LOS ANGELES, November 4, 2013 — On a gray day in Shanghai that looked bleak for Dustin Johnson through the opening holes, Johnson finished strong down the stretch to win the HSBC World Golf Championship by three strokes over rivals, Ian Poulter and Graeme McDowell.
Clinging to a one shot lead, Dustin Johnson’s chip-in eagle on the short par four 16th hole catapulted DJ into the driver’s seat, prompting even Poulter to offer him a “well don sir” fist pump.
For the first time, the WGC-HSBC Champions is now an official part of the PGA Tour’s FedEx Cup schedule. In addition to Cup points, the winner will receive a three-year PGA Tour exemption. What historically was considered an interruption of the Silly Season, the new PGA Tour 2013-14 season’s winter events are official through the season ending tournament next September in Atlanta, Ga.
Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China, where the unhealthy smog particle levels make 1960s Los Angeles look like Montana’s big sky on a spring day, was once again the host setting for the eighth time in the tournament’s nine-year history. It was not, however, the smog that Dustin Johnson’s opponents choked on down the stretch.
The marquee final pairing with Graeme McDowell and defending champion Ian Poulter looked as if it would go down to the wire. However, score one for American Ryder Cup fans as Johnson took out arguably the two best European players alive. In fact, Poulter holds the best all time record for any Ryder Cup player and Graeme McDowell is no slouch either.
The HSBC is the biggest tournament, as far as World Golf Rankings and even FedEx Cup points that are available, until The Masters. Sheshan International Golf Club, which has hosted the tournament for the eighth time in the event’s nine year history. The week at Sheshan International began with 78 of the world’s top players on Thursday and came down to three of the best in the world. The most notable absentee was Tiger Woods, who lost a head to head match against Rory McIlroy last Sunday in Beijing.
The made for TV event of Woods versus McIlroy was ironically blacked out in the United States and caused additional controversy thanks to expletives dropped throughout the match by Woods, the game’s most famous player.
Such language is a no-no on American PGA Tour broadcasts, let alone Chinese government controlled media telecast. According to SBNation, Woods would later blame the common cold for his outbursts.
Tiger’s next opportunity to teach America’s friends overseas some of that choice vocabulary will some at next week’s Turkish Airlines Open in Antayla, Turkey. Woods will once again host the top 18 international players at the 15th Annual Northwestern Mutual World Challenge outside of Los Angeles in a few weeks, which is also now an official PGA tournament under the newly revamped schedule.
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