The HSBC Champions kicks off the 2008 European Tour International schedule. The field has been expanded to included 89 players this year and for the first time the tournament will have a cut.
The third-year event has a stellar field heading to China this week as 10 of the top 20 players from the world rankings will tee it up at Sheshan International Golf Club.
World No. 1 Tiger Woods finished second in this event each of the last two years, but he is not competing this week. Neither is 2006 winner David Howell, who beat Woods by three in the inaugural playing.
Yong-Eun Yang closed with rounds of 67-69 to beat Woods by two strokes last year. Yang, along with Wen-chong Liang and Lian-wei Zhang, will lead the Asian players in the field. Liang broke through with his first European Tour win last year at the Singapore Masters.
Along with a strong contingent of regular European Tour players, World No. 2 Phil Mickelson will be making his first appearance in a professional event in China.
'The reason I didn't play more tournaments abroad in the past was the PGA TOUR schedule going so late and then my kids were not able to travel,' admitted Mickelson. 'We are now able to travel as a family, so I fully expect to go to many wonderful places.'
GOLF CHANNEL will cover all four rounds starting at 11:00 p.m. ET. The European Tour continues its 2008 schedule next week with the UBS Hong Kong Open, where Jose Manuel Lara was victorious last year.