Golfers find the comforts of home, and more, in Shanghai

Paul Casey and Keegan Bradley attend a traditional Chinese tea ceremony in Shanghai.

SHANGHAI, China - The players are slowly making their way to this massive city on China’s southeast coast, site of this week’s WGC-HSBC Champions. Some trekked over the Yangtze River, from one end of Shanghai to the other after the Shanghai Masters, while others came from the recent tournament in Malaysia and still others from Europe and the U.S.

When I was having breakfast this morning at Le Meridien, the local hotel, Bo Van Pelt strolled in fresh off his win on Sunday at the CIMB Asia Pacific Classic. He was sporting an Oklahoma State hat and some sweats, having just arrived from Malaysia and not looking any worse for wear after his first victory since a playoff in 2009 at the U.S. Bank in Milwaukee.

Darren Clarke made the trip from Dublin, Ireland. Though his clubs made the journey on the same plane, his luggage didn’t. That added some urgency to his management team’s Monday.

Keegan Bradley was one of the players who made the trip across Shanghai from Lake Malaren. When he arrived at Sheshan International Golf Club, the reigning PGA champion was introduced to his private chef and butler, which come with his villa for the week.

“It was pretty crazy,” Bradley said. ”We were sitting around, kind of hungry, and he (the chef) made me up a couple of eggs and stuff.”

Bradley is staying with his caddie Steve “Pepsi” Hale and agent Ben Harrison, who were enjoying the benefits of being friends of Bradley’s.

Before Bradley left for the course in the morning, the chef asked what Bradley wanted for dinner. With a couple of steaks on the menu, Bradley was off for some practice.

Bradley is making his second trip to Asia; he played in the SK Telecom event in South Korea a couple of years when he was on the NGA/Hooters Tour, but his experience so far has clearly trumped that.

“I’m not totally sure what he does,” Bradley said of the butler. ”He did do my laundry.”

Just to confirm: Bradley did unpack his own luggage.

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