By Sean Martin, PGATOUR.COM
Jimmy Walker recently won his first PGA TOUR title and is the early leader in the 2013-14 FedExCup standings. Jordan Spieth and Graham DeLaet both made their Presidents Cup debuts this year.
The trio will experience another ‘first’ this week. They will play their first World Golf Championship at the HSBC Champions, which begins Thursday at Sheshan International Golf Club in Shanghai, China.
Walker didn’t qualify for the HSBC Champions until winning the Frys.com Open on Oct. 13. He’s the FedExCup leader after finishing 12th or better in his first three starts this season.
The HSBC Champions will be Spieth’s first event of the 2013-14 season. The 2013 PGA TOUR Rookie of the Year has not played since helping the United States win the Presidents Cup. He went 2-2-0 in the United States’ 18 ½-15 ½ victory. He's been active during his break, though. He made news when he played Pine Valley and Augusta National, the top two golf courses in the United States, in the same day.
Spieth won his first TOUR event, the John Deere Classic, and qualified for the TOUR Championship by Coca-Cola in his rookie season of 2013. The HSBC Champions is actually the second WGC he’s been eligible for, but he passed on the Bridgestone Invitational in the wake of his Deere victory and the last-minute Open Championship entry that came with it. His nine top-10s were tied with Bill Haas and Brandt Snedeker for most on TOUR in 2013.
DeLaet also qualified for his first TOUR Championship after posting seven top-10s, including a runner-up at The Barclays and two third-place finishes. He finished seventh at last week's CIMB Classic.
Walker leads the FedExCup standings after winning the season opener and finishing T-12 at the Shriners Hospitals for Children Open and sixth at the CIMB Classic.
Peter Uihlein also is one of the players making his WGC debut this week. Uihlein, the 2010 U.S. Amateur champion, has a win and two runners-up this season on the European Tour. He is No. 9 in the Race to Dubai and No. 60 in the Official World Golf Ranking. Uihlein, 24, finished fifth at last week's BMW Masters, his third consecutive finish of seventh or better.