Mickelson Ready to Make HSBC Debut

As Phil Mickelson wonders whether or not his wrist is 100 per cent at the US PGA Championship, Asian golf fans will certainly hope that he is full fit by November.

Lefty scored 73 in the first round, eight strokes adrift of leader Graeme Storm. Though his wrist felt good, a series of poor shots on the back nine meant he was unable to make an impact at the top of the leaderboard.

Mickelson is a notoriously reluctant traveller, which is why organisers of the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai, China are clucking over the American’s decision to play in their tournament from November 8-11 at the Sheshan International Golf Club.

He joins regular Asian visitor Ernie Els, Vijay Singh and Sergio Garcia as one of the big names in the tournament.

The former Masters and PGA Championship winner said on the Asian Tour website:

“I’ve been looking at a way of including this event in my schedule and am delighted that this year I will be there. I would really like to win an international title of this magnitude, especially as I will be competing against so many great winners from the different Tours.”

The tournament, though it doesn’t carry Order of Merit points on the Asian Tour is still the richest in the region with US$5 million in prize money.

Organisers are trying to lure star players, but prize money is not going to be enough to sustain such an exercise.

After all, US$6 million and over events are common on the US PGA Tour and a Tour regular does not need to travel half way around the world to earn less money.

It’s all about appearance money in this case, with players such as Mickelson pocketing a tidy sum, often well over the winner’s prize purse, just for attending these tournaments.

Though there are no Order of Merit rewards, the tournament is backed by a number of important bodies, with the European Tour, Asian Tour, PGA Tour of Australasia, the Sunshine (Southern Africa) Tour and the China Golf Association all providing sanction.

While it is a truly international tournament, it needs players to willingly compete, without the lure of appearance money, to provide the required credibility.

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