Best bets for the American Express, Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

January 17, 2023 04:47 PM

A South Korean golfer with the last name of Kim won last weekend at the Sony Open in Hawaii. However, it wasn't the Kim people expected. Tournament favorite Tom Kim missed the cut, but countryman Si Woo Kim won his fourth career PGA Tour event at 50-1. Si Woo Kim never seems to give you the week-to-week consistency on tour; nevertheless, he has won four events and is only 27. Si Woo led the field for Strokes Gained: Approach and gained nearly two strokes per round, including 3.71 strokes in the final round, overcoming a three-shot deficit.

Hayden Buckley was the overnight leader heading into Sunday's final round but fell short of his first PGA Tour victory by a stroke to earn his best career finish of second. Chris Kirk has two runners-up at Waialae and now has a third place to add to a great career record in Honolulu. David Lipsky earned his best career PGA Tour finish with a T-4 along with Ben Taylor and Andrew Putnam. The top 10 was rounded out by Nick Taylor, Nate Lashley, Aaron Baddeley, Matt Kuchar and Maverick McNealy all finishing T-7.

Si Woo Kim (40-1) returns to an event he has won previously, having won the American Express two years ago in 2021. However, he takes on a field that is the best in recent memory in Palm Springs. Ten of the OWGR Top 20 are in the Coachella Valley this week and not for a music festival. Jon Rahm (13-2), a winner here in 2018, is already on the board for 2023, having won the Sentry Tournament of Champions two weeks ago with a Sunday round of 63 at Kapalua. Patrick Cantlay (11-1) was the runner-up here to Si Woo two years ago and has finished 9-2-9 in his last three appearances in the event. Scottie Scheffler (11-1) could retake the OWGR No. 1 position he held for most of 2022 with current No. 1 Rory McIlroy not making his 2023 debut until next week.

Of the players who have played each of the last three years at the American Express, Tony Finau (15-1) leads the field with the most birdies-or-better (74). Will Zalatoris (20-1) posted a respectable sixth in the opener at Kapalua after missing the final four months of 2022 with a back injury. Speaking of back injuries, Xander Schauffele (22-1) had to withdraw at Kapalua with one during the second round. Also priced at 22-1 are Cameron Young and Sungjae Im, who has never finished worse than 12th in four appearances here. Tom Kim (25-1) is double the price he was last week after missing the cut as the favorite at the Sony Open in Hawaii.

Sam Burns (33-1) finished sixth here in 2020. Brian Harman (35-1) is a regular in this event and has two thirds (2017 and 2022). Tom Hoge (45-1), who we had here and stuck with for his victory at Pebble Beach a couple of weeks later, was last year's AMEX runner-up to Hudson Swafford, who is not returning to defend his title because he defected to LIV last year.

The Event

The American Express has had many names since its inception in 1960 when it was established as the Palm Springs Classic. Most remember and still refer to this event as “The Bob Hope” since it bore the entertainer’s name from 1965 to 2011. Hope served as the event’s host and chairman of the board for many years and the event still carried his name until 2011, eight years after his death at 100. The tournament’s winners are a who’s-who of golf legends, including Arnold Palmer (1960, 1962, 1968, 1971, 1973), Jack Nicklaus (1963), Billy Casper (1965, 1969), Johnny Miller (1975, 1976) and Phil Mickelson (2002, 2004). In 1995, history was made as three U.S. presidents (Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Gerald Ford) teed it up in the pro-am with host Bob Hope and defending champion Scott Hoch. Until 2012, the event was played over five days on four courses before switching to a four-day event using three courses. The pro-am also returns along with the three-course rotation, which means the cut comes after 54 holes with the low 65 players and ties making it to Sunday.



