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Lee Westwood & Phil Mickelson paired at HSBC Champions

HSBC Champions, Shanghai, 4-7 November
Coverage: Latest scores on BBC Sport website; Reports on BBC Radio 5 live; Follow BBC Sport golf on Twitter; Also live on Sky Sports 3

Lee Westwood
Westwood has played once in three months

New world number one Lee Westwood has been paired with Phil Mickelson and YE Yang for the opening round of the HSBC Champions event in Shanghai.

This week's tournament is the first since Englishman Westwood took Tiger Woods' title as the world's best-ranked player on Sunday.

Ironically, defending champion Mickelson missed 12 chances to replace Woods as number one this year.

Woods has been paired with Ernie Els and US Open champion Graeme McDowell.

Mickelson, Woods and USPGA champion Martin Kaymer all have a chance to take Westwood's number one spot this week.

Westwood, 37, who has played only once in three months because of a calf injury, took the top spot as German Martin Kaymer failed to record the top-two finish he required at the Andalucia Masters last weekend.


Woods has dominated the rankings since July 1997, when he finally ended Greg Norman's reign. Since then the American superstar has only briefly ceded the number one position in 2004 and 2005 to Vijay Singh and Ernie Els and in 1999 to David Duval.

Since winning the Masters in April 2005, Woods held an iron grip on the top spot for 281 consecutive weeks.

And as he prepared for this week's event, Woods said he was keen to return to winning ways.

"To be number one in the world you have to win regularly and I haven't done that lately," stated Woods.

"As in every event I play, I'm here trying to win. If ever there was an event that deserved to be the first Asian tournament to impact the top of the world rankings this is the one. I've referred to it before as the crowning jewel of Asian golf."

Mickelson, meanwhile, has warned against ignoring the rest of the field for the £10.5m tournament.

"There are very, very few events each year that have the strength-in-depth of the HSBC Champions. Every player in the field has the talent and the experience to win, it's a field of winners," commented the American.

"Everyone wants to be number one in the world but the only way to get there is to win tournaments and the HSBC is a big tournament, a great opportunity to advance."

The HSBC Champions, which brings together the winners of the highest-ranked tournaments from all over the world, will be held at the Sheshan International Golf Club from Thursday until Sunday.

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see also
Don't write off Tiger - Westwood
01 Nov 10 |  Golf
Westwood becomes world number one
31 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood 'deserves' top ranking
31 Oct 10 |  Golf
Lee Westwood career in pictures
31 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood set for number one spot
30 Oct 10 |  Golf
Westwood set for top spot?
04 Oct 10 |  Golf
Golf on the BBC
01 Jul 11 |  Golf

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