It’s a little hard to believe we have two tournaments to cover in November, but such is the case with the WGC-HSBC Champions and the Sanderson Farms Championship this week. Today we will release the power ranking for the WGC-HSBC Champions and the one-and-done selection. Tomorrow we will return to release the power ranking and OAD for the Sanderson Farms Championship.
At Sheshan International GC this week, there are players arriving from both the BMW Masters and the CIMB Classic. We have taken a look at the current form of all players in the field, as well as several key statistical categories and course history. Here’s what we came up with.
- Sergio Garcia – Met his lofty expectations at the CIMB last week with a T2 and returns to the site of his solo fourth a year ago. Anyone who has watched golf in 2014 realizes that Sergio is playing the best golf of his life, so this is the perfect storm of form and course history emerging at a WGC.
- Justin Rose – He’s played Sheshan twice and hasn't finished worse than a T7 in 2011 (5th last year). He enters off a T4 at the BMW Masters last week. Much like Sergio, form and history are in top condition.
- Adam Scott – Posted a career-best T11 at Sheshan back in 2011. Per usual, his schedule has been light of late. He tied for 38th at the Japan Open a few weeks ago, but one has to question his true motivation and preparation for that event. This is a nod to his elite class in a field that lacks Rory McIlroy.
- Graeme McDowell – He’s finished third in his last two trips to Sheshan, so he gets a big “check” in the box beside course history. He’s been solid since the Ryder Cup, scoring a T9 at the Volvo World Match Play and a T16 at the BMW Masters last week.
- Martin Kaymer – While his form isn’t pristine, he is the course horse in the field. He has three top-eight finishes at Sheshan International including a win in 2011.
- Jamie Donaldson – One of the hottest players on the globe, he kicked off an impressive run with a win at the D+D Real Czech Masters and followed that up with a Ryder Cup win and 7-T4-T13-T4 run, with the last T4 coming at the BMW Masters last week.
- Victor Dubuisson – The Frenchman has yet to play this event, but has gone T5-2-T21 in his last three worldwide starts. A win on a big stage is coming.
- Charl Schwartzel – A safe option this week, as he has a T16 and a T4 in his last two trips to Sheshan and went T15 and T19 in his last two starts leading into this week. It would seem that a top 20 is a lock in the no-cut event and a top 10 is quite possible.
- Ryan Palmer – I was beginning to think an American wouldn’t crack the list. While this is Palmer’s first PGA TOUR event of the 2014-15 season, he hasn’t been sleeping through the offseason. He tied for 14th at the Alfred Dunhill and shared 8th at the BMW Masters last week. He’s quietly moved to 39th in the world. One shouldn’t be too concerned with his T46 in 2010 at Sheshan, as he is a much more confident and complete player than he was four years ago.
- Jimmy Walker – Answered his disappointing 63rd at the Frys.com Open with a T4 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and has been off the last two weeks. Statistically, he’s a solid fit for this (or most any) course. He tied for 46th here last year.
- Rickie Fowler – Fowler makes his post-Ryder Cup debut this week. His record at Sheshan is lacking (T25 / T55), but he took a big step up in class over the last six months and should be a factor if he gets the rust knocked off.
- Bubba Watson – In the spirit of Halloween, he’s a complete bag of Skittles this week. You never know what flavor you might pull out. This is his first action since the Ryder Cup, but a T8 at Sheshan last year and the visual of a bomber (Dustin Johnson) winning the trophy offers plenty of reason for optimism.
Instead of the next 5, I’ve decided to complete the top 25 this week. There were too many guys worthy of a mention even if we don’t dive into the details.
- 13 - Henrik Stenson
- 14 - Mikko Illonen
- 15 - Joost Luiten
- 16 - Gary Woodland
- 17 - Hideki Matsuyama
- 18 - Hunter Mahan
- 19 - John Senden
- 20 - Lee Westwood
- 21 - Bill Haas
- 22 - Keegan Bradley
- 23 - Ian Poulter
- 24 - Jordan Spieth
- 25 - Billy Horschel
As for the one-and-done, this is a WGC. That means the purse is big ($1.4M to the winner) and there is absolutely no reason to hold back. I will roll the dice with Sergio Garcia this week, but could make a compelling case for Martin Kaymer or Jamie Donaldson for those not wanting to blow a pick on Garcia.
As mentioned earlier, we will return with the Sanderson Farms Championship power ranking and OAD. Until then, best of luck to all!