The Field

Anders Albertson

Tyson Alexander

Byeong Hun An

Ryan Armour

Aaron Baddeley

Erik Barnes

Christiaan Bezuidenhout

Zac Blair

Michael Block

Joseph Bramlett

Ryan Brehm

Wesley Bryan

Dean Burmester

Sam Burns

Jonathan Byrd

Patrick Cantlay

Kevin Chappell

Stewart Cink

Wyndham Clark

Eric Cole

Trevor Cone

Austin Cook

MJ Daffue

Cam Davis

Jason Day

Thomas Detry

Zecheng Dou

Jason Dufner

Tyler Duncan

Nico Echavarria

Austin Eckroat

Harrison Endycott

Harris English

Tony Finau

Rickie Fowler

Dylan Frittelli

Brice Garnett

Doug Ghim

Michael Gligic

Lucas Glover

Will Gordon

Tano Goya

Brent Grant

Ben Griffin

Emiliano Grillo

Bill Haas

Chesson Hadley

Adam Hadwin

James Hahn

Paul Haley II

Harry Hall

Brian Harman

Scott Harrington

Kramer Hickok

Garrick Higgo

Harry Higgs

Lee Hodges

Charley Hoffman

Tom Hoge

Beau Hossler

Mark Hubbard

John Huh

Sungjae Im

Stephan Jaeger

Zach Johnson

Sung Kang

Michael Kim

S.H. Kim

Si Woo Kim

Tom Kim

Chris Kirk

Patton Kizzire

Philip Knowles

Russell Knox

Satoshi Kodaira

Martin Laird

Andrew Landry

Nate Lashley

Hank Lebioda

Danny Lee

K.H. Lee

David Lingmerth

David Lipsky

Luke List

Adam Long

Justin Lower

Peter Malnati

Ben Martin

Brandon Matthews

Denny McCarthy

Max McGreevy

Troy Merritt

Keith Mitchell

Taylor Montgomery

Ryan Moore

Taylor Moore

Sebastián Muñoz

Matthew NeSmith

Vincent Norrman

Andrew Novak

Augusto Núñez

John Pak

Taylor Pendrith

Scott Piercy

J.T. Poston

Andrew Putnam

Jon Rahm

Aaron Rai

Chez Reavie

Davis Riley

Patrick Rodgers

Justin Rose

Kevin Roy

Sam Ryder

Rory Sabbatini

Xander Schauffele

Scottie Scheffler

Adam Schenk

Matti Schmid

Matthias Schwab

Taiga Semikawa

Robby Shelton

Greyson Sigg

Alex Smalley

Brendan Steele

Sam Stevens

Robert Streb

Brian Stuard

Justin Suh

Caleb Surratt

Callum Tarren

Ben Taylor

Nick Taylor

Sahith Theegala

Davis Thompson

Michael Thompson

Brendon Todd

Martin Trainer

Kevin Tway

Erik van Rooyen

Jhonattan Vegas

Jimmy Walker

Nick Watney

Trevor Werbylo

Richy Werenski

Kyle Westmoreland

Gunner Wiebe

Danny Willett

Aaron Wise

Brandon Wu

Dylan Wu

Cameron Young

Carson Young

Kevin Yu

Carl Yuan

Will Zalatoris

Top 50 players in the 2023 American Express field

2. Scottie Scheffler

4. Jon Rahm

5. Patrick Cantlay

6. Xander Schauffele

7. Will Zalatoris

12. Tony Finau

13. Sam Burns

14. Tom Kim

17. Cameron Young

19. Sungjae Im

23. Brian Harman

30. Tom Hoge

35. Aaron Wise

36. Kyoung-Hoon Lee

40. Sahith Theegala

41. Si Woo Kim

50. J.T. Poston

The Courses

This year's American Express will be played on a three-course rotation: The PGA West Stadium Course, The PGA West Nicklaus Tournament Course and La Quinta Country Club.

PGA West Stadium Course is played by each player in one of the three early rounds and then for the final round on Sunday. The track was designed by the legendary Pete Dye in 1986. It is a par-72 of 7,187 yards (11th shortest on tour) and usually plays between 1-2 strokes harder than the Nicklaus and La Quinta courses. Water is in play on seven holes and there are 90 bunkers (8th most on tour). The fairways and rough are Bermudagrass with Ryegrass, while the greens are TifDwarf Bermudagrass. However, the Bermudagrass is dormant and the fairways and rough will predominantly be overseeded Rye. The greens, at an average of 5,000 square feet (sixth smallest on tour), will also be overseeded Poa trivialis and run at an average speed of 11.5 on the stimpmeter.

