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PGA Tour Stats Review: Entering the WGC-HSBC Champions

Jeremy Schilling

Schilling covers golf for RotoWire, focusing on young and up-and-coming players. He was a finalist for the FSWA's Golf Writer of the Year award. He also contributes to PGA Magazine and hosts the popular podcast "Teeing It Up" on BlogTalkRadio.

This week the PGA Tour hops over from Malaysia to China for the World Golf Championships-HSBC Champions event. Of all the fall events that are getting new, FedEx Cup status this year, this event takes the biggest and smallest of leap at the same time. First, it becomes an official part of the PGA Tour schedule for the first time, and gets all the benefits (including the new FedEx Cup status) that go along with that. However, because of its WGC distinction - it's been an official European Tour event since its inception - it is not like a hit-and-giggle is suddenly being turned into a big-time event.


In any event, the fact that it is a WGC event has meant it has had a solid field the last couple years, and now even gets an even stronger field as it is both a FedEx Cup event and part of the European Tour's new Finals Series that concludes its Race to Dubai points competition.

This is the event's fifth year of existence. It was won by Phil Mickelson in year one, Francesco Molinari three years ago, Martin Kaymer in 2011 and Ian Poulter last year.

Out of those players we do not recommend Mickelson, who admitted last week that his game is in bad shape and that it won't be until his offseason - which begins next week - when he thinks he can fix the problem areas.

Molinari, meanwhile, enters on extremely strong form, as he tied for second at last week's BMW Masters in Shanghai, where he shot a final-round 64 that entered him into contention on the final day.


A ton of big names are playing this week, for the obvious reason that a strong finish here can pretty much make your whole year. They include Justin Rose, Mickelson, Jason Dufner, Jordan Spieth, Sergio Garcia, Rickie Fowler, Ernie Els, Luke Donald, Bubba Watson, Keegan Bradley, among others.

Out of this group we recommend Fowler, Garcia - who finished T11 last week in Malaysia at the CIMB Classic - and Bradley who - tough weekend notwithstanding - played some extremely strong golf over the first 36 holes in Kuala Lumpur.

The tendency, of course, will be to start Spieth, who was statistically and optically one of the best all-around players in the whole world in 2013. But he has taken a couple weeks off, so it's hard to tell what kind of shape his game is in after that rest. However, we're tempted to start Spieth, hoping that his excitement to be playing in a WGC event will carry over into strong play once again.


This section takes a look at golfers in the field this week who played well on Sunday in the previous week's PGA Tour event.

Rickie Fowler -
Fowler shot a Sunday 67 at the CIMB Classic that moved him 27 spots higher on the final leaderboard could be a good sign of things to come for the young star. He was 12th best in driving accuracy last week.

Bo Van Pelt -
Van Pelt's Sunday 65 moved him up a whopping 43 spots to a T19 finish in Kuala Lumpur. Van Pelt finished T2 and T3 in eagles and birdies on the week, respectively.

Billy Horschel -
Horschel's Sunday 67 gave him a T11 finish overseas and was one of his better performances since his win in New Orleans earlier this year. Horschel finished first in eagles and tied for fifth in birdies for the week.