by Jeff Skinner
Take a good look at the WGC-HSBC Champions tournament from Shanghai, China this week because it’s a sign of the times in the world of golf. Golf’s popularity is growing faster in Asia than anywhere in the world. When the PGA Tour named the HSBC a WGC event it was making a good business move: it was going where the money is.
The PGA Tour, The European Tour and The LPGA Tour, all have taken actions to increase their presence in Asia and this tournament is indicative of that. With Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson leading the field this week, which include seven of the World Ranking’s top ten players, it makes this tournament more than just a fat November paycheck. The European Tour players are still accumulating money in the Race to Dubai and their huge payoff at The Dubai World Championship.
The field competing in the “no-cut” stroke play tournament is filled with some of the best players and interesting story lines this week. The last time we saw Woods he was teaming up with Steve Stricker at The Presidents Cup. Phil is making his second consecutive start in Asia and that has to mean that Amy Mickelson is recovering well from her cancer treatment. Major champions Stewart Cink and Y E Yang are here as is Players Champion Henrik Stenson. Anthony Kim and his buddy Robert Allenby have made the trip over from Spain and Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and defending champion, Sergio Garcia will all be teeing it up at the Sheshan International Golf Club. You can watch it all live on The Golf Channel.
Take a minute to watch Lanny Wadkins’ acceptance speech into the World Golf Hall of Fame and his brother Bobby bawling like a baby. Check out Jose Maria Olazabal and keep in mind that he was introduced with a video introduction by his friend and mentor Seve Ballesteros. There is something special about this game and the relationships we develop because of it.