The year's final WGC is upon us in at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China, read our preview...

TAGS:

Hideki Matsuyama Defends WGC-HSBC Champions

The limelight is back on Sheshan International Golf Club this week as it once again welcomes the WGC-HSBC Champions.

Hideki Matsuyama won the title last year by seven strokes to become the first Asian player to win a World Golf Championship.

That was after a win and a 2nd place in the previous two weeks and he subsequently won his next two events well.

He would go on to win his second WGC 10 months later at the Bridgestone Invitational where he shot a final round of 61.

World number one Dustin Johnson makes his first outing of the season, having played his last event at the Tour Championship a month ago. He was champion here in 2013.

DJ became the first man to win all four of golf’s WGCs this year after he won the Match Play in March. He also won the WGC-Mexico Championship three weeks prior and has won three of the last five WGCs.

He is joined by Jon Rahm who has finished T3rd at the WGC-Mexico and 2nd at the WGC-Match Play this year.

Hideki Matsuyama Defends WGC-HSBC Champions

The 18th green. (Photo by Ross Kinnaird/Getty Images)

Henrik Stenson and Jason Day are the only other world top-10 players competing, with Spieth, Thomas, McIlroy, Fowler and Garcia all giving it a miss this week.

Other past champions in the field this week include 2010 winner Francesco Molinari and 2009 and 2007 champion Phil Mickelson.

Previous winners such as Russell Knox, Martin Kaymer, Bubba Watson and Ian Poulter are not in the field.

The event is back at Sheshan which has hosted this tournament every year since 2005, barring 2012 when it took place at Mission Hills.

Venue: Sheshan International GC, Shanghai, China
Date: Oct 26-29
Course stats: par 72, 7,261 yards
Purse: $9,750,000 Winner: $1,725,000
Defending Champion: Hideki Matsuyama (-23)

TV Coverage:
Thursday 26 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 3am
Friday 27 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 3am
Saturday 28 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 4am
Sunday 29 – Sky Sports Golf and Main Event from 3am

Player watch:

Dustin Johnson: DJ has turned into some sort of King of the WGCs in recent years, racking up five of them – two clear of Geoff Ogilvy in third and 13 behind Tiger Woods who has won an incredible 18. He has had a month off so should be feeling fresh and won here just four years ago.

Henrik Stenson: The 2016 Open champion hasn’t had the best of years by his standard but did win his sixth PGA Tour title at the Wyndham Championship in August. He hasn’t played since the BMW Championship over a month ago so should also be fresh and will be looking to build on his runner-up finish here last year.

Ross Fisher: Fisher has had a great year despite not winning and is on a nice run of form. He finished second at the Dunhill Links, where he broke the course record at St Andrews with a 61, and the Italian Open in consecutive weeks, both times losing out to Tyrrell Hatton. He also recorded a T5th at the WGC-Mexico Championship and a T3rd at the WGC-Match Play.

Key hole: 16th. At just 288 yards, you’d think this short par-4 was a great birdie chance, but going for the green from the tee is extremely risky with a ravine waiting to the right of the green. The safer play is to lay-up and wedge it on, but the pros always find it hard to turn down the chance of an eagle putt.

Don’t forget to follow Golf Monthly on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram