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Newest WGC event comes with asterisks

Tourney in China, restrictions raise some eyebrows

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – No longer can anyone say the World Golf Championships are only played in America.

In an announcement that raised several questions, not to mention a few eyebrows, the HSBC Champions in China was promoted Tuesday as the fourth WGC event on the schedule.

But this one is not like the other three, and not just because of its location.

The HSBC Champions in Shanghai will be played Nov. 5-8 – one week before the PGA Tour season ends at Disney – but it will not count as an official PGA Tour victory, nor will any earnings from the $7 million purse count toward the U.S. money list.

“So it’s a WGC with an asterisk,” Geoff Ogilvy suggested.

However, the winner will be eligible for the winners-only Mercedes-Benz Championship at Kapalua.

“A double asterisk,” Ogilvy quipped.

It will be the only WGC in which the world ranking is not part of the criteria. Instead, the 78-man field will be determined largely by tournament winners from around the world – the four majors, three other WGCs, 23 select events on the PGA Tour and European Tour, nine from the Asian Tour, and five each from Japan, South Africa and Australia.

Tiger Woods already has said he will be there, giving the tournament instant credibility. He was runner-up the two previous times he played in Shanghai, but now that it’s a WGC, it will be the only world championship he hasn’t won.

Sergio Garcia is the defending champion. And that it falls two weeks before the inaugural Dubai World Championship means the tournament likely will have a strong presence from the European troops – Padraig Harrington, Paul Casey, Henrik Stenson and Rory McIlroy.

But it raises a question that has been brought up before.

If you take a World Golf Championship out of America, will the Americans go?

“We expect our players to support the event if they’re eligible. We’re anticipating they will,” PGA Tour spokesman Ty Votaw said.




Quail Hollow Championship

Site: Charlotte, N.C.

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday

Course: Quail Hollow Club (7,442 yards, par 72)

Purse: $6.5 million. Winner’s share: $1.17 million

Television: Golf Channel (Thursday-Friday, noon-3 p.m.; Saturday-Sunday, 10-11:30 a.m.) and CBS (Saturday-Sunday, noon-3 p.m.)

Last year: Anthony Kim won his first PGA Tour title, finishing with a tournament-record 16-under-par 272 total for a five-stroke victory over Ben Curtis.

Last week: Jerry Kelly won the Zurich Classic in Avondale, La., for his third PGA Tour victory and first since 2002.

Notes: Tiger Woods is making his fourth appearance in the event. He won in 2007, then sat out the 2008 event because of a knee injury. . . Masters champion Angel Cabrera is making his first tour start since winning at Augusta National. . . Phil Mickelson also is in the field along with No. 3 Sergio Garcia, No. 4 Geoff Ogilvy, No. 7 Padraig Harrington, No. 8 Vijay Singh and No. 10 Camilo Villegas. Singh won the 2005 event.


Spanish Open

Site: Girona, Spain.

Schedule: Thursday-Sunday

Course: PGA Golf de Catalunya, Stadium Course (6,809 yards, par 72).

Purse: $2.6 million. Winner’s share: $433,460.

Television: Golf Channel (Thursday-Sunday, 6:30-8:30 a.m.)

Last year: Ireland’s Peter Lawrie won his first European Tour title, edging Ignacio Garrido.

Last week: Thailand’s Thongchai Jaidee won the Ballantine’s Championship in South Korea.

Notes: John Daly of the United States and Colin Montgomerie of Scotland are in the field.


PGA TOUR: Players Championship, May 7-10, Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.

LPGA TOUR: Michelob Ultra Open, May 7-10, Williamsburg, Va.

CHAMPIONS TOUR: Regions Charity Classic, May 15-17, Hoover, Ala.

NATIONWIDE TOUR: BMW Charity Pro-Am, May 14-17, Greer, S.C.

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