European Golf Tour
PGA European - WGC - HSBC Champions Preview
From The Sports Network

DATES: Thursday, November 3rd through Sunday, November 6th
SITE: Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, China
COURSE ARCHITECT: Robin Nelson & Neil Haworth (2004)
PAR: 72
YARDAGE: 7,143
Hole-By-Hole:1 - Par 4 459 Yds10 - Par 4 401 Yds
2 - Par 5 550 Yds11 - Par 4 435 Yds
3 - Par 4 362 Yds12 - Par 3 217 Yds
4 - Par 3 200 Yds13 - Par 4 410 Yds
5 - Par 4 441 Yds14 - Par 5 563 Yds
6 - Par 3 209 Yds15 - Par 4 464 Yds
7 - Par 4 346 Yds16 - Par 4 288 Yds
8 - Par 5 603 Yds17 - Par 3 191 Yds
9 - Par 4 466 Yds18 - Par 5 538 Yds
36 3,636 Yds36 3,507 Yds
Annual:  7th
Television:  Golf Channel - Wednesday/Saturday -- 11 p.m.-4 a.m. (et),
  - Thursday/Sunday -- 11 a.m.-4 p.m. (et) - replay
Defending Champion:  Francesco Molinari
Runner-Up:  Lee Westwood
Tournament Record:  268 (David Howell, 2005)
54-Hole Record:  200 (David Howell, 2005)
36-Hole Record:  132 (David Howell, Nick Dougherty, 2005)
Course Record:  63 (Daisuke Maruyama, Rory McIlroy, Ernie Els, 2009)
Total Purse:  $7,000,000
Payouts:  1st Place - $1,200,000; 2nd Place - $675,000; 3rd Place - $430,000
2010 Finish
Francesco Molinari269Paul Casey281
Lee Westwood270Ernie Els281
Luke Donald279Retief Goosen281
Richie Ramsay279Richard Green281
Rory McIlroy280Peter Hanson281
Fredrik Andersson Hed281Tiger Woods281
Past WGC - HSBC Champions Winners
YearWinner (Score) -- Runners-Up
2010Francesco Molinari (269) -- Lee Westwood
2009Phil Mickelson (271) -- Ernie Els
2008*Sergio Garcia (274) -- Oliver Wilson
2007*Phil Mickelson (278) -- Lee Westwood, Ross Fisher
2006Yong-Eun Yang (274) -- Tiger Woods
2005David Howell (268) -- Tiger Woods

* - Won in Playoff

Top Contenders in the Field
Francesco Molinari---T-9------T-10Won
Lee WestwoodT-12---T-2---T-82nd
Rory McIlroy------------4th5th
Ernie Els------T-21---2ndT-6
Peter HansonT-19---T-33T-3T-31T-6
Paul Casey7thT-6T-9T-11wdT-6
Ian PoulterT-19T-31T-38T-14T-45T-13
Charl SchwartzelT-32T-20T-48T-6---T-16
Pablo Martin------66th------T-16
Nick Watney------------5thT-21
Bill Haas---------------T-21
Hunter Mahan---------------T-21
Adam Scott---------T-6---T-25
Martin Kaymer---------T-20T-6T-30
Yuta Ikeda------------T-51T-30
K.J. ChoiT-12T-9T-50T-35---T-30
Ben Crane---------------T-30
Robert Karlsson---T-6---T-14---T-34
Graeme McDowell39th------T-16---T-34
Miguel A. JimenezT-54------------T-41
Alvaro Quiros------mc10thT-8T-53
Louis Oosthuizen---T-6211thT-16---T-72
Darren Clarke---------T-58------
Keegan Bradley------------------
Justin Rose------------------
David Toms------------------
Bo Van Pelt------------------
Sports Network Selections

