WGC – HSBC Champions

One of the things that has fascinated me about my blog is how many hits I get from China each day. As a matter of fact, it was so incongruous and the numbers from Beijing so disproportionate to what you would expect, for months I thought it was hackers.

Fortunately, I knew a young man who plays professionally and recently graduated from Pepperdine with a degree in International Business (or close to that). He was so committed to exploring opportunities in China, he learned Chinese and then spent three or four months in Shanghai. He was even more mesmerized after that experience. 

Anyway, I shared my suspicions about all of the hits I was getting from China each day and he completely dismissed my concerns. “They’re probably just interested in golf,” spoken with the authority of an educated adventurer.

So I relaxed a little about it…and continue to be fascinated each night as I discover which Chinese cities stop by to take a look.

Why this long preamble came up for me is the arrival of the World Golf Championships HSBC Champions tournament starting this week at Mission Hills in Guangdong, China. When I previewed this little two-tournament Asian swing (the first last week in Kuala Lumpur) a couple of weeks ago, I said that Guangdong was just north of Hong Kong. There’s something settling for me in looking at a map when I can’t immediately place, uh, a place.

So today I went through the same exercise to get it a little firmer in my mind. And with Google Map at a little wider perspective, all of a sudden, two cities popped out at me, Shenzhen, the next city north of Hong Kong, and Guangzhou (take the Zhujiang River estuary north to the first major city replete with riverside highrises).

And the reason they popped out at me was because they are two of my regular Chinese cities that visit me each day. And because they are in general proximity to the Mission Hills golf complex, it’s plausible that my Chinese visitors are, indeed, golfers and not hackers…in the computing sense.

The WGC-HSBC Champions is the last of the four WGC championships for the year. Next year it will formally be on the PGA Tour schedule as a Tour event rather than as just a Featured Event.

The tournament features a reduced field of 78 players with no cut. Exemption go to the  four major winners, the four WGC winners, winners of 20-some PGA Tour events, a like number from the European tour, and smaller numbers from South Africa, Asian and Australasian Tours among other qualifiers. So it’s a pretty big deal.

Not so big, however to attract everyone in the PGA Tour and World Golf Rankings in the top 10. For example, they couldn’t induce Tiger, Rory, Zach or Hunter to come along. But it’s okay; they have a juicy field and they will be playing on the Olazabal course at Mission Hills. (They have a still photo on their website of this elevated tee shot that might make it worth watching just for that.) The course plays to 7,320 yards and has hosted the three World Cup matches from 2007 to 2009.

So it appears to be a first class venue in a golf crazed part of China.

And so, I’d like to close by thanking all of my golf-crazed visitors from China…I hope.


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