Driving Series

11/03/2015

An event since 2005, the HSBC Champions became WGC incorporated in 2009. With its status as a World Golf Championship and beefed up purses, its bound to attract the world’s top talent. And it does. This week’s field may surprise you.

Hosted in China, the event has cycled back and forth between SheShan International (9th time hosting) and Mission Hills (hosted once in 2012). With the top talent in the world playing overseas, evenings on the Golf Channel are a pleasant place to be for American golf fans. Night golf!

Get your smog masks ready if you’re going to be on-site…

And don’t even try to start figuring out this ban on golf in China. Dan Washburn and his book “The Forbidden Game” is a good place to start if you find yourself interested.

WGC-HSBC Champions Field

Click here to see the entire field in China this week.

Qualifications to get in the field are as follows:

  1. Winners of the four major championships and The Players Championship
  2. Winners of the four World Golf Championships
  3. Top 50 in the OWGR
  4. Top 30 players from the FedEx Cup (minimum of 5; if necessary to satisfy minimum of 5, players from position 31 or lower on 2014–15 FedEx Cup list will be selected)
  5. Top 30 players from the Race to Dubai
  6. Top 4 players from the Asian Tour Order of Merit
  7. Top 2 players from the Japan Golf Tour Order of Merit
  8. Top 2 players from the PGA Tour of Australasia Order of Merit
  9. Top 2 players from the Sunshine Tour Order of Merit
  10. Six players from China

Course Overview

SheShan International

Read all about the course here on their sites homepage.

View the entire course here on PGATour.com.

Here’s a fact for ya…

Driving Series

Last 5 Winners of the CIMB Classic

2014: Bubba Watson (Read more here)

2013: Dustin Johnson

2012: Ian Poulter (Mission Hills)

2011: Martin Kaymer

2010: Francesco Molinari

Aside from Patrick Reed’s profanity-laced tirade, it was Bubba’s hole-out that was the story last year. His bogey-double-eagle finish was a chaotic one…

Last Week’s Picks (CIMB Classic)

  1. Ryan Moore: T10
  2. Cameron Smith: T37
  3. Kevin Na: T3
  4. Patrick Reed: T10
  5. Chad Campbell: T29
  6. Brendan Steele: T3
  7. Adam Scott: 2

Well, I had 5 top-10 finishers in my 7 picks. It’s got me feeling good…if only my fantasy football teams were playing this well.

This Week’s Picks

I am making these picks with DraftKings and FanDuel fantasy golf lineups in mind.

Three from the Fairway (The Contenders)

Bubba Watson

bubba

Hard not to go with past winners when making picks.

Bubba’s win last year was preceded by an 8th place finish in 2013. He finished 2014-2015 strong a few weeks ago, locking a handful of top-10s, rolling momentum into the start of 2016. With the list of champions, it seems the long players have had their share of successes (DJ & Bubba).

Bubba isn’t the example of “wonderful world traveler,” but he’s played well in China. Something about China. When Bubba finds a course that benefits his game, he generally turns those into places where he makes Boo Koo bucks. With it’s Augusta-type feel, SheShan is one of those places.

He’ll score again this week and post a good finish.

2. Adam Scott

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Statistically speaking, his putting has been terrible. Last year on Tour, he was 158th in strokes gained with the flat stick. Many were wondering as to how he would adjust to the anchored putter ban. Well, how does a thick slice of 25-under par sound at the CIMB Classic?

His great play in Malaysia isn’t a solitary success either, as Scott also lined up some good play before then. His last two starts in the HSBC-Champions were both top-15s and given the form he’s in currently, I’d give him a nod this week.

He hasn’t been in the winner’s circle for a while…since 2013. I thought last week was the week, but with the way he played, he’s a guy to watch.

Well, STP, it seems he’s got the hang of something that may work for him…

3. Branden Grace 

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He’s been quietly playing some of the best golf in the world, as of late. I say quietly, because though he hasn’t been in contention, he’s been so damn steady.

His highlight was a 5-0-0 performance at last month’s Presidents Cup where his International team ended up just short of knocking off the high-flying, Ryder Cup impotent American team. Grace was an unstoppable force.

He was T17 at the CIMB last week and although he doesn’t have much of a track record for this event (a 39th two years ago), I like Grace to bring his game to SheShan in the form he’s got it.

Top-10 for Grace, so if you can find him, he’s a guy I think you should scoop up to fill out your roster.

Bonus Pick:

Kevin Na

kevin na

He’s still making birdies… go with him until he proves otherwise.

The hot hand.

One from the Rough (Sleeper)

Hiroshi Iwata 

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First of all, is this not one of the most grizzly glares you’ve ever laid eyes on?

You may best remember Iwata best from his performance in the PGA Championship in Wisconsin this summer. At the time, he was outside the top-100 in the world rankings before playing the round of golf to be remembered from the event. The 34-year old shot a 63 in the second round, bettering his round one score by 14 strokes. He went on to log a T21 finish.

Last year at the HSBC, he finished a surprising 3rd place at this event. Take a look at his play in the Web.com Tour finals too…

Iwata is your sleeper this week.


The Man in China with the Trophy

Rory McIlroy

rory mcilroy

Take a look at the way he’s played this event for the past 4 times he’s played. Something about China seems to get Rory ready to play. His worst start in his last 4 starts at the HSBC is a 6th.

Recently, his week at the Frys.com was plagued with a weak putter and a finish outside the top-25 (barely). Drawing Rickie and Dustin for rounds one & two at the HSBC this week should get him comfortable early.

He hasn’t played much lately, but every time he tees it up, he’s put something respectable together, even though there haven’t been any wins.

Following the trend of bombers taking SheShan for a walk, I think Rory is the guy this week– that is, if your rosters allow space for him.

A sick golfer is a dangerous golfer.