Tiger Woods made an unsuccessful return to the PGA Tour last week when he missed the cut at the Farmers Insurance Open. But it’s straight back on the horse for the 14-time major champion as he plays in a regular European Tour event for the first time since 2014 at this week’s Dubai Desert Classic.
Woods has had such a phenomenal career that it’s hard to find a tournament at which he hasn’t had previous success. Even so, the Dubai Desert Classic is an event which holds special memories for Big Cat as he won at the Emirates Golf Club in both 2006 and 2008. He’s far from the only big name in the tournament however. Henrik Stenson and Sergio Garcia both return to the European Tour along with last week’s winner, the very impressive Jeunghun Wang.
With so many class options to choose from it is important to dig into the stats to see what is necessary to win around the Majlis course. The par 72 is far from the longest layout on the European Tour at around 7,300 yards but driving distance has regularly proven to be a key stat. The fairways are on the generous side in terms of width and the bigger hitters rarely find too much trouble hitting approach shots out of the rough.
The field’s main cause for concern will – just like last week – be the effects of the wind. The weather forecast is for the wind to whip up which will make scoring considerably tougher at the Majlis course. Once again, we must focus our betting options on players who won’t be blown off course by the desert winds.
Cabrera Bello Worth Sticking With
Rafa Cabrera Bello was well fancied at the Qatar Masters last week. Unfortunately for anybody who got involved on the Spaniard he narrowly missed out on a top five finish. Still, his play was impressive enough to suggest the 2012 Dubai Desert Classic champion has a great chance of doubling his tally at the Majlis course.
Cabrera Bello is right up there in terms of players equipped to deal with windy conditions. He does find it tough to win (who doesn’t amongst this standard of opponent?) but after going so close last year he is primed for another assault at odds of 18/1 with BetVictor.
Time Right for Willett
Danny Willett was very disappointed to miss the cut at the Abu Dhabi Championship a fortnight ago. The Masters champion was speaking positively about his game before the tournament but he just could not get things to go for him on the course. It’s been a challenging six months for Willett but he can now see the light at the end of the tunnel. With driving accuracy of little concern this week, Willett is worth each way support at 45/1 with Betfred.
Aiken’s Form Eye Catching
Thomas Aiken was in with a real chance of victory last Sunday but he just couldn’t quite get himself into position. In the end, the South African claimed his third top five finish in four events. That makes Ladbrokes’ 7/1 on another Aiken top five finish look very good value.