Golf Odds and Betting Predictions: Dubai World Championship
by Alan Matthews - 12/5/2011
Hopefully I made you a bit of money this season on the golf circuit – I nailed a few winners for 2011. However, golf betting always is a challenge.
I will return for 2012, starting with the PGA Tour’s season-opening Hyundai Tournament of Champions on Jan. 5, but this week’s Dubai World Championship on the European Tour is the final preview of the year and the season-ender on that Tour.
All of the American pros will be competing in the two-man team Franklin Templeton Shootout this week in Naples, Fla., but that’s a glorified exhibition. Meanwhile, there is a dramatic race playing out in Europe for the Race to Dubai – which is the European Tour money title.
Of course, England’s Luke Donald, the world’s No. 1 player, already won the PGA Tour money title in dramatic fashion at Disney last month. No player has won that crown on both Tours in the same season.
"It would mean history. No-one's ever done it, officially, and it would be a lot of satisfaction - for all the hard work," Donald said. "It's been a great year and that would be the icing on the cake."
It seemed like a lock Donald would win the Euro title as well as he was comfortably ahead of U.S. Open champion Rory McIlroy on the money list. But then world No. 2 McIlroy rallied to win last week’s Hong Kong Open and is 789,788 euros (approximately $1.05 million U.S.) behind Donald.
The only way McIlroy can win the Race to Dubai is to win the Dubai World Championship and have Donald finish outside the Top 9. Even if McIlroy were to win and Donald finished tied ninth with one other player, the Donald would still win the by the Race to Dubai by five Euros.
Golf Odds: Dubai World Championship Favorites
It’s a very strong field as the Top 60 players on the Order of Merit gained entry into this championship. The winner of the Race to Dubai gets an additional $1.5 million.
There aren’t a lot of trends to go on here as it’s only the third year of this championship.
McIlroy opened as the 5/1 favorite to win the event. The Northern Irishman entered the final round in Hong Kong three shots off the pace but shot a final-round 5-under 65 to win by two. It was his second Euro Tour win of the year (the U.S. Open counts as one, as do all the majors and WGC events; Rory’s Shanghai Masters win this year doesn’t officially count), making him one of 11 multiple winners on that Tour.
McIlroy has 12 Top-10 finishes in 18 Euro Tour events, the most of any player. McIlroy has played the previous two Dubai World Championships, finishing fifth last year and third in 2009.
Donald meanwhile, has only finished outside the Top 9 three times on The European Tour this year. And he certainly showed he can perform in the clutch with that result at Disney. Donald played a mediocre tournament last week at the Nedbank Golf Challenge in South Africa, finishing seventh, 10 shots behind winner Lee Westwood.
Donald, 10/1 to win this week, has one Top-10 finish at this tournament, T9 last year.
Golf Odds: Dubai World Championship Pick
It’s difficult to pick McIlroy because it’s so hard to win back-to-back weeks, although Thomas Bjorn and Sergio Garcia have done it on the Euro Tour this year. And I don’t like Donald because he’s a bit rusty as last week was his first tournament after five weeks off.
My prediction to win this tournament is a guy who tasted victory last week: Westwood at 11/2 (I think he has a better chance to go back-to-back than McIlroy). The world No. 3 shot a course-record 62 on Saturday and won the Nedbank Challenge by two shots over Robert Karlsson. He became the sixth golfer to defend his title in that event.
Westwood also won the Dubai World Championship in 2009 on the way to the Race to Dubai title. Last year he was T3.
If you want some long-shot value, take Karlsson at 22/1. He won this tournament last year in his first stop here (Martin Kaymer won the Race to Dubai, however) and obviously played well last week. It would be a nice finish to the year for the Swede, who hasn’t won since this tournament in 2010.
See ya in 2012!