Pro Golf Weekly

2018 WGC-HSBC Champions Primer: History, TV, Field, Odds

While the WGC-HSBC Champions is just the fourth event of the PGA Tour’s wraparound season, it feels like more of an ending than a beginning.

Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka
Dustin Johnson and Brooks Koepka during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC on October 28, 2017 in Shanghai, China. Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images

Being a World Golf Championships event, the HSBC Champions awards an exceptionally large purse ($10 million) and a greater number of FedExCup points than standard events. As a result of this – along with its place on the schedule, this event is the last of the calendar year that draws an elite field from the two main tours.

The field will be headlined by the world’s top-3 ranked players in Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, and defending champion Justin Rose, respectively. Other top-10 ranked elites include Rory McIlroy (No. 5), Francesco Molinari (No. 6), Jon Rahm (No. 8) and Jason Day (No. 10).

Played in Shanghai, China as the final stop on the Tour’s Asian swing, the WGC-HSBC Champions offers 2018’s last grade-A contribution to the golf world, at least in regards to global participation.

With no comparable field until next March, this tournament is really one to miss at your own risk.


THE SKINNY

Tournament: WGC-HSBC Champions
Dates: Oct. 25-28, 2018
Where: Shanghai, China
Course: Sheshan International GC (West)
Distance: Par 72, 7,266 yards
Architect: Nelson & Haworth
Format: 78 players, 72 holes, no cut, stroke play
Purse: $10,000,000
Winning Share: $1,800,000
FedExCup/OWGR Points: 550/68
Defending Champion: Justin Rose
Marquee Players: Rose, Brooks Koepka, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy, Francesco Molinari, Jon Rahm, Jason Day, Tommy Fleetwood, Patrick Reed, Tony Finau, Xander Schauffele, Alex Noren, Paul Casey, Hideki Matsuyama, Tyrrell Hatton, Patrick Cantlay, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Eddie Pepperell, Ian Poulter,Thorbjorn Olesen, Branden Grace, Shubhankar Sharma


TV & ONLINE

Rd1: Wed 10-4:00 am (GOLF)
Rd2: Thu 10-4:00 am (GOLF)
Rd3: Fri 10-4:00 am (GOLF)
Rd4: Sat 10-4:00 am (GOLF)

Online: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Wikipedia


HISTORY

Known as the “crown jewel of Asian golf,” a term coined by Tiger Woods, Sheshan International is unquestionably the best course in China.

Dustin Johnson WGC HSBC Champions
Dustin Johnson and caddie/brother Austin during the third round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC on October 28, 2017 in Shanghai, China. Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images

Established in 2004, the tournament that is now the WGC-HSBC Champions was first held there in 2005. The event drew strong fields from the start – fields that have gotten even better since the tournament became a World Golf Championships (WGC) event in 2009.

Improving its profile further, it became an official PGA Tour event in 2013. Now, it is an event on both the PGA and European tours – although for the latter it’s the final WGC of the season, while the American tour uses it as the first of its season.

While there have been only 13 editions thus far, the WGC-HSBC Champions boasts an impressive list of winners, which includes Phil Mickelson (twice), Hideki Matsuyama, Sergio Garcia, Martin Kaymer, Ian Poulter, Dustin Johnson, Bubba Watson, and most recently Justin Rose.

RECENT WINNERS
2017 – Justin Rose
2016 – Hideki Matsuyama
2015 – Russell Knox
2014 – Bubba Watson
2013 – Dustin Johnson
2012 – Ian Poulter


DEFENDING CHAMPION

Dustin Johnson’s six-stroke 54-hole lead at the WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai, China felt as safe as leads come. Six strokes at a WGC for the World No. 1 with 18 holes to go? Nobody else really believed they had a shot, regardless of what they may say in future interviews.

Justin Rose WGC HSBC
Justin Rose during the final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions at Sheshan International GC on October 29, 2017 in Shanghai, China. Photo by Zhe Ji/Getty Images

As it turned out, even this lead was not safe. Aided enormously by Johnson’s shocking birdie-free 5-over 77 in the blustery final round of the WGC-HSBC Champions, the first WGC event of the 2017-18 season was captured by Justin Rose, who shot a 5-under 67 to incredibly erase an eight-shot deficit and win by two strokes over DJ, Henrik Stenson, and Brooks Koepka.

For Johnson, the collapse tied the PGA Tour record for largest 54-lead given up. For Rose, it was the third-furthest come-from-behind victory ever. Rose thought he was playing for second, but somehow, he finished first.

FINAL TOP 5
1 Justin Rose -14
2 Henrik Stenson -12
2 Brooks Koepka -12
2 Dustin Johnson -12
5 Rafa Cabrera-Bello -8
5 Peter Uihlein -8
5 Kyle Stanley -8


MARQUEE PAIRINGS

A look at several of the top groupings for the opening two rounds from Shanghai:

  • Adam Scott, Hideki Matsuyama, Ian Poulter
  • Patrick Reed, Jon Rahm, Alex Noren
  • Brooks Koepka, Justin Rose, Tommy Fleetwood
  • Patrick Cantlay, Rafa Cabrera Bello, Eddie Pepperell
  • Paul Casey, Xander Schauffele, Tyrrell Hatton
  • Haotong Li, Jason Day, Tony Finau
  • Francesco Molinari, Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy

FULL FIELD & ODDS

Joel Cook

Joel Cook is Pro Golf Weekly's Lead Writer. He is a member of the Golf Writer's Association of America.

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