Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will next week be part of the strongest field ever assembled in Asia.
The HSBC Champions in Shanghai becomes part of the World Golf Championships for the first time and there are certain to be a record number of ranking points on offer – even with 10 players, eight of them American, not taking up their spots.
“Although the field is yet to be finalised our estimation is that the strength is such that this year’s winner will receive 68 world ranking points, which is 30% more than in any previous year,” said Ian Barker, the rankings administrator.
He confirmed that the projected 68 points would make it the second-highest ranked event played outside the United States this year, behind only the Open Championship.
The final places in the field will be taken by the winners of this week’s Volvo World Match Play Championship in Spain and the European and Barclays Singapore Open.
Already 23 countries are represented in the field and Woods and Mickelson are competing together in Asia for the first time.
Steve Stricker, Kenny Perry and Jim Furyk are missing from the top 10. Others not making the trip are their fellow Americans Zach Johnson, Scott Verplank, Dustin Johnson, Heath Slocum and US open champion Lucas Glover, plus Fiji’s Vijay Singh and South African Tim Clark.