The Stadium Course played an average round of 70.73 for the 13th easiest of 46 courses last year on tour.

Pete Dye courses are prevalent throughout the PGA Tour. Here are some other Dye designs on the schedule:

Austin Country Club: WGC Dell Match Play since 2016

Crooked Stick: 2012 and 2016 BMW Championship

Harbour Town: RBC Heritage

Ocean Course – Kiawah Island: 2012 and 2021 PGA Championship

TPC River Highlands: The Travelers

TPC Louisiana: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

TPC Sawgrass: The Players Championship

Whistling Straits: 2010 and 2015 PGA Championship

TPC Sawgrass is arguably the most comparable of the Dye designs. Other similar courses that are not Dye designs include TPC Summerlin, TPC Scottsdale, Silverado, Torrey Pines North and Narashino.

The PGA West Tournament Course was designed by Jack Nicklaus in 1987. It plays as a par-72 of 7,181 yards (10th shortest on tour). Water is in play on six holes and there are 78 total bunkers on the Nicklaus layout. The fairways and rough are overseeded Ryegrass as the Bermudagrass is dormant. The greens, which will roll at a slow 10.5 on the stimpmeter, are the slowest of the three courses and are also overseeded with Poa trivialis. The greens are also larger than the others at 7,000 square feet on average (eighth largest on tour).

The Nicklaus Tournament Course ranked as the fifth-easiest course on tour in 2022 with an average round score of 69.89.

There are also plenty of Nicklaus designs on the PGA Tour schedule if looking for any designer correlation possibilities

Annandale Golf Club: Sanderson Farms Championship through 2013

Glen Abbey – RBC Canadian Open: 2008, 2013, 2015-2018

Montreux Golf & Country Club: Barracuda Championship through 2019

Muirfield Village: Memorial Tournament

Old Greenwood GC: Barracuda Championship 2020

PGA National: Honda Classic

PGA West – Nicklaus Private: Humana Challenge through 2015

Sherwood Country Club – Thousand Oaks: World Challenge through 2013

Valhalla Golf Club: 2014 PGA Championship

Sherwood is the most comparable Nicklaus design. Other non-Nicklaus designs that are comparable to the Tournament Course include TPC Summerlin, TPC Scottsdale and Summit Club

La Quinta Country Club is the third of three courses at the American Express. It is a private course designed by Lawrence Hughes and opened in 1959 and redesigned by Damian Pascuzzo in 1999. La Quinta is also a par-72 and the shortest (sixth shortest on tour) of the three courses at 7,060 yards. Water is in play on seven holes and there are 82 bunkers total. Like the other courses in the rotation, Bermuda is the primary surface for this course; however, it is dormant but overseeded with Ryegrass in the fairways and rough and Poa trivialis on the greens. The greens, which roll 11 on the stimpmeter, are the fifth smallest on tour at an average of 4,773 square feet.

Last year, La Quinta played as the easiest course on the PGA Tour with a round average of 69.17 (-2.83 under par).

Sherwood, Pebble Beach and TPC Summerlin are comparable designs to La Quinta.

Recent History/Winners

2022: Hudson Swafford (-23/265); 150-1

2021: Si Woo Kim (-23/265); 55-1

2020: Andrew Landry (-26/262); 200-1

2019: Adam Long (-26/262); 600-1

2018: Jon Rahm (-22/266); 10-1*

2017: Hudson Swafford (-20/268); 66-1

2016: Jason Dufner (-25/263); 40-1**

2015: Bill Haas (-22/266); 30-1

2014: Patrick Reed (-28/260); 135-1

2013: Brian Gay (-25/263); 80-1***

2012: Mark Wilson (-24/264); 125-1

Playoff win over Andrew Landry - *

Playoff win over David Lingmerth - **

Playoff win over Charles Howell III and David Lingmerth - ***

Trends and Angles

Here are some winning trends for The American Express:

10 of the last 13 winners had odds of 55-1 or higher.

13 of the last 15 winners played in one previous American Express, and 12 of the last 15 had played the event at least twice.

12 of the last 15 winners played in the Sony Open before the American Express.

12 of the last 16 winners were age 32 or younger.

