Unlike in the USA where the race for the FedEx Cup is guaranteed to go all the way to the final TOUR Championship event, world number one Rory McIlroy has already sewn up the Race To Dubai title. But despite the conclusion of the European Tour being something of an anti-climax this year, we do still have a hugely lucrative and exciting tournament at hand.
Prize money for the season-ending Dubai World Tour Championships stands at a healthy $8,000,000, with the winner set to receive a cheque for more than €1,000,000.
This will be the fourth year that the European Tour has concluded with this event, but the first time that the winner of the Race to Dubai will not be dependent upon results in the Middle East.
This year’s course will play to a length of 7,675 yards, with four par-5s including a particularly testing 18th hole. Length off the tee is certainly an advantage, as Alvaro Quiros – longest driver in the 2011 Dubai World Championships – proved in winning last year’s title, although not essential as Robert Karlsson – 59th on the list of driving distances in 2010 – proved the previous year.
This season’s longest drivers on the European Tour are Nicolas Colsaerts, who can be backed at 35.00 to win in Dubai, then Scott Hend and Alvaro Quiros who do not make the trip to play the Earth course. In fact the next longest driver, after Colsaerts, involved this week is McIlroy who is 14th on the list of longest drivers. The Northern Irishman is the 6.00 favourite.
While hitting the ball long is a big advantage, hitting it straight isn’t quite as essential.
In 2011 Quiros was ranked 55 in the Driving Accuracy statistics, while runner-up Paul Lawrie was 54th and 3rd place Luke Donald 32nd. In 2010 winner Karlsson was only 20th in the driving accuracy stakes and the man he beat in a play-off that year, Ian Poulter, was 15th.
Driving accuracy is clearly not a statistic that we need worry about too much.
Greens in Regulation
It may seem obvious, but a combination of long driving and hitting greens in regulation tends to be the secret to success at Jumeirah Golf Estates.
In winning the Dubai World Championships in 2011, as well as being the longest driver, Quiros was second in the stats for hitting greens in regulation, with six of the top 10 finishers that year featuring in the top 10 greens in regulation stats.
Louis Oosthuizen, who is fourth in the overall Race to Dubai standings and comes into this one in good form having finished runner-up after a play-off loss in last week’s Singapore Open, leads the way for greens in regulation on the tour this year. The South African has hit 80.3% of greens in regulation, at an average of 14.5 per round. The 2010 Open champion is an 11.00 chance this week.
Rory McIlroy’s position as tournament favourite and world number one is justified by his number two ranking for Greens in Regulation on the European Tour this year.
Interestingly, Nicolas Colsaerts is 12th in the stats for greens in regulation this season, with an average of 13.6 greens hit per round, strengthening his case for a top 5 finish at odds of 7.00.
Rory McIlroy to win @ 6.00.
Nicolas Colsaert top 5 finish @ 7.00.