Rory McIlroy is hoping for a “special” week after being paired with Phil Mickelson and US PGA champion YE Yang for the $7m WGC-HSBC Champions in Shanghai.

Phil MickelsonThe 20-year-old Holywood starlet avoided Tiger Woods as the world No 1 was drawn with Volvo World Match Play winner Ross Fisher and Thailand's Thongchai Jaidee for Asia’s first World Golf Championship.

Hoping to close the gap on Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer in the Race to Dubai, McIlroy said: “I’m playing with Phil Mickelson and Yon-eun Yang so that’ll be really good.

“Mickelson’s won here before and he’s number two in the world and Yang’s the most recent major winner so that’s a very nice little draw for me.

“I’m really looking forward to the event - whenever you have Tiger and Phil in the field it’s always a pretty special week.”

Woods and Mickelson - the world’s top two - will be playing together in an Asian event for the first time.

And with the tournament earning World Golf Championship status this year, they are not short of motivation.

Woods has been forced to settle for second best in his two appearances at Sheshan International, losing to David Howell in 2006 and then falling to Yang two years ago.

Arch rival Mickelson took advantage of a closing triple bogey by Fisher to win in 2008 but Woods is determined not to be outgunned again after finishing second in his two previous appearances in the event.

Woods insisted: “I've come close here a couple of times. I didn't get it done. Hopefully, this week I can put it together and improve on that finish.

“How this event has grown to where it is now is truly remarkable. This year with the field we have, it's going to be a lot of fun.”

The event has a stellar line up with 15 of the world’s top 20 in the 78-man field including Padraig Harrington, Shane Lowry, Open champion Stewart Cink and Race to Dubai pace setters Lee Westwood and Martin Kaymer.

And Mickelson added: “After The Open Championship, it is hard to think of a bigger and better tournament held outside America."

A win for McIlroy would catapult him to the top of the Race to Dubai with just two events remaining

He'd also come close to breaking into the world's top 10 and he's determined to make a fast finish to his season.

From China he heads to Hong Kong and then to Dubai for the end of the European Tour campaign before heading back to China for the Mission Hills World Cup with Graeme McDowell.

The Ulster kid made a lightning trip home to Belfast on Sunday but was soon on the road again.

He said: “I got home from Spain on Sunday afternoon and then flew out at 8.40 on Monday morning so I spent about 14 hours there, which is better than nothing I guess.”