The curtain will be brought down on another season of the European Tour come Sunday as the winner of the Race to Dubai is crowned on the 18th green of the Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates. Rory McIlroy and Danny Willett are the men in pole positions with each player knowing that a win will guarantee them the top prize in European golf, but five other players also have a shot at the title.
Whichever player wins the top prize, they will have to stop the challenge of Henrik Stenson. The 39-year-old Swede may be out of the running for the Race to Dubai rankings but he has won this event twice in a row and has hit an amazing 100 greens in regulation out of his last 109 holes at the Earth Course. Stenson looked good when finishing tied for third in Shanghai last week and at a venue that he loves so much it is difficult to ignore his claims in Dubai. He’s got the power, the accuracy and the putting needed to defend his title once again so make sure you bet on him at 6/1 with Ladbrokes.
Who else is in with a shot of winning around the Greg Norman, par 72 Earth Course? Well, at 7,675 yards this is clearly a course that favours those players who can give it some welly off the tee. It is also important to keep the ball out of trouble. The event organisers have tried to increase the length of the rough to bring down scoring and there is water to be hit on many of the holes. The other thing to take into consideration is a proven ability around desert courses.
When you look at the criteria needed to pick a winner Rory McIlroy’s name certainly pops up. He may be the pre-tournament favourite at 5/1 with Betfred but there are many reasons for that. The world number three is looking to end a year which has included plenty of lows with a major high, he absolutely loves playing golf in Dubai (having taken last week off he’s arrived nice and early for the tournament) and he is a previous winner at the Earth Course. Rory has been threatening something special for some time now and everything looks set for a big week from the Northern Irishman so ignore him at your peril.
The two selections so far have been pretty obvious but that is how golf betting goes sometimes. To balance up the staking plan a bit it is time to have an each way bet on an outsider and the choice is the evergreen Thongchai Jaidee. Last week at the BMW Masters Jaidee showed that he has the long game to cope with a course that many people thought was simply too long for him. The most successful Thai golfer of all time finished tied for third, just one shot away from a spot in the playoff and he could well upset the odds once more this week so get on board at a tasty looking 40/1 with Bet365.