The best players are in the world are in China for this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions event, one of the final tournaments of the calendar year that offers enough incentive — ie. guaranteed cash, world ranking and FedEx Cup points — to get the Dustin Johnsons, Rory McIlroys and Justin Roses of the world to travel to Shanghai.
One of the lynchpins of the event, however, occurs before the tournament even begins. The HSBC Champions launch parties routinely feature the best forced photo-ops of the year.
From pitting Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson against one another in a faux-samurai showdown to banging oversized drums and raising the best players high above the ground, Tuesdays in Shanghai rarely disappoint.
— HSBC Sport (@HSBC_Sport) October 23, 2018
However, after last year’s superhero-inspired launch event, which may or may not have injured Henrik Stenson, the HSBC folks eased back the physical demand of the photo shoot to include some half-hearted badminton.
Five of the top six-ranked players in the world — Brooks Kopeka, Dustin Johnson, Justin Rose, Rory McIlroy and Francesco Molinari — participated in “big money game” of badminton, as Rory McIlroy described it on Instagram.
As expected, the quality of badminton wasn’t up to the level of golf that (hopefully) will be played this week at Sheshan Golf Club, but it did make for a great blooper reel.
— HSBC Sport (@HSBC_Sport) October 24, 2018
It wouldn’t appear as if any of the top players in the world are considering trading their clubs and golf balls in for rackets and shuttlecocks anytime soon.