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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Last WGC of the Year

Admittedly, a lot of the possible drama at the WGC-China has been defused.

Sergio Garcia qualified for the WGC by winning the last two events on the European Tour but decided to sit this week out. I'm a little disappointed but Sergio seems to be making good golf decisions lately, so I'm inclined to think it's a good move.

Neither Luke Donald nor Webb Simpson will be in Shanghai, so neither can improve their chances of winning PGA Player of the Year. Donald's wife is expecting her baby this week, but I don't know why Simpson is skipping.

In fact, according to this PGA.com article from last week, several high-ranked American players are skipping the event this year. The article lists Steve Stricker (understandable, given his well-publicized injury), Dustin Johnson, Matt Kuchar, Phil Mickelson, Bubba Watson, Gary Woodland, and Sean O'Hair. Also missing will be Martin Laird, Jason Day, and Peter Senior. And neither Tiger Woods nor Padraig Harrington qualified to play.

However, there's still plenty of drama to be had. Both Keegan Bradley and Charl Schwartzel are playing, and both could make a play for Player of the Year if either won. The operative word here is "major." Bradley would have 3 wins with a major, while Schwartzel would have 2 wins with a major and no missed cuts. (I don't think that would be enough for Charl to get it, but his name continues to be batted around. Keegan would definitely make a case for himself with a major and a WGC in his 3 wins.)

And then there's the Race to Dubai. The WGC-China is official money on the ET, and Donald's closest pursuers are ready to tee it up. Except for Sergio, who's #7 on the list, the rest of the Top 10 behind Donald are all there. Here are the Top 10 in the Race to Dubai and their winnings in euros:
  1. Luke Donald, €3,856,394
  2. Rory McIlroy, €2,543,571
  3. Charl Schwartzel, €2,084,214
  4. Martin Kaymer, €1,988,047
  5. Lee Westwood, €1,941,315
  6. Anders Hanson, €1,618,037
  7. Sergio Garcia, €1,580,748
  8. Thomas Bjorn, €1,479,011
  9. Simon Dyson, €1,359,865
  10. Darren Clarke, €1,346,160
Of course, more than the Top 10 are there. The winner will pick up $1.2 million, or just over €877384. Rory can't catch Luke this week, but he can sure make a dent in Luke's lead.

And should he manage to pull this one out, Adam Scott could become the only back-to-back WGC winner other than Tiger.

This is a unique chance for those of you who don't typically get to watch the European Tour live. GC will carry live broadcasts of the event tonight from 11pm - 4am ET. I suspect there'll be a Golf Central Pregame Show as well, probably starting at 10:30pm. (Makes you wonder why they couldn't do that for the LPGA, doesn't it?)

So don't forget to tune in. Maybe Ben Crane will shake things up -- he's gonna be there too. Leotard alert !!! ;-)

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