Shanghai, Sep 9 (IANS) World No.1 Jordan Spieth, No.2 Rory McIlroy and defending champion and World No.4 Bubba Watson are the first players to book their place at this year’s WGC-HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club to be played here from November 5 to 8.
Spieth, winner of the first two Majors this year — The Masters and US Open, is looking to lift his first World Golf Championship trophy while McIlroy, whose season was stalled by an ankle injury, will be looking to reclaim the No.1 spot he held until last month for 93 weeks.
Watson is hoping to repeat his spectacular victory of last year when he holed his bunker shot for an eagle to make the playoff, and a 25-foot birdie putt at the first extra hole to defeat South Africa’s Tim Clark, winning what was his first World Golf Championships victory alongside his two Masters titles.
Watson has enjoyed a strong season, winning the Travellers Championship and, after recently finishing second at the WGC-Bridgestone, stands third in the Fedex rankings. He knows he has a tough task ahead in defending his title against the world’s best.
“I am really looking forward to defending my WGC-HSBC Champions title in November. I am so proud to have won such a prestigious event and would love to be able to win it again,” said the American.
“It is a special tournament at the forefront of golf in Asia and it has the potential to inspire a generation of golfers here. It’s an exciting time for golf in the region.”
Spieth, ranked World No.1 after winning the first two Majors of the year, said “It’s been a great year and I can’t wait to compete again at the World Golf Championship in China. Playing internationally is extremely important to me and I’m looking forward to returning to this great event.”
McIlroy, already a four-time Major winner at 26, added, “I can’t wait to get back to Sheshan for the final WGC of the season. To win the biggest tournament in Asia would be a huge end of season boost and give me great momentum going into next year. I always look forward to the superb quality and condition of the course. The field is going to be very tough.”