The PGA Tour heads to Shanghai, China for the first WGC event of the 2015-2016 season, the HSBC Champions, which tees off Thursday morning. The tournament is at the same course it has been for ten of the last eleven years, Sheshan International GC (West), and many of the best golfers in the world will be on hand to compete for the purse and the FedEx Cup points up for grabs.
The first time you take a look at a list of golfers in the field this weekend, it will take you back, all the way to a little more than a month ago, when every field was loaded with top talent. It just hasn’t been that way every week since the playoffs concluded. This weekend, Jason Day is not on hand, unfortunately, but the rest of the top five is, as well as twelve of the top twenty ranked golfers in the world.
This event, like the CIMB Classic last week, is co-sponsored by both the European and Asian Tours, and some of the top golfers from both will be competing here. The European Tour players might be more familiar to you – names like McIlroy, Stenson, and Scott, for example – but the important thing to remember is that while these guys have not played regularly on the PGA Tour since the playoffs ended, they have been playing golf.
If you look at the DraftKings “Game Log,” you’ll see that Shane Lowry has no stats on hand for this season, and that Rory McIlroy finished T26 at an event three weeks ago, for example. But, to me, it might be useful to know that they finished T8 and T6, respectively, at last weekend’s Turkish Airlines Open in Turkey. McIlroy finished that event at -16 with a steady 67-67-67-71 and Lowry finished -15 after dropping a low round of 66 on Sunday.
If you want to look into what the players you’re considering have done recently, well, I don’t blame you. You can do your research online easily, by taking a look at the recent European Tour results and rankings (something you should be doing relatively regularly, all season long), or digging even deeper going here for the same information on the Asian Tour, looking for names like Wen-chong Liang, one of the top Chinese players in the field.
Hopefully this background research can help you feel a bit more comfortable with your roster decisions, no matter which tour your top choices call home.