Statistical Analysis

Five of the last six winners of the American Express ranked ninth or better for Strokes Gained: Approach during their respective winning weeks.

Strokes Gained Approach (Last 24 rounds)

Tom Hoge 31.5

Tom Kim 28

Si Woo Kim 25.1

Russell Knox 22.5

Xander Schauffele 17.8

Jason Day 16.7

Mark Hubbard 16.1

James Hahn 15.9

David Lipsky 15.9

Callum Tarren 14.9

Ben Griffin 14.8

Adam Hadwin 13.9

Will Zalatoris 13.8

Matthew NeSmith 13.5

Brendan Steele 13.5

Chesson Hadley 13.4

Erik Van Rooyen 13.1

Tony Finau 12.9

Aaron Baddeley 12.7

KH Lee 12.1

Almost a quarter of approach shots into the greens are from 150-175 yards.

Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards (Last 24 rounds)

Justin Lower 17.5

Tom Kim 16.9

Carl Yuan 13 (16 rounds)

Justin Rose 12.8

Mark Hubbard 11.5

Ryan Armour 10.9

Will Zalatoris 10.6

Jason Dufner 10.2

Jason Day 9.4

Kevin Yu 8.9

Charley Hoffman 8.9

Aaron Baddeley 8.8

Ryan Moore 8.6

Satoshi Kodaira 8.1

Si Woo Kim 7.8

Cameron Young 7.7

Rickie Fowler 7.3

Nate Lashley 7.1

Matthew NeSmith 7

Note: Feet Gained Per Shot

Driving Distance is largely mitigated in this event, so gaining off the tee is not as important as with the irons. However, recent winners, including Hudson Swafford and Jon Rahm, ranked in the top 5 for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee during their respective winning weeks. Strokes Gained: Ball Striking includes Strokes Gained: Approach plus Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee.

Strokes Gained: Ball Striking (Last 24 rounds)

Tom Kim 35.6

Will Zalatoris 31.2

Tom Hoge 30.4

Si Woo Kim 28.5

Tony Finau 26.9

Scottie Scheffler 26

Jason Day 25.8

Cameron Young 24.4

Brendan Steele 24.3

Davis Thompson 24

Xander Schauffele 23.3

Patrick Cantlay 22.8

James Hahn 22.2

Taylor Pendrith 21.2

Callum Tarren 19.7

Sungjae Im 19.2

Ben Griffin 18.8

Mark Hubbard 18.4

Luke List 17.9

Patrick Rodgers 17.1

Birdie or Better Percentage over the last five years on the PGA Tour is 20.7%. At the American Express, it jumps to 25.2%. As you can see by the winning scores over recent years, somewhere in the mid-20-under range will be required to win. These are three of the easier courses, especially La Quinta and the Nicklaus Tournament courses, so low scores should be plentiful.

Birdie Or Better Gained (Last 24 rounds)

Jon Rahm 25

Will Zalatoris 23.4

Tony Finau 21.6

Taylor Montgomery 20.6

Patrick Cantlay 19.3

Patrick Rodgers 19.1

Matthew NeSmith 17

Cameron Young 16.8

Cameron Davis 16.3

Tom Hoge 16.2

Ben Griffin 15.6

Joel Dahmen 15.2

Thomas Detry 14.6

Kevin Yu 14.5

Brendon Todd 13.7

David Lingmerth 13.6

Greyson Sigg 13.2

Will Gordon 12.9

Xander Schauffele 12.1

Scottie Scheffler 11.7

Tom Kim 11.7

Here are the players that create said birdie opportunities from 15 feet and in:

Opportunities Gained (Last 24 rounds)

Si Woo Kim 36.7

Tom Hoge 34.7

Will Zalatoris 29.3

Tom Kim 25.6

Xander Schauffele 23.8

Patrick Cantlay 23.8

Brendan Steele 18.3

Cameron Davis 17.5

Tony Finau 15.6

Charley Hoffman 14.8

Carl Yuan 14.3

David Lipsky 14.1

Matthias Schmid 13.5

Davis Riley 12.9

Alex Smalley 12.4

Scottie Scheffler 12.2

Mark Hubbard 11.3

Sungjae Im 11

KH Lee 10.9

Davis Thompson 10.3

Zac Blair 10.3

Making pars or worse on the par-5s on any of the three courses is the quickest way to tumble down the leaderboard.

