounded into the Valley of Sin, from where he saved par. Who says there's no golfing god?