WGC (HSBC) - Woods and Mickelson Meet Again

Tiger Woods will aim to continue his remarkable record in the World Golf Championships arena when he and World Number Two Phil Mickelson headline an impressive American challenge for the WGC – HSBC Champions at the Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai from November 5-8. The WGC – HSBC Champions will feature an increased prize fund of US$7 million and will bring together tournament winners from all over the globe as well as the best players from the International Federation of PGA Tours.

So what's happenings at HSBC Champions right now:

- Past champions Phil Mickelson, Y.E. Yang and Sergio Garcia and two-time runner-up Tiger Woods were among the featured players at HSBC's kickoff party Tuesday evening at the Shanghai Port International Cruise Terminal. The four took part in several photo opportunities, played a game of Chinese chess and even hit red golf balls into the Shanghai River with the breathtaking skyline as a backdrop.

- At the HSBC kickoff press conference, Mickelson looked more like the part of CEO or politician rather than the world's No. 2 golfer, sporting a dark gray and chalk pinstripe suit and black tie.

- From the "Maybe-They-Know-Something-We-Don't" department: Caddies in the Wednesday Pro-Am all wore red and white (HSBC colors) helmets with an oversized hard plastic sun visor.

- The bunkers on the practice range at the Sheshan International Golf Club are filled with red carpeting.

- For those discounting the magnitude of World Golf Championships events, this week's tournament in China marks the first time the world's top two players (Woods and Mickelson) will compete against each other in Asia. A total of 15 of the world's top 20 in the Official World Golf Ranking are among the 78 players on hand this week to battle for the $7 million purse.

- Plenty of time was spent on the range breaking down NFL and Major League Baseball action. Jerry Kelly (lamenting the Green Bay Packers and Brett Favre's move to Minnesota) and Sean O'Hair (willing the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title) were among the most outspoken. O'Hair was especially inspired by the wonders of TV in China -- he managed to catch the Phillies' Game 5 victory over the Yankees in his hotel room (Tuesday afternoon here). No truth to the rumor that the game pre-empted the highly rated game show, "The Super Terrific Happy Hour."