Strokes Gained Par-5s (Last 24 rounds)

Alex Smalley 16.9

Kyle Westmoreland 16.9

Cameron Davis 15.7

Sungjae Im 14.2

Adam Hadwin 14.2

Stephan Jaeger 13.7

Xander Schauffele 13.2

Patrick Rodgers 13.2

Dean Burmester 13.1

Patrick Cantlay 12.1

Garrick Higgo 10.5

Eric Cole 10.4

Davis Thompson 9.9

Charley Hoffman 9.8

Taylor Pendrith 9.4

Tony Finau 8.6

Justin Lower 8.4

Brendon Todd 8.3

Satoshi Kodaira 7.8

Jon Rahm 7.7

Tom Kim 7.6

Jason Day 7.5

We see a jump in the importance of par-3 scoring, especially at the Stadium Course.

Strokes Gained Par-3s (Last 24 rounds)

Tom Kim 16.4

Chesson Hadley 15.8

Matthew NeSmith 13.1

Patrick Rodgers 10.8

Will Zalatoris 10.5

Adam Hadwin 10.3

Si Woo Kim 9.8

Greyson Sigg 9.5

KH Lee 9.3

Danny Lee 9.3

Nick Taylor 8.7

Joseph Bramlett 8.6

Andrew Putnam 8.1

Mark Hubbard 8

Beau Hossler 7.9

Austin Eckroat 7.1

Aaron Baddeley 7

Ryan Armour 7

Scoring conditions should be fairly easy this week for this field.

Strokes Gained Total: Easy Scoring Conditions (Last 24 rounds)

Jon Rahm 45.7

Tom Kim 45.4

Patrick Cantlay 39.9

Tony Finau 39.9

Tom Hoge 34.9

Xander Schauffele 33.7

Scottie Scheffler 30

Brian Harman 30

David Lipsky 29.9

Andrew Putnam 29.4

Cameron Davis 28.1

Taylor Moore 27.7

Thomas Detry 26.7

Patrick Rodgers 26.2

J.T. Poston 25.6

Jason Day 24.6

Martin Laird 24

Mark Hubbard 23.1

Will Gordon 22.9

Alex Smalley 22.1

Two of the four rounds will be played at the Stadium Course, which is a Pete Dye design, so looking at recent history on Dye designs gives a solid indicator of who could play well this week.

Strokes Gained Total: Pete Dye Designs (Last 24 rounds)

Sungjae Im 34.4

Si Woo Kim 33.3

Brian Harman 32.4

Jon Rahm 29.8

Will Zalatoris 27.1

Patrick Cantlay 26.3

Justin Rose 24.8

Scottie Scheffler 24.6

Tony Finau 21

Cameron Davis 20.3

Doug Ghim 20.1

Charley Hoffman 18.5

Sam Burns 17.8

Erik Van Rooyen 17.3

Harris English 17.1

Adam Hadwin 16.8

Stewart Cink 15.3

Mark Hubbard 15.1

Brendan Steele 14.9

J.T. Poston 14.9

As oftentimes occurs in a birdie-fest event, it is who can get hot with the putter at the right time. Recent winners Landry and Long led the field for Putts per Green in Regulation during their respective winning weeks.

Strokes Gained Putting (Last 24 rounds)

Andrew Putnam 27.4

Taylor Montgomery 27.1

Harry Hall 23.6

Tony Finau 23.2

Justin Lower 22.2

Beau Hossler 22.1

Aaron Wise 21

Ben Taylor 20.9

Sam Burns 18.8

Jon Rahm 18.5

Justin Rose 18.2

Adam Long 17.2

Brendon Todd 15

SH Kim 14.2

Andrew Landry 13.4

Danny Willett 13

Austin Cook 12.2

Eric Cole 11.9

Patrick Cantlay 11.4

Thomas Detry 11


Tom Kim (25-1, SuperBook Sports)

With a missed cut last week as the tournament favorite at the Sony and a much stronger field up top, Kim is now 2.5 times the price he was last week in Honolulu, and we will buy on the dip here.

