WCG-HSBC Champions previews- What they said

Wed 30 Oct 2013

WCG-HSBC Champions previews- What they said

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Find out what leading contenders have to say about their chances at this week's WGC-HSBC Champions which will tee off at the Sheshan International Golf Club on Thursday.
Thongchai Jaidee (Tha)
I’m performing well. My driver and irons are good and my putting is getting better. I’ve no complaints about my performance. I’m inside the top-50 on the rankings and I’ll strive to move up. I’m fine if I remain inside the top-50 this year as that has always been my target this year. There are a couple of big events coming up and I’m just going to enjoy the experience. It’ll be a challenging week because the field is strong but I hope I can do well again. It’s good that Asian players are playing well. Kiradech performed really well last week and I think the more important thing for him is confidence. He has a good chance this week. He only lost out by one shot last week. Golf in Asia, like my country has improved and I hope to see more players from the region play on the Asian Tour and European Tour in future. I’m excited about the prospects for the future especially for my country as well.
Gaganjeet Bhullar (Ind)
This is my third appearance at a WGC event. I’ve played on this golf course back in 2009 and it’s a fantastic golf course. I really enjoy playing on some of these courses on the Asian Tour. I know this week is really going to be important for my world ranking. Last week was good but I felt I could have done better. But I feel that the more opportunities that I’m going to have to compete against these players, I’m also going to be a better player in future. Gone are the days when Asians are in the field just to make up the numbers. We’re right up there and every time one or the other is in contention. I’m really happy for Kiradech as he played really well last week. I really wanted him to win the tournament and I guess he’s really close to gaining his PGA Tour card and it would be good to see him play on the PGA Tour. I’ve been enjoying a good streak so far and I’m just waiting for the best to happen in my career. These are the opportunities which we get through the Asian Tour and I would really love to make my mark on them. The Asian Tour has given my career a huge boost and I would definitely give my 100% to move on to the next level. I learnt a new Chinese phase and it says Wo ta de heng hao (I’ve played well) and I hope that comes true this week.
Phil Mickelson (Usa)
I've really enjoyed seeing what has happened to the HSBC Champions golf tournament as it's become one of the strongest events in the game of golf, and certainly the strongest event in Asia. And to be back here at Sheshan feels great for me personally because of the success I've had here, 2007, 2009.  We had a great run last year at Mission Hills and I certainly enjoyed my time there, but I always enjoy spending time here in Shanghai, especially here at Sheshan. This has been a fun year for me.  It's been a very special year.  My play in the U.K. and The Scottish Open and the British Open has meant a lot to me. This is my last tournament this year, and I would love to finish strong.  I would love to finish with some momentum.  And I felt like last week, I was not playing well.  I was not swinging well in Malaysia.  The last two days, my game started to come around and as I enter this tournament, I enter with a lot more confidence than I've had in a while. We all go through highs and lows and last week, the start of the week, I was really struggling with my swing and controlling it and hitting it solid. As the weekend went on, I started to hit the ball a lot better, and even my score got better on Saturday.  Sunday the score wasn't as good, and I felt much better about how I was hitting it and I feel a lot better about it now.  I feel the ball-striking is getting better, the rhythm is getting better.  Sheshan is a golf course that I feel very comfortable on.  I feel like I know how to play this course successfully, and I'm looking forward to this week.
Ian Poulter (Eng)
I'd like to defend the tournament this week and be holding that trophy again on Sunday night. I obviously played well last year and would like to do that again this year.  Obviously a WGC makes it a very big tournament and 40 the of the top players in the world are here and it would be another significant win. The course, we've been here eight times.  I think this will be the eighth time.  It was very new when we first got here.  It's matured a lot since 2005.  And I like the layout.  I think it's a good course.  I have played fairly well around here in the past.  I just need to obviously be able to deliver that on four rounds around this golf course. It's in good shape.  I will have a look today, and I'm feeling pretty good about the week. I've always had kind of a ruthless approach I guess in a way of trying to win every single golf tournament I play in.  Obviously percentage terms I'm not going to do that very often, but I'd like to do it a little more. I don't feel I have any extra pressure than what I would put on myself in any normal given week, even though I'm defending champion.  So I'll approach the week like I do every other week.  I expect myself to play well.  I expect myself to certainly be in contention to have a chance to win on Sunday.
