DP World Tour Championship
After an 11-month-long season, stretching back to the Joburg Open and Australian PGA Championship last November, we finally arrive at the season finale in Dubai.
Rory McIlroy (5-1), a two-time winner of this event, has an insurmountable lead in the Race to Dubai rankings as he secured the Harry Vardon Trophy on Sunday without lifting a club as none of his closest competitors could get within 2,000 points of his total for 2023. However, there is plenty more to fight for with a $10 million prize fund, Race to Dubai bonus pool and 10 PGA Tour cards to be secured.
Jon Rahm (+550) is a three-time winner in Dubai and is the event's defending champion. Viktor Hovland (+550) capped his PGA Tour season with a victory at the Tour Championship en route to winning the FedEx Cup and could cap his DP World Tour season winning the finale as well.
Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1) is also a two-time winner here, while Tommy Fleetwood (14-1) who has a golf academy on the Jumeriah Golf Estates property, has finished in the top 10 here in three of the last four years. Tyrrell Hatton (14-1) was the co-runner-up to Rahm here last year.
Tom Kim and Min Woo Lee (both 20-1) each won events five weeks ago.
Nicolai Hojgaard (25-1) was runner-up last week in South Africa at the Nedbank Golf Challenge.
The DP World Tour Championship was established in 2009 as the Race to Dubai replaced the former European Tour Order of Merit. Global port operator DP World, based in Dubai and formed in 2005 with the merger of Dubai Ports Authority and Dubai Ports International, serves as the title sponsor of this event. Only 50 players are in this week's field. The field will play for a $10 million purse with a $3 million share going to the winner. The Vardon Trophy, named after six-time Champion Golfer of the Year Harry Vardon, is awarded to the Race to Dubai points winner.
There are 12,000 total points up for grabs this week across the field, with 2,000 points going to the winner, so the points title is still to be determined. Unlike the Tour Championship on the PGA Tour, there is no separate market for starting strokes because there are no starting strokes for this event.
The Earth Course at Jumeirah Golf Estates has hosted this event every year since the tournament’s creation. The track was designed by Greg Norman, and it opened in 2009. The track is a monster at 7,675 yards with two of the par-5s measuring over 620 yards, the tough par-4 ninth of 500 yards, plus the 195-yard par-3 17th, which plays to an island green. Greens are large, undulating Bermudagrass which run 12-6 on the stimpmeter. Water is in play on the final three holes and there are 99 bunkers predominantly featured in the fairways. Although the course is long, it is fairly easy to score. Nevertheless, those ball strikers that are especially good with long irons should be successful here and being long off the tee never hurts either.
2022: Jon Rahm (-20/268); 5-1
2021: Collin Morikawa (-17/271); 15-2
2020: Matt Fitzpatrick (-15/273); 7-1
2019: Jon Rahm (-19/269); 7-1
2018: Danny Willett (-18/270); 80-1
2017: Jon Rahm (-19/269); 12-1
2016: Matt Fitzpatrick (-17/271); 66-1
2015: Rory McIlroy (-21/267); 5-1
2014: Henrik Stenson (-16/272); 17-2
2013: Henrik Stenson (-25/263); 11-1**
2012: Rory McIlroy (-23/265); 6-1
2011: Alvaro Quiros (-19/269); 40-1
2010: Robert Karlsson (-14/274); 50-1*
Playoff win over Ian Poulter - *
All-time tournament scoring record - **
Trends and Angles
- Each winner here had registered at least one top-7 finish in his previous six starts.
- There have been four repeat winners here in 14 tournaments (Stenson, McIlroy, Rahm, Fitzpatrick).
Matt Fitzpatrick (14-1, Superbook Sports)
Fitzpatrick maintained great form after heading back to Europe for the Ryder Cup, finishing third in the European Masters and 18th at Wentworth, before earning his second win of the year in the weather-shortened Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, his last stroke-play start, a little over a month ago.
Fitzpatrick’s record here is superb, with two wins, a second and a fifth last year. He has gained strokes on these greens every year since at least 2017 and his win in the Dunhill Links last time out gives confidence that his game is in a good enough place for another strong showing at the Earth Course.
Min Woo Lee (18-1, Superbook Sports)
Lee has been 16th and 12th in two starts at the Earth Course. On debut he topped the par-5 stats and ranked second in Strokes Gained Tee To Green.
He was also a runner-up earlier this year in the United Arab Emirates finishing T-2 at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Championship.
Nicolai Hojgaard (25-1, Superbook Sports)
Hojgaard is likely safe to keep his PGA Tour Special Temporary Membership as he is still in the FedEx Cup Top 125, so he decided to compete this week in Dubai.
He was runner-up last week to Max Homa at the Nedbank Golf Challenge, leading the field in Strokes Gained: Putting. He was also fourth on debut here two years ago.
Rasmus Hojgaard (35-1, DraftKings)
Nicolai’s twin brother finished top 6 last week at the Nedbank, where he led the field in Strokes Gained: Approach and Strokes Gained: Tee To Green while also ranking second in Greens In Regulation.
He was also seventh in Dubai last year.
Matt Wallace (75-1, FanDuel)
Wallace got into this field courtesy of a top-15 in South Africa last week.
He was runner-up on debut here in 2018.
Note: Any matchups or finishing position bets will be put up at VSiN.com/picks