He was horrible on the greens last week at the Sony and lost strokes at the Sentry ToC but still finished top-5 there.

Kim leads this field for Strokes Gained Par-3 and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking and is second for Strokes Gained: Approach over the last 24 rounds.

Tom Hoge (40-1, BetMGM)

Hoge finished T-41 last week at the Sony (perhaps rattled by his TCU Horned Frogs getting stomped by Georgia in the CFP National Championship Game), but he was ninth for the week on Strokes Gained: Approach and is No. 1 in this field for Approach over the last 24 rounds and third for Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.

We were on Hoge here last year as he finished runner-up to eventual champion Hudson Swafford.

Hoge also finished sixth here in 2020.

Taylor Montgomery (45-1, BetMGM)

Montgomery was the first-round co-leader last week at Waialae last week along with Chris Kirk and Jordan Spieth. He sat T-2 after 36 holes before settling for a T-12 finish.

He came into 2023 playing great golf not only in his rookie season on tour, but he also shot a course record of 60 on his home course of Shadow Creek in Las Vegas.

Montgomery is a proven birdie maker, ranking fourth in this field for Birdie Or Better over the last 24 rounds.

Cameron Davis (50-1, BetMGM)

Davis was on our card last week at the Sony where he finished a disappointing 32nd despite leading last week's field for Strokes Gained: Off-The-Tee and ranking 10th for Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green.

The Australian was third here two years ago.

Over the past 36 rounds, Davis ranks inside the top 10 in this field in par-5 scoring, birdie opportunities and Strokes Gained: Tee-To-Green.

Andrew Putnam (66-1, PointsBet)

Putnam has three top-20s in his last five appearances here.

He shot 62-68 on the weekend to finish T-4 last week at the Sony.

Putnam ranked 1st for SG: Putting at the Sony Open and has gained strokes on the field in each of his last 12 measured events. He also ranks first in the field for Strokes Gained: Putting over the last 24 rounds.

Patrick Rodgers (110-1, Circa Sports)

Rodgers does not exactly have a great track record here with last year’s 40th being his best career finish.

However, Rodgers ended 2022 playing good and consistent golf with four top-20s and two top-10s in six events (finishing no worse than 28th).

He also ranks sixth in this field for Birdie Or Better over the last 24 rounds.

Mark Hubbard (325-1, Circa Sports)

Hubbard's best finish here is a 15th (2013) in six appearances.

However, he ranks seventh in this field for Strokes Gained: Approach, fifth for Proximity Gained 150-175 Yards and top 20 for Strokes Gained: Pete Dye, Strokes Gained: Easy Scoring Conditions, Strokes Gained Par-3s and Strokes Gained: Ball Striking.


Tom Kim -115 over Brian Harman

Scottie Scheffler +125 over Jon Rahm

Denny McCarthy -125 over Davis Riley

Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship

The 2023 DP World Tour season opens this week with the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship to kick off the Middle East swing with the Hero Dubai Desert Classic and the Ras al Khaimah Championship to follow.

Nine of the OWGR Top 50 are in Abu Dhabi this week. Three European Ryder Cup team members and all former champions of this event headline this week's field of 126 players — 2017 and 2018 champion Tommy Fleetwood (12-1), 2021 champion Tyrrell Hatton (12-1) and 2019 champion Shane Lowry (14-1).

Alex Noren (20-1) concluded his 2022 season with a T-4 in Houston and a T-2 at the DP World Tour Championship. Thomas Pieters (25-1) is the defending champion of this event. Min Woo Lee (28-1) comes in on good form with two top-4 finishes in his native Australia during the month of December.

A trio of players at 33-1 follow in the market, including Patrick Reed, who is in his final year of his exemption for the 2023 major championships because of his 2018 Masters win but needs to earn OWGR points (current rank: 80) with his defection to LIV. Seamus Power, a winner in Bermuda last fall, and Robert MacIntyre, a winner at the Italian Open last September, join Reed.

