Betting Tips for 27th to 30th January 2022
The big changes to the European Tour amount to more than just a rebranding. The schedule for the new DP World Tour has had a number of tweaks, including those made to the Middle East Swing which traditionally kicks off the year. The Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic is sandwiched in between last week’s high profile HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship and two new events. Many of the big names who competed at Yas Links last week have made the short trip to Dubai so we have a typically strong field for what should be an excellent tournament.
Emirates Golf Club is one of the most well known used by the DP World Tour. With stunning views of the Dubai skyline and a course that feels and looks parkland in style, it is easy to forget that you are in the middle of the desert here. Reminders tend to come in the afternoon when the winds will typically strengthen to add another layer of defence to the golf course.
The forecast for the week doesn’t suggest that the players will have to deal with too much in the way of challenging conditions so what skills will they need to win? Well, the first thing that stands out from the list of recent winners is the number of big names present. Lucas Herbert and Haotong Li stand out as the only real surprise winners in recent years. This generally goes to players who begin the tournament higher up the outright betting.
The best drivers have an advantage at most courses but quality off the tee is particularly helpful at Emirates Golf Club. Bryson DeChambeau, Rory McIlroy and Sergio Garcia are among the world-class drivers to have won in the last five years. Driving is only part of the puzzle though. All-round quality from tee to green is required to win so you’re looking for high-class drivers who will gain strokes on the field with their approach play.
Rory McIlroy could not find much praise for last week’s course but he’ll be much happier in Dubai than he was in Abu Dhabi. McIlroy loves Emirates Golf Club. He is a two-time tournament winner and 10th is his worst finish here in the last 10 years. Despite making some slightly surprising comments about a plan to use his driver less frequently this season, McIlroy will surely outperform the majority of the field off the tee this week. If he follows it up with the sort of shot-making we saw from him towards the end of 2021 then the bookies’ favourite could prove very difficult to stop at a best price of 8/1.
When backing the favourite it is prudent to balance your staking plan out with some bigger priced options and the two who really catch the eye in that regard in Dubai are Lee Westwood (66/1) and Thomas Detry (66/1). Westwood has as much course experience as anybody else in the field and has a host of top 10s to his name so his best performance this week could well return for each way backers. As for Detry, he has steadily improved at Emirates Golf Club, picking up his first top 10 last year. Buoyed on by the exploits of his fellow Belgian Thomas Pieters last week, Detry is one to have onside.
|2022||Emirates Golf Club||Viktor Hovland|
2022: Viktor Hovland
When the European Tour introduced the Rolex Series they wanted a selection of world-class golfers to compete on excellent golf courses and provide thrilling finishes. There was, therefore, delight among everybody involved with the newly minted DP World Tour with the way that the Slync.io Dubai Desert Classic unfolded. A final round packed full of twists and turns ended with Viktor Hovland taking another big step forward in his career with his biggest win to date.
Hovland looked like an unlikely winner on Sunday morning in Dubai. He was six shots off the lead held by Justin Harding but quickly set about reducing the deficit. A superb round of 66 saw the Norwegian set the clubhouse lead and the target that the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tyrrell Hatton and Erik van Rooyen had to chase. Of those three it was McIlroy who got closest but an errant approach shot from long distance on the par-five 18th hole that found the water meant he could not get the birdie he needed to make a playoff with Hovland.
Richard Bland was the only man who could tie with Hovland at the end of 72 holes. Unlike McIlroy, Bland did hole a big putt on the final green to reach a score of -12 but his challenge ended after just one extra hole, Hovland winning the title with a birdie.