The World Golf Championship events are considered just one step below the majors in the world of golf. Like the majors there are four of them throughout the year and this week it’s time for the last one of 2016, the HSBC Champions.
The tournament was established in 2005 but only became a WGC event in 2009. Since then it has continued to grow in stature and importance. A selection of major champions, money list winners and previous WGC winners are in the field this week for yet another renewal at Sheshan International.
This is not an easy field to qualify for. Only 78 players make the grade (although some of the world’s best have given this week a miss) but they are all guaranteed four days play as there is no cut.
Sheshan International is a par 72 course which measures around 7,300 yards. Generally it’s a course that yields numerous birdies and even the odd eagle for the world’s best players. The event organisers have made near constant tweaks to stop it becoming too easy but we should still be expecting a winning score of around -20.
Rory Can Continue His Fabulous End to the Year
Having missed out on all of the year’s majors, it looked as though 2016 was going to be very frustrating for Rory McIlroy. However, the final few months of the year are going better than any other period. McIlroy finally won the Irish Open in May and then only a couple of weeks ago he won the FedEx Cup thanks to two wins in the Playoff Series.
The Northern Irishman has taken some time off to recharge after his bruising Ryder Cup experience so will be ready to attack Sheshan International this week. He’s never won the HSBC Champions but his average finishing position in Shanghai is sixth so it’s clearly a course where he can score very well. Rory’s now aiming to re-establish himself as the best player on the planet and can strengthen those credentials by winning at odds of 11/2 with Betfair.
Sergio’s Ball Striking a Major Plus
There isn’t really one style of golf that produces results better than any other at Sheshan International but one important attribute for success is ball striking. The fairways are fairly wide and therefore easy to hit but they do not guarantee a perfect lie due to their sloped nature. That’s where Sergio Garcia can outperform the field.
Garcia is one of the best ball strikers to ever swing a 3-iron in anger. He’s got the technique to cope with the ball being above or below his feet and is sure to give himself plenty of birdie chances this week. If his improvement with the putter continues, Sergio can win this event for the second time at odds of 33/1 with Bet365.
Noren Looking to Take His Form to a Bigger Stage
Alex Noren has been in scintillating form on the European Tour of late. He’s won three times since July and is desperate to now take that form into one of the world’s biggest golf tournaments. Noren’s not got a great record at Sheshan International but he’s playing the golf of his life so is worth chancing at 55/1 with Betfred.