Dubai betting preview

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Tipster Dave John says Rory McIlroy can win the Dubai World Championship and wrap up the Race To Dubai as well.

A year of golf and 51 events and the first Race To Dubai reaches its conclusion at the Dubai World Championship this week.

The top 60 players in Europe will battle it out with a first prize of €830,675 on offer while the top spot on Tour remains up for grabs at the Greg Norman-designed Earth Course.

The Aussie’s brief was to try and create a test that is inspired by the great parkland courses of Europe and America.

He has come up with the second longest venue in Tour history at over 7,600 yards while a browse through the hole-by-hole guide definitely gives you a feel of Augusta National and Sawgrass – places where Norman enjoyed many thrilling days.

Organisers on the European Tour could hardly have wished for a better finish to the Race To Dubai either.

Rory McIlroy leads the way once again after his excellent second in Hong Kong behind Gregory Bourdy while Lee Westwood, Martin Kaymer and Ross Fisher could all still potentially be crowned number one.

McIlroy bids to become the second youngest winner of the Order Of Merit after Seve Ballesteros and currently being the man to catch makes his task straightforward.

He said: “I will still be trying to win the Dubai World Championship.

“I won’t be trying to protect a lead or finish ahead of this guy or that guy. I want to win. If I win it will take care of everything.”

As each week goes by, it is clear to see why the sky really is the limit for McIlroy.

If there is a more natural swinger of a golf club on the planet, I’ve not seen him while he seems to have the right balance between aggression and self-control on the course.

At times, you have to remember he is just 20 years old and although we are in an era jam-packed with confident young players, the man from Hollywood in Northern Ireland really looks in a class of his own.

His strong effort in Hong Kong could not quite reel in Bourdy but his 129 over the weekend was sensational and a shot better than the winner – he could not arrive for the biggest four days of his blossoming career in better form.

The consensus opinion among the bookmakers is to put him in at a single-figure price but the 9/1 is still worth taking.

Having broken his duck in Europe at the Dubai Desert Classic back in February, what better way to bookend the campaign with another win in the same place.

Kaymer looks the biggest threat among his Race To Dubai rivals and is the shortest price of the trio.

The German could have wrapped up top spot if he had not missed a couple of months following his accident in a go-kart following the USPGA Championship.

He has certainly made up for lost time with superb displays at the Castello Masters and also the HSBC Champions.

Westwood petered out quite alarmingly in Hong Kong and backing him you will have to adhere to his theory that it was just one of those weeks where he could not get anything going .

That could be the case but equally Westwood has had a very busy few weeks and the duel with McIlroy could now be taking a toll.

Fisher needs to win here and either McIlroy or Westwood must not finish second if he is to take the Race To Dubai.

He forced himself back into the frame with his win at the Volvo World Match Play where he admitted the fomat suited his aggressive approach on the golf course.

He was down the field once again in Shanghai at the HSBC and I just wonder whether he will be caught out as he does need to push the issue.

So a final couple of picks go to players who are not involved at the top of the Order Of Merit and a resurgent Ernie Els must have a great chance.

I fancied his prospects strongly a couple of weeks ago in Singapore and was optimistic after the opening 36 holes.

But a modest closing half of the tournament saw him drop out of contention once again with perhaps the constant weather delays causing much frustration.

But the South African confirmed we were not too far off the mark as he chased home Phil Mickelson at the HSBC thanks to a brilliant closing 63 and he now hopes to make an impact once again.

He said: “I’m extremely motivated to play well this week.

“I just want to pick up right where I left off in China, hitting it great and making a bunch of putts, and finish this 2009 season on a really high note.”

That has to be a distinct possibility as Els boasts an extraodinary record in Dubai as he is a multiple winner and will want to set the record straight after missing the cut in the Desert Classic earlier this year.

His worst result before that had been eighth!

Dubai-based Henrik Stenson always seems to bring his best game to events here as wel and can bounce back from a modest effort at the HSBC.

His last four outings in Dubai are 7-1-6-3 and the Swede has spoken on many occasions how the desert conditions suit him extremely well and a return home could just spark him back into life.

He has not enjoyed a great time in Europe this year but did storm to victory by four shots at the PlayersChampionship on the PGA Tour.

As mentioned, there are aspects of the Earth Course that resemble Sawgrass and I get the feeling the layout could well be right up Stenson’s street.

His average recent form means he trades at a reasonable price and 20/1 could look generous for a man who thrives in this part of the world.

Tips:

6pts win Rory McIlroy at 9/1 (General). Playing brilliantly and can wrap up the Race To Dubai in style.
2pts e.w. Ernie Els at 16/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 General). Great record in Dubai and keen to finish the year on a high note.
1pt e.w. HenrIk Stenson at 20/1 (1/4 1,2,3,4,5 bet365, Stan James). Also boasts excellent form in Dubai and layout looks ideal.

  • Preview posted at 0745GMT on 17/11/2009
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