The Event

The Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship made its debut in 2006. The event has always had strong financial support with current title sponsor HSBC, the seventh-largest bank in the world based out of London, presenting sponsor EGA (Emirates Global Aluminum), one of the world’s largest aluminum producers and the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority. In its 16-year history, the event has had three multiple winners: Martin Kaymer (2008, 2010, 2011), Paul Casey (2007, 2009) and Tommy Fleetwood (2017, 2018).

In 2019, the tournament was upgraded to a Rolex Series event, which offers a higher prize purse ($9 million) and increased Race to Dubai points (8,000) This event is one of five Rolex Series events for the 2023 season. Others included are the Scottish Open, BMW PGA Championship, the DP World Tour Championship and the Dubai Desert Classic.

The Field

Issa Abou El Ela

Marcus Armitage

Adri Arnaus

Oliver Bekker

Wil Besseling

Alexander Björk

Thomas Bjørn

Richard Bland

Dan Bradbury

Julien Brun

Rafa Cabrera Bello

Jorge Campillo

John Catlin

Aaron Cockerill

George Coetzee

Nicolas Colsaerts

Sean Crocker

Jens Dantorp

Louis De Jager

Luke Donald

Jamie Donaldson

Hennie Du Plessis

Victor Dubuisson

Nacho Elvira

El Mehdi Fakori

Ewen Ferguson

Ross Fisher

Tommy Fleetwood

Grant Forrest

Ryan Fox

Jeremy Freiburghaus

Daniel Gavins

Gavin Green

Julien Guerrier

Chase Hanna

Justin Harding

Padraig Harrington

Tyrrell Hatton

Marcus Helligkilde

Angel Hidalgo

Calum Hill

Daniel Hillier

Nicolai Højgaard

Rasmus Højgaard

Sam Horsfield

Daan Huizing

Oliver Hundebøll

Scott Jamieson

Jazz Janewattananond

Matthew Jordan

Masahiro Kawamura

Maximilian Kieffer

Nathan Kimsey

Marcus Kinhult

Søren Kjeldsen

Alexander Knappe

Espen Kofstad

Mikko Korhonen

Jacques Kruyswijk

Joakim Lagergren

Pablo Larrazábal

David Law

Thriston Lawrence

Min Woo Lee

Alexander Levy

Haotong Li

Mikael Lindberg

Yan Wei Liu

Zander Lombard

Hurly Long

Shane Lowry

Joost Luiten

Robert Macintyre

Richard Mansell

Adrian Meronk

Guido Migliozzi

Edoardo Molinari

Francesco Molinari

James Morrison

Lukas Nemecz

Alex Noren

Niklas Nørgaard

Thorbjørn Olesen

Adrian Otaegui

Yannik Paul

Matthieu Pavon

Eddie Pepperell

Victor Perez

Thomas Pieters

Ian Poulter

Seamus Power

Tapio Pulkkanen

Richie Ramsay

Patrick Reed

Jc Ritchie

Antoine Rozner

Kalle Samooja

Marcel Schneider

Jason Scrivener

Shubhankar Sharma

Callum Shinkwin

Jordan Smith

Sebastian Söderberg

Matthew Southgate

Henrik Stenson

Sepp Straka

Ockie Strydom

Andy Sullivan

Connor Syme

Santiago Tarrio

Sami Välimäki

Darius Van Driel

Johannes Veerman

Nicolai Von Dellingshausen

Matt Wallace

Jeunghun Wang

Paul Waring

Marc Warren

Lee Westwood

Dale Whitnell

Bernd Wiesberger

Oliver Wilson

Jeff Winther

Ashun Wu

Fabrizio Zanotti

The OWGR Top 50 players in this week's Abu Dhabi field:

20. Shane Lowry

24. Tommy Fleetwood

26. Tyrrell Hatton

27. Sepp Straka

28. Ryan Fox

29. Seamus Power

38. Thomas Pieters

39. Alex Noren

47. Adrian Meronk

The Course

After 16 years at the Abu Dhabi Golf Club, this year’s Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship moved to a new venue last year at Yas Links. The new track is geographically not far from the Abu Dhabi GC, but it is a links-style setup which presents a different test for the players.

