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Rupert Wyman 2nd Nov 2010 - 11:28

The West is the best and he is heading East

There is a stellar field for this week's HSBC Champions event at the Sheshan International Golf Club. For the first time since 2007, Westwood (16/1), Woods (7/1) , Kaymer (16/1) and Mickelson (11/1) will all be vying for top position in the Official World Golf Rankings at the event.

All eyes will be on this event in Asia, the tournament is popular because it has a reputation for drama. It is a tricky cause and there are plenty of dangers on the way back to the clubhouse. In the closing stretch, there are a few risk-reward holes that could make the event unmissable viewing on Sunday.

All the players will be desperate to get a share of the huge purse on offer. Westwood has only played one seventy-two hole event since August due to a nagging calf injury. He came eighth here last year and he finished an impressive eleventh at the Alfred Dunhill Links in October. He has lost a massive amount of weight and he should be buoyed on by his status as world number one.

He was the 2009 Race to Dubai winner but he is still waiting to win his first Major. Last year Mickelson managed to hold off a challenge from the South African Ernie Els (22/1). The South African was caught out by the toughness of the closing holes when he found water in front of the eighteenth green.

Mickelson may be a two-time winner at Sheshan but he has been in indifferent form this year and he is too short and inconsistent of late to be backed at 11/1.

Ernie Els has not been seen since the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship but he is in-form and has course knowledge. The winner is likely to be an experienced but cautious player. It is essential to not rush into the wrong club selection on the latter holes, which can prove costly.

Kaymer failed to make an impression at Valderrama in his bid to take the World Number 1 ranking last week.  He is the US PGA champion and he has had an impressive season but he was poor in the 28th PGA Grand Slam of Golf at Port Royal in Bermuda recently and he may be a little burnt out.

The players that excel the most at Sheshan are those with the longest drives. In last year's tournament, six of the top nine finishers were ranked inside the too-10 for driving distance.

Rickie Fowler (35/1) has an immense drive, he is forty-fifth best in terms of driving distance on the PGA Tour. On the final day of the Ryder Cup, in his singles match against Edoardo Molinari (80/1), he birdied the last four holes to halve the match after being four down after twelve holes.

In a field that features world champions, if you can look past his youthfulness, inexperience and colourful attire, he could have a good run at Sheshan.

He has six top-10 finishes this year on the PGA Tour and he has finished second twice in 2010. Alvaro Quiros (66/1) has not been in the best form recently but Valderrama was not suited to his game. He has a fantastic long drive but he struggled to contend with the tight fairways and his overall play was poor.

He has a point to prove after failing to make the Ryder Cup team. If his driving accuracy is good and he can avoid the water, he may impress in China.

Tiger Woods is the standout favourite and he is no longer the world number one.  He can still regain the position at the event and if he wins it may spearhead him into a better 2011.

 

 
 
 

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