Pick to Win - Rory McIlroy
Darkhorse - Fredrik Jacobson
Last Week's Pick to Win - PGA Tour (Brandt Snedeker) - Finished tied for 13th
Last Week's Darkhorse - PGA Tour (Angel Cabrera) - Finished tied for 45th
Last Week's Pick to Win - European (Sergio Garcia) - Finished 1st
Last Week's Darkhorse - European (George Coetzee) - Missed the cut
The PGA Tour and European Tour travel to Asia this week for the World Golf Championships - HSBC Champions at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China. Many of the best players in the world are on hand this week, led by world No. 2 Lee Westwood and world No. 3 Rory McIlroy. Twelve of the top-20 players in the world are in the field. The top American is world No. 12 Nick Watney. McIlroy is coming off a win last week at the Shanghai Masters, however, an event not sanctioned by any tour.

World No.1 Luke Donald withdrew from the tournament to be with his wife while they wait for the birth of their second child. Donald is trying to become the first player in history to win the PGA Tour and European Tour money titles in the same season. He has already won the PGA Tour title and leads McIlroy by more than 1.3 million euros in The Race to Dubai. McIlroy can cut into that lead this week, as the winner will earn more than 800,000 euros.

This is the seventh staging of this tournament, but third as part of the PGA Tour. It is also the third year that the event is part of the World Golf Championships. The other WGC events are the Match Play Championship, Cadillac Championship and Bridgestone Invitational.

Last year, Francesco Molinari opened with a 65 and led wire-to-wire, holding off Lee Westwood by one shot to win. Molinari finished at 19-under-par 269, one stroke off the tournament scoring record. This was his first World Golf Championships title and second victory on the European Tour. Molinari was the first player to win this tournament in wire-to-wire fashion.

In 2009, Phil Mickelson fired four rounds in the 60s to hold off Ernie Els and win. Mickelson, who also won this title in 2007, completed the event at 17-under-par 271. It was Mickelson's second WGC victory of 2009, as he also captured the Cadillac Championship. Els took the lead with a birdie on the 17th in the final round, but found water with his second at the last. That led to a closing bogey, which left Els at 16-under-par 272 after a course-record- tying nine-under 63.

Mickelson did something he hadn't done in 14 years back in 2007 - he won on foreign soil. It was Mickelson's first victory outside of the United States since he won the 1993 Perrier Open, a European Challenge Tour event.

David Howell shot four rounds in the 60s, closing with a four-under 68 in the final round of 2005, to cruise to a three-stroke win over Tiger Woods at the inaugural tournament. Howell finished the event at 20-under-par 268.

Players qualifying for this lucrative event are: winners of the 2011 Masters, THE PLAYERS Championship, U.S. Open, British Open and PGA Championship; winners of the 2011 WGC-Accenture Match Play Championship, WGC-Cadillac Championship, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and 2010 WGC-HSBC Champions; tournament winners of worldwide events (PGA Tour, European Tour, Asian Tour, Japan Golf Tour, Sunshine Tour, Australasian Tour) in 2011 with an Official World Golf Ranking Strength of Field Rating of 40 points or more; the top-five players not otherwise exempt from the final 2011 PGA Tour FedExCup Points List and the 2010 European Tour Race to Dubai as of October 17; four Chinese players; players not otherwise exempt from the Top 25 of the Official World Golf Ranking as of October 17; if necessary to fill the field to 78 players, additional tournament winners from selected events and players from the Official World Golf Ranking outside the Top 25 as of October 17.

Woods has dominated the World Golf Championships. In his 36 career starts, Woods has 16 wins and 31 top-10 finishes. In fact, Woods has earned $22,359,139 in his 36 WGC appearances.

Sheshan International is hosting for the seventh consecutive season and third straight as part of the World Golf Championships series. Designed by the team of Robin Nelson and Neil Haworth, Sheshan International was named Best Championship Course in China and features over 10,000 trees.

The PGA Tour heads to Nevada on November 8 for the Wendy's 3-Tour Challenge, where the PGA Tour will defend its title. The European Tour travels to Singapore next week for the Barclays Singapore Open, where Adam Scott captured the 2010 title.

11/01 17:08:09 ET

As of November 1, 2011, at 05:08 PM ET