(CNN) -- The world's top two golfers Tiger Woods and Phil Mickelson will write another chapter in their compelling rivalry when they tee off in the HSBC Champions tournament in Shanghai on Thursday.
The $7 million tournament is the biggest event in Asia and has been elevated to World Golf Championship status for the first time this year.
Mickelson finished the PGA Tour season with a superb victory in the Tour Championship, leaving world number one Woods a distant second.
He is also a former winner in Shanghai, claiming victory in 2007 while Woods could only manage second in both 2005 and 2006.
"After the (British) Open Championship, it is hard to think of a bigger and better tournament held outside America," Mickeson told a pre-tournament press conference on Tuesday.
"It has always attracted strong fields and I am looking forward to trying to reclaim my title," he added.
Woods, who has dominated WGC-events with 16 victories of 30 tournaments he has contested since their inception, is keen to finally chalk up a win in China.
"I've come close a couple of times and hopefully this week I can put my game together and improve on those finishes," he said.
Woods was denied victory in the 2006 tournament by Asia's first major winner Yang Yong-Eun, who also shocked him to claim that PGA Championship earlier this year.
Korean Yang said that victory "gave him the confidence and belief he could achieve bigger things", highlighted by his brilliant last-round performance at Hazeltine to deny third round leader Woods.
Sergia Garcia of Spain defends the title and the European challenge is also joined by Race to Dubai leader Lee Westwood and three-time major winner Padraig Harrington of Ireland.
Seven of the top 10 in the world are taking part with British Open champion Stewart Cink, who pipped Tom Watson for his first major at Turnberry in July.
In addition to Yang, the Asian challenge will be bolstered by Jeev Milkha Singh of India, Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee and China's Liang Wenchong, who finished second to England's Ian Poulter at the preceding Singapore Open on Sunday.
The 72-hole strokeplay event at the Sheshan International Course has no cut and brings together an elite 78-strokng field of winners on all golf's major tours.