Listed as a 7,425-yard par-72, the course is a typical 36/36 setup with four par-5s and four par-3s. Sub 400-yard par-4s followed by mid-length par-5s open both sets of nine and should allow players the opportunity to get off to a positive start before the course bites back with tougher holes.

Designed by Kyle Phillips (think Kingsbarns) and opened in 2010, this course will undoubtedly fall into the links-style category as all modern imitations do; however, with its exposed fairways, fescue and pot bunkers, it will certainly do a fair impression of a links, especially if the wind blows, which looks a distinct possibility. Paspalum grass has been used from tee to green.

Yas Links is managed by Troon International and ranked 44th on Golf Digest World's 100 Greatest Golf Courses outside the USA back in 2018.

Recent History/Winners

2022: Thomas Pieters (-10/278); 40-1

2021: Tyrrell Hatton (-18/270); 12-1

2020: Lee Westwood (-19/269); 90-1

2019: Shane Lowry (-18/270); 60-1

2018: Tommy Fleetwood (-22/266); 20-1

2017: Tommy Fleetwood (-17/271); 60-1

2016: Rickie Fowler (-16/272); 16-1

2015: Gary Stal (-19/269); 150-1

2014: Pablo Larrazabal (-14/274); 125-1

2013: Jamie Donaldson (-14/274); 66-1

2012: Robert Rock (-13/275); 150-1

2011: Martin Kaymer (-24/264); 8-1

2010: Martin Kaymer (-21/267); 14-1

NOTE: With the exception of 2022, all of the above events were played at Abu Dhabi Golf Club and there has never been a playoff in the history of this event.

Trends and Angles

Each of the previous 10 winners of this event had registered a top-10 finish or better within the previous four starts leading into the tournament.


Robert MacIntyre (25-1, SuperBook Sports)

Like many players at the top end of this week's field, MacIntyre participated in last week's Hero Cup at the nearby Abu Dhabi Golf Club that pitted a team of Great Britain and Ireland, captained by Tommy Fleetwood, versus a team from Continental Europe, which was captained by Francesco Molinari. Molinari's team defeated Fleetwood's team 14.5-10.5. Nevertheless, MacIntyre tied his captain Fleetwood as the top points scorer for the GBI side.

MacIntyre is looking to be a part of the European Ryder Cup team later this fall at Marco Simone Golf Club in Italy, where he earned his most recent victory last September in the Italian Open. There is no better statement to further strengthen his case than to win the first event of the season.

Jordan Smith (35-1, PointsBet)

Smith had been a regular bridesmaid since his last victory at the 2017 Porsche European Open with nine top-5 finishes over the last five years, but that all changed last October at the Portugal Masters.

He was part of the GBI team at the Hero Cup last week and finished 12th at Yas Links last year. The Englishman has also won in the United Arab Emirates before having won at Ras Al Khaimah in 2016 on the Challenge Tour and finishing runner-up there last year to Nicolai Hojgaard.

Victor Perez (35-1, DraftKings)

Perez was part of the winning Continental Europe team last week in the Hero Cup.

He fits the profile this week at Yas Links, having won the Dutch Open last year at Bernardus and winning previously at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship where Kingsbarns is part of the rotation. Both Bernardus and Kingsbarns are Kyle Phillips designs as is this week's course Yas Links.

Nicolai Hojgaard (60-1, SuperBook Sports)

Nicolai was unbeaten for the winning Continental Europe side at the Hero Cup last weekend and made the clinching putt.

He also has a victory in the Emirates having won at Ras al Khaimah last season.

Adri Arnaus (80-1, PointsBet)

After five runner-up finishes on the DPWT over the last few seasons, Arnaus finally broke through at the Catalunya Championship last season as we were aboard at 45-1.

Arnaus lives in Dubai, so he is adept at golf in the Emirates and has a win at Ras al Khaimah in 2018 on the Challenge Tour.

Guido Migliozzi (100-1, BetMGM)

Like Hojgaard and Perez, Migliozzi went unbeaten at the Hero Cup last weekend.

The Italian had an erratic 2022 missing 13 of 28 cuts but did win the Open de France last season at Le Golf National. Migliozzi already has three DP World Tour wins, and three runner-up finishes in just four seasons on the DPWT. 

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