European Tour Picks: DP World Tour Championship Odds and Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 11/12/2013
I will go across the pond this week in my golf column and preview the European Tour's season finale, the DP World Tour Championship in Dubai. It's essentially the Tour Championship of Europe with the Top-60 players competing for the money title, otherwise known as the Race to Dubai. The PGA Tour is pretty watered down this week at the OHL Classic at Mayakoba in Mexico, so it was a no-brainer choice.
Last week at the McGladrey Classic, the final official PGA Tour event of 2013 in the USA, Chris Kirk shot a final-round 66 to win the tournament by a shot over Briny Baird and Tim Clark. Kirk is the first resident of Sea Island, Ga., (he actually is a former resident, having recently moved to Atlanta) to win the tournament there. Kirk will now play in his first Masters, a dream for the Georgia native. Baird had a great chance to win for the first time in 365 career tournaments. He had a one-shot lead and an eagle putt on 16 Sunday but three-putted for par; Kirk birdied No. 17 to tie. Baird would bogey the 18th to fall out of a possible playoff with Kirk.
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I most certainly didn't pick Kirk to win. I went with Zimbabwe's Brendon de Jonge, and he finished T16. On the Top-10 finishes, I also missed on my two picks. Weirdly, two of my head-to-head picks finished tied. It was one of my worst overall weeks of the year, frankly.
The Top 60 Euros are in Dubai at the Jumeirah Golf Estates, and Sweden's Henrik Stenson can make history. He leads the Race to Dubai as he looks to join Luke Donald (2011) and Rory McIlroy (2012) as the only players to win the money titles on the European and PGA Tours in the same season. The Top-3 players in the Race to Dubai would win it with a victory in this tournament: Stenson, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell. If Rose doesn't win, he needs Stenson to effectively finish 53rd or worse, and Rose must finish no worse than fifth. McDowell needs to finish no worse than third if he doesn't win and needs Stenson to finish well down in the field.
It's the closest Race to Dubai since its inception five years ago. Anyone down to No. 9 Victor Dubuisson can win the Race to Dubai this week; he won last week in Turkey. McIlroy won this tournament last year, beating out Rose by two shots.
European Tour Golf Odds: DP World Tour Championship Favorites
McIlroy is the 13/2 favorite at Bovada to repeat. He might have finally put his personal life and equipment change behind him for good with a solid T6 at the WGC-HSBC Champions in China two weeks ago. He has never been worse than 11th in this event, also with a third and a fifth in addition to last year's victory.
The U.S. Open champion Rose is next at 7/1. This week Rose was awarded Honorary Life Membership to the European Tour thanks to the U.S. Open victory. This is only the third time he's playing here. He had that runner-up last year and a 50th in 2009. Rose is playing a third week in a row, finishing fifth in China and third in Turkey.
Stenson is 10/1, and I worry about him as he continues to battle through a wrist injury -- I doubt he plays for a while after this tournament. He withdrew from the pro-am on Tuesday because of it. He did fight through it with a seventh last week. Stenson's best result in this tournament was a seventh last year.
Poulter (11/1) and Martin Kaymer (16/1) round out the favorites. Poulter is playing as well as anyone, with finishes of T15, second and T5 in the first three Final Series tournaments. Poulter will win the Race to Dubai with a victory and if Stenson finishes second (i.e. they can't tie and go to a playoff). Poulter lost a playoff to Robert Karlsson here in 2010 when he dropped his ball on his marker to incur a one-shot penalty. Poulter was 26th last year.
Kaymer, 25th in the Race to Dubai, still hasn't won since the 2011 WGC-HSBC Champions. He has yet to have a Top-10 finish here, with a best of 11th two years ago. He was T25 last week in Turkey.
European Tour Picks: DP World Tour Championship Golf Predictions
On the Top 10 props, I like McIlroy (-200), Rose (-185) and Poulter (-115). I don't have the same confidence in Stenson. Take one stroke as the winning margin at +275 even though the past two have been by two shots. Head-to-head, I like Rose (even) over McIlroy (-130), Poulter (-105) over Stenson (-125) and McDowell (-115) over Lee Westwood (-115).
I think Jamie Donaldson is great value at 25/1 to win. He pretty much has to win and get a bit of help to take the Race to Dubai -- he's No. 5 in the standings. Donaldson is playing terrific with a second last week and eighth in China. He also won in Abu Dhabi earlier this year and was ninth at this tournament last season.
However, I like Rose to cap his career year in style and ruin Stenson's chance at history. Rose shot a final-round and course-record 62 last year only to be edged by McIlroy.
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