TOURNAMENT: HSBC CHAMPIONS

HOST COURSE: Sheshan International GC

PRIZE FUND: $5,000,000 Winner $833,300

Before we have even had time to catch our breath from last season?s climax, the HSBC Champions event in China marks the beginning of the 2006/2007 season. The event at Sheshan International Golf Club, Shanghai, has attracted a top-class field including World Number One Tiger Woods. Tiger is attempting to win his seventh stroke play event in a row and is well rested after pulling out of last weeks Tour Championship. Padraig Harrington will also tee it up to begin the defence of his Order of Merit along with Paul Casey and David Howell who came so close to claiming the Vardon Trophy a fortnight ago.

Howell will attempt to defend his Champions title, which he brilliantly won last year by seeing off Tiger. Casey, Howell, Woods and Chinese teenage sensation Hu Mu launched the HSBC Champions tournament, and the 2007 European Tour season, with a table tennis display on The Bund overlooking the Huangpo River (pictured). The event is joint-sanctioned by the European Tour, Asian Tour, Sunshine Tour and Australasian Tour so sees top players from all over the world competing, and with a big purse available, it offers the chance for a great start to the new season.

COURSE DETAILS:Par 72, 7165 yard tree-lined course with water coming into play on 11 holes, known for its tough par 3s and sloping greens.

KEY HOLEThe 16th is a short par 4 and brings into play a 50 metre, water-filled quarry. It is 288 yards and drivable for a large number of the field but this brings into play a number of hazards. The small green is protected on the right by a large bunker and the quarry and by bunkers on the left.

CONTENDERS: Tiger Woods, David Howell, Camillo Villegas

BETTING GUIDE: For tips and analysis from Golf Monthly’s betting expert, Paul Krishnamurty click here