Justin Rose (Eng)
I think this would cap off a great year.  I feel like winning a major is the step up that I've been looking for a while.  I feel like my career has been on a nice upward trend since 2010.  I seem to keep winning bigger and bigger tournaments:  Jack's tournament, Tiger's tournament, and then the WGC in the States, and next place to go is win a major. A sequence has happened quite quickly from that sense, but to now continue to win big events is obviously a huge goal, and I think to cap off a great year with a strong finish, there's a lot for me to play for these next few weeks.  I feel nice and, not necessarily rested, but I feel motivated to have a strong finish to the year. I think my career has had a couple of downturns.  Obviously the first one happened pretty quickly, missing my first 21 cuts was not exactly a downturn; it was just a down from the start. But I guess I got through that just by focusing on -- I always felt like I tried to spin everything in a positive manner; if I missed the cut by five one week and I missed the cut by two the next week I would try and look at it as a positive, not another missed cut.  So I tried to just sort of gain momentum from very small victories the way I would see the game. And then again, I sort of got my career up and running in 2002.  And then probably sort of petered out a little bit through 2004, 2005, 2006, and then got it going again in 2007. But really the last four or five years, I feel like I've put in a very good team of people around me which has helped.  I've got a great coaching staff, and I think I've matured and  become CEO of my business.  And I think that's always been important for me is just putting together a strong team to help me improve every single week and every single year. Since I've had children, I've probably played my best golf.  And who knows, that's probably happened to quite a lot of guys over the course of history.  Probably puts things in a little bit more perspective. I remember when I won the 2010 AT&T National, I think I had a two o'clock tee time and I would be up at seven or eight in the morning with the kids.  I remember playing with my little boy for about three or four hours out in the garden of the hotel and it was just a great distraction.  Then got to the golf course and just switched on into golf course and played and won.  I think they are a great balance and I don't think it makes the good days any better, but it definitely makes the bad days much better when you come home and you've had a bad round and you see kids -- suddenly golf disappears from your mind. So you don't sit in the hotel room or sit at home for hours going through your bad round.  You forget it much quicker, which I think is a help.  And then, you know, playing both tours, obviously the majors and the World Golf Championships are a key to doing that and a key to doing that well.  If you want to perform well in the majors you have to perform well in the World Golf Championships.  That's my goal is to try to get myself focused and prepared for the Majors. I think having won a major, it makes you hungry to win more, and I think every decision I need to make now with my career is based upon how I can go about winning a major championship.  And if you do that, if you play good golf in these tournaments, you're going to do fine on both tours.
Rory McIlroy (Nir)
I'm really glad that this tournament is back here at Sheshan.  It's a golf course that I've done well on, as you've said, and it's a golf course that I really like.  It's one of my favourite venues of the year quite honestly. It suits my game and I play well here, and I guess the reason why I chose to come back this year is because it's back to this golf course.  I played the golf course for the first time today and in great condition.  It's always in great condition and they have got the greens quite firm already for early on in the week. You know, it should be a good test.  It suits my game.  You've got to hit it pretty long.  A few of the par 5s are reachable for the longer hitters and if I can keep driving the ball the way I am, it should give me a bit of an advantage and obviously be a good chance this week. Yeah, the two big things about the putting were getting the pace of the greens a little better.  So I worked a little bit on my pace putting, and just reading them better.  I struggled to read them last week at BMW, and maybe I need to look into them a little bit more or maybe call my caddie in to look at a few. Those are the two main things that I need to improve on, because if you can get your pace right, then that's sort of the most important thing.  Especially for longer putts, I threw a lot of shots away the last couple of weeks with 3-putts, which you just shouldn't do.  So you know, if I can get that out of my game, it obviously takes a little bit of pressure off.  So yeah, green reading and pace putting are the two things that I've worked